IRiver

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I bought an iRiver H120 in December 2004, for three reasons:

  • its ability to play oggs,
  • its appearance as a standard USB storage device so there's no crummy proprietary software DRM bollocks to get your songs loaded, and
  • its battery life of 15 hours.

It has been, and still is, a completely brilliant and hassle-free portable music player, and is still better than anything else on the market before or since for what I need it to do.

However, by late 2005, I got fed up with eagerly upgrading to the latest iRiver firmware, only to keep finding that the iRiver software developers' idea of gapless playback wasn't what would normally be regarded as gapless playback (i.e. playback without a gap; simple enough, one might think).

The best thing I did was to simply install Rockbox on it. Rockbox has given me several benefits, such as

  • gapless playback,
  • wider format support,
  • Last.FM scrobbling in the newer versions, and
  • arguably a slightly longer battery life.

Not content with all that, I now want to

Pimp my H120!

First of all, an upgrade from 20 GB to 40 GB of space. To do this, apparently all I need to do is unscrew the casing and replace 1.8" hard disk with a bigger one; it's just an ATA6 connector. For 40 GB I will need to buy a Toshiba MK4007GAL from somewhere, or if I am willing to remove some rubber shock absorbers (probably a bad idea) I can get a two-platter Toshiba MK8007GAH which has 80 GB of space.

Apparently I can also pimp the battery from 1300 mAh to 2200 mAh using an iPod battery, as long as I cross the wires over. It is interesting that my iRiver can drive itself for about 15 hours on the trot with only a 1300 mAh battery, where the iPod dies after four hours on 2200 mAh. Still, it means I can upgrade to 25 hours of battery life!

And if it's still working after all that, I could try adding a real time clock chip so that it can keep time, log scrobbles with actual timestamps and use the alarm clock functions in Rockbox.