My old 3rd gen iPod hard drive failed recently. I had this iPod installed in my 2006 Nissan with a converter from Nissan that made my iPod work via the XM cable that was pre-installed in the car from the factory. I found a cheap adapter on eBay that would convert a CF card to IDE. The item description said it would not work on iPod Video or Classic 80gb. It was around $4 with shipping. I then used a Transcend CF card 32gb, 400x, part #TS32GCF400. Make sure you shop for a CF to IDE adapter for Toshiba hard drive.
The most difficult part of this fix is getting the iPod open. I have opened a few already to replace batteries so I was fully ready for another fun few minutes. I used a utility knife. By scoring the edge of the iPod several times over will help release it. Best bet is to jump on YouTube and watch a video, there are plenty out there. But be super careful using a knife, you can cut yourself or scratch your iPod if you slip!
After the iPod is open remove the battery plug in the corner. Then remove the hard drive with a gentle pull from the edge connector. Install the CF card in the adapter and then plug it into the edge connector on the iPod. I suggest you leave the iPod open until you know iTunes can restore the hard drive. Plug the battery connector back in.
Next you need the dual cable that I think came with the iPod. It has a Firewire and USB cables on it. You also need the Firewire power brick. For some reason iTunes will not restore over the Firewire cable and it won’t restore it via the USB port unless the iPod has power via the Firewire port!
I used Windows 7 x64 and iTunes 188.8.131.52. On my first attempt iTunes locked up solid. I had to power cycle the iPod by pulling the battery connector and reboot Windows. Pressing the menu and play buttons at the same time did not help. On the 2nd attempt I got a message that my iPod has been restored to factory settings! The 32gig flash card shows as 29.77GB of usable space.
After I synced my music back to the iPod all appeared ok until I tried to play some music. The iPod quickly started cycling through songs about 1 per second. I went through the menu setup and changed a few settings but it did not fix it. Once I rebooted the iPod (Hold the pause and play buttons together) everything worked as expected.
So for about $40 you can fix that old iPod. It’s also a nice upgrade if you keep it in the car like I do. The flash drive won’t get damaged when going over potholes. I also had a problem when the temperature was below 20 degrees with the hard drive, it would take about 30 minutes before it would start working. With the flash memory that won’t be an issue.