26 March 2007, 01:47 by mark hoekstra

battery life on the flash based iPod minis

Well, after three parts of iPod mini madness we’re still not done! *^_^*

There’s one thing missing on the three previous parts and that’s an answer to the question if this mod does anything with the battery life of our beloved little mini. Well, it does!

the material used up until now…
click to enlarge

part one:
how to turn your iPod mini into a flash based iPod

part two:
flash based iPod, now up to 8GB!

part three:
the iPod mini remastered, now with 16GB!

...and don’t forget to visit my other project:
put flash memory into (almost) ANY iPod! ^_^

Even though I’ve been trying to get some reliable figures myself (and maybe I will add some later to this document), right after the first part of this mod, I’ve been in touch with Adam of iPodrepair.nl, a professional iPod repair center here in The Netherlands. Next to the fact that he/his shop is probably the first one in the world to offer this mod professionally, he also came up with a much more professional way in answering the question what this mod does to the battery life. He simply tried out every make of the mini! Now beat that! ^_^

As it seems, there are four major revisions of the mini and the revision tells much more about the battery life than any mod could do. Next to that, there are quite some different batteries out there, which are quite different from each other also. For instance, I experienced much better results with the battery I got from Adam (a 650mAh battery) than the one I got from eBay which was said to be 750mAh. So don’t believe everything you see on eBay ^_^

the batteries

click to enlarge

This is the original battery. Even though there’s no capacity printed on it (not on the backside also), it is believed to be 400mAh.

click to enlarge

The battery I got from eBay, which supposedly should be 750mAh.

click to enlarge

A battery I got from Adam/iPodrepair. This is also the same make on which all the tests have been done.

the charts

Because there’s so much difference on battery life in between the various revisions, there’s no way of claiming an X percent improvement by doing the compact flash mod on the mini. I have been asked such a figure though and when we really have to conclude anything, I guess a 15 to 20% improvement is a viable statement, but judge for yourself with these charts.

when you take a close look, you can spot a revision
click to enlarge

A few notes about these charts: The tests all have been done with one type of battery, a battery with a higher capacity than the original. When the test would be compact flash + new battery against microdrive + old battery, the figures would me much more spectacular of course. Next to that, it’s quite visible that especially the 1G iPod minis are relatively power hungry (maybe that explains why I ever came up with a bike charger for my (1G golden) iPod mini) *^_^*

And as a last note: All these tests have been done on shuffle play. It’s very well feasable that battery life increases when you hardly use shuffle play

image courtesy of ipodrepair.nl

In this chart you can see what different media does in a certain revision.

image courtesy of ipodrepair.nl

In this chart you can see what a different revision does, with a certain card.

You can find these charts on the site of iPodrepair.nl. You can even order this mod over there! (mostly European countries though)

Just to make things sure, when you change your battery at the same time as when you do this mod, figures are probably much more spectacular.

Well… after one month of iPod mini madness, this should conclude it!

I’ve been amazed with all the attention this got and it’s stuff like this that keeps me going. Thanks go out to PEAK hardware and Adam from iPodrepair.nl who both supported me, from the first project on, in getting this all done. But, of course, this project would’ve gone nowhere without all the attention/comments all the visitors gave this. So cheers to you all! *^_^*

Terms and Conditions of Use
Even though I give away all this info for free, I would like to point out that everything on this website is licensed through a Creative Commons License. It’s free for any non-commercial use, so anybody trying this out for themselves is something I’d like to encourage. Still, if you/your business would like to offer this information/modification on a commercial base, I would appreciate if you’d contact me first and I’m sure we can work something out. Don’t be evil ^_^

earlier on this site
how to turn your iPod mini into a flash based iPod
flash based iPod, now up to 8GB!
the iPod mini remastered, now with 16GB!

...and don’t forget to visit my other project:
put flash memory into (almost) ANY iPod! ^_^


  1. Pete @ 4 April 2007, 01:57 :

    Have you tried this mod using a SD/MMC to CF adapter in order to see if SD media is compatible with the mini? I think I’m going to try it out. I just wanted to see if it had been tried before I do.
    Great articles! Keep them coming!

  2. anonymous @ 31 May 2007, 22:54 :

    So, how’s the SD to CF adapter working?

  3. guy bushnell @ 3 July 2007, 18:30 :

    Since some brave souls have proved that the airport slot on an old ibook is just a CardBus slot in disguise, it may now be possible for all us G4 iMac owners to upgrade to USB2 by hacking a USB 2 card into the airport slot in the bottom on the computer.

    Do you fancy blazing that trail for us all to follow?

    Keep up the fascinating projects,
    Guy Bushnell

  4. nomo @ 17 July 2007, 18:19 :

    as an aside, you may want to note that battery life is roughly half of what is shown on the charts above when playing lossless files. The ipod is not nearly as thrifty with its power when decoding those apple lossless files.

  5. caleb @ 25 October 2007, 20:27 :

    Any word on the SD card?

  6. macon @ 22 May 2008, 04:11 :

    ok, just to clarify, this mod WORKS on a 2nd generation ipod mini, right? I have just bought a 2nd generation iPod mini, and if ever the hard drive fails, or I want to replace the battery if I’m getting less and less playback time(and so I may be tempted to replace the hard drive as well with a CF card), I can do this mod as well, right? I’m still researching this, but at this time I need someone’s confirmation that this will also work on 2nd gen minis. Sorry if I’m acting like a prick or being a pessimist, but I really do need confirmation before I do this mod on my iPod.

  7. uli @ 1 June 2008, 10:31 :

    I realize this thread is getting a bit old but I just want to pass along what experience I have to this point.

    My plan was to replace the 4GB HD in my 1G iPod mini with a SD/MMC to CF Type II adapter and a 8GB SD card. I’ve checked the CF/SD combination in an external CF card reader and it works fine. The SD card alone works fine in an USB/SD reader and I formatted it as HFS+.

    However when I plug it (adapter+SD) into the iPod mini neither iTunes nor diskutil are able to recognize or format the drive!

    I tried mucking around with the formatting/partition table but no joy. Sorry.

  8. macon @ 4 June 2008, 02:15 :

    @uli: I think you formatted the card wrong, the file system needs to be fat 32 for the card to work. If you have a friend that has a digicam with a card slot for compact flash, pop it in and let the camera format the card. After that plug it into the mini, boot it up and execute itunes and let the program restore the ipod. If it still doesn’t work, pop the original HD back in and update the firmware of the mini. If it still doesn’t work, you may have plugged in the card wrong(i’m just speculating that you did) or the ipod doesn’t recognize the SD->CF flash adaptor.

  9. Sammy @ 6 September 2008, 02:46 :

    ey ey
    i also was goin 2 try the cf to sd adapter but decided not 2 after just checking the speed of the sdhc card in the adapter on a comp with a usb reader. its rele slow. it sud work in theory tho i neva got round 2 it. but it is much beta to use a fast compact flash card 150x or sumthing. otherwise ull be ther for eva and a day syncin with itunes

  10. Jheart @ 21 October 2008, 21:21 :

    The battery you ended up using was a Lithium Polymer battery, instead of a Lithium Ion Battery. This is why you got better results. It’s like apples and oranges.

  11. widerstand @ 5 February 2009, 16:35 :

    Just completed my second flash-based ipod mini.
    factory stock battery – not replaced – makes the mini play music in random mode (consumes more then) about 24 hours.
    i used a simple PQI 120× 8GB CF.

  12. DeathToSpam @ 11 April 2009, 23:04 :

    I’d love to see the performance of the Transcend 16-GB CF (TS16GCF300 ), which is SLC 300x dual-channel, in both a 1G and 2G iPod. The biggest issue is price ($150 street right now)... hopefully that will come down a bit, though.

  13. John @ 30 November 2009, 05:30 :

    do you think this will work as a CF card?

As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

             you can find all of my projects overhere