iPod 3rd Generation

Model A1040 / 10, 15, 20, 30, or 40 GB hard drive / four touch-sensitive LED backlit buttons above touch wheel

78 Questions View all

Is there a Hack for Charging from USB instead of Firewire?

Is there a way that the charging components inside a 3rd-gen iPod can be changed from Firewire to USB ?

With so many USB car chargers available that make it easy to carry USB-charge-able devices, carrying a 3rd-gen iPod that solely charges via Firewire is truly a pain in the neck.

I have 2 car charge ports in our vehicle, one is usually occupied by the GPS, the other one rotates between when my wife wants to charge her iPhone with the 2-port USB charger, and when I want to charge the iPod 3rd-gen with the Firewire charger. Even though the iPod 3rd-gen charges solely through Firewire, it would be much more convenient if both devices could both share the USB charger with 2 ports.

I found a hack on the Instructables site that someone posted to modify a USB charger to charge a 3rd-gen iPad Nano, (http://www.instructables.com/id/Modify-a...), though I suspect it would work the same way for a regular 3rd-gen iPod. This however, doesn't completely solve my question, it only keeps a dedicated charger for the iPod and doesn't make it flexible enough to use a "regular" USB car charger that might have 2 ports.

Everyone I've spoken to doesn't have any suggestions since it requires a Firewire charge, so they suggest ditching a perfectly good working 40GB iPod for something newer. I refuse to give up a functioning device I paid close to $400 many years ago. What can I do to make this device work with a USB charger ?

Answer this question I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 0


This question was migrated from http://meta.ifixit.com/Answers.

by iRobot

Add a comment

3 Answers

Most Helpful Answer

herman428, this would be an interesting hack but all the circuitry in the iPod requires firewire for the charging, so you can not modify that. I would suggest something like a USB charger followed by a buck converter and terminate this with a firewire connection. Not really that cumbersome and should be doable. Hope this helps, good luck.


The "hack" on instructable is a bit different.It was developed to charge the iPod with just any generic charger The USB output will remain around 4.6V- to - 5.2 V. Firewire is at 12V, you you will have to have some sort of DC-DC step up converter.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2


The older dock allowed you to use either USB or Firewire connection to a Windows PC (sync). But your iPod 3rd Gen. could only be charged via the FireWire connection via the FireWire iPod charger or via a FireWire port on your system. At the time the USB standard did not offer enough to power to charge things which is why this was such a mess. I'm sure with some effort you might be able to convert the dock to charge via the USB connection.

by Dan

If you are really interested we might be able to "hack" something together next few days. :-) The problem is that the power requirement of the iPod is actually 12V....I am sure we can get something accomplished.

by oldturkey03

Add a comment


I have done with DC volt step-up, and posted the story here;

(I am sorry it is in Thai but I think you could follow it - Google translation could help - with around 80% correctness :))


In fact you can use 12 VDC from car to charge the 3rd gen ipod directly as well.



Hi oldturkey03

Eliminate firewire charger complication with USB 5V

It is the DC Volt Step Up ( appox. 9 USD from e_bay)


For 3rd Gen

- See pinout for 12 VDC +,- from the below link


I use pin 19 for +12V and pin 29 for –

If AC-usb adaptor is used, it should be at least 1 Amp. to keep charging time similar with the original firewire charger. (P=IV)

This one can also apply for IPOD 2nd GEN as well. Just seek for the 6 pin firewire port for it.

This is is my stuff --http://upic.me/i/qh/usbchargeropidg2g3.j...

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0


OT - the links check out now.

by mayer

Add a comment

This incredibly compact DC step-up converter is what I used. It fits neatly inside the 3G case behind the hard drive.


Here are the traces for USB and Firewire power.

Block Image

Problem is, the iPod freezes when plugged in. It seems that the iPod refuses to function when both USB 5V and Firewire 12V power are being supplied. And you can't cut off USB power to the device, because that's what the iPod uses to power the chips that interface with the computer. How did you get around it? Or is the iPod non-operable when plugged in via USB?

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Add your answer

herman428 will be eternally grateful.

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 8

Past 7 Days: 38

Past 30 Days: 181

All Time: 1,506