jueves, 1 de enero de 2009

hacking the palm lifedrive

Procedure to replace MD(Hitachi Microdrive HD) for a CF II(compact flash memory) in a Palm LifeDrive.(aka LifeFlash mod)

The reasons for this modification are:

-Increase battery duration (more than double)
-Decrease weight of pda
-Increase resistance to blow (no mechanic parts)

Too many people lose their LD after a strong fall, this is because Palm Os is saved in Hard drive, and when it crash, LD don't work (using this mod the more weakly part in the pda will be the screen).


My method is based in Linux livecd(standalone linux), concretally Ubuntu/Kubuntu.
I read other docs about this modification and i decide to write a new one for help to newbies)

(All people in the world would have linux livecd, but if you haven't it you can free download or request from internet,
http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu )


1. Boot computer with linux livecd

2. Take a seeing of unit drive with qtparted (this app show us all computer drives, and my case LD has 3 partitions and the name /dev/sdc)

3. Open a terminal shell (like cmd, command mode in windows)

4. We need to have administrator rights (default: ubuntu give you less rights)
>sudo passwd
(we must put the password we want)
(Now ubuntu request us a passw, and this one is the password what we defined in previous step, now we are root or administrator, we have all rights)

5. Now we will make an image of MicroDrive(ld hd) and we store it in our "windows" partition.
(You need replace with you name device and the label of your partition).
>dd if=/dev/sdc of=/mnt/my_windowsxp/imageLD.img
(if=input file of=output file)
(It takes a lot of time (30min or more), you must wait to card reader light go off)

6. Replace MD from cardreader for CF memory card)

7. Execute the next command
>dd if=/mnt/my_windowsxp/imageLD.img of=/dev/sdc
(Now the source is our stored image, and target is the CF Device)

*NOTES /Recommendations:

-dd command, don't show a progress bar, because of it, we must have patiente and don't think that process is hang up, if it doesn't show an error is because the process is OK.

-/mnt/my_windowsxp this a mounted partition, normal UBUNTU automount all your partitions, BUT other linux distributions for example KUBUNTU do not automount the partitions and if you have no experience with linux could require more time to learn to mount partitions in my case with the following commands:
"mkdir /mnt/my_windowsxp"
"mount -t vfat /dev/hda5 /mnt/my_windowsxp"

-I don't recommend to lose time with windows, I tried some apps to make the image, for example Acronis True Image 10 home (true image cdbootloader don't detect MD in the card reader). I can make an image of the first partition 65mb but after it, the acronis show an error.

- Probably there are card readers which support CF mems but not md hitachi. (f.ex. card reader of a epson printer).

- I've used a SANDISK Xtreme III (expensiver than others brands), but because i wanted no risks, but now i think that many 4GB CF should run correctly. (CF mems simulates physical harddrives, and i think what should be possible to change its main structure, cylinders, heads, etc to adjust to MD structure). ***What do experts say about it? ***

>fdisk -l /dev/sdc (a commando to see the device partitions

Good luck!

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