Friday, May 12, 2006

Rockbox, iTrip and iPod

This would be a little howto to get iTrip with dock connector up and running on a 5g iPod with Rockbox.

There are two main thing that are needed by the iTrip to work:
1: The first thing is the power supply on the dock connector
2: The second thing is the apple protocol which allows sending commands trough the dock connector to the iTrip.

To fix the first thing I went to the Rockbox's IRC channel, and to tell you the truth I was amassed about the help I got there, the rockbox team is really co-operative, I must thank especially to linuxstb, he helped me a lot with directing me to the right places, so after testing some of the codes from the iPodLinux project, we found out which one turns the power supply on, and now its already in the cvs tree.

So the first thing seems to be done, now we have power supply on the dock connector, so some of the iPod accessories may already work.

The second thing is a bit tricky, for the moment we don't really have a working apple protocol on 4 and 5g iPods, so there is no way to send commands to the iTrip which are required to turn the iTrip on because even if you have power on you dock connector, the iTrip won't power up till it receives the play command.

But don't worry, there is a solution for this :) it's not the best one, but it works. So what I did was to get the iTrip apart and found out which pins are used for the power supply. See here for the dock connector numbering.

The ones used for power are:
Pin 1 - Ground
Pin 17 + 3V

So if you take two little wires and meld them to this pins on the iTrip then you will be able to attach a second power supply to it which don't needs to be always on, just for a few seconds.

So if you done this, dock the iTrip to your iPod, fire up the original firmware and press play, this will turn the iTrip on, now connect you second power supply to the iTrip and restart your iPod by holding the Select+Menu buttons pressed. You will notice that even when your iPod is of the iTrip is still on, so you can now boot into Rockbox and disconnect the second power supply because we have power with Rockbox too.

So that's it, now you just select your preferred music and listen them on the radio :)

I attached two little flat batteries to the back of the iTrip with a little button, so I just press that small button when I reboot into Rockbox and everything works fine.

Enjoy, I hope it will be helpful to you or someone :)


  • Good work! That's at least an option for those of us with one of these iTrips who want to play our music through Rockbox.

    I wonder if it would be possible to boot into Apple firmware and monitor the signals on the dock connector when you press play...

    Oops, nevermind. I just realized that the real problem is the lack of a driver for the serial port in Rockbox.

    I guess I will be getting out the razor blade and hacking mine open to do this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • You more than welcome!
    I wish you good luck with your iTrip, but be carefull, I almost burned out the conector's pins, so just be carefull and write me if you need any help.

    I hope everything will go fine!

    By Blogger Julius, at 11:53 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • What software are you running on your ipod?

    Looks like a very cool skin, I'm running rockbox..... is that a rockbox skin?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • Hi,

    You write a interesting news.
    Thanks a lot.

    2 questions :
    1) your image for ipod : "", is with the correction 1 ?
    2) Can you tell us which batterie you use ? xx volts, xx amper ?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 PM, November 07, 2006  

  • The batteries should provide 3.0 V as suggested in his blog. You could use two 1.5V batteries in series, for example. The current shouldn't matter since the iTrip shouldn't draw much power while the iPod is off (the only time the batteries are needed). Basically any battery combination that gives 3 V should work fine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM, November 08, 2006  

  • This is awesome progress! I asked about this about 6 months ago and was basically told... unless you got the time to do it yourself, it aint gonna happen any time soon...

    Well... looks like you had the time and you have partially come through! Good work!

    I have one question:
    The problem with communicating with the iTrip... is that that you don't know HOW to communicate (the serial communication) or that you don't know what to send?

    Thanks again!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:10 AM, December 17, 2006  

  • Hi Guys,

    First of all thanks for all the posts you made and then please accept my apologies for not getting back to you earlier, I really try to do my best to handle my private things too but unfortunately lately there was to much work on me so I wasn't able to get back to you guys.

    Anyway, here is the current situation so you all know about it:
    As you can see I wasn't able to make new builds in the last few months and I think I won't be able to do so in the next few ones too, but after that I hope/think/looks like things will cool down a bit and I will be able to pick up the work again on the rockbox patches/builds because I really miss it, so if you can please wait a bit more and you should have some new builds to play with.

    To the ones who have the "no partition found error" I think there are two things that can happen to you, first of all you arent' using my builds and you are using the themes, or you are using the builds but you have to reset your ipod. Just try to swith the hold button on when you turn your ipod on and that should reset the rockbox settings so that should help (or at least I hope so)

    No regarding future help, I recommend you guys to contact me trhough messenger I may not answer you all the time but you can be sure it will be a lot faster than commenting here and please don't be shy, if I won't answer you in the first just try again tomorrow and so on because there are days when I come home late so even if I have unanswered messenger windows I won't asnwer them because I'm to tired but next day I would do so, so just try again.

    So guys, that would be the situation here, so just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead and I won't let my rockbox patches/themes die either.


    ps: regarding the question on the communicating with the iTrip, the problem (last time I checked) was that we weren't able to communicate with the itrip trought the comport because there was no code written for this, it may happen so in the last months because I wasn't able to check on things, but the problem back than wasn't that we didn't know what to send, but we didn't know how to send it :)

    By Blogger Julius, at 4:55 AM, January 05, 2007  

  • Are the any news on that or has progress been made to get the iTrip working with 5g Ipod's?
    I'd love to have it working and spare the "hardwired" solution.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:04 AM, April 10, 2008  

  • Shopping the cheap battery,you can see from here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 PM, August 08, 2008  

  • There now is a build that works. Tested it with my iPod video and the iTrip dock.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 AM, October 25, 2008  

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