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Wiki > Main > HardwareProjects > ZIFToATAAdapter


Replacing or upgrading the 1.8 inch hard drive in older players like the iRiver H1x0 or Gigabeat F series involves one major problem: The PATA drives with 50 pins connector are not manufactured anymore. So, they are rare and expensive. Luckily the never drives with FFC (flat foil cable) aka ZIF (zero insertion force) connector are electrically compatible and therefor can be fit into some of the older players with the help of an adapter board. The main restriction is the available space. While in theory every player works with the adapter/ZIF drive combination, the case might be to small to leave enough space for the adapter.

Available adapters

Currently two commercially available adapters are know. One is the "ADA-HDD-1.8-ZIF-CF" from ES&S Kabel in Germany (, the other is the "ZIF to 1.8-inch Bilateral IDE Hard Drive Converter", article number 10887, from dealextreme in Hong Kong (

There are mainly two differences between them. One is the form factor, the other is price and availability.

The ES&S adapter has its ZIF connector on the upper side with a backside orientation and the dealextreme adapter on the lower side going straight forward. The length of the board is nearly identical, but the ES&S adapter will normally need less space as the drive can be packed more closely with the adapter.

So, depending on how the player is built inside, they fit differently and normally one of those will be the better choice. For example in the iRiver H140 the ES&S Kabel adapter fits much better, as the hard drive overlaps a few millimeter of the slim adapter board before stopped by the connector. The same overlapping area with the dealextreme adapter is much higher, as the ZIF connector on the lower side presses the whole PCB upwards. This configuration can hardly fit inside. But it is possible, see further below.

But price and availability might still result in the fact that the dealextreme adapter is the better choice for the iRiver H140. Because ES&S Kabel does only send to dealers, you first have to find one that sells this product. Even if you convince them to deliver to you, the adapter is nearly 30 Euros ($40) and postage and packing is 10 Euros ($13).

In contrary the dealextreme adapter can easily be ordered world wide for about $4 (3 Euros) with free shipping.

Conclusion: If the dealextreme adapter fits by any means, use it. Only as a last resort use the one by ES&S Kabel.



Compatible hard drives

Nearly every hard drive with the 40 lines PATA ZIF interface should work. There exist only two form factors: 5mm and 8mm height. So all drives with the same height share the same physical dimensions. And besides the height the 5mm and 8mm drives do also share the same dimensions. So, if your original drive had 8mm and a 8mm ZIF drive does not fit in the case because of the extra space occupied by the adapter, your chances are good that a 5mm drive fits.

Note: The latest fashion in hard drives interfaces is called CE-ATA. This is a 18 lines serial ZIF interface and absolutely not compatible. Be aware that some companies, like Samsung, offer both options for some of their drives. So double check that you are buying the PATA version.

The Toshiba MK8010GAH, the same drive used as in the iPod 5.5G 80GB, could give trouble, because of strange 1kb block transfers. The current rockbox version includes special code for the iPod 5.5/MK8010GAH combination, as the standard routines failed. The MK8010GAH was tested using the Dealextreme adapter on the Gigabeat F Series, and it does NOT work on those players.

Tested drives

This lists all currently known working configurations.

Iriver H140

  • Toshiba MK1011GAH
  • Toshiba MK8009GAH

Gigabeat F10

  • Toshiba MK2008GAL

Gigabeat F40

  • Toshiba MK1214GAH
  • Toshiba MK8009GAH

Incompatible hard drives with ZIF PATA interface

  • Maybe (see above) Toshiba MK8010GAH.


In this chapter various working installations are shown. If you are looking for a specific drive not listed here, just look for a drive with the same physical dimensions. That is fairly easy, as only two form factors do currently exist: 5mm or 8mm height. If your player fits a 8mm drive, any 8mm drive will do. Of course the interface has to be 40 lines PATA ZIF.

That was the simple hint. But of course the manufacturers may develop a drive doing some incompatible protocol anytime in the future. This is not very probable, but better check the chapter "compatible hard drives" first.

The headers contain this information: Player, hard drive, adapter

iRiver H140, Toshiba MK1011GAH (8mm height), ADA-HDD-1.8-ZIF-CF by ES&S Kabel

  • Insert the cable strip with the blue side up (facing the top of the connector).
  • Lock it by pushing the black handle towards the PCB.
  • Insert the other end of the strip into the adapter, again with the blue side up.
  • Lock it by pushing the brown handle towards the PCB.

  • Insert the adapter into the hard disk connector and bend the cable over
  • Place the drive on top of the audio connectors


  • Put back the rubber protection pads and carefully close the case again.
You should now be able to connect with USB and format the drive and install Rockbox.

Good luck!

iRiver H140, Toshiba MK8009GAH (8mm height), dealextreme

  • As first step it seems a good idea to turn the hold switch to on. Because if you accidently push the start button then the player does not power up the hard drive, where you might be in the progress of just plugging it in.
  • The adapter comes with 2 cables: One has two thick ends, the other one has one thick and one thin end. Only the thin end fits into the drive connector. Be careful when pushing the sliders, they are quiet fragile. Fold the cable before plugging in, so that the drive can be laid on top of the adapter.

  • Open your player and remove the old drive with all rubber protectors. The rubber above the audio connectors has to be permanently removed, otherwise the drive would not fit well. The other protectors will be used for the new drive.
  • Plug the adapter into the IDE connector. The ZIF connector is on the bottom side and lays on the circuit board below. Therefor the adapter is not in parallel with the board, but goes up at the end.
  • Now it is a good time to check if everything is working fine. You could skip this check and just close the case. But as getting good contact between foil cable and ZIF connector is a little tricky, you might find yourself reopening the device. So, better connect it to the PC via USB and see if the new drive is recognized.

  • Lay the drive inside the case. The adapter pushes the drive so much up now, that the case is a little to small. It is not very much and as the case can be bended, everything can be squeezed in.
  • Put the rubber on the drive, but leave the stuff out that is above the audio connectors.
  • Shift the drive as much towards the upper end (audio connectors) as possible. That way the edge with the highest point of the hard drive is as much near the middle of the case as possible. This minimizes the bending.
  • Now squeeze everything together, so that you can close the case enough for screwing it. Do not press harder than necessary. There will be some gap now. The case will bend a little more with normal usage, so the gap gets a little smaller after some time. The picture below shows the gap. You can see a small fraction of the blue rubber protection. But besides that the gap is nearly invisible.

Gigabeat F10, Toshiba MK2008GAL (5mm height), dealextreme

  • The adapter comes with 2 cable, one with 2 thick end , the other one with one thick and one thin end
    • I will use the second one as the thick end doesn't fit in the hdd connector
    • The contacts are long so I protect the part of the contact outside the connector with tape (that is, the contacts may short out on the drive itself, so tape is placed betweent the contacts and the drive for protection)
    • I also put some tape on the board to prevent short circuit.
  • Insert the cable strip with the white side up (facing the top of the hdd connector).
  • Lock it by pushing the black handle towards the PCB.
  • Insert the other end of the strip into the adapter, again with the blue side up.
  • Lock it by pushing the black handle towards the PCB.



* Place the hard drive over the adapter and bend the cable
  • Cut the rubber protection to half of the hard drive (if not you cannot close the case)

  • Place the hard drive and adapter in the case and reconnect the 40 pin connector of the gigabeat ( you have to cut the 2 plastic pins)

  • Use the recovery procedure to format the drive

  • Carefully close the case (it is really tight).
Good luck!

r16 - 02 Apr 2021 - 20:46:07 - UnknownUser

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