Got me good... I just went back to look at it. Almost like looking at a car accident!
Look through the old posts the archived read only ones, then try mastering the "search" feature of the BBS.
I believe you can't use the USB to boot a hard drive.
I have seen no problems with people using USB multiplyers other than if you want to tap power through the USB port you may be limited in how many devices you want to "dangle".
Start with figuring out what version i-opener you are getting.
Find out if you will need a new bios image to get the i-opener to recognize a hard drive.
Make or buy a modified ide hard drive cable.
Look around for a laptop hard drive.
Make or buy an adapter for the laptop hard drive to your desktop computer so you can prep the drive- if you have a laptop you can use skip that step.
Good luck and keep posting.