found drama

get oblique

got inside.

by Rob Friesel

With a little help from an eyeglass repair kit’s screwdriver, my pocket knife, and the liquid willpower of #9, I managed to get inside of the iPod…


figure 1

In figure 1 (above), the tip of the pocket knife’s screw driver indicates approximately where I chose to start. This point was chosen based on some of the suggestions offered in an online guide to iPod battery replacement that I located earlier today. My initial efforts mostly consisted of some gentle levering action along the seam at approximately that point with the screwdriver tip. After a few minutes, I switched to the slightly thinner blade of the narrower screwdriver tip on the can-opener of the pocket knife. Note that neither of these seemed to do much but gnarl up the white plastic edge and scratch the metal backing. So, I moved on to the screwdriver in my eyeglass repair kit…


figure 2

I finally got the case cracked with the spectacle screwdriver — the tiniest of tools! After about an hour, the successful trick seemed to be getting it to catch the seam then twisting-and-rocking it gently until it slipped under the metal cowling. Once I got enough of a gap, I slipped the narrow blade/head of the screwdriver/can-opener tip in there and worked that to pop the tabs. Unfortunately, I managed to bend the edge of the cowling a bit while doing this — not by all that much but enough to make me say: CAUTION! BE GENTLE!


figure 3

Once the first tab or two is popped, the cowling started to come off relatively easily. I kept the spectacle screwdriver wedged in there so it didn’t snap closed and made my way around the edge popping the tabs one at a time.


figure 4

With the tabs popped, the metal cowling on the back slips off to reveal the hard drive, the sheath for the headphone and remote connections, and the dock connector. Apparently, I wasn’t cautious enough around the bottom and broke part of the white ridge that runs around the dock connector’s aperture.


figure 5

The hard drive pretty much detaches all on its own. I’m still not sure if that’s what was wrong in the first place or part of the design. I did note that the only apparent physical connection between the drive and the rest of the electronics appears to be this weak little rectangle that just sort of “fits together”. My guess is that that is the major point of failure. I’m assuming that the idea here is that since everything is so small and so neatly packed together to begin with, that the connections don’t have to be all that secure since there isn’t enough room for those objects to move around and become dislodged. So while I was in there, I spotted the battery, and found myself nodding at the dense design.

Since my assumption since “the fall” a couple days ago has been that the physical connection between the drive and the electronics got spoiled, I spent my energy there. There did seem to be a loose connection along the base of the drive, so I gently pushed that back in to place. Then I re-placed the drive the way I found it, paying attention to that little microchippy thing and trying to be sure that it fit snugly back where it was supposed to go. From there, the metal cowling just slips back over and it all snaps in to place.

After all that, I was disappointed to find all this was without success. I hooked the ‘pod up to KetelOne and it failed to boot (still gave me that damn “/!\” folder icon) — nor could I get it in to “disk mode” nor diagnostic mode. So I’m not that much further off from where I was to begin with, I suppose. Definitely a major bummer.

Damn cat…

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

3 Responses to got inside.

Anonymous says:

Yikes! Don’t give up on that ipod. You possibly ruptured the disk drive. The drive cable has 32 tiny wires that you might splice/solder up to a big ol’clunky Maxtor 120GB. Heck, a few inches of duct tape and it’d be good to go. The pure envy generated by that monster capacity kluge strapped to your belt is almost too much to imagine!

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