iPod Hardware Dorkery!

During one of my recent interminable plane trips, my old and trusty iPod started to give up the ghost--it's a bad sign when the machine becomes unresponsive, you hear grinding sounds from the hard drive, and the whole thing starts to get hot in your hand. Sadness.

As background, I have had this iPod since before grad school--it's a Second Generation unit--released 2002, FireWire, 10 GB, no docking station, monochrome screen, old school, yo. I believe that Leper once pointed out, "Man... I think that Dennis Hopper had a newer iPod on his Harley in Easy Rider..."

However, I have a Fred-Fenning-emulating compulsion to keep old machines operating.... I decided, "Heck, I'll try fixing it." Fortunately, there are excellent geek suppliers out there. I decided to double my storage capacity (woo [sarcasm]) with a 20 GB hard drive from ifixit.com. And while I had the case open, I decided to install a replacement battery from MilliAmp LTD--an upgrade from ~1200 mAh to 2200 mAh. Mad props to both of those companies--for having the parts available, at a reasonable price, as well as incredibly fast shipping. MilliAmp also takes back your old battery for environmentally proper disposal--points for that as well. They also know their audience:

If you have a 1st or 2nd Generation iPod, you’ve understood the iPod mystique way before anyone else. But why get rid of your older model just because it has a few years on it? All you need is one of our two high-capacity 1st or 2nd Generation iPod battery replacement kits and you will be back on your way to longer playtimes than you ever had, even when your device was brand new!

So... I got all the pieces lined up, including an installation tool for cracking open the case:

Getting the case open is definitely the most difficult part--I'd say the tool makes it doable, as opposed to--say--easy:

And then doing a guts replacement!

A few tense moments of powering it up, reformatting the drive from iTunes, plugging in, plugging out... but eventually:

It works! Rock on.

Okay, now I have a mental image of an iPod commercial silhouetting my short stocky frame, doing my dorky oh-god-he-looks-like-an-animatronic-Santa-Claus dance.

So I know, you're going to ask--does it make any sense to spend $86.90 and burn an evening hacking hardware, when I could have bought a brand-new-with-warranty 16 GB iPod Nano for $179.00--with all those newfangled features like, say, a color screen? True enough. But I have a perverse joy in keeping a trusty old machine functioning, instead of consigning it the landfill. A bit of the whole buy less stuff ethos, too. Finally, I know that I complain I have more money than free time right now, but if it ever reaches the point when I couldn't justify doing this... man... a piece of me will have died.


At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That's pretty sweet. I didn't even know those things were serviceable.

- Paul

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Bats said...

Even more points for iPodJuice: they email you a receipt that they got the old battery for recycling.

Subject: Used Battery Received
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 09:23:53 -0500
From: "_J iPodJuice.com Service" To: bats22


We wanted to let you know that we've received the used battery that you've returned today and it will be disposed of properly. We trust all is well with your new battery - please don't hesitate to contact us if you need anything else.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Rob Calhoun said...

" I believe that Leper once pointed out, 'Man... I think that Dennis Hopper had a newer iPod on his Harley in Easy Rider...' "

I'll always take unearned credit for a witticism, but I'd be on pretty thin ice making fun of your iPod given that I have a FIRST GENERATION (5 GB? 500 kB?) iPod....

(I'm tempted to copy your idea and rebuild it, but I never used mine much...)



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