2013-04-21T08_16_38

How to Replace the Battery in a Third Generation IPod

I recently had the opportunity acquire an old iPod. Naturally this device was well worn and its battery was completely broken down, and refused to hold any charge. But, while hooked up to its power supply, it worked well enough, so I applied for possession of this machine, and this was graciously granted to me.

Initially, I just used the device hooked up to the power supply as a large capacity USB drive. Useful for transferring large amounts of data from place to place. It contains a 15 GB drive, after all.

However, I gradually began to appreciate the device as a source of sounds as well. As soon as I had made that transition, I wanted to take it everywhere with me. But of course I could not do this, because of the problem with the worn out battery.

Eventually, one of my son's friends mentioned that it was possible to buy a replacement battery kit at Fry's Electronics, for around twenty dollars. I did not need to be told twice. The next day I stopped by Fry's and picked up a battery kit. It came with instructions printed on the back of the package, and an interesting screw driver, intended to allow you to remove the back of the iPod. If you carry out the operation yourself, be sure to pick up the correct battery for your model of iPod. There are many generations and styles of iPod and the battery dimensions are all quite different. Obviously, you will save yourself time and trouble if you buy the correct one.

I was really interested to see how the replacement of the battery would go. The machine was several years old at this point and I had resigned myself to the possibility that it would not survive the ordeal. I thought it was worth the effort of trying, however. If it worked, I would be left with a functioning, nicely designed, mp3 player that did not need to be constantly connected to the mains supply to operate.

The instructions on the package were relatively minimalistic. So I hunted around on the web for instructions to augment those that the battery manufacturer shipped with the product. The results were of mixed usefulness it turned out. The videos that are posted are too fast to give you a sense of the difficult parts of the operation. However, hopefully, if you read around you will get a sense of what to look out for.

There are two difficult steps in the procedure. The first is opening the case. This is definitely a difficult knack to master. I did not do all that well at this part of the operation and the case now has a few 'opening' marks on it. Fortunately, the high school heritage of this particular machine had also left a mark or two so this was not a large concern to me. The opening procedure involves pushing the plastic back away from the metal box that contains most of the iPod. The two halves, plastic and metal, are essentially just firmly clipped together by a clasp that was probably never really intended to be opened. Hence you need to have a good feel for where to push and how hard to push on the plastic in order to affect an opening. However, with a little pushing, wiggling, chipping and bending, I managed to do this.

The next difficult element was unhooking and then reconnecting the hard drive. I could not believe how intricate the hard drive's plug and socket were. There must be twenty or thirty tiny pins on the plug and I was really hard pressed to see them, the plug itself was so tiny and intricate. However, I pushed on.

Soon the new battery was plugged into the board and I had a chance to plug the hard drive back in to its tiny socket. I soon had to give up doing this carefully. It was just too intricate and tiny to confirm that it was correctly lined up. So I trusted the engineering and the vague instructions from many sources and just pushed socket and plug together.

Reassembly of the case really has to be complete before you can see if the machine still functions - because the front and back of the machine are attached to one another by tiny electrical ribbons. So, I went ahead and re-clasped the metal back to the plastic front. Then with some trepidation I turned the power back on.

It worked! The machine was back to a reasonable battery life. I am sure that the really technology savvy folk will read this and think - huh that is nothing. However, I must confess I felt some pride in having opened up an intricate iPod replaced a worn out part and had the machine survive to give further useful service.

It has to be said the inside of a third generation iPod is impressively complex. I was naively expecting just one or two chips and lots of empty space. It is many years old by now, of course. But, this iPod is jammed with circuitry. I was impressed by the engineering and innovation involved in getting this product out and really changing the way that music is sold and enjoyed. Nicely done, Apple! I am not the first to say it, but they are a very smart bunch of people.

If you have an old iPod which is in need of a battery replacement - I would certainly consider carrying out the change yourself. Batteries can be obtained from a variety of sources, Fry's electronics is one vendor, but a quick Google will identify many more. Watch out for the case opening and the hard disk disconnection and reconnection. These parts of the procedure are tricky. However, keep going, you will probably find that for a modest outlay you are able to repair a really well designed device and get a few more years of music and pleasure from your original investment.

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