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Im a nerd...BEHOLD Frankenpod!

Yeah I admit Im a bit of a nerd and a bit of a tinkerer.  I like to take things apart and know what makes them work.  I also like to be able to replace parts of existing things on my own, either to fix them or to try and get more performance out them.  Thus I will probably always be a PC man.  With that said my wife recently had her headphone jack on her iPod go out.  Since I am a sensible man and realize that she would go insane with this we went and got her a new iPod classic and she is once again happy with her music goodness.I went and dug up her original 5th gen iPod vid and thought about swapping parts between this one and her old one which is going bad.  As I said I like to tinker.

In the beginningSo what you see in the picture is the original which after a bath in some water, got it’s screen cracked because my wife happened to be a little over exuberant when she tried to get it out of it’s case because of said water.  I had already explored options on replacing the lcd screen and but at the time it was just more cost effective to buy her a new one. So it sat in one of my junk draws for a few years.

So now we get to her latest iPod, it served faithfully and did it’s deal, then the left channel on the headphone jack went out and it was time to move on.  Especially since the poor lil guy looked like it had called a big guy it didn’t know tiny.  I figured I could replace the circuit board which held the headphone jacks and get a new MP3 player with more capacity than my current e270 Sansa.  So armed with guitar picks, which according to most online disassembly guides are the weapon of choice for this endeavor.  It was actually kinda tough to get the connectors to pop apart while sliding the picks around the outer edge, but with perseverance it was done. Scratch that it was a really big pain I sat there for almost 20 mines trying to use “gentle force”, as I didn’t wanna ruin the innards with just brute force.

Once you get the back offHere's the connector!

The first thing I noticed was that  the back was attached to the front with ribbon cables and I should be very careful when trying to pull them apart.  Fortunately the cable which attaches to the bottom of the front half is connected with a zero force connector and pretty much pops out if you pull too hard.  This allows you to flip the pieces apart like in the pic. You can see the HD, battery, back of the LCD screen, and the best part the headphone jack.  The pic on the right is a close up of the connector I am talking about right below the HD on the front half.

Side of the front half of the caseOn the front half around the outer edge are screws and a couple clips which keep the faceplate on. This was fortuitous, since I didn’t want my new “FrankenPod” to look haggard.  Yeah I know I probably should have made sure said FrankenPod was a success, but sometimes you gotta think aesthetics before you can think functionality, right?  Right?  Regardless, I figured I might as well do everything in one go, since I might not have the fortitude to open the thing back up again.  Did I tell you how annoying it was to open it the first time?

A pic of the circuitboard Notice how you can flip the HD out, this will allow you to see the connector for the second ribbon cable , you have to flip up the lock on it and pull the able out this allows you to detach the back completely.  This also shows the cables attaching the HD and LCD screen.  I was in the process of griping to myself as to how much of a pain it was to removed the LCD screen when it dawned on me I wouldn’t need to do that.  Look at the next pic and you’ll see why I was slapping my forehead after mumbling to myself for almost 5 mins.

On the back of the iPod caseThat’s right folks the back fully detached I was able to accomplish two goals. My wife was complaining about horrid battery life on her old iPod, so I figured the never used battery should hold a charge better, and well the whole intent was to replace headphone jack.  I felt a bit sheepish once I realized that, but wow what a boon and awesome thing to realize, I even got the shiny back from the broken iPod.  That was not something I was expecting, really.

So reversing the equation and reconnecting the ribbon cables I squished both pieces of the FrankenPod together and admired my work.  I mean wouldn't you?
From the ashes...
Behold! The FrankenPod in all it’s GLORY! I got a new shiny, non haggard looking faceplate and a new battery inside. But will it work?


It's ALIVE!That has always been a major sticking point with me and Apple, I don’t like their hardware control, it is a little too draconian for me and as I’ve stated before I like to tinker.  So I was worried that it might not even boot up, but I shouldn’t have worried since all I really replaced was the headphone jack and battery.  DUH!  So I guess it comes as no surprise that the lil guy booted right up once plugged in.  I will say I had to charge the lil guy for almost 5 hrs since it had been long since drained of any juice.

Now for RockboxSo I booted up my virtual machine with Win XP (ed. Yay virtual machines!) and installed iTunes (*gag*) to wipe my wife’s old info and reformat.  Then I installed Rockbox, and loaded my tunes.  With this new FrankenPod I was able to load 8 more GB of songs than with my Sansa! That will change once microSDHC cards which can hold 32GB get cheaper, I might just move back to my Sansa since it is more compact and doesn’t use a harddrive for storage.  However, it is fun to use the same software on my FrankenPod, that I use on my Sansa, so there is almost no learning curve.  I will add a caveat, that Rockbox can’t do video on the iPod vid yet, so I kept the original OS on there in case I wanna load a movie for my kiddo to watch.

Now I have increased storage and I can use all my wife’s iPod toys with my new FrankenPod, this pleases the lil nerd I try so hard to hide in me.

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Haha, yeah you get brave when you don't really care if you break the hardware. YaY! Nerdiness!