Replacing an iPod Mini Battery

Discussion in 'Articles / Guides' started by latency, Feb 25, 2006.

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  1. latency

    latency Existentialist

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    The following artical is re-constituted from my website HERE.
    Hurrah for iPods! Please don't bash me saying your iRiver has a simple battery cover. I don't care. I like my iPod.

    Take note the battery kit I obtained is avalible for all iPods, and while this guide is for the mini, it goes to show that it's perfectly possible to take an iPod apart without demolishing it.

    Replacing the iPod mini battery
    DISCLAIMER: Neither me, nor my instructional review broke YOUR iPod. If you're not savvy with taking things apart, then don't try this. Those of you who are using this as a guide, please read this, and watch the supplied video all the way through before going anywhere near your iPod.
    So I love my Apple products dearly. Solid apple fan through and through, however, there is one indisputable bitch I have with all of them:
    [​IMG]
    Apple Batteries Suck.
    I defy anyone who thinks otherwise- trust me, your time will come. I thought my laptop battery was fine, two months out of the 1 year warranty and it only runs for 15mins. iPod mini battery, replaced after 11 months on warranty.
    And now after another 8 months of heavy use it's gone again. I'm particularly angry with Apple over this one, becuase after the hoo haa and trouble they got into, you'd think they'd have found a new supplier, but nooooo. My iPod lives permanently in my car now, because that's the only place I can use it, where it's needed and has a charger. But it's not a replaceable battery, everyone says, you got to fork out £80 and send it to Apple.
    Thankfully, just before I lost patients I spotted a rumour in Mac User magazine, some company was making DIY iPod battery kits. So I waited and followed the rumour, and sure enough, Sonnet Tech, distributed through AM Micro, now avalible to buy from Kustom are now manufacturing replacement iPod batteries, sold with the tools and instructions to replace it yourself. I got hold of one for a mere £20 and decided to give it a go and bring my 18th birthday present back to life.
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    The Kit and the iPod mini.
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    Supplied tools; Phillips, flat, and a prying tool.
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    The new battery. It's 3x4cm and 4mm thick.
    I watched the 10 minute instruction film all the way through to start with. It comes in quicktime format and several languages, including English. Contrary to recently published belief, it is not only in Japanese.
    The film is clear and well presented, they make you aware of all the pitfalls of dismantling the iPod safely. Having watched the film, I begun.
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    The quality is perfect on the original.
    The first thing you have to do is remove the top and bottom caps from the iPod. This is done by heating them with a hair dryer on low heat for two minutes. The glue holding them on will soften, allowing you to pry them off with the prying tool. This bit is like removing a stick label- the trick is to be slow, smooth and careful. Getting the prying tool under the cap is pretty easy, then you gently slide it round under the plastic, slowly releasing the glue's grip. The cap will then come free.
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    Top cap.
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    Bottom cap.
    Next we remove the clip from the bottom. This clip is levered off with the flat screw driver. It's strong, but not difficult, though you should take care not to bend or scratch the case at this point. Leaver from the bottom from the back of the iPod to make sure you don't damage the ribbon cable for the click wheel. Now the ribbon cable connecting the click wheel. I got my first scare here, as I flipped it up with the prying tool, it felt like the ribbon had peeled off of the connector, but it hadn't. Either way, caution is advised here. Once you've done this remove the two screws from the top and the internals will be free to slide out upwards.
    [​IMG]
    Dock and click wheel connectors.
    [​IMG]
    Remove the top screws.
     
  2. latency

    latency Existentialist

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    I didn't meet resistance removing the internals, though as the instruction video advises, try to press slightly downwards to the screen's sticky pads don't smear up the inside of the display. That being said, I removed the insides completely and then cleaned the case for good measure. The video only removed enough to expose the battery, which is sensible, as I'll explain in a minute.
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    The front, screen and logic board.
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    The back, hard drive and battery.
    The stock battery is held in place by a tiny stick pad in one corner. I unplugged it then gently pulled it free. Then plug in the new battery and position the cable so it won't interfere with the case.
    [​IMG]
    Here's one I replaced earlier.
    The job done, reassemble the iPod. If you have fully removed the internals, you may find they don't slide back in. This is caused by the components on the logic board hitting the click wheel assembly in the case. Insert the flat screw drive from the bottom and carefully press the logic board away from the click wheel assembly. Don't apply pressure, you only have to guide it, not force it. The internals should slide in with ease, if they are not moving, stop and look at what is preventing them from sliding.
    Reinsert the top screws and the bottom clip, then get your hair dryer again. Heat the glue for one minute and attach the top and bottom caps.
    Take note the bottom cap has three guiding pins. The corner that does not have a pin goes over the click wheel ribbon cable.
    [​IMG]
    Mission accomplished.
    And there you have it, one replaced iPod battery.
    For the record, my iPod suffered no damage during this replacement, although at the time of writing this my new battery has not finished charging, so I can't tell you how long it now lasts. I will update this page later on with times.
     
  3. Fireblade

    Fireblade Mental Modder[ator]!!

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    Very impressive that Latency! Thanks for taking the time to write it :cool:

    I've 'reported' this thread, with a suggestion this is made a sticky ;)
     
  4. slartiBardfarst

    slartiBardfarst overcooked modder

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    yeah, very nice write up.

    glad im aware of this, may get around to replacing the battery on my old 2nd gen model now.
     
  5. ArTizan

    ArTizan Member of the Month

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    Why do they not simply add a cover? Seems like a complete case of style over practicality, or to me extra sales over good product design.
     
  6. slartiBardfarst

    slartiBardfarst overcooked modder

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    OMG...good product design!!!

    do you know the first thing about product design? the ipod has won countless design awards. it's one of the 20th centuries design icons.
    adding a battery cover destroys the sleek casing.
     
  7. latency

    latency Existentialist

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    thanks peeps, made me happy no end to be able to use my iPod properly again.

    I don't want an iPod vs. Everyone else war here, I'm just sharing a chance to rejuvinate iPods with others, so as I said from the start- no comments about battery covers please!

    Does anyone know how big the old IBM Micro Drives got up to? When I took the case off the first thing that caught my eye was the Microdrive, I was expecting a tiny version of a 3.5" Hard drive or somthing. That microdrive is probably replaceable if I can find one bigger than 4gb.
     
  8. slartiBardfarst

    slartiBardfarst overcooked modder

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    you can get them up to 12gig, but i don't think you can replace them. i remember reading that people used to buy ipod mini's for say £160 and ripping the microdrive out which would have retailed for more like £200 at the time. ever since then they put in some sort of cleaver boot sector making it only compatible with the ipods.
     
  9. jacobzcoool

    jacobzcoool Chav Hunter

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    The battery is one of the only really bad things about the iPods, (although some peopel will refuse to use anything with an apple on the casing). Myself, I don't really care as it is still better than all the other mp3 players available, they all have tiny capacities and often only a 1 or 2 line display. My iPod's battery packed up after 6 months or so, returned it on warranty and got a replacement
     
  10. latency

    latency Existentialist

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    Cunning monkeys! Although understandable... I remember the microdrives allways being expensive for what they were...

    I have to confess that the next MP3 player I buy will probably be a creative zen, but in the mean time, long live my Mini.

    I've calibrated the battery now (charged up, then burned it down, then charged it up again), so the big time count begins. I think I'll go on a dream theater marathon driving to and from work this week. I spend 90 minutes a day driving to or from work, so if it can last the working week that'll be 7.5 hours, plus a little more for other random drives and it's 8 hours.
    I've got 16.3 hours of dream theater on my iPod, so let's see how much of it it can play before the battery conks out.