So, I had an interesting experience with technology today. I disassembled and iPod, having never owned one in my life, and having never taken a box cutter to an electronic device before with destructive intent.
… Okay, so maybe I lied about the second, but the first part is true.
My friend had a first generation iPod nano (ca. 2005) that had a broken Hold switch, rendering the entire device useless to input. He entrusted it to me, knowing full well that I’d have an equal chance of fixing it as i would breaking it (smart man…). Using only Youtube videos, I embarked on my adventure.
The iPod is a pretty awesome piece of engineering, even the first generation. It’s engineered with a remarkable level of precision, with tightly mapped chips and ingeniously thought out solutions to minimize complexity/bulk. This is purely speculative, since I never bothered finding/reading technical documentation on it, I’m pretty sure they used copper foil as a grounding contact for the clickwheel instead of having to design something more complex to connect to the motherboard. And they also used open contacts to connect to a simple speaker glued to the inside of the metal backplate, sparing the need for wiring… or it could just be a round heatsink.
But anyways, my steps taken:
1) Remove backplate by inserting knife between metal backing and bottom connector plate.
2) Unscrew motherboard, 3 screws.
3) Pry battery from front face cover, pry LCD screen from front face cover. Pull out ribbon cable for click wheel from motherboard.
4) Remove the motherboard/screen/battery assembly. Pull LCD from motherboard, there are clips holding it in place.
5) Once the hold switch is revealed, solder in a grounding bridge to bypass it.
6) Reverse steps, except bending in the case clips that hold the iPod together.
The entire operation is straightforward, but the complexity and tininess of it all add up to a big headache. But it’s all still rather fun, and satisfying when you figure out that you didn’t brick it. I’d definitely give this a try if you had nothing to lose.