Batteries Not Included

iPod Video

I got my first iPod in 2005 as a high school graduation present from my uncle.

It was a 60GB iPod Photo and, like most people who had one, I absolutely loved it. Freed from the shackles of my CD binder and often-too-big-to-fit-in-a-pocket Sony Discman, I went off to college, living the Jobsian dream of 1000 songs in my aforementioned pocket (or something like that).

I had that iPod for about three years, until an unfortunate incident with an industrial electromagnet rendered it inoperable; but it was soon replaced by a 30GB iPod Video, courtesy of The Woot (RIP).

It's hard to argue against the iPod as a functional work of art, but what really made it special was its focus. The iPod was a single-purpose device that—despite its eventual support for photos and videos—was perfectly crafted for listening to music. There were no notifications. No distracting bloatware (unless you count that one U2 album). No "app for that."

It was, to put it hyperbolically, just shy of perfect.

But, like most aging technology, the iPod has a shelf life, and that iPod Video of mine was no different. At some point in the last year, its battery decided that holding a charge is more effort than it's worth and quit in protest without even the customary two weeks notice. After a brief period of mourning, I organized a simple, intimate funeral, and proceeded to bury it in the mass grave of mixed metaphors and broken devices I keep in my basement.

And that's where it stayed... for a few months, at least.

I don't know how much experience you have with necromancy, but I like to think that the key to a successful resurrection is patience, disposable income, and a country that allows unrestricted access to The Internet.

So, a few weeks ago, I started to get a hankering for my digital tunes of yore (without the algorithmic pull of the streaming service du jour) and dug my broken voltage-challenged iPod out of its storage bin final resting place.

I knew that—at a bare minimum—the battery was toast, so I did what any enterprising nerd would do and pulled up the iPod 5th Generation (Video) Battery Replacement Guide from iFixit (an extremely poetic name, if I do say so myself). A few days and dollars later, I had an iFixit kit in hand and was ready to perform a smidgen of surgery on my broken musical buddy.

If I'm being perfectly honest, replacing the battery was a pretty lackluster experience. I didn't break the case when I opened it (something I was sure I would do), nor did I lose any of the screws (again, something I was sure I would do). I opened it, removed the original battery, and installed the new one without so much as a rainbow parade or cookies and cream ice cream cake.

But, with my new battery in place, I've been able to listen to my dated music collection without interruption for days. Mission accomplished! (?)

Who wants to listen to a music collection that hasn't been updated in a decade, though? Don't get me wrong, I love The Ataris, Matchbox Twenty, and Hanson as much as the next guy, but my musical tastes have evolved! I need more than just a trip down memory lane.

And therein lies the problem.

While my iPod now works*, it doesn't completely work. It can play the music that was already on it, but it won't connect to any computer in order to add more (and believe me, I have an unnecessary amount of computers to try this on). Now I understand how Victor Frankenstein felt...

So, what am I going to do?

Well, after a little research (read: frantic Googling), it's likely one of two problems: the logic board, or the hard drive.

I don't think I want to replace the logic board quite yet, so my next move is going to be to swap out the original spinning disc drive and see how that fares. There are a ton of options, but for the moment I think I'm going to go with an SSD designed for this purpose. If that doesn't fix my "can't connect to a computer" problem, then I'll move on to the logic board (and will have ended up with a larger capacity iPod either way).

So, that's my journey so far. Wish me luck as I embark upon the next leg! I will be sure to post an update if the next version of my creation doesn't rise up and eat my face off.


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This is post 047 of #100DaysToOffload