iPod dismantled

When visiting the family last Christmas, I decided to avoid my iPod earbuds on the trip due to their deteriorated state (srsly, do they last more than three months without having their volume cut in half or the wire fraying?) Instead I took my Seinnhesier HD-595 for the plane/car ride for an obviously superior listening experience. I’ve done this before but this had an unexpected consequence: destruction of my iPod Touch’s audio plug.

On the plane’s return trip, the iPod would only play full stereo audio if pressure were applied to the headphone jack. But not left or right pressure like most jack problems, but pushing straight in. It seemed like an adjustment of the iPod’s internal jack would fix it easily enough. Problem was how could I easily open it? The manufacturing process tightly seals iPods to the point that they need a spudger (sharp plastic tool) to pop them open without causing aesthetic damage. One Amazon retailer won’t ship to Canada and I couldn’t find other online computer retailers carrying such items. My anti-eBay/Paypal policy prevented other channels.

So I just threw “fix iPod” onto my never-shrinking to-do list and held my iPod tight for use in the near future. With winter weather, that proved harder as the act left holes in my coat pockets along with the odd cramped hand (so business as usual – heyo, etc.) At work, I even devised a way to weigh down the earbud’s jack using a coffee mug. How these temporary solutions end up as three month-long habits are indicators of my lifelong love with procrastination.

Last week I decided to finally suck it up and fixed the damned thing or buy a new iPod already. I discovered it’s seemingly impossible to find a brick-and-mortar in Toronto that sells spudgers. The few College/Spadina stores I asked seemed offended that I would do such a repair myself without them to price gouge another witless customer. And the pretentious cunt as iRepair that just stood behind the counter staring at his Mac screen adjusting an iTunes playlist without even looking me in the eye while taking a few seconds between sentences while plainly repeating, “that’s how it’s done”… you can go fuck yourself.

Instead I found an eyeglass screwdriver in a kit given as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It ended up causing scratches after it took 10 minutes to pop open the iPod. There’s a decent iPhone jack repair tutorial available but bits smaller than those for eyeglasses work best for dismantling iPod components.

Adjusting the jack’s ground contact didn’t fix the problem, so I took off the circuit board where flash memory is soldered to get better access to secure the jack down. Since it was a two year old iPod Touch, I didn’t feel a need to be delicate in the process. Needless to say, a small circuit board piece broke off by the screw and after reassembly the iPod’s screen went to an iTunes & USB cable icon bootup loop that interrupted each iteration. And I couldn’t get to recovery mode by pressing home+power.

I basically bricked my iPod Touch because I didn’t bother buying the right tools.

Then I made the mistake of jokingly suggesting in a Facebook status update about getting a replacement iPhone, which spawned a 19 comments argument between three friends of Apple vs. Blackberry vs. Android. There’s still more than a year left of my terrible Canadian mobile phone contract; there will be no smartphone purchases. I’ll likely be a bitch by getting another iPod Touch that’ll require a $70 repair in another two years, simply because I like the WiFi+Safari+Facebook+Tweetdeck when I’m too lazy to get out of bed or away at a hotel.

Lessons learned? Get the right tools if you want to DIY it and don’t use huge indoor headphones for an iPod (big things, small holes).