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iPod Mini Autopsy

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the eat-that-warranty-man dept.

Media (Apple) 421

tritone writes "Some fearless soul has disassembled his iPod mini and provided pictures and commentary about the process. This really does seem to be an autopsy since he managed to kill it in the process. That's $249 well spent in the pursuit of knowledge. See the full report at www.ipodlounge.com."

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421 comments

The iPod (-1, Offtopic)

Klerck (213193) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400578)

The iPod. What's it all about? Is it good, or is it whack?

Re:The iPod (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400617)

It's whack.

But you know what's good? Learning to click the Post Anonymously checkbox when you're going troll with a lame, overused joke. :-)

Re:The iPod (0, Offtopic)

Mr. Bling Bling (756828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400676)

What I wanna know is if I can get one iced out with real diamonds (not no zircon encrusted shiat). Anybody? I gotst the cash to buy it if you can supply it. Hoo ya!

Well... (5, Funny)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400582)

Is the battery at least covered under warranty?

Re:Well... (1, Redundant)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400702)

Probably not [ipodsdirtysecret.com] , according to this subversive gentleman. :)

Re:Well... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400805)

Gee, I wonder if that's what he was referring to in the first place, dumbass?

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400719)

$250???!???!! Do you know how many lap dances he could have bought with that? At full price, 10 lap dances, but generally strippers will give you a discount for quantity. Hell, he could've got more than a lap dance with that kind of money.

And the fact that there is a site called "ipodlounge.com".. It's a fucking music player!!! What is there to get all excited about? A whole fucking web site devoted to iPod masturbation? You people are fucking obsessed.

The truth of it all [slashdot.org]

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

gringo_john (680811) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400748)

The battery is covered by the usual on year warranty only. Apple provides an extended warranty which extends the warranty to 2 years.

When the battery dies under warranty, the usual process is that you send your dead iPod in it's whole to Apple and they send you a refurbished unit.

Having said that, there are how-to [techtv.com] documents that show how to open the iPod and swap the battery yourself, saving a bit of money.

I guess all the bad press [jameshoyer.com] that Apple has received over the lifespan issues of the iPod battery has really pushed them to provide the extended warranty and an avenue to have them replace the battery on a pay per battery type deal.

Eep! (4, Funny)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400584)

No comments at all and already slashdotted... What's the webserver running on, an iPod?

Re:Eep! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400662)

Or maybe a Beowulf cluster of iPods, hosted in Soviet Russia...

Re:Eep! (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400684)

I'm betting on an old Newton [npds.free.fr] .

Re:Eep! (3, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400735)

Nah, probably a Newton 120.

Re:Eep! (2, Funny)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400777)

No comments at all and already slashdotted... What's the webserver running on, an iPod?

Yup, and a mini broken one at that.

We Need Help... (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400586)

In getting the drive to work outside the Ipod. though. check slickdeals [slashdot.org] for a $255 pre-order deal through Target.

Re:We Need Help... (5, Interesting)

bobbabemagnet (247383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400703)

My group at Oregon State University is currently working on a device that uses an old hard drive from an Ipod. We have successfully interfaced with it, and can read and write from it at blazing speeds using an FPGA. See our web site here:

http://classes.engr.oregonstate.edu/eecs/fall200 3/ ece441/groups/g15/

If you have more questions, send me an email (also listed on the web page)

Bob

Re:We Need Help... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400743)

I've successfully interfaced with my iPod hard drive, and can read and write from it at blazing speeds right out of the box.

Re:We Need Help... (3, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400836)

I got a question.... you do realize that Apple just buys the HD's used in iPods from a regular OEM (I know that at one point at least Fujitsu was selling the HD's) So why didn't you just go buy the same HD for less money???
I found it amusing that when the very first iPods came out that the same HD used was reviewed and the reviewers complained about how slow it was. The irony was not that the HD was slow, but that at the same time the "firewire" connection to the iPod was being trumpeted even though the HD could not come even closed to saturating the connection.

Fristy P0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400587)

I TEH FAILURE....

When, (2, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400590)

will they put out the f*cking $100 one? The one we were all hoping for? Right after Duke Nukem Forever comes out, right?

Re:When, (5, Funny)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400685)

will they put out the f*cking $100 one? The one we were all hoping for? Right after Duke Nukem Forever comes out, right?

Of course they will. Right before Infinium Labs releases the Phantom.

Re:When, (5, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400797)

Which will come with a copy with Half-Life 2.

Re:When, (1)

FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400792)

will they put out the f*cking $100 one? The one we were all hoping for? Right after Duke Nukem Forever comes out, right?

I'm fairly certain that the HURD [gnu.org] will come out before the $100 iPod ;-)

Server is already slow - here's the text (5, Informative)

ghettoboy22 (723339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400591)

Photo server is still up at http://gallery.ipodlounge.com/ipod/thumbnails.php? album=6 [ipodlounge.com] Taking apart the iPod mini

February 23, 2004 By Greg Koenig

Apple has crammed a lot of stuff into the anodized aluminum enclosure of the new iPod mini, and taking it apart is no easy task. I'm an industrial designer with lots of experience pulling back the curtain and meeting the wizard in PDAs, Mp3 players, stereos, watches and all sorts of other gear. I am usually pretty good at it, having not broken something in years (lots of bug hunts for tiny parts on the floor though). Except my brand-new iPod mini, where I screwed up big time... twice!

The Procedure:

Tools needed: (1) Wiha 1.5mm flat head screwdriver (1) Wiha Philips #000 screwdriver (1) Needle nose pliers or medical (Kelly type) hemostats (1) Hair dryer

To help illustrate my disassembly adventure, view the iPod mini autopsy photos and follow along.

To begin with, make sure the 'Hold' button is locked into the ON position (showing orange) to prevent the internal components to be turning on while you are taking it apart.

The plastic top and bottom plates are glued into place with a tacky adhesive that will soften considerably when heated so use the hair dryer on a low setting to heat up the top plate. Work the area until it's very warm to the touch. Now turn the mini around so you're looking at the Apple logo and squeeze the two rounded edges together at the top, causing the enclosure to bow a little bit in the middle. Insert the flat bladed screwdriver between the plastic and the metal (in line directly above the Apple logo) and gently pry the plate straight up. Work around the edges, leaving the area around the 'Hold' button till last. When you finally do get to the 'Hold' button area, pry carefully and pull the plate STRAIGHT up. Behind the 'Hold' button are two plastic standoffs (sort of like tabs) that extend down into the case and push the real switch on and off. If you pry the thing out at an angle, you will break one of these standoffs. That was mistake #1 for me. The actual 'Hold' switch soldiered onto the main board broke, so the 'Hold' switch no longer works.

Now perform the same procedure on the plastic bottom plate. When it is removed, you will see a shiny sheet-metal plate held in place under spring tension by 4 tabs inserted into reliefs machined into the enclosure. At the end of each of these tabs, you will see a round hole. Use the Philips #000 in these holes and carefully pry each tab out of its slot. The sheet-metal plate will come right out.

Next, you need to disconnect a ribbon cable that connects the scroll/click wheel assembly to the main baord. This ribbon cable is on the bottom of the mini on the left hand side. It is orange. You can't miss it. Use the 1.5mm blade screwdriver to pry it apart. If there isn't enough slack in the ribbon cable, don't worry, as long as you get the connector loose, you have done your job here.

Turn the mini over, looking back into the top, you will see two tiny philips head screws on either side of another metal plate. Remove these with the #000 screwdriver carefully and put them in a safe place (don't drop these on the floor, you will never see them again).

Now comes the fun part - gently push on the 30 pin connector at the bottom of the mini and all of the main components (on an assembly I call the component sled) will slide right out the top. It is a bit tight, but if you meet major resistance, back off and INSURE you have the ribbon cable disconnected. This is where I messed up and killed my iPod mini, I forgot to check and I pushed with all my might, ripping the ribbon cable off of the male connector. Oops.

The component sled contains nearly all of the iPod's internals; the main circuit board, battery, LCD display and hard drive. While the LCD is held onto the ma inboard with 4 plastic tabs, the battery and HD are held in place simply by the tight packing within the enclosure. Feel free to disconnect the battery or remove the HD, they simply unplug from the main board. The LCD disconnects from the board easily, but the electrical connection is EXTREMELY delicate. I wouldn't mess with it.

Looking through the bottom of the mini, you will see the scroll/click wheel assembly has a long black plastic tab that connects to another machined relief in the aluminum. You will need to use needle nose pliers or the hemostat to pull on this tab while depressing the Play/Pause button on the scroll/click wheel in order to remove the assembly. The problem is that you will probably scratch the scroll/click wheel when you remove and reinsert it. Then again, it IS on the face of the iPod, so it will probably end up getting a few scratches from everyday wear and tear...

Some Parts in Detail:

Enclosure: The enclosure is a single piece of extruded T6-6061 aluminum that has had some finish machining on the top and bottom. It has been Type II Class 1 anodized (for the silver models) and Type II Class 2 anodized for the colored models. This is a really excellent finish, though, having designed and manufactured lots of parts finished in the anodizing process, I can say the silvers will withstand slightly more abuse than the colored models. Also, I would keep the colored ones out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time as the dye used to color them has a tendency to break down over time (it takes a LOT of sunlight though, but I know a lot of iPod mini owners are probably outdoor types, so hence, the caution).

Also, there is a clear plastic window glued into place that protects the LCD screen. I have not been able to remove it as of yet...

Battery: The unit is manufactured by Sanyo and is marked as "Li-lon." The model number is EC003. The excess wire coming off of it tells me that it is probably a complete off-the-shelf unit, and not something Apple had made just for the mini (if it was custom, there would be no excess wire).

Hard Disk Drive: Manufactured by Hitachi, it's really very tiny. The model is HMS360404D5CF00. The part number is 13G1768. It is wrapped in electrical tape and when I removed it, there were 3 Delrin bumpers fitted around the corners. I was rather surprised to discover that the drive is actually a CF card! I tried to mount it in my Lexar FireWire CF Card Reader but with no luck. My Canon Digital Rebel didn't recognize it either.

iPod mini autopsy. Clockwise from top - Hitachi 4GB Microdrive, Li-Ion battery pack, plastic top plate, two tiny screws, LCD display on main board (PortalPlayer chip under white label), anodized aluminum enclosure (Silver) and plastic bottom plate.

Conclusion:

Don't take apart your new iPod mini. My excuse is that I am looking to start a service where you can have your case re-anodized in the color, colors or even images of your own choosing. I learned a lot taking this apart, and if I can only overcome the problem with the clear plastic window being glued into the enclosure, it might even be possible. We will see!

"Post Anonymously" Button (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400681)

Dear Mr Karma Whore,

Its traditional to use the 'Post Anonymously' button to avoid being called a Karma Whore when reposting articles that are /.'ed.

Cheers,
Rob.

Re:Server is already slow - here's the text (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400682)

check out google's cache [216.239.37.104]

Re:Server is already slow - here's the text (3, Funny)

Profe55or Booty (540761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400693)

Photo server is still up at http://gallery.ipodlounge.com/ipod/thumbnails.php? album=6

no... no it's not...

Re:Server is already slow - here's the text (5, Funny)

kiza (80367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400749)

> Photo server is still up at http://gallery.ipodlounge.com/ipod/thumbnails.php? album=6

Yeah, we took care of that.

Re:Server is already slow - here's the text (5, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400821)

>Tools needed: (1) Wiha 1.5mm flat head screwdriver (1) Wiha Philips #000 screwdriver (1) Needle nose pliers or medical (Kelly type) hemostats (1) Hair dryer

Given the outcome, this list is obviously not necessary and sufficient.

Nifty business idea though.

the ipod wasn't the only thing killed... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400594)

now their server is killed in the process! Hows that for discovery?

Wow...no posts and... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400597)

Already /.ed

$249? (1, Funny)

glen604 (750214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400599)

Did he really spend the money on the iPod, or was it discovered inside a crashed flying saucer somewhere?

More like murder (5, Funny)

cerskine (202611) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400602)

In an autopsy, the doctor doesn't kill anything. So it was more like a murder, then. Think before you type.

Re:More like murder (5, Informative)

dnahelix (598670) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400655)

Actually, dissecting something while still alive is called a vivisection [reference.com] .
But, yeah, you can call that murder.

Not an autopsy... (2, Funny)

ccnuggie (724291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400839)

An autopsy is performed -after- something is dead. Think before you type.

Get Riker to do the narration... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400605)

...and you've got the next boffo fox special!

Duh (5, Funny)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400608)

This really does seem to be an autopsy since he managed to kill it in the process

/.ers know that real men use 'kill -9' to do this.

Re:Duh (2, Funny)

Daverd (641119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400660)

You don't use kill -9 when you want to kill something in the process.

You use kill -9 when you want to kill the process. =)

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

pebs (654334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400775)

/.ers know that real men use 'kill -9' to do this.

Only real idiots use kill -9 [netsonic.fi] .

Autopsy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400610)

Does it run *BSD?

Bore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400616)

Also try to realize where your money went during this autopsy.

R.I.P. I.P.O.D. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400619)

And judging by the fact I can't view the link, RIP ipodlounge.com slashdotted servers...

already slashed? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400621)

first post
and already it's slashdotted?

wow

$249? (1, Interesting)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400624)

wait, he spent $249 on this, when he could of spent ~$299 on the full 15gb version [google.com]

i think the mini-ipod will be a complete flop, too price for too little.

Consider it buying the microdrive. (4, Interesting)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400680)

Those 4GB microdrives retail for a LOT more than $250. It would be a good deal based on that alone, but as an mp3 player, you can do better in the space per dollar department.

Re:$249? (4, Insightful)

metallicagoaltender (187235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400699)

i think the mini-ipod will be a complete flop, too price for too little.

If it was being manufactured by any company besides Apple, I'd agree wholeheartedly, but we all know it will do reasonable well, simply because it's an Apple product.

Re:$249? (1)

Helmut Kool (624923) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400730)

Well, since he broke it, it's probably better that way.

Re:$249? (0)

macmaniac (734596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400736)

i think the mini-ipod will be a complete flop, too price for too little.
There could always be a market for pulling out the >$250 4 GB MicroDrive out of there for PDAs (and eBay). That drive has been seen as high as $500... Drive specs [hgst.com]

Re:$249? (5, Insightful)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400757)

I think you are failing to realize that those products are aimed at two different markets. The regular iPod we all know and love is not being marketed at the demographic interested in a minature MP3 player, along the lines of the RCA Lyra, or other products along those lines. In that same vein, the iPod Mini is not being marketed towards the folks out there who are interested in a MP3 player with anywhere from 15GB all the way up to 40GB.

I think that once you take that into account, you'll find that the iPod Mini is about the best deal on the market, from a formfactor v price standpoint, as well as the fact that it's the cheapest player in that market.

Re:$249? (3, Insightful)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400776)

I went to the Apple store last weekend and played with one. It really is a lot smaller than you'd think - barely bigger than my year-old MuVo, with about 30 times the capacity, and a hell of a lot cooler. Plus, I only have 4GB of music, so whenever I get money this is going to be one of my first purchases.

Anyone who either has small music libraries, or doesn't need their entire library with them at all times, will probably fall in love with these things. And if you wanted a bigger iPod to use as a backup hard drive, that's just silly, as a mere $100 can buy you a ~100 gig FW hard drive, if not more.
Once again, Apple has positioned their products nicely as "amateur" (iPod mini) and "hardcore" (bigger iPods) products. They should be viewed as such.

Re:$249? (5, Insightful)

L.J. Hanson (936) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400784)

"i think the mini-ipod will be a complete flop, too price for too little."

I'd say 100,000 units preordered isn't a flop.

Fool! (5, Insightful)

joelgrimes (130046) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400625)

He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom. (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Fool? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400802)

He who doesn't break things to find out what it is isn't a geek. (Anonymous Coward)

all that work and no 4gb camera friendly CF (2, Insightful)

mrycar (578010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400629)

I bet this poor soul was expectign to get a Digicam friendly CF card out of his autopsy.

$249 for a 4GB microdrive isn't a bad price, too bad it didn't work.

Re:all that work and no 4gb camera friendly CF (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400724)

From the comments in the page:

I took one apart also... The Hitachi drive works fine in my Sandisk USB reader. I can delete partitions and reformat it, etc. However, my Digital Rebel just turns the Red CF light on and sits there.

By Kent Marshall on Feb 23, 04 4:17 am


It looks like you can get the 4gb microdrive for $249 afterall.

I'm sure... (5, Funny)

thelasttemptation (703311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400632)

I'm sure in a month or two he could have gotten a dead one on ebay, thus saving himself $250. Why, oh why kill a good one?

Re:I'm sure... (2, Funny)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400822)

Because he had to have it now. duh. In a month we'll have seen mini autopsies all over the place.

Slashdotted already - Google Cache (3, Informative)

Trespass (225077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400636)

http://216.239.37.104/search?q=cache:jM4q0XOel_oJ: gallery.ipodlounge.com/ipod/
thumbnails.php%3Falb um%3D6+ipod+mini+autopsy&hl=en &ie=UTF-8

Copy and paste, remove the space, you know the drill.

4 Gig Compact Flash (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400637)

Don't think of it as a wasted $250. He just got a 4 Gig Compact Flash for his Digital Camera at the bargin price of $250.

Re:4 Gig Compact Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400788)

1) It's not CF, 2) it won't work in most cameras.

autopsy ? (5, Funny)

funny-jack (741994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400638)

This really does seem to be an autopsy since he managed to kill it in the process.

Somehow I doubt that the D.A. would see it that way.

Re:autopsy ? (2, Funny)

rholliday (754515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400726)

"And you payed $249 for this dubious privledge. You're a sick sick man. I rest my case."

ipodlounge.com dead already (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400643)

wow not even 3 minutes and we killed their site already. excellent work!! all bow down to the /. effect!!!

Auto Applications (5, Interesting)

Enze6997 (741393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400644)

If there was an easy way to create some kind of direct hot swappable drive slot for this hard disk that you could switch between a PC and a car you could really do some crazy in car audio mods for cheap. Have the i-pod display and controll buttons mounted somewhere in the car and then just wire in the audio to the Aux audio input for the stereo. It would be a not only easy mod but a cool looking one if done right.

Sean peters is a foe of the Neo Trolling Group! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400646)

And he touched my junk!

sean peters touched my junk liberally. he strapped me in to his petermobile and he couldnt keep his offensive hands off of me. he was performing many red flag touches. i couldnt believe what the fuck was going on. i told sean peters the city would not approve of a millionaire touching an underage kid for free.
can you believe it? sean peters did all this. he picked me off the street, strapped my arms and legs down in the petermobile's passenger seat, and just wouldn't stop fondling my cock'n'balls.
they definately were red flag touches. the goddamn referee he had in the back seat kept on raising up this red flag every time he touched my junk but did sean peters care? NO WAY! he just kept on doing it. I couldn't believe what the fuck was going on, indeed. I pleaded with sean peters but to no avail. I told him the city would not approve of such a wealthy man touching an underage kid like me (at the time I was 13) without at least compensating me for the trauma and the use of my body as his own personal plaything.
this got to him, worrying about his image. he continued to fondle me, all the while ignoring the referee's red flags. then he drove the petermobile to my house and ejected the seat i was in! it was amazing. but surprisingly, after I woke up the next morning, my bank account had $150k in it!!! Can you believe itedit ?

Re:Sean peters is a foe of the Neo Trolling Group! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400756)

stop being sexy, damnit, i need to get to work

man (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400653)

all the hard-ons from the apple-zealots are dimming the sky.

Hype? (0, Offtopic)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400657)

There seems to be rather a lot of stuff on Slashdot - amongst other places - about what is essentially an overpriced walkman. Sure, some people like the style, but I prefer the looks and functionality (and cost) of an mp3 playing diskman. I wonder how much Apple has spent on this `guerilla advertising campaign`?

Re:Hype? (5, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400701)

When you can strap a discman on an armband and go jogging with it, then you'll have a point.

Re:Hype? (0)

Hitchcock_Blonde (717330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400813)

Fortunately, not all of us are as clueless as you seem to be. How many songs can you store on that MP3 Diskman of yours?

All you really need to read is the conclusion (5, Funny)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400670)

Conclusion:

Don't take apart your new iPod mini.


Well that takes care of that, doesn't it? :)

Google Cache - Kinda + Article Text (-1, Redundant)

Lord Haha (753617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400678)

Did a quick check for a google cache... couldnt find the article but managed to get alot of the pictures of the process here:
here [216.239.39.104] After a few minutes though I did manage to get the Article text: Taking apart the iPod mini

February 23, 2004
By Greg Koenig

Apple has crammed a lot of stuff into the anodized aluminum enclosure of the new iPod mini, and taking it apart is no easy task. I'm an industrial designer with lots of experience pulling back the curtain and meeting the wizard in PDAs, Mp3 players, stereos, watches and all sorts of other gear. I am usually pretty good at it, having not broken something in years (lots of bug hunts for tiny parts on the floor though). Except my brand-new iPod mini, where I screwed up big time... twice!

The Procedure:

Tools needed:
(1) Wiha 1.5mm flat head screwdriver
(1) Wiha Philips #000 screwdriver
(1) Needle nose pliers or medical (Kelly type) hemostats
(1) Hair dryer

To help illustrate my disassembly adventure, view the iPod mini autopsy photos and follow along.

To begin with, make sure the 'Hold' button is locked into the ON position (showing orange) to prevent the internal components to be turning on while you are taking it apart.

The plastic top and bottom plates are glued into place with a tacky adhesive that will soften considerably when heated so use the hair dryer on a low setting to heat up the top plate. Work the area until it's very warm to the touch. Now turn the mini around so you're looking at the Apple logo and squeeze the two rounded edges together at the top, causing the enclosure to bow a little bit in the middle. Insert the flat bladed screwdriver between the plastic and the metal (in line directly above the Apple logo) and gently pry the plate straight up. Work around the edges, leaving the area around the 'Hold' button till last. When you finally do get to the 'Hold' button area, pry carefully and pull the plate STRAIGHT up. Behind the 'Hold' button are two plastic standoffs (sort of like tabs) that extend down into the case and push the real switch on and off. If you pry the thing out at an angle, you will break one of these standoffs. That was mistake #1 for me. The actual 'Hold' switch soldiered onto the main board broke, so the 'Hold' switch no longer works.

Now perform the same procedure on the plastic bottom plate. When it is removed, you will see a shiny sheet-metal plate held in place under spring tension by 4 tabs inserted into reliefs machined into the enclosure. At the end of each of these tabs, you will see a round hole. Use the Philips #000 in these holes and carefully pry each tab out of its slot. The sheet-metal plate will come right out.

Next, you need to disconnect a ribbon cable that connects the scroll/click wheel assembly to the main baord. This ribbon cable is on the bottom of the mini on the left hand side. It is orange. You can't miss it. Use the 1.5mm blade screwdriver to pry it apart. If there isn't enough slack in the ribbon cable, don't worry, as long as you get the connector loose, you have done your job here.

Turn the mini over, looking back into the top, you will see two tiny philips head screws on either side of another metal plate. Remove these with the #000 screwdriver carefully and put them in a safe place (don't drop these on the floor, you will never see them again).

Now comes the fun part - gently push on the 30 pin connector at the bottom of the mini and all of the main components (on an assembly I call the component sled) will slide right out the top. It is a bit tight, but if you meet major resistance, back off and INSURE you have the ribbon cable disconnected. This is where I messed up and killed my iPod mini, I forgot to check and I pushed with all my might, ripping the ribbon cable off of the male connector. Oops.

The component sled contains nearly all of the iPod's internals; the main circuit board, battery, LCD display and hard drive. While the LCD is held onto the ma inboard with 4 plastic tabs, the battery and HD are held in place simply by the tight packing within the enclosure. Feel free to disconnect the battery or remove the HD, they simply unplug from the main board. The LCD disconnects from the board easily, but the electrical connection is EXTREMELY delicate. I wouldn't mess with it.

Looking through the bottom of the mini, you will see the scroll/click wheel assembly has a long black plastic tab that connects to another machined relief in the aluminum. You will need to use needle nose pliers or the hemostat to pull on this tab while depressing the Play/Pause button on the scroll/click wheel in order to remove the assembly. The problem is that you will probably scratch the scroll/click wheel when you remove and reinsert it. Then again, it IS on the face of the iPod, so it will probably end up getting a few scratches from everyday wear and tear...

Some Parts in Detail:

Enclosure: The enclosure is a single piece of extruded T6-6061 aluminum that has had some finish machining on the top and bottom. It has been Type II Class 1 anodized (for the silver models) and Type II Class 2 anodized for the colored models. This is a really excellent finish, though, having designed and manufactured lots of parts finished in the anodizing process, I can say the silvers will withstand slightly more abuse than the colored models. Also, I would keep the colored ones out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time as the dye used to color them has a tendency to break down over time (it takes a LOT of sunlight though, but I know a lot of iPod mini owners are probably outdoor types, so hence, the caution).

Also, there is a clear plastic window glued into place that protects the LCD screen. I have not been able to remove it as of yet...

Battery: The unit is manufactured by Sanyo and is marked as "Li-lon." The model number is EC003. The excess wire coming off of it tells me that it is probably a complete off-the-shelf unit, and not something Apple had made just for the mini (if it was custom, there would be no excess wire).

Hard Disk Drive: Manufactured by Hitachi, it's really very tiny. The model is HMS360404D5CF00. The part number is 13G1768. It is wrapped in electrical tape and when I removed it, there were 3 Delrin bumpers fitted around the corners. I was rather surprised to discover that the drive is actually a CF card! I tried to mount it in my Lexar FireWire CF Card Reader but with no luck. My Canon Digital Rebel didn't recognize it either.

Click photo for larger version

iPod mini autopsy. Clockwise from top - Hitachi 4GB Microdrive, Li-Ion battery pack, plastic top plate, two tiny screws, LCD display on main board (PortalPlayer chip under white label), anodized aluminum enclosure (Silver) and plastic bottom plate.

Conclusion:

Don't take apart your new iPod mini. My excuse is that I am looking to start a service where you can have your case re-anodized in the color, colors or even images of your own choosing. I learned a lot taking this apart, and if I can only overcome the problem with the clear plastic window being glued into the enclosure, it might even be possible.

We will see!

Re:Google Cache - Kinda + Article Text (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400718)

Didn't you bother to see someone had already posted the text? What a loser. Loooo Suuuur

Coming soon: iPod Mini's Dirty Secret... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400683)

...they break when ham-handed fools take them apart, and Apple won't give said fools a free replacement!

Paging the Neistat brothers...

Well.. (3, Funny)

dtio (134278) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400689)

..this definitely hacking for fun and [for apple's] profit ;)

Waste of money indeed! (-1, Troll)

1337 Apple Zealot (720421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400695)

For just $50 more (thats like just #30, not much) you get 10 times the space, and is more reliable! I hope that Ipod mini is a flop!

But, just like how Apple sells 0.1 upgrades of OSX for the price of a 1.0 upgrade, Apple seems to be going back to the old days of pay more get less!

Re:Waste of money indeed! (5, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400739)

We've been through this already: mini iPods have enough space for most people, so there is no value in getting the roomier one. On the other hand, the smaller physical size makes them much more convenient.

Re:Waste of money indeed! (1)

1337 Apple Zealot (720421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400808)

The "smaller physical size" is not worth it, Its only 0.4" smaller (thats less than a centimetre), Thats not very noticable, and wat if people need to expand in their collection in the futre? I am keeping with my word, I may be an apple zealot, but I certainly don't waste money on crippled expensive hardware. If it had cost just 100 and could carry about 2000 songs I would probably buy it, but I certainly not going to miss 0.4" and $50 for the cost of 9000 songs!

Re:Waste of money indeed! (1)

Quobobo (709437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400811)

Except these 0.1 releases of OS X improve a lot more than almost any 1.x release of OS 7-9 ever did. Great troll.

MOD PARENT (KINDA) FUNNY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400828)

Yeah, the parent is using typical Apple trolls (I think) for the sake of humor. Coulda been phrased funnier, though.

PHP driven slashdotting (4, Informative)

E1ven (50485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400696)

The site seems to be a database driven PHP site, and dying fast. I threw the contents of my cache up, just in case-
http://www.sq7.org/temp/ipod

money well spent (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400700)

That's $249 well spent in the pursuit of knowledge.

$249 is not a lot, but I would love to see his bandwidth bill this month ;)

Reverse Engineering (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400706)

I am sure it's just not possible to look at circuits and parts via a couple pictures and get enough info out of it to reverse engineer an iPod.

If someone can build a real cheap alternative it can send the overpriced $300 iPod to its doom.

Re:Reverse Engineering (0)

Hitchcock_Blonde (717330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400755)

If this is the case, why hasn't it happened yet?

4 GB CF extraction.. (5, Interesting)

steppin_razor_LA (236684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400720)

I read this site yesterday after seeing a link in the Slickdeals discussion forums.

It sounds like extracting the 4GB CF isn't much of a problem.

People have been able to put it in a CF reader and get it working fine on their computers.

A number of people have reported problems getting the CF to work with their cameras or other CF devices working in the iPod. I suspect that this has something to do with how apple formatted the disk and will eventually be solved.

For those of you laughing at iPod mini buyers -- they could probably sell the 4GB CF cards for a profit.

Another photo gallery (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400722)

Can't get to the article, but found this one showing a nicely dissected mini ipod...

iPod mini Dissection [ipodding.com]

Ummm.... (5, Funny)

Stingr (701739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400725)

"This really does seem to be an autopsy since he managed to kill it in the process."

I'm no expert but aren't autopsies supposed to be performed after death??? I believe the word you are looking for is malpractice.

Re:Ummm.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400747)

And you were relying on /. drones to actually have correct grammar, spelling, and content? Riiiiight.

Flash drive (1)

Fiz Ocelot (642698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400738)

I thought it was supposed to be HD based, but turns out it's flash according to the article. I certainly don't believe that this guy hasn't broken anything in years though...

Re:Flash drive (5, Informative)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400794)

It is hard drive based. Its just that the hard drive used the Compact Flash interface more common to flash memory. It's a tiny hard drive manufactured by Hitachi.

Picky, picky, picky (5, Insightful)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400760)

This really does seem to be an autopsy since he managed to kill it in the process.

Wouldn't that technically make it a vivisection? Since it was alive when he started?

save big (or small) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400762)

and here's discussion on how you get a $400 microdrive 1/2 off with a $265mini purchase [studio2f.com]

Site slashdotted (3, Interesting)

broothal (186066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400764)

This happens every day. A story is posted on slashdot that links to some site.
Site is brought to its knees.

Now - how about a slashdot-cache like google cache? It's not fair to punish the guys that post interesting stuff on their website like this story.
All links in the story would then link to the slashdot-cache and leave the original site alive.

And - aside from saving the sites some trouble, it would enable those of us who came in late to see how he dismantled that ipod.

Necropsy (5, Informative)

jkujawa (56195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400765)

It's a necropsy unless the procedure is being done by another iPod mini.
Autopsy refers to dissection of a human by a human, or by extension, some instance of class 'foo' by another instance of class 'foo'.

Actually, in this case, it would be a vivisection, as the iPod started out functional, and died due to the procedure.

You may not find the screws again... (4, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400799)

Turn the mini over, looking back into the top, you will see two tiny philips head screws on either side of another metal plate. Remove these with the #000 screwdriver carefully and put them in a safe place (don't drop these on the floor, you will never see them again).

...but you will hear them.

Whirrrrrrrr--clickclickclick*clunk!*--whirrrrrrrrr

--Rob

I don't understand.... (2, Insightful)

psychoid (568115) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400801)

Considering that this guy screwed up his iPod in creating these procedures, why on earth would anybody want to follow suit?

Come on, Apple: Design this better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400826)

Would it really kill Apple to have 4 small Phillips screws on the back, one in each corner?

THAT's superior design. THAT's ease of use.

These "destroy it when you open it" stories are rather common.

$50 less? (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400831)

Is it really worth 10% capacity of a regular ipod for $50?

Slashdoted to hell, solution? (5, Funny)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8400838)

Ok listen everybody. Let's try to go on the website one by one.

Stop clicking the link, I'm going first ;)

Erm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8400841)

It doesn't sound like he did was TOO bad, he just ripped a drive cable right? So he should be able to repair it...

Doesn't sound too hard. I'd like to see the followup where someone tells him how to repair it and we get to see amusing photos of the process!

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