4G iPod - possible revival hints?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by volvoben, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. volvoben macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    nowhere fast
    Oddly enough I've never owned an iPod, but i've bought a number of them as gifts, and I just got one back from a friend after it 'died' and she bought a new one.

    It's a 20gig 4G clickwheel ipod, I took it just out of curiosity, not expecting anything but a dead HDD, but to my amazement i plugged it into a mac and after some initial charging it showed up in itunes. I reformatted it from windows to mac and everything seemed super. I didn't have any music on that computer but i spent quite a while afterwards playing games on it and futzing around.

    I also put it into diagnostic mode and ran the HDD check since my friend who owned it for 2 years said it had the sad ipod face and restoring it didn't do anything, but it passed that test, along with a few other tests whose names sounded familiar.

    Anyway, the problems started when I noticed that after diagnostic mode, when the ipod was reset, it lost any settings i'd changed. then i plugged it into a mac with music on it and tossed a few songs on, but when i tried to unmount it, everything froze. itunes, the mac, the ipod, all had to be reset. 2 of the 8 songs i transferred play fine, although the time seems to 'skip' (if you watch the count it's not steady, it jumps faster than it should about every 10 seconds) the songs actually play fine. The other 6 songs freeze the ipod solid requiring a reboot.

    When i plug the ipod into itunes on any computer it opens itunes for a few seconds, then everything freezes up. I tried to use disk utility to check the volume but it said it failed because it couldn't unmount the disk.

    I know the thing could somehow just be toast and i got it back for free so i shouldn't complain, but it runs so well otherwise! games work, all menus work, nothing at all seems to be malfunctioning except those 6 songs that might not have transferred correctly or something...and the fact that it seems to hate computers. It'd be neat to have my own ipod (i never bought one because i'd need the highest capacity model for my music collection and i could never afford it, plus i've never liked the restrictive nature of using itunes, special cables etc), but 20gigs could at least hold enough music to give me a half decent chance of having that 'ooh, i wish i had that song right now' ability on endless subway rides.

    I just bought my sister a macbook and pink nano, so she has offered her old pink mini, but even with a case to cover the pink, the 4gb really isn't enough to quell the boredom of commuting...
  2. lamina macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2006
    I've fixed dozens of iPods and I have revived a few of them showing the same symptoms as yours by simply unplugging the battery from the main board. I know it doesn't make sense. It's worth a shot though.

    You can find a dissection guide here. Instead of using a spudger you can use a credit card or something similar that you don't care about scratching the hell out of. Just unplug the battery for an hour or so. I don't know why this has worked a few times in the past, but it has.

    Just my $0.02. Good luck.

    PS: If you get a new hard drive from eBay, make SURE it's new, and sealed. I've had a few headaches ordering used iPod hard drives from eBay.
  3. volvoben thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    nowhere fast
    Thanks for the advice lamina, i actually had it open this evening just to be sure everything's seated and looks good, so i might as well give the battery a shot as well.

    In update from my first post, after plenty more freezes and restores, it's on a bit more predictable pattern now: it restores fine, works fine in itunes if you throw on a few songs (i've done up to 50), but eventually you'll drag some music onto it and it'll stall and freeze, eventually needing to be reset which erases settings (always) and music (sometimes) and sets the iPod back to being detected as new.

    The iPod still works fine when not connected to the computer; it plays songs perfectly, it just seems to stutter on song times and if there's a long title scrolling it's very very choppy. It has repeatedly passed its own HDD tests as well as disk utility (sometimes, when it's behaving in itunes and ejecting without trouble, i can run disk utility on it without any issues, no errors). the dock port seems to be clean, battery keeps a pretty good charge when it's not freezing and freaking out, so i suppose the motherboard would be what i'd replace if i decide to try to salvage it.

    I use my girlfriend's 5.5g ipod often enough, but having my own that semi-works is really a tease, i must admit i really want one now. the solid heavy feel and already quasi-retro look are working their magic...I already have chargers and cables at the stereos for the woman's ipod, it's so convenient to just plug in my own...We already have hers to watch video on the tv, and there is no such thing as a model with enough space for my music collection, so this one almost seems perfect...maybe the 40g 4G would be the best fit, but close enough.

    Anyway, I'm going to try for another week or so at making it work without spending anything, but if I can get it working for under $50 (looks like guaranteed mobos on ebay are around $50 with shipping) it'll still be an awfully good deal (for the $130 new 30gb HDD i might as well buy a whole used working 40gig 4G or similar on here or save a bit and get a $200 30gb 5.5G refurb).
  4. volvoben thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    nowhere fast
    Well, not that anyone's anxiously awaiting an update, but here's one anyway:

    I opened her back up, unplugged the HDD and battery, cleaned the ide pins with a tiny bit of contact cleaner, put it back together and she's been running perfectly for 36 hours.

    Only gets about 5 hours battery with normal use and 3sec backlight, but that's fine for now and $20 will fix it anyway, so I'm extremely happy...I hope when I tell the original owner she doesn't want it back! I could lie and say it required a part, but it didn't, so I'll just mention that it cost about 8 hours of my time.

    I also pared down my music collection to a nice ~15gb playlist to put on it, it covers at least 98% of what I listen to...meaning I have over 100gb of almost wasted music...but oh well, at least the cds are in boxes elsewhere not taking up my physical space.
  5. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
  6. volvoben thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    nowhere fast
    Utterly random update:

    iPod is working flawlessly about a week later, only problem is the hours per day I spend mass-retagging my mp3s so i can find them easily on the iPod (oh, if I had only taken a minute to name them correctly in the first place...).

    I also helped another friend with an identical 4th gen ipod with the folder icon, restoring didn't work so I popped it open (used a guitar pick this time, much kinder on the plastic than a screwdriver...) and the IDE cable was pretty loose so i took it off, pushed it back on, and badabing, just like new.
  7. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030


    Jan 8, 2005
    On the moon.
    Take out the battery, and let it sit for a while.

    Also take out the IDE cable, reseat it on the logic board, and tape it down.

    I used to have that problem with the 4G I had, that technique fixed it.
  8. capoditutti macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2006
    I've just tried this for my 3G and no luck - any other suggestion? Or even suggestions specific to the 3G iPod? It's showing the folder error with 2 different hard disk drives, both 40GB...

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