Water damage repair - won't charge. I'm close, I can feel it!

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by whodah, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. whodah macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Hi all,

    My nephew took his iPod touch 2nd generation with him on a chlorinated swimming pool excursion. From what I am to understand, it was underwater for quite some time. When he realized what had happened, he got out of the pool and turned it on/off several times. (Water Damage Rule #1 violation!) Took it home, tried on/off several more times. Oops!

    This is about the time that Uncle Who Dah? got his hands on it and has been attempting to repair it. I am currently stuck... It powers on, it makes sound out of it's internal speaker, it responds to touches on the screen. iTunes recognizes it and has restored it. But it won't charge... (Even after a new battery.) My google'ing has been exhausted, I can't seem to find the solution to this particular "won't charge" issue. Any idea what component might need replacing that actually charges the battery? Here's how the repair has played out in all of it's glory if it helps with the diagnosis (Feel free to ask questions if I am missing any details that may be of help.):
    1. Presented with waterlogged iPod: Google time.
    2. Desiccant stage
      1. Stored it in an air tight container of rice and placed it on the patio outside (not in the sun at all).
      2. Let it sit there for 8.5 days
    3. Powers on, yay! Apple logo displays, then it quickly powers off. Won't come back on. D'oh!
    4. Attempt to charge w/ aftermarket charger for 1/2 day - nothing.
    5. Attempt to charge w/ Apple USB charger.
      1. Seconds after plugging it in, I get a brief second of 'low battery' logo, followed by an Apple logo. Yay!
      2. When the Power is on, it is locked on the Apple logo. Reboot, locked on Apple logo. Cycle repeats.
      3. Google time.
    6. Restoration
      1. Hold down power button and home button. Reboots, Apple Logo comes up. After a bit, the USB/iTunes logo comes up, Yay!
      2. Hook up to computer, iTunes fires up on it's own, Yay!
      3. iTunes informs me that it has found an iPod that needs restoration. Do I wish to continue? I click the "Sure thing" button.
      4. iPod thinks for a second, flashes, reboots.
      5. Rinse and repeat, I'm stuck at the same point. Constantly reboots after being told to restore.
      6. Google time.
    7. New battery and a closer look.
      1. Noticing that the 'low battery' icon still appears after being disconnected from a charger for even the briefest of moments, and armed w/ my new google knowledge that quite frequently (iPod?) batteries go bad once exposed to water, I remove the battery. (Coworker had the tool from a previous screen repair.) Wow. The thing is soldered to the mainboard. What a trip! I knew one couldn't easily replace the battery in iPods, but wow. Anyways, I desolder it and order a new battery and a new plastic bezel that I broke in attempts to get the battery out. (My google voodoo was bad that day... The youtube video I found didn't tell me about the strategic locations to remove the screen/clips at. It just told me to use the screen removal tool all the way around the screen. Hence the broken bezel, sigh...) During this whole time, I closely inspect if I could see any sign of water damage. The only thing I saw was one screw to remove the metal plate under the screen was rusted. No sign of any other damage and that rust was superficial on the screw, not the mainboard. I took a q-tip and rubbing alcohol to a couple places, but even then, they didn't look bad. More of "why not, I've already got it open" then a sign of damage. A few days later, my new battery and bezel arrive. Not bad, Uncle Who Dah? is only out 12 bucks so far. Solder on the new battery (wow - soldered on, really?), put the thing back together, power it on. Viola! I've got power to the iPod. Whew! (kind of surprised it powered on the first time, heh!)
    8. Restoration, take II
      1. The thing took nearly 2 hours, but it restored, first time through. Yay! afterwards, the charging icon appears on the upper right when plugged in, Yay! For the first time ever, I see the apps menu on the iPod. Yay!
    9. The good, the bad, and the ugly
      1. The good: at this point, I can get sound out of the iPod when it boots up or when it makes it's various 'whoosh' noises. The touch screen works, the buttons appear to work. The OS appears to have fully booted. However it is SLOW. It appears to be charging.
      2. The bad: The charging icon is misleading... The battery is slowly draining draining draining... It is not charging.
      3. The ugly: I really scratched up the bottom of the screen near the home button. Oops! Little black sharpie, and it's hard to notice. :)
    10. The current status: won't charge
      1. When plugged in now, the low battery icon is displayed when I power it on. The one with a dominantly black screen and a large battery w/ a little red on the left indicating low battery. Days later, different chargers, wall chargers, USB-to-computer, all result in the battery not charging. My best guess is that the battery came with enough juice in it to get through the Restoration process. I'm currently thinking that perhaps the original (now water-logged) battery might not be bad... But why won't it charge?
      2. Google time. I'm coming up short!
    11. Request help on some mac forums
      1. Here we are! :)
    I do apologize in advance if the answer to this is posted somewhere that I've overlooked or have chosen poor google terms. Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks a bunch,
    -Who Dah?
  2. liamkp macrumors 68020


    May 29, 2010
    Wow. Honestly i have absolutely no idea. You tried the rice, restored it, and then you replaced the battery. I cant figure out whats wrong. Maybe you put the battery in wrong?
  3. whodah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Hello liamkp, Thanks for the reply. :)

    The thought of re-installing the battery did come to mind. I'll give that a go and report back my results. It is a good idea, and I thank you for it. :) Upon further reflection, I do faintly question the middle connection that I made.

    In the mean time, something kinda clicked in my head this afternoon. On the battery is a chip kind of encased in that yellow/gold semi-transparent tape stuff. Is that what 'charges' the battery? In other words, is voltage fed to that battery ribbon cable and that chip charges/trickles/disables-charging of the battery?

    Along those lines, does anyone know this: if I disconnect the battery and plug in a charger with the iPod open/disassembled, should I be able to measure a voltage across the battery terminals on the mainboard? I could at least see if I'm getting voltage to the mainboard battery terminal point. (I could do this during the re-installation of the battery.)

    (Or if anyone else has any ideas, I'm all ears!)

    -Who Dah?
  4. whodah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    An update! Two steps forward, one step back...

    Two Steps Forward:
    liamkp: excellent suggestion! After removing the new battery and inspecting it, at least one (possibly two) of the solder points were not good. I guess the solder doesn't flow through those solder holes like I thought it would! Only problem is that I seem to have removed all metal from the center battery solder point... So I soldered it to the lead outside of the "battery square" on the mainboard if that makes any sense.

    Charged it up overnight. Looked at it this morning -- Green full battery!!!


    One Step Back:
    But... I broke the blasted LCD screen in the process of taking it apart this time. Cracked it about a third the way up. So the top 2/3 shows 'normal' (save a couple columns of red pixels and some flickering) and the bottom 1/3 is a random solid color flickering. It works enough for me to see that pretty '100% full green charged battery' icon though. ;) And I broke the plastic bezel... (Again...) And a couple of those blue 'safe screen removal tools'. (Again...) Those folks over at youtube make it look so easy to remove the screen! I thought it'd be easier knowing the clip locations and having done it once already. Wrong... That thing fights me! I don't know if I'm not jamming the tool in there far enough (easy guys!) or what.

    So, I'm off to eBay again to drop another 6 bucks on a bezel, and I think I saw the LCDs for about 15 bucks. I might get another home button too. I think this one works OK, but it's been bent a couple times in this process. I bet it's only a couple bucks and I'm really ready to move on from this project. Ha ha!

    -Who Dah?
  5. wywern209 macrumors 65832


    Sep 7, 2008
    do you rly want to know?
    Hmm, that is very strange as far the pricing of the LCD you mentioned. i figured it would be higher because the digitizer and the lcd are both one piece so i think it would cost a bit more. guess not! here is a link to the actual part i found on ifixit which is 50 bucks a pop.

    EDIT: looked around on ebay. I guess they do sell there for a lot less.
  6. whodah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Hi wywern209, thanks for the reply. :)

    I believe the difference in price is due to the generational difference. (Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm going off of a lot of Google information here, not my own knowledge.) I think the Gen1's had the LCD/Digitizer in one where the Gen2's separate the LCD/Digitizer making each component cheaper. My mistake would have been a lot more expensive on a Gen1! :)

    -Who Dah?
  7. whodah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Incidentally... I was just presented with two Gen1 iPhones. (Amazing how many people have broken iPods!) Both pretty messed up - broken screens, I guess the cell radio doesn't work on one. I was told they didn't pursue replacing the screen because a replacement screen/digitizer was over $100. But that knowledge is/was several months old. Not sure if I'll pursue repairing those guys or not, heh!
  8. applemike macrumors 6502


    Aug 6, 2008
    SO overall, how much have you spent on replacement parts, and how long have you spent working on it?
  9. whodah thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2010
    Hi applemike!

    I'd rather not get into numbers, it gets rather embarrassing.

    So far, I'm out about $12 (for the battery and first bezel I broke) and think I'll be out another $23 or so when I order the screen, second bezel, and home button. (Later today, I hope.)

    Time wise? Ugh. If you want to count research/Google time... And the time it took to write up that first post (ha!)... 10 hours or so?

    It doesn't make much sense on paper vs. just purchasing another one at this point of course if one values their time. (I do!) More so going for Uncle Who Dah? bragging rights at the moment. :D It has begun to loose it's novelty, but I kinda just wanted to see if I could do it too, ya know? The bummer is that had I not broken 2 bezels and the LCD screen, this project would have only been $7 for the battery. Ah well, maybe the next one will be cheaper.

    Since this last post of being presented with two Gen1 iPhones that are broken, I've been presented with two more water damaged ones!!! Man, how does word travel so fast on this stuff?! He didn't know the details, but sounds like one is an iPhone 3g and the other a 3gs. I'm not as optimistic on these though, they were both dropped in saltwater aquariums (as opposed to freshwater) and violated rule #1 of water damage. :X

    -Who Dah?
  10. Semal macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2010
    I have had the same problem. I now know what to do. Thanks....

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