Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Aug 20, 2008 5:09 PM by Kenichi Watanabe
inte Level 1 (10 points)
I have an earlier iPod (40GB, all white face/wheel/buttons). Purchased new and didn't use it extensively until recently. Worked perfectly until recently when suddenly it would start skipping between song prematurely (cutting off a song before it was over & switching to a new track). Finally it locked up completely and none of the buttons have any effect - can't even turn it off, just need to let the battery completely deplete.

Plugging it into a power source causes the Apple logo to appear for a few seconds, then a folder icon, then the Apple logo again ... and so on.

Are there any reset procedures I can try? Any hope to get this unit running again? I just listen to much & don't have a need for the iPod touch - this unit has always served my needs perfectly.

MacBook Pro 17" 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    I have one of those too, if it's the one with the touch buttons in a line below the screen.

    You said the buttons don't work, but did you try the two-button combo to reset it?

    If that does not work, try putting it into Disk Mode.

    If that works, connect it to your Mac to see if it is recognized as a hard drive in Disk Utility. If so, go to the Erase tab and try to erase it (reformat). This will obviously erase your songs. If that completes successfully, run iTunes. If it is recognized as a new iPod, say no to syncing it and use the Restore button in iTunes to put the iPod back to original settings. You can then set it up and try to use it normally.

    If you are not able to reset or put into Disk Mode, or if reformatting fails with an error, it is possible that your iPod's hard drive has become faulty.

    One more thing you can try is to let it run out of power completely. Then, after the screen will not come on anymore, let it sit for another day or so. Then recharge it and try the above again, or it may just work. Alternately, if you know how to open the iPod using those plastic tools, just disconnect the battery inside. Leave it disconnected for a few minutes, than reconnect it.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Based on this one reply, I'm getting the impression the thing is dead. All the steps described in the links below involve using buttons on the iPod - nothing at all response to any sort of input on the unit.

    All the unit does is display the Apple logo, you hear the hard drive spin up, then a folder icon appears for a few seconds, then the Apple logo reappears and the process starts again.

    This did happen once before and letting the unit completely run out of power seemed to fix it - so far that hasn't helped this time.

    Does Apple service these units? I'd love to get this thing fixed if it's not unreasonably expensive.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Also, I'm not sure which model I have. The photos show a iPod with the pause/play, track advance, etc... icons right on the wheel. Mine has a white wheel with no markings and four buttons above the wheel (prev track, menu, pause/play, next track).

    Not sure how to put the unit into disk mode as no instructions are provided (that I saw) for this model iPod.
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    You can ask at an Apple Store, if you live near one. It they do it, it will probably cost a lot.

    You should try opening it up. It's not that hard if you have a pair of those plastic tools that come with a replacement battery. You can get a battery (with tools) or just the tools quite cheaply on eBay. If you decide to try it, post back and I'll provide some tips for easily opening that iPod without causing damage.

    Once you open it, you can try a few things. First, try disconnecting the battery to totally make it unpowered. Then reconnect it. That might get it going. The other thing involves the hard drive. Disconnect the hard drive from the ribbon connector. Then disconnect the ribbon connector from the logic board. You may need to peel away a bit of the black film. Check the connections, especially the one to the logic board. You may want to connect and disconnect that connection a few times to make sure it connects solidly, then connect the hard drive back up and try it. You can do the testing without snapping the case back together.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    I'd LOVE to try that (don't really have anything to lose as the unit isn't working at all now regardless...)

    Are the tools specialized to the point I definitely need those particular ones, or can other makeshift tools be used to open the case?
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    It's a third gen. Then instructions are actually there, at the botton, where it says

    "If you have an older iPod model without a Click Wheel"

    except there are no pictures.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Got it. Just tried that. The reset seems to work (screen goes blank & Apple logo appears), but pushing the previous/next buttons nothing seems to happen. After a few seconds a small line appears above the Apple logo is all. No effect beyond that.

    Any suggestions for opening up the case & trying the battery & hard drive disconnect?
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    They need to be pointy like a small flat-head screwdriver, except it has to be made of hard plastic so that you don't dent the metal case and gouge the plastic case. But it has to be hard enough so that you can pry open the seam between the two halves of the case. Someone once posted that a guitar pick works, but I don't know the technique for using it to open the case.

    Here's how with the two tools. They look like this, BTW.

    [iPod opening tools on eBay| W0QQitemZ130244039499QQihZ003QQcategoryZ48680QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewIt em]

    Use the wider one (if they are different) to pry open the seam at the top middle of the iPod, just enough to insert the tool's tip into the metal half of the case. Push against the plastic half to create the initial gap. You want to start at the top because there are no clips along that edge.

    Looking at the iPod from the front, insert the second tool to the right of the first one. While putting pressure on the tool to push it into the metal half, move it along the seam to the right around the top right corner and down the right side. If you are pushing down while you do this, it should pop open on the right side by the time you get about halfway down to the bottom right corner.

    Then, open it like a book from the right side. Be careful not to yank it open on the left side, because there is a delicate ribbon cable at the top left corner that connects the two halves of the case. Carefully disconnect the ribbon cables socket to separate the two sides of the case.

    Tip when reassembling: Make sure the external hold switch aligns with the internal switch on the logic board. You'll see what I mean. If you forget, the hold switch won't work, and you'll have to open the case again.

    You can find an online guide with pictures at

    (I'd give you the exact link, but the site was down for maintenance.)

    Note: The technique is the same for a 4th gen iPod, except you don't need to worry about aligning the hold switch. I've never opened a 5th gen or later iPod.
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    See post below...
  • Mike Salva1 Level 1 (70 points)
    I can't even get my iPod to connect to the Mac. Today I tried hooking it up to the Mac in my office, and my Mac screen turns grey and gives me a message saying that I need to restart the computer.

    (And while we're at it, why can't I find the button that says "Post New Topic" but I can reply to topics already started?)
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Just checked out the site. Haven't found the exact tutorial yet, but what a fantastic resource! I have a 3rd gen iPod (didn't know that until seeing all the various models on the ifixit site). Once the tools arrive I'll try pulling the cables & if that doesn't work replace the HD.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Contacted but according to the rep that responded to my email they don't have any hard drives that will work with my iPod (3rd Gen "classic" - non-turning wheel with 4 buttons over it).

    I still have the tools on order & will try the R & R procedure for the cables, but if something is bad, looks like I might be out of luck.

    Any other ideas for how to get this thing fixed?
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,935 points)
    I think the problem is that your 3G iPod is probably the thicker design, because it's 40GB; it has the two-platter drive. The thinner design with the one-platter drive was more common.

    However, I see no reason why the thinner drive would not work in the thicker case. You'd have to put something in the case to take up the extra space, like a piece of cardboard. Any drive with the same connection type should work, from the 5GB drive in the 1G iPod to the 20GB (or even larger drive) from the 4G iPod. The 5th gen iPod and later use a different type of drive.

    One thing you can try is to go on eBay and search for broken 3G iPods. Look for listings that look like an individual selling his or her one broken iPod, not a +big seller+ who is selling off a big lot of broken iPods. The big seller is more likely to know how to salvage good hard drives from broken iPods. The individual seller may call it "broken" because the battery is shot. If there is time remaining in the auction, ask the seller if he or she tried to open the iPod; if it's been opened, it could be damaged.

    Hopefully, between your broken iPod and another one, you can create one working iPod. The two-platter drives seem more fragile than the thinner drives, so I would go for a 10, 15, or 20GB 3G iPod (those had the thinner drive). The front half of your 3G iPod should work with either the thick or thin back half.
  • inte Level 1 (10 points)
    Think this drive would work?

    If it's the same width/height, and just thinner seems like I could easily take up the extra space with some simple rubber shock material.

    Message was edited by: inte
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