iPod Headphone Jack Repair

When I ride my bike, I only have one earphone in my ear, so I can hear the SUVs with drivers on the phone that are going to kill me. I rarely listen to my iPod in stereo. I listen mostly to podcasts, so I don’t need stereo. At the dentist the other day, where they offer you an iPod and a nitrous oxide/oxygen cocktail, I discovered my iPod was only working in one channel.

My malfunctioning mono iPod had just passed the one year warranty date but I didn’t imagine that Apple would fix it for me anyway. I started taking the it apart, thinking there was some loose solder joint that I could heat up. I found the heaphone jack held in by two small screws. After removing them, flexing the cable restored the other channel, but I couldn’t see where the break in the circuit was. I had to replace the whole headphone jack – hold switch assembly.

I found one on eBay for $16.29 from a vendor named mayvillage. They sent the part very quickly and I had my iPod was working again. You can see printed on one of the flex cables, the Taiwanese Electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, better known as Foxconn (OTC: HNHPF) – one of the large manufacturers for Apple and other US computer companies.

UPDATE July 8, 2011: After four years, the headphone jack on my iPod failed again. A quick eBay search for iPod 5G headphone jack turned up a replacement part that is even less expensive than it was four years ago. When you buy one, make sure you are buying a new part. It took me about 15 minutes to put in the assembly. If this post isn’t detailed enough for you, iFixit has the best Apple product repair instructions I’ve seen.

Betty Carter sounds so good.

MintyBoost USB Charger v1.1

Update: This post is about version 1.1 of the MintyBoost. ladyada has updated the kit to version 3.0.

In high school, I used to love building electronic things. That was so long ago, I was using vacuum tubes to make power supplies.

Once I made an audible tachometer for my car from a schematic in Popular Science. I even thought I wanted to be an EE and started at UC Berkeley in the School of Engineering. After a few quarters I realized that if I didn’t like learning engineering, I probably wouldn’t like doing

Minty Boost Kit Components

engineering. (I think my friend Dan Kalman told me that)
Over the years, I still enjoyed making electronic things. Back in the mid 70’s, I had just moved to New York.

Minty Boost Circuit Board

As a photo assistant, I used an answering service home answering machines weren’t in wide use.
By the late 70’s, I bought an answering machine and a pager. In those days, the only people who used pagers were doctors. I needed a way to know immediately that I had received a message on my answering machine.

MintyBoost Kit Solder Side

I put a roller switch on one of the answering machine cassette solenoids that triggered a bunch of 555 timers. That dialed my pager’s number from a chopped up Radio Shack phone that had my pager’s numberprogrammed in one of the speed dial locations.

Years later, answering machines had their own call transfer feature.
When Make Magazine started publishing, I became a charter subscriber. The projects they were doing were all the kinds of things that I used to do. One of the projects I saw at the Make Blog, was kit called the MintyBoost, a USB charger designed by ladyada, that fits in an Altoids tin and runs on two AA batteries.

It basically takes the 3 volts from the batteries and boosts it to the 5 volts that USB devices use. Since we have a couple of iPods and cell phone that can be charged with the MintyBoost, I bought a kit.
You can update the v1.1 by adding a resistor.

It’s a great beginner’s kit and easy to assemble. You have to solder the components to the circuit board but you’ll learn basic soldering skills in the process.

The hardest part for me was finding the Altoids gum.

Once you’ve built the charger, you’ll have a something that is useful and may give you the satisfaction of making something yourself. That’s got to be worth something.

MintyBoost Case

My 3G iPod Broke

My iPod stopped working while I was riding my bike. The hard disk froze. I tried restoring it. I tried reformatting it (on my PC, Mac and Linux box).

I bought a replacement hard disk from Geeks.com. That didn’t work either. I sent it back. They sent me another one. That didn’t work. They sent me another one.

That didn’t work. I’m a little off on Geeks.com right now. I tried repartioning it on my Macintrash with pdisk. It looked like this:

Partition map (with 512 byte blocks) on ‘/dev/disk1’

1: Apple_partition_map partition map 62 @ 1
2: Apple_MDFW firmware 65536 @ 63 ( 32.0M)
3: Apple_HFS disk 29231920 @ 65599 ( 13.9G)

Device block size=512, Number of Blocks=29297520 (14.0G)
DeviceType=0x0, DeviceId=0x0

I kept getting the message no valid block 1, so I gave up.

I didn’t want to spend $150 for a disk (Toshiba doesn’t make the MK1503GAL disk anymore, so most of the available replacement disks seem to be “refurbished” or pulls from “working” iPods).

What pisses me off is I have this good 3G iPod (except for the hard disk) and it costs half the price of a new one to fix it. Or I could send it to Apple; they’ll fix it for $255.55. I guess I’ll make it into an iPod Super, and break down and get a 5G for carrying around.

The 3G iPod was first released in May 2003, so I’m way behind Steve Jobs new ipod every year theory.