I’ve recently come into possession of a damaged, non-functioning iPod Nano (Public Service Announcement: be careful how you hold your iPod when operating a urinal) that gave its body to science. After cleaning and drying it, I decided to see what was inside. I never took things apart as a kid because a) I took good care of things so they didn’t break, and b) if I couldn’t get it working again, I wouldn’t get a new one, so I didn’t risk it. First time for everything!
So here’s my photo documentary about taking my iPod Nano apart. I have no great electrical skills so I didn’t bother trying to fix it; I just wanted to see how it was put together and what was inside.
[DISCLAIMER: The thumbnails were automatically generated by WordPress and therefore not always centered or cropped the way I would like. Click on each image for larger and more complete images.]
First, a front and back view of the iPod:
And here’s some damning evidence of how it was treated:
To open, pry the two halves apart. There are clips all around the inside so don’t be afraid to use some force. The port is a good place to start.
Here are the two halves once you take it apart.
There are two small screws on the lower part holding the circuit board down. When you remove them, you can lift up the bottom half of the circuit board and get some leverage to flip the battery out. It’s still attached by wires but it can be moved around.
With the battery out of the way, you can slide the circuit board down and out of the clips holding it in place at the top. I found out later that these clips are incorporated into the screen piece. Under that is a sticker on the back of the monitor – one side is reflective and the other has a serial number.
The screen is attached to the front cover piece with adhesive, so you can just pry it out. It is connected to the circuit board by a fat orange wire strip. Everything is still very connected at this point.
Here’s a closer view of the additional circuits underneath the screen.
Here’s another look, including the 2GB flash memory chip (on the skinny part of the board below the orange monitor wires). At this point, everything is still attached to the circuit board: the front cover by the clickwheel wires, the battery by its power wires, and the screen by its wide orange wires.
Here’s a closer view of the screen…
And the back of the front cover where the screen was pried from. You can see the holes for the button click points. The four black spots (N, E, S, and W) are for the click points on the outside ring, and the two white spots between E and W are for the middle button. Yep, two click points for the one middle button.
Underneath that metal plate is the clickwheel. That piece was also attached with a strong adhesive, and it is very flush with the plastic. This was the hardest piece to remove besides initially opening the cover.
Here’s the underside of the clickwheel – fat orange wires just like on the screen.
The clickwheel wires are (again) attached with adhesive to the plastic cover. Take off the orange wires and the white button just falls out.
Here’s a final view of all the parts:
It is pretty impressive how tightly everything is packed (I think one of the new Shuffles would be even more interesting). There are lots of places where the shape and position of one piece helps secure another piece. Even on the inside it’s clever engineering. Also (this might be a dumb observation but like I said, I haven’t taken many things apart), I was surprised by how many things were held in place by adhesives instead of screws or some mechanical means. It makes sense in something this small but I wonder how common that is in larger pieces of electronics. All in all it was a fun project, but I hope not to have a similar opportunity again anytime soon ;-).