Replacing your iPod battery, how to get the case off an iPod, open iPod 3G

All things come to pass – and this weekend it was the passing of my original iPod battery. I’ve been using the iPod pretty constantly for a couple of years now, most recently in my car. Whilst the Alpine KC420i does in fact charge the iPod I have been noticing that the iPod isn’t charging too well, and on occasion the car head unit tells me there is no CD changer attached. Of course, CD changer means iPod in my set-up!

On further inspection I found that the iPod was able to charge, and did in fact reach a full charge after about four hours constant charging. It didn’t stay charged very long though, draining in about an hour or so when playing back.

So, I figured it was about time for a replacement battery and so I bought one from iPodworld.co.uk. It was a little more expensive from them compared to other places, but it did include some tools to help open the case up.

Looking at the iPod case it is hard to see how it all fits together. However, the tools supplied were excellent. Shaped a bit like flat headed screwdrivers with a bend in the end of them, the nylon tools are designed to help you prise open a side of the case and carefully release the catches therein. The instruction book that comes with the battery is small, so expect to get your magnifying glass out to read it. The content of the book is superb mind you and the details are very precise. I liked it so much I have got the .pdf version here! This is somewhat easier to read, and the pics are in colour.

Easing the tools into the crack along one side of the iPod is a bit tricky at first. I chose to get the angled tip of the tool pointing downwards into the silver back of the ipod. This seemed to be the easiest way in, at which point I slid the tool along the length of the iPod, looking for any of the clips holding it together. I then used the other tool the other way up to firmly but very carefully push inwards and lever the front white case off along the side. This was a lot easier than I had anticipated and the side came away fairly quickly, although I was quite surprised at how much force was needed – you don’t need much, but you do need to be firm.

Once one side was released the other edges came away easily. Aware of the ribbon cable connector attaching the two halves together I worked on a flat surface from then on.

The hard drive inside the unit is attached by means of a flat connector. Imagine two flat surfaces joined together by a connector between them – this is how the iPod drive gets fitted to the logic board. Removing this is a little worrying, since there is only a flat copper coloured piece of material indicating where anything is joined. Fortunately for me there was a small rectangle which looked a different colour and so I used the nylon tools to gently lift the connector ribbon and the connector itself just popped out.

Moving the hard drive to one side the battery is then revealed. There is a three pin connector which needs taking off first – this is a bit tricky unless you have got fingernails (I don’t) or tweezers (also, none available). So for me it was a case of looking carefully at the connector and seeing that it was only the top of it I had to hold on to when I pulled. Again, the force required was more than I had anticipated, but if you are looking for some pliers in order to get a better grip then you are trying too hard. Once released the battery could be lifted and then twisted around in order to free the cables which were underneath the logic board edge.

In good old fashioned Haynes manual traditions, reassembly is the reverse of removal. Carefully tuck the new battery wires under the same edge of the logic board as the original and lay the battery itself into the space for it. Re-fit the hard drive… for me there was a small click as the connector joined the logic board again. I was a bit sceptical that I had it all lined up correctly at first, but it went in easily when I had it in the right place.

The last part is to replace the cover – be very sure that the new battery wires are not sticking out at all as you will easily pinch them and damage it if they are. The front cover just snaps on to the base and that’s all there is to it.

Other things to watch out for are really to be very careful of the connector between the front and back of the iPod – this looks very fragile and you don’t want to be playing around with it – don’t try to remove it!

Once back together, cycle the power on the iPod (you know, flick the ‘Hold’ switch across and back then hold the play/pause and menu buttons for about 6 seconds), then put it on to charge. The new battery came with about a quarter charge on it, so now it is in the adaptor getting a full top up.

I reckon that I will fully charge and then fully discharge this battery before I then start the usual abuse of partial charges and discharges that it will receive for the rest of its life.

Replacing an iPod battery is not as scary as you might think. This one cost me ��18.99, but the cost for a service to do it for me would be nearer ��50 all told. I’m happy that I saved ��30 and would feel pretty confident to change an iPod battery in the future.

Thanks to iPod World for the supply of decent instructions and good tools to help make the job easy – and scratch free!

6 thoughts on “Replacing your iPod battery, how to get the case off an iPod, open iPod 3G

  • 24 January, 2006 at 7:49 pm
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    Excellent! Glad it helped… 🙂

  • 18 January, 2006 at 9:31 pm
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    Many thanks for your excellent guidance, which made the whole process much easier! Especially since my £5.99 replacement battery (ebay) came with no instructions!

  • 28 October, 2005 at 11:51 pm
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    No probs – that battery replacement was one of the easiest things I’ve done, and the iPod now has a new lease of life – I’m really pleased I did it.

  • 8 October, 2005 at 1:03 pm
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    Thanks for that Hal i’ll keep that pdf somewhere safe for when the battery goes down on my 3G. So far ive been lucky with the batteries on all my iPods. Although saying that, my original 5GB battery is just starting to degrade a little after 3 1/2 years of outstanding service.

  • 31 May, 2008 at 3:51 pm
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    Great info. i was inspired by your article and ended up going with ipodjuice.com for my ipod batteries and was very happy with the end result.

    Laura

  • 1 June, 2008 at 8:06 am
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    Thanks for letting me know, Laura – hope the new battery lasts for you 🙂

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