iPod Shuffle Battery Replacement – 2nd Gen

19Jun10

If you weren’t looking specifically to replace your iPod shuffle battery, you might ask: “why would you want to?” Good question…

According to my wife, dropping the 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle was something of an own goal for Apple, she maintains that it is simply the best iPod to take to the gym. I would have to agree (not because I spend much time in the gym) but because it is small, light, has an intuitive button layout and of course has a very strong clip which is as big as the player itself.

I persuaded her to try the 3rd Generation Shuffle, she did, we took it back to the Apple store exactly one week later. They issued a refund asking what was the problem, she explained the buttons were too small and inconveniently located on the headphone cable – the assistant drew our attention to some kind of adaptor that would turn the 3rd gen player into something like the previous model. (What?!) We took the refund.

Additionally, the clip is not sprung loaded like the previous model – more of a slide on/off – like a pen lid, and the headphone jack is smaller than the regular size, which means you are tied to the headphones that came with it or you have to get a (comparatively large) jack adaptor (Apple, come on!).

Enough complaining… I decided to change the battery on the old one, in an attempt to bring it back to life – it was fully functional in the dock but had no power when unplugged.

You will need…
o Your second gen iPod Shuffle
o A new battery (assuming that’s the problem)
o A precision screwdriver
o A soldering iron
o A detailed repair manual
o Patience

I picked up a new replacement battery on eBay for £4.99 (Nice!). It came with a pointed tool and what appeared to be the correct size screwdriver. However, after one turn of this I thought it was going to strip the screw head so I pulled out my own set. The Shuffle has four screws, all the same size – Phillips #00 I believe.

You can get an excellent “teardown” guide here: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Shuffle-2nd-Generation-Teardown/437/1

Here is the Shuffle mid-repair. You can see the old battery above, with the new battery soldered in, waiting to be flipped back into place.

A few tips…
The teardown guide on www.ifixit.com says to heat the plastic caps with a hairdryer before removing them. They’re not joking, you have to get those plastic ends nice and hot otherwise the glue (!) that holds them on won’t soften and you will struggle to prize them off.

The battery has two short wires that are soldered directly to the logic board. The solder points are coated with a blob of hard, transparent plastic. I thought it unlikely that I could get this off without damaging the printed circuit board. However, those same two wires are soldered to terminals on the battery itself, you will find it easier to remove/replace the battery at this point.

Getting the logic board back inside with the new battery was also quite a squeeze.

On reflection, it really is quite amazing how much Apple have packed into this little player. Equally amazing is that it can be taken apart and sustain a repair. Oh, I almost forgot you will need good eyesight; the stuff in there is super small!



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