How to change an iPod Nano battery

February 3rd, 2010 by WordPlop

This very simple tutorial will show you how to change the battery in a first-generation iPod Nano. It should also work for other models in a general way, even though some steps and parts might be a bit different.

The bare minimum required tools for this job are:

  • replacement battery
  • scissors
  • tape
  • knife

Recommended tools are:

  • replacement battery and prying tool
  • soldering iron
  • wire stripper or scissors
  • utility knife (X-Acto)
  • electrical tape

A note before you begin: this may damage your iPod. You may injure yourself in this process. This will void your warranty. We are not responsible for anything that happens as a result of you following these directions. Use your head.

The purpose of replacing the battery in your iPod Nano by yourself is to avoid the absurd costs of having Apple do it for you. They love to make loads of money replacing batteries, and refuse to implement user-replaceable batteries in their electronics, even though 99% of other MP3 players let you change the battery with the press of a button. Of course, the reason for replacing the battery in the first place is because it can’t hold a charge anymore. All batteries lose their charge over time and won’t recharge anymore. Follow the steps below to replace your iPod Nano first-generation battery. If you have any questions, ask in the comments below.

1. Buy a replacement battery

This should be very easy and inexpensive. If you go on eBay and search for “ipod nano 1st gen battery” you should see what you’re looking for. Make sure the battery you get is for the first generation Nano (or whichever iPod you are using). They are different in physical size and will not fit if you get the wrong version. You also want a higher capacity battery. The stock battery is 340mAh. eBay has batteries that are 400mAh. These will last significantly longer than the stock battery. This battery should cost you around $5 and most come with tools to help open your iPod. I cannot comment on brands of batteries, as most seem generic. Beware of the risk of fire, leakage, explosion, or any other risks that come with all batteries.

2. Pry apart your iPod

Before you take apart your iPod, discharge any static electricity from yourself by touching a metal object. Also, you should put it on Hold so you don’t accidentally turn it on while it’s open. Now.. The first gen iPod Nano is held together by plastic clips which are located on the inside of the case. To open your iPod, you just need to pry apart the plastic front from the chrome rear. You can use the tool provided with the battery, or a dull X-Acto knife (or anything similar). I found the plastic tool to be no better than using a knife. Either way, you might break pieces of plastic off the case and scratch it. As you can see in the photos, my iPod is in such a bad shape cosmetically that I absolutely didn’t care about getting it scratched. Take your time when you pry it open. It might take a while. You might need to use force.

3. Cut the wires

Very carefully pry the battery out of the iPod using your fingernails. Cut the three wires that connect your current battery to the circuit board. Cut as close to the battery as you can. Don’t worry, the extra wire won’t prevent the case from closing.

4. Strip the wires

You need to strip the wires that are connected to the circuit board, assuming the wires on your new battery came stripped from the factory. If you really don’t know what you’re doing, you need to cut the insulation off the wire, but leave the wire itself uncut. You can use a wire stripper, but due to the small size of the wire, I found it much easier to use scissors. Be careful not to rip the wires from the circuit board. If you still can’t figure out how to strip wires, watch a YouTube video or something.

5. Solder the wires

Now time to insert the new battery into the iPod and twist the wires together. Make sure to match the right colors to each other, and do not let any wires from the battery touch any part of the circuit board, or themselves. This will create a short and will fry your iPod. Now, if you don’t have a soldering iron and really don’t want to spend the $20 to buy one, you might be fine just leaving the wires twisted together for this step. However, this has a decent chance of resulting in a loose connection that might come apart for fractions of a second, cutting power to your iPod. Soldering is highly recommended. If you don’t know how, watch some YouTube videos and Google it to learn the proper technique.

6. Tape up the exposed wires

If you want to test your new battery and its connection at this point, you can plug your iPod into your computer. If you do this, be very, very careful not to let the exposed wires touch anything or short anything out.

Now you need to tape up the exposed connections. If you don’t have electrical tape, regular tape should work. Electrical tape is recommended. Wrap each exposed wire individually and make sure all parts are covered well. Then tape all three together to help with straightening them out and making them fit.

7. Put it back together

Make sure the wires are out of the way of the two connectors to the right. Push them as far left as possible, and make sure they are flat against the circuit board like in the photo above. Now carefully put the other half of the iPod Nano case on. Make sure the Hold switch on the iPod is lined up to the position you left it in. This might take some time if you don’t want to scratch your iPod. Be careful not to bend it too much, as it’s much easier to bend without the two sides connected. This might take some force. Just push the two together until the two sides clip onto each other all the way around. If it doesn’t work when you try to turn it on, the battery probably needs to be charged. Plug it into your computer and it should start charging as usual.

And that’s it, you should now have an iPod Nano with a brand new battery, for less than $5.




Posted in Gadgets, Hardware, Tutorials

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