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Building an fPod (Frankenstine-iPod)


Usually, when a friend gives you an Apple iPod, they expect you to use it. Taking it apart and messing with the innards isn't really an expected course of action. However when my friend Felix bestowed his fruity tune-playing device upon me, that's exactly what he had in mind. You see, this iPod had a problem, and Felix figured I'd love it all the more because of it.

What exactly was amiss with this 6th-generation iPod Nano was anyone's guess. While iTunes registered it just fine and syncing commenced without a hitch, it wasn't obvious why the screen wouldn't turn on. Purely on a hunch I figured that the LCD backlight must have bit the dust, and decided to rip the thing apart and figure out exactly where it had failed. A few burnt fingers and a couple of lost screws later, and the thing was splayed open upon my desk.


At this point I tried to a few different things in an attempt to breath life back into the LED backlight system. I wiped the motherboard with a swab dipped in alcohol, checked that all of the ribbon cable connectors were functioning properly, etc. Nothing seemed to work, but at least I tried. A few minutes later and I'd ordered a new display assembly, as it seemed as though the LED backlight array itself was faulty, not anything else.

When I realized it'd be a few weeks before I'd take delivery of the new assembly, I became a bit disheartened. I wanted to play with the thing, and I wanted to do it now. That got me to thinking; why not remove the light seal of the LCD panel and use ambient light to illuminate it instead? Once I'd done this, I felt compelled to mount everything to a piece of cardboard for the sake of sturdiness. The hardest part of all of this was aligning the display assembly with a hole I'd cut in the board to allow for light to pass through, but all told this took only fifteen minutes to patch together.

Overall, the creation came out better than I'd expected. It's even pocketable. Something tells me that even Sir Jonathan Ive would at least be amused by it.


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