Monday, August 09, 2010

Installing a new LCD and faceplate on an iPod Nano

I was cleaning up my desk when I saw this old second-hand, first-generation iPod Nano that was all scratched up and the LCD had dead lines on it. I used this iPod Nano primarily for audio books before but haven’t really use it for anything since the Zune HD arrived. It’s 2GB space is still useful for a couple of audio podcasts, some songs and audio books so I decided to repair it myself. Read more after the jump.

As you can see on the photo above, the screen is pretty badly damaged but still usable. I searched a Philippine classified site for new parts but the seller I talked to was somewhat slow (or lazy?) in replying. So I decided to check out eBay and found a seller that has an LCD part ($7.49) as well as a black (or white) faceplate ($3.99). Getting a new faceplate would make sense in my case. I don’t want to end up having to look at a new LCD screen on a heavily scratched casing.

Both orders include free prying tools to open up the iPod Nano. I ordered and waited for a month before getting the items at our local courier.

Before starting the whole process. I watched some Youtube videos on repairing a 1st-gen iPod Nano. There are also photo steps that helped me save time in figuring out how and what to do.

From experience, the only hard part is removing the aluminum back plate. The plastic prying tools does the job well. I suggest starting at the bottom panel where the usb and 3.5mm port is located. Pry that area first then go along the edges up to the sides (as seen on By the way, don’t forget to ground yourself first to avoid static charges shorting the transistors.

After Installing the screen, I closed the iPod Nano and tried starting it, the display would light up and then fade out. I feared that I did something wrong so I opened the device again and double-checked the connections. I also didn’t close everything up and did all the testing while it was open.

The solution that I found out that because I installed a new LCD screen, the iPod Nano did not recognize this new hardware and that I would need to RESET it first. I searched and found the answer on how to do that:

Press and hold the following combination of buttons simultaneously for approximately 10 seconds to reset the iPod.

  • iPod 1G to 3G: "Menu" and "Play/Pause"
  • iPod 4G+ (includes Photo, Nano, Video, and Mini): "Menu" and "Select"
    • The Apple logo will appear and you should feel the hard drive spinning up. Press and hold the following sequence of buttons:
  • iPod 1G to 3G: "REW", "FFW" and "Select"
  • iPod 4G+ (includes Photo, Nano, Video, and Mini): "Back" and "Select"

If you are having the “white screen of death” after replacing your LCD, do the above key combinations to reset your iPod and after rebooting it will work fine.

Ta-da! Everything looks brand new except the clickwheel and the back plate (which looks awkward). I don’t mind changing the old ones because if it ain’t broke, I don’t want to fix it.

This DIY project only cost around 520 pesos. I think the price and result was worth it.

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