Category Archives: electronics

iPod Touch 4th Gen Repair How Not To

After a few years of use and then an unfortunate accident, both the battery and the screen on the household iPod touch were done like dinner. I looked at the guide on iFixit (not linked for your sanity) and decided that I could fix it. I’ve done stuff like this before. I’ve replaced the battery in a click-wheel iPod and the screen on a Blackberry three times.

Dishes are done, the house is quiet, and the sun is shining in the dining room. It’ll be enjoyable and rewarding. Let’s start.

Nice bright evening!  All ready to go!

Nice bright evening! All ready to go!

Here we are 90 minutes later and I’m about to test it before putting in the screws. Ruh-roh, what’s that? Do you see it? It’s a little ribbon cable, and it’s $%#@#$^ torn!

Game over.  Please don't try again.

Game over. Please don’t try again.

I could probably get a replacement ribbon cable, but I think I’ll follow the Apple way and just throw it all in the garbage.


Mini-Box M350 + Intel DQ77KB + i3 2120

I’ve been shopping for a replacement motherboard and CPU for my M350 case for a long time. It had an Atom board in it for a while, but it was such a poor performance/power consumption combination. The Intel DQ77KB fits fairly well, but there are two modifications you need to make. First, the power switch and LED wires are too short to make it to where the headers are located on the mother board. You need to either get new header wires or bust out the soldering iron and make the longer. Second, if you want to use a 2.5″ drive (and not an mSATA drive in the PCIe slot), you need to make some new holes in the hard drive bracket. The stock HSF unit that comes with a standard i3 CPU crowds is slightly too big and there aren’t many options for smaller coolers. The picture below shows where you need to drill. I only have two screws holding the HD on, but it’s very secure. I used some little rubber spacers to prevent the HD from coming into contact directly with the bracket.

This combination of motherboard, cpu, single 8GB dimm, and a 7mm single platter 250GB drive uses 21 watts when idle. I should mention that I’m using an old 90W Dell laptop power supply for this board.

Who let the smoke out?

It was the transformer that melted. I took this apart during lunch time and that was a bad idea. The smell was horrible. Before this happened, I did get a few years of daily use out of it at least.

Spot the LED

I finally splurged (an impulse buy, no less) on an LED light bulb.   It’s a Philips VisionLED 10.5-Watt 3000K 800 lumen A19 base LED light bulb.   On the packaging there is a claim to be equivalent to a 60W bulb.   I actually replaced a standard 60W incandescent and it is noticeably brighter.   For $17.88, I’m quite impressed.


ʇɟǝl ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ pɹıɥʇ

Western Digital My Passport internals

It was completely my fault, but my portable hard drive developed a click and you can guess what happened next. I thought I’d just replace the drive in the nice compact case. Well, it turns out that it’s not easy. It doesn’t have a standard SATA connector I was expecting to see.

Hot flashing a PLCC32 ROM Chip

Lately I’ve been messing with coreboot and I keep needing to reflash the chip I’m working with.  I have a known-good chip, and a test chip that I flip in and out frequently.  After a couple of inserts/removals on a live motherboard, I figured I needed a slightly less dangerous way of doing this.  I needed a handle on the chip.   Remembering my teachings from watching MacGyver back in the 80’s, I devised something that would make him proud using super glue and crimp-on electrical connectors.

Ingenious!  Too bad I can’t get my coreboot image to work.

There is a correct tool for this job.  It’s called a PLCC extractor.  What fun would that be though.