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About My Work
›iPad Repairs:
›iPhone Repairs:

›iPod Touch Repairs:
›iPod Nano Repairs:
›iPod "Classic" (hard drive model) Repairs:
›My Digital Camera Repairs
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› 1000's of Stories on Repairs I've done from all over the world. Pages -> 550|500|400|300|200|100|50
Customer Comments on my work
My Most Complex Patient Cases
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What car adapter should I get???
Opinions on the Microsoft Zune
How To's and Tips
How to Reset Your iPod
Choosing an iPod Format
Format Mac iPod for PC
Copy iTunes Libraries
Add a folder to iTunes Library - Macintosh User
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How to Rip iPod Movies
These are a few my recent iPod repair experiences.

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Jason Rockhill lives in Nashville, Tennessee (about 1400 miles away)
and works for SonyBMG records. Jason dropped his 80GB video iPod in a glass of water and he took it to the Mac Authority (a cool Macintosh store in Nashville, I've been there with my garage band musician friend Paul Taylor). Jason had an unusual problem, he had music on the iPod that he needed back desperately. Songs from acts and artists he had worked with before that he had no other copies of. Why did he have no other copies of the songs? Because his Windows based computer had one of those regularly experienced "drive failures".

Here's what he said.

"I took it to Mac Authority to get it fixed and they were going to charge me $200.00 for a new logic board and battery. They said they would not be able to recover the music either. I am worried more about the music than anything else. A lot of this music was on my old PC that the hard drive crashed."

So his computer using a frail Windows operating system housing his iTunes Library and the drive "crashed" meaning it was hit by viruses or malware because Windows is the big target for black hat hackers writing viruses.

I got the iPod and immediately pull the drive and put it into another matching iPod unit and turn it on. It got the black apple screen but before it bounces to the white Apple screen the upper half of the LCD presents horizontal fine white lines and then the screen goes Black. The iPod then starts at the Black Apple screen again and repeats. I'm hoping the drive will find the master boot record and 'catch' taking the system through the boot phase but it never happens. In 3 hours... it never happens.

I let Jason know the status... that... his music is now pretty much gone. I tell him, "I'll give it until 4:00 PM another four more hours before before I call the "time of death" on the drive. And once I do, I want to take it apart, in essence do an autopsy to see if I can detect corrosion on the controller card and see if I can get the platter and motor to still work." In the next four hours I tell him, "I'm going to examine and process the logic board and other parts and see if I can get them to work again, even though the Mac Authority gave up without trying."

I go to work and am able to get all the rest of his iPod to function correctly, except his LCD is flakey and really needs to be replaced, he agrees. We also both agree this would be the best time to replace the battery in it since it's a year and a half old and the iPod is open already.

So I now have the iPod working perfectly and I've called the "TOD" on the drive. I have a matching 80GB drive here and I take my 80GB apart and Jason's drive apart. I notice there is copper based corrosion near the ribbon connector on the controller card of Jason's drive. (Hard drives have four major components... a spinning magnetized platter, an armature that swings the read/write over the platter, a controller card and the casing.) The controller card keeps track of specific information about where certain files are located on the platter and which 'blocks' on the platter are no longer functional. I swap the controller cards put his drive back together and try it in the iPod. All I want to learn now is "Does the platter actually spin up?" If I don't feel what is called "gyroscopic precession" from the platter rotating and hear the armature sweeping the platter I'll know I have motor/rotation problems.

The platter spins and I get the you "need to run a restore" white screen. In essence the iPod is telling me I have a 'working' drive but it doesn't know where to find anything so it wants me to 'initialize' or format the drive with a new FAT32 filesystem and then let iTunes sync... move from iTunes over a new of the music in the Library.

I know the problem with Jason's drive is with the controller card only, but it has to be "his controller card". The controller card for each drive keeps a unique set of information. It keeps a "table" of the mapped out 'bad blocks' (none useful areas on the platter the controller card will not let the operating system write information to, because it will be corrupt instantly). It also keeps the location of the Master Boot Record, so the drive knows where to find the boot loader for the operating system *and* all the subordinate files on the drive.

At this point, I need to get Jason's original controller card working again since it is the only thing that knows the 'mind print' of his hard drive and where the files are. I clean up the corrosion on it. Bad as it looked it all the parts remain firmly soldered and intact on the board.

I open the drive up again and rebuild it with his controller card in it again. I turn it on and the iPod goes successfully through the boot process and I get the menu.

SUCCESS, not only have I recovered his drive and the contents.. I got the rest of his iPod to work properly. Knowing the music is more valuable then the device I move it over to another workstation here and run a data extraction to pull the 4113 songs off of it... you know just in case...

All the songs come off smoothly. This drive is perfect and has no integrity issues at this point. It will live out a normal iPod life of 3 years or so.

The first mission in this project was data recovery, the second was iPod device recovery, the third is data transport/conveyance back to Jason of the files. To achieve the last one I use his iPod as an external hard drive and move in a single directory the 4113 songs over to his iPod. When it gets back to Nashville, it will arrive with exact instructions about how to add them to his new iTunes Library permanently. Until he has done so and the music is back on his system, I'll keep a copy here.. just in case.

This was an unusual case. The costs were $40 labor, a $33 LCD and $26 battery. Jason however gave me a nice tip for all the extra work. It was a challenging case to revive a DOA patient.

Here's the "Setting Menu" for Jason's iPod. And here's what the parts of his hard drive look like taken apart.


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I'm in Sonoma County... Northern California wine country.

If you live nearby, are traveling through or live in the San Francisco Bay Area bring your iPod to me and I can do the work while you wait or go wine tasting for a while. Send me an email just to make sure I have on hand whatever parts your repair will require.

Call or email me with questions or to set up a repair. You can also call, I am here most days from 8am to 8pm
Toll Free 1-877-IPOD-PRO (1 - 877 - 476-3776)

Send the device to:
    Frank Walburg
    2145 Service Court
    Santa Rosa, Ca 95403-3139
Methods of payment

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