Is my ipod completely dead?
November 2, 2004 3:41 PM   Subscribe

iPod help: My 5-Gig, Touchwheel iPod is hung and displays the following message: "No battery power remains. Please connect iPod to power." However, the iPod had 2/3s of a charge before it hung and does not accept a charge when I plug it in. I am unable to reset the iPod and it refuses all keyboard input. It has displayed this message for almost two days now. The iPod also does not register in the Finder of either of my computers. Should I buy a new battery or is the iPod dead?

[Problem solving chain inside]

Okay, the iPod is a hand-me-down that's had at least three hard years of life before I got my hands on it. Prior to yesterday, the battery was giving me 4-5 hours of use.

It is a Mac-formatted iPod that I use with a G4 tower and a Powerbook, the first of which run OS 10.2 and the second 10.3. Patches are current for both the iPod and the computers.

The symptoms:

As I said, it's hung. The iPod doesn't register with the computer or accept power from it. I am unable to reset the iPod due to the keyboard being frozen. Even the hold switch doesn't affect the little lock displayed on the screen.

It seems to me that if it were "just" a battery problem, the iPod would take power over the Firewire cable and be found by either iTunes or the Finder. Maybe this means that something inside the iPod (maybe a motherboard? Does it have a motherboard?) is broken and that buying a new battery would be throwing money away.

What I've tried:

1) Plug the iPod into the computer. Nothing happens and the Finder and iTunes both refuse to acknowledge that the iPod is attached.

2) Try it with my other computer and switch the Firewire cable around. Nothing happens.

3) I haven't plugged it into the wall because I don't have that adapter.

So, shall I buy a new battery or go back to singing to myself on the bus? Thanks much.
posted by stet to Technology (6 answers total)
I'm not sure from your description if you tried rebooting the iPod by holding down Play and Menu at the same time for a few minutes. But maybe "the keyboard being frozen" refers to the iPod buttons. Anyway, if you haven't tried that, that would be your next tack.

Then take it to your nearest Genius Bar. They might offer to fiddle with it for you for free.
posted by bcwinters at 4:15 PM on November 2, 2004

It might be broken solder points on the FireWire connector. The link shall explain all.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:15 PM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: bcwinters: Is a Genius Bar the same as an Apple Store? And the iPod buttons are frozen and I cannot reset that way. I was sort of hoping there was a hardware reset somewhere that I don't know about.

mcwetboy: The firewire connector looks precisely like my problem. I'm going to plug in the iPod and jiggle the wire and see if that helps.

posted by stet at 4:22 PM on November 2, 2004

Note, its possible for the iPod to get locked up in a wierd configuration where it can't be reset, and it won't respond.

The only solution there is to leave it completely unplugged for several days until the battery completely flatlines.
posted by reverendX at 5:16 PM on November 2, 2004

Yes, a Genius Bar is part of some Apple stores, for questions/troubleshooting tips.

Can you borrow or buy a wall adapter? I've seen that lots of people in the Apple Support discussions have had similar problems and have solved them by recharging through AC, not just Firewire. I'd follow reverendX's advice, then recharge with a wall adapter, if possible.
posted by obloquy at 5:56 PM on November 2, 2004

Response by poster: An update for those who will later refer to this thread:

I let the battery die completely and then plugged the iPod into my computer. It mounted and everything. So I tried to restore the iPod with the iPod Updater application. It hung twice and nothing happened. So I unplugged and re-connected the iPod, manually deleted the library in iTunes and tried the update again. It still hung.

One more disconnect and reconnect and I fired up the Disk Utility and wiped the entire volume. After doing that, the iPod Updater fired up from the Disk Utility and I went for a full restoration.

That did it. The iPod seems to be fully functional now, though it hasn't been fully charged and tested as of yet. That'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Also, as part of the process, I opened the case, pulled the battery and attempted to eyeball the state of the Firewire port solder joints. I could discern no damage to them, but they are very small. It is possible that while poking around the internals, I nudged something back into functionality.

My conclusion: iPods need a hardware reset button to force them to reboot or reset.

Thanks all for your help.
posted by stet at 11:19 AM on November 4, 2004

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