I will admit this information is coming a bit late, but perhaps
it will still benefit someone.
Several years ago I had a friend bring me his 5th gen iPod to
look at. The unit worked in every way, but nothing could be heard
from the headphones unless the connection was held in just the
right spot. It sounded like a classic case of a broken solder
joint, so I set my iron to heating and opened the iPod.
Once inside though I realized it wasn't quite that simple. Unlike
older iPods this one had the headphone jack attached to a flex
cable. And closer examination revealed that the headphone jack
itself was still firmly attached. That meant the flex cable itself
must be the problem.
If you look at the cable right behind the jack (In
the lower right corner) you'll see a black box and a "wing"
covered in components. It's this area that caught my attention.
You can't see it here, but when the iPod is assembled that wing
is folded 90 degrees to make room for the battery. That means
that any force applied to the headphone jack (Such as your pocket
pushing on the headphone's connector) causes the cable to flex
a tiny bit at the fold. Over time this constant wiggling breaks
down the narrow traces of the flex cable and the jack becomes
intermittant. A quick check with my multimeter confirmed that
one of the traces in the fold was no longer reliable.
The obvious solution here would be to replace the
entire headphone cable assembly, but when have I gone the obvious
route? That would have meant a 2 week wait for the new part to
come in the mail at a cost of $15, and the same flaw would be
present in the new cable. Instead I grabbed my now hot iron and
set about repairing the existing cable.
Flex cables are extremely difficult to work with.
The plastic will happily melt if you bring an iron near it. So
rather than trying to patch over the break in the cable, I bypassed
it entirely. All I had to do was visually follow the trace in
question and solder a tiny wire from the components at either
end of it.
After testing that the jack was working properly
I applied some epoxy to the fold and held it in place until it
hardened. This ensured that the flex cable would never get wiggled
again, as it was now held away from the battery in the fully folded
position. Years later the fix is still holding.
I imagine a lot of you will be put off by the idea
of such delicate soldering. I can't blame you, it was pretty tricky.
But perhaps some of you still have a working 5G that you're planning
to open up and replace the battery in. If that's the case I strongly
urge you to apply a bit of epoxy to the headphone cable while
you're in there so you can avoid the soldering job entirely. The
same goes for people who have bought replacement headphone assemblies
Page created August 1st 2010
The Sansa is still a better