This instructable now covers version 1.2 of the kit as well. Version 1.1 and older have green PCBs, and the version 1.2 is all white. The only major difference in 1.2 is the R5 resistor placement. Step four on resistors has more information about it. Other than that, you can follow the further directions without worry.
Also, if you do have a v1.1, there's a slight modification to make it work with new iPods. In version 1.2, the modification is simplified.
You can buy the v1.2 kit at the MAKE store.
This kit is great for soldering beginners. To learn the basics of soldering check out this great guide by noahw. Also, here's a good video tutorial from the MAKE blog.
Step 1: What you get and what you need.
What you get with the kit:
1 x IC1 MAX746 with Socket
2 x C2, C3 Power Supply Capacitor
2 x C1, C4 Bypass Capacitor
2 x R4, R5 10k .25W Resistor
1 x D1 Schottky Diode
1 x L1 Power Inductor
1 x X1 USB Female Jack
1 x Battery Holder
1 x PCB
What components you'll need:
2 AA batteries
What tools you'll need.
Rosin core, 60/40 solder
Soldering Iron hopefully with a pencil-like tip
A vice to hold up the PCB
(You can get all this stuff really cheap at http://www.all-spec.com/ or http://www.allelectronics.com/)
Step 2: Capacitors, Diodes
The blue capacitors have a stripe that needs to be in the same direction as the stripe on the PCB. You can also follow the + on the board. The longer leg of the capacitor is positive.
The diode has a stripe on it too, and it too needs to align with the printed stripe on the PCB. There's a super up-close picture to help.
Stick those components in, and bend the tail wires around the back a little so they don't fall out when you turn the board over.
Solder them in nicely and snip the excess tails.
Step 3: More components
Again, put the components in the board, bend the wires back a little, solder, and cut the excess wires.
Step 4: Resistors & A Special Note.
The designer suggests putting the resistor in the "pullup" position (last photo) for best compatibility. However, if that doesn't work you can always clip the wire and try the "pulldown" position.
Bend the resistors as shown in the first image, and stick them into their tight spots, R4, R5. Follow the soldering procedure used in the other steps. Remember, follow the R5 pullup position first especially if you have a newer iPod (this was written in Spring 2007).
NOTE for V1.1: If you have a new MP3 player like the iPod nano 2G (small metallic), Shuffle 2G (metal clip), Zune player, or if you are not getting your device to charge when you're finished constructing this, you'll need to modify the component lay out a bit.
It's pretty simple actually. One leg of the R5 resistor can be soldered to the + power contact. See the last images for details.
Step 5: USB and IC.
"To stabilize the USB-B connector, I would recommend that the "clips" be soldered into place as well. I've too often seen connectors, without the shield soldered down, work their way loose and cause bad connections."
After that, follow with the IC socket, which needs to line up with the U on the PCB. See the picture for detail, and this same rule applies to the IC itself, which also has a little U drawn on it.
Step 6: Power Source
RED = +
BLACK = -
Again, follow the images. Almost done!
Remember that if you need to modify this to work with newer players, you should attach that R5 resistor now, too.
Step 7: Test It.
There's a simple test to make sure it works. Ladyada explains it in detail in the older instructable.
The basics are:
get a multimeter
set it to test voltage (V with straight lines)
touch two contacts on the USB jack.
The readout should be 5V. Check the image below. You'll need to push the contacts with some force.