After reading the documented process of adding internal bluetooth to the 4G and the 5G iPods by Fstedie I went about figuring out how to get it to work for the 2G Mini. The final result is a completely unaltered looking Mini that has A2DP stereo bluetooth. The stock headphone jack continues to work as normal, however the left channel on the bluetooth headphones gets disconnected while a wired headphone is being used.
This bluetooth adapter. Since this link will probably be dead relatively soon it might pose a problem for those of you trying to do this mod; the item is listed as a generic bluetooth adapter but in the manual it is revealed to be the BTAV101 manufactured by Flaircomm.
A few lengths of thin wire. I harvested my wires from an old parallel cable.
So, let's get on with it.
UPDATE:- After getting it all together and trying it out it turns out that the mini's case doesn't allow the transmitter to work nearly as far as it normally would. Extending the antenna out of the case doesn't help. It works up to about 6 feet when out of my pocket but it starts getting choppy while in my right pocket. Not sure what's causing the interference in my pocket, but the problem disappears while in my left pocket.
Step 1: Breaking It Down
So this is pretty straightforward. We need to get everything down bare so we can work with it. For the 2G iPod Mini the tear down is relatively easy. The guys over at ifixit.com have a great guide on how to get it down to where we need it. As for the bluetooth dongle, all we need to do is slide a flathead into the crack between the two halves and GENTLY pry it open. We dont want to stab right through it and risk damaging any of the internals. Unfortunately I'm writing this post teardown so I don't have any pictures but it's dead easy. The usb port on the adapter is too big to fit into the iPod and needs to be removed, I removed it by gently prying it off with a pair of pliers.
Step 2: Preparing the Boards.
Once you've got everything torn down we need to locate all the points we're going to want to solder. We'll start with the bluetooth adapter since it has everything labeled on the board itself which makes this step incredibly simple. The iPod...not so much.
We're going to want to desolder the connections for the battery and for the 3.5mm pigtail. Remember that the red cable matches the solder point labeled "bat". Once everything has been desoldered you should be left with just the board for the adapter. Lucky for us, the adapter and iPod both have 3.7V batteries, making it an easy swap.
The solder points for the iPod Mini are on the top portion on the rear side. Just below the headphone jack. I found it easier to work with this by removing this portion from the rest of the board. There is only one connecter holding this portion to the board. If you gently lift it up from its center it should come away with no problems.
Step 3: Soldering.
Now we solder the connections.
I started with the adapter. The pad labeled "bat" on the adapter has to tap into the red wire on the iPod's battery. The "gnd" pad taps into the black wire. I tapped the connections by coating some wire with solder to make it stiffer, I then inserted the wire into the corresponding port on the white battery connector right beside the original wire. Then to prevent these wires from falling out, I covered the connections with Titan brand glue. The reason I use Titan brand is because it is horrible glue. Really. Even a week after "drying" it's still gooey and can be easily pulled off, this is great if you're waiting for a new high capacity battery to arrive from ebay but can't wait to mod your Mini. I can only find Titan in dollar stores and some convenience stores.
The pads on the adapter labeled "R.line", "GN", and "L.line" get soldered onto the corresponding pads on the iPod Mini. Like I said, I found it a lot easier to separate the headphone portion from the rest of the iPod before soldering it. I coated these connections with glue as well just to prevent any shorting if my horrible soldering didn't prevent the cable from coming loose.
Step 4: Pray. Reassemble. Repeat If Necessary.
Once this is done we can fire it up and try it out. Due to the lack of documentation, it took me awhile to figure out how to pair my headphones to this contraption. The provided manual says that if the blue led blinks 3 times every 5 seconds then it is in pairing mode. This is untrue. You have to hold down the gold pad (button) until the red and blue leds flash. Then put your bluetooth headphones into pairing mode. The two devices should find each other and negotiate a connection by themselves. The adapter will alternate flashing 3 times every 5 seconds and 1 time every 3 seconds for no good reason. This is apparently normal.
Now we put everything back together and we're done. The bluetooth adapter fits nicely on top of my CF card and is still shorter than the battery. I used a piece of electrical tape to hold it in while I was putting it back into the case.