In this Instructable, I'll be showing you how to easily open up an ipod mini without scratching or messing up the top and bottom, and upgrade the battery and the drive.
Thanks to geek technique for inspiration, they do have instructions, but not an example of if a 32 gig card would would work, and indeed it does.
Step 1: So You Have an Ipod Mini...
So you have an Ipod mini. or you found one online for cheap, I got mine used for $60, great now its time to tear into it. Order yourself a 32 gig compact flash card, and a new replacement or upgrade battery, both can be found on amazon. Typically the batteries will come with cheap tools (usually a small flathead and phillips screwdriver, both still useful to us here)
Step 2: Get It Open Without a Scratch
To get inside of your mini, you'll need to remove the white plastic pieces from the top and bottom, they are glued on, and a bit difficult to remove. Typically people pry them up with a thin screwdriver, but at best you make a small mark anyway.
To do this, we're going to use hot glue as a 'handle' to get ahold of the plastic without damaging it. Sometimes a little dot of glue applied and let cure is enough, sometimes you have to glue something down to the piece to use as a handle.
For me the bottom was easiest, add a dab of glue, let it cool, pry it up gently, and put a screwdriver under the plastic to keep it up.
Also, I would be careful with a high temp glue gun, they may or may not melt or distort the plastic, I didnt try, and high on one gun may be a lot higher then another, so dont say you weren't warned if a high temp glue gun melts your ipod and eats your first born.
For the top, I had to glue a screwdriver down to the plastic piece and use that to lift off the cover.
Step 3: Free Up the Motherboard
Now that you got the covers off, time to free up the motherboard so you can get it out..
There are only 2 screws holding it in, but you'll need to disconnect the touch wheel before you can pull it out.
Take out the two screws on the top, and use some small screwdrivers to work on getting the on the bottom out. The clip has 4 holes, that are smaller then they could be...
I prefer to use a small phillips head to bend the arm of the clip in, and then use a flathead at the same time ot lift the arm up and out of its groove. Pop out one arm, then the one closest to it. Then do a 3rd on on the far side, and the clip should come right out.
Make sure you are cautious of whats behind the spring clip as youre getting it out (the dock connector and the fragile connector for the touchwheel).
Take your flathead and gently pry up the connector, till it slides apart.
Step 4: Gut It.
The motherboard, display, battery, drive, and the daughterboard which plugs into the motherboard all slide out to the top. Push it out from the bottom to get it started, and grab the mobo by the sides to slide it out the rest of the way.
This ipod had a stock (I believe) battery and a 4 gig seagate microdrive.
Step 5: Upgrade
The battery just unplugs and plugs in, the connector isn't horribly fragile, so just unplug the old on and plug in your new battery. I wouldn't put it in place yet however.
The connector for the microdrive however, is quite fragile, or at least the flex pcb running to it is. Take a screwdriver, and very gently find the seam between the microdrive, and the connector and slide the two apart.
The flex PCB coming from the connector comes out the top, and does a 180 back down to the motherboard, I'd be very cautious about messing with it. When you're pushing in the new compact flash drive, use 2 hand on the edge as opposed to one hand in the center.
Fold your new batter back over to where it belongs, and make sure to tuck the wires out of the way.
Step 6: Put It Back Together.
Now that youve upgraded, put the ipod back together, start to carefully slide the motherboard into the case. There is a lip in the case, the circuit board for the wheel goes above this lip, the motherboard does not!.
If there is any dust on the inside of the screen cover, or on the screen itself, now is the time to clean it off.
The motherboard slides in under the lip, back to its original position. Dont force the motheboard in, because it can get caugt on the side of the touchwheel circuit board, and if you rip some components off the board, chances are you're boned.
If your motherboard is caught at that first row of components, try rotating it slightly so that the bottom edge of the board is pushed more towards the back of the ipod. The squishy foam/metal thing on the bottom likes to push the mobo upwards, making it harder to assemble.
Once your board is back in, put the screws back, re-attach the click wheel, and put the clip and plastic covers back on.
Step 7: Almost There...
But not quite...
You just put a new blank drive into your ipod, so its kind of lost since it just got its memory wiped.
go to apple and download itunes and install it, and then plug in your ipod.
itunes should realize you ipod is not amused at the moment and let you know you need to fix it.
Restore it to factory settings, and congrats, just like new from the factory.
Now uninstall itunes and use winamp or something better to manage your ipod.
Dont forget to charge your new battery all the way.
BrianG186 made it!