Mod Your 5G Video IPod With Internal Bluetooth




About: Hello, my name is Eddie. I'm one of those people that can't leave well enough alone so I'll inevitably take things apart and modify them to suit my needs. As evidenced from my Instructables, I've been int...

Here's the long awaited 5G Video version of my iPod BT Mod! If you're tired of the headphone cord? We've all seen iPods die an early death because someone got their cord tangled up while on the treadmill or something and the iPod goes flying!

Sure you can buy a $50 BT adapter and plug it into the dock connector. But what if you wanted an integrated, OEM-like solution? Something that on the outside would look like it came from the factory, like Apple should have done?

Follow along and don't forget to check for more details and info on other iPod hacks!

You might also want to check out my first iPod BT Instructablebefore you start on this one.

For Sale on eBay! I'm selling one of these babies on eBay so if you don't want to build your own, here's your chance to own it! Click Here for Link

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Ideally, you will need the following items:

Small Phillips Driver
Small Flat Screw Driver
Plastic iPod Opening Tool
One or two 3mm LEDs
Xacto Knife or Razor Blade
Compact Flash to 1.8" ZIF IDE adapter. Get it from Tarkan
Fully ATA compatible Compact Flash Card (2Gb min). I've had good luck with Transcend, Sandisk and Adata but others may work as well.
5th Generation iPod Video. If you use an iPod with a bad drive, just make sure that the unit is otherwise fully functional.
Drill and small drill bit (optional)
Bluetooth headphones (A2DP)
Universal Bluetooth Adapter*

Step 2: Opening Your IPod


Before you get started, know that there is a good chance that you will completely brick your iPod if you don't know what you're doing! Make sure you are comfortable with the complete disassembly of your iPod. Don't come crying to me when you screw up and break it!

Although this is a "how to", you still need to figure out a few things on your own. If you are not comfortable with complex electronics, don't try this!

Moving on:

There are literally hundreds of DIY guides and tutorials on how to properly open up your iPod, so I won't go into it here. I will assume that if you're actually willing to do this hack to your iPod you already know or can easily figure out how to open it up. Just use a plastic tool and take your time.

Be careful, when you finally pry it open the two halves will still be connected via the battery ribbon cable. Disconnect the battery ribbon cable as shown as well as the the headphone jack cable and separate the two halves.

Step 3: Replacing the Hard Drive

If you have not yet changed out your HD with Flash, you can check HERE for instructions to do so.

You can still perform the mod with a 30GB HD, but you will need to use the larger 60/80 GB back cover to allow room for the BT adapter.

As for the CF card itself, you can use any size card from 2GB to 32GB depending on your budget. Remember, it must be fully ATA compliant. I've had good luck with Transcend, Sandisk and Adata but others may work as well.

Anyway, install the card into the adapter but don't install it into the iPod yet.

Step 4: Disassembly

Note: If you want to add a status LED to your project, you will have to continue to completely disassemble your iPod.

Remove the six screws holding the plastic front panel from the metal frame and pull apart.

Remove the logic board from the frame. Be careful with all the sticky tape and be extra careful removing the ground "strap" that wraps around the top of the frame.

Pick a spot along the center rail of the frame and drill a hole just large enough for your 3mm LED. It will hep to use a center punch and a high-speed drill with a sharp bit to do this.

Yes, this will cause your CF assembly to stick up but there should still be enough room in the case. If you kept your HD, then good luck...

Step 5: Preparing the Bluetooth Module

There have been a lot of questions regarding the type of Bluetooth module used in this mod. Just about any universal module will work, some will be easier than others to wire up. Don't use a dock-based module, finding the correct connections in it will be extremely difficult.

Unlike my 4th Gen BT hack, here I used an older module from Billionton mainly due to its small size. Another difference between the two is that in the Jabra and others like it, you will need to either pair it before you close up the case or allow for a way to access the module's switch.

Prepare the BT module as shown and solder the power and audio terminals to the appropriate locations on the ipod. If you want a status LED, you'll want to solder leads to the SMT LED pads so that you can route your LED to the frame.

Notice that you will likely need to flatten the "bubble" part of the LED to make it fit into the frame without sticking out too much.

Step 6: Reassembly

Once you have wired up the BT module, install the CF adapter. Carefuly thread the BT power, ground, LED and audio leads around the CF adapter and position it as shown. Use a little bit of tape to keep things in place. You might also want to glue down your wires so they don't break off.

The kind of wire you use also makes a big difference. If the wires are too large, you will have trouble closing the case. I used wire wrap wire the first time around but found it was too fragile and kept having to repair broken connections. 28g or 30g "soft" wire works best.

Step 7: Test & Restore

Carefully put the iPod pieces back together but don't snap closed just yet.

Plug your iPod into the PC using the dock connector. If iTunes does not automatically open up, do so now.

If you're also installing a CF card, iTunes should recognize your iPod and will give you the option to restore the iPod to its original settings. Click OK and wait for it to finish. The pictures below show you what to expect during the restore process.

If you're keeping your HD or have already gone through the restore process, go ahead and test out the BT functionality: Turn on your headphones and set to pairing mode. Turn on your iPod, make sure the LED status light is on. Play a song on the iPod and pair with the headphones. The pairing process will be different for different modules, so see your BT module manual for specifics on this.

Step 8: FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I've received about this hack:

Can I transfer songs wirelessly to my PC using this mod?

Can I control my iPod from my headphones?

How much will it cost?

Will you do the mod for me? I'm willing to pay big bucks.

Do you sell iPods already modified?

Please visit for answers and more information on this and other iPod hacks.

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70 Discussions


1 year ago

I know it's been a bit - you don't happen to still make these, do you? Have an 80GB classic I'd love to have this done with or exchange for a modded model plus cash!


6 years ago on Introduction

I'm looking into doing this mod, however, I do admit that I'm a dunce with soldering connections. If anyone can help update this mod, or post an instructable that has all the instructions, please message me if you have managed to upload it. Thank you


Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

It all depends on the module you use but yes, it will use up more of your battery. I recharge mine pretty much everyday so it doesn't really matter to me. However, keep in mind that if you change out your HD for flash, you'll be gaining battery life there.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

and if you are using CF you should have the room for a hi cap LI POLY battery from the 4g series. Which would give you about a 370% increase in battery life + CF = 400%.


8 years ago on Step 5

do you still remember the model number of this bluetooth module?


8 years ago on Step 6

look at the last slide before this there are three. the blue wire is audio ground.


9 years ago on Introduction

Everything you need, is here people


11 years ago on Introduction

my broter puled my clam shel ipod shuffle out while sinking and killed it i got it to work againand i hate the updated firmware

1 reply

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

The ground goes to the frame doesn't it always? As far as the actual DC+ all you need is a multimeter, a new battery in your ipod, and some patience.


9 years ago on Introduction

Can you please tell me where the power and ground go to? I have my board all wired up, have completed the flash card upgrade, just finished tribooting IPL, RockBox and the Original FW. All I need now is to know where to solder the power and ground because I can't find my multimeter anywhere and really don't have the money to go spend $30+ on a new one.


10 years ago on Step 8

where does the ground for the audio go to on the ipod? and where do the ground and power go to on the ipod that were on the top right of the bluetooth mb?

2 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Step 8

I second this request. This guide is useless because it leaves out these 2 critical steps. They show you disassembly, reassembly, but leave out where you actually solder the bluetooth power and audio wires. PLEASE FIX THIS GUIDE. IT IS USELESS IN IT'S CURRENT STATE!!


Reply 9 years ago on Step 8

No need for insults, this instructable is not useless, tons of people have successfully modded their ipods with this guide. 

As for the power & ground, it was left out on purpose.  If you can't figure out where to solder these two then you probably shouldn't be doing it...


9 years ago on Introduction

 does this enable you to sync with your computer via BT?


Hey, I am looking at modding either a 5G or 4G ipod with the compactflash internal ssd and then adding a FM transmitter. My problem is though that I can not find the internal voltage that the ipod runs on anywhere on the internet. I need this because as I have the larger version of both these ipods I wish to add an internal fm transmitter (belkin tunecast 1 or equivalent) for use in the car. I know that most electronic devices run at 5v and was wondering if the ipod has a dc-dc transformer in it to transfer the voltage from the 3.7v lithium cell. Am I right to assume that the dc-dc converter only turn on when the ipod is on? If so I will just use a voltage divider to supply my 3v input for the FM transmitter. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Robert Springer