Turn Your iPod Into a Laptop

Salvage a broken iPod to transform it into a palm-sized computing beast

by Courtesy of Owen McGarry

Courtesy of Owen McGarry

Owen McGarry's hack was ambitious: He cut his iPod in half and added a hinge to tilt the screen to a 45-degree angle. Now he can set his "iTop" on a table and watch movies, or play games running off the Linux operating system he installed.

iPod Trick of the Month:

  • With a pen knife or small screwdriver, carefully pry off the faceplate.
  • Remove the hard drive.
  • Disconnect the battery and the hold switch/headphones module. Be sure to remember where they connect. Put the back plate aside temporarily.
  • Unscrew the screen. Cut off the little parts that have screw holes--they will only make it harder to fold later.
  • Cut or break off the frame that goes around the screen. You should be able to do it with your hands.
  • Make a cut at the bottom of the black area on the back of the faceplate to allow it to fold with the screen. Carefully repeat the cut on the back plate.
  • Take the top section of the back plate and cut right below the battery and headphones. Keep all the wires safe. Now you should have a top case and a bottom case.
  • On the inside of the two faceplate parts, glue a strong wire to hold everything in position.
  • Reattach the hold switch/headphones and the battery.
  • Almost there! Check to make sure everything works.
  • Take the motherboard and screw it back onto the faceplate. Don't forget the center button.
  • Attach the bottom part of the back plate to the bottom part of the rest. It should click into place.
  • Fold the top part of the plate up and place the corresponding back plate onto it. You will have a large empty space that the backplate used to cover-try covering this in sheet metal.
  • Add a sheet metal case to protect the hard drive.
  • Install iPod linux (ipodlinux.org).

For further instructions and pics, check out McGarry's website).