Did a few DYI upgrades that seem somewhat relevant in this neck of the woods so I figured I’d share. First up, my kids dropped their iPod Touch 4th gen which has that fancy retina display and front and rear cameras. After that, I’ll go through how to expand your Xbox slim to add extra memory at a discount.

OK, first up the iPod Touch. Turns out they shatter pretty easily, like from a two foot drop, into a lot of pieces. If you want to replace the screen you’re looking at a solid $100, but you can go to Craigslist and get a used iPod for $125 so it’s a tough call already. But I’m using this for my kids as a learning device and don’t want to drop that much money into it. Yeah, it was my fault since I should have left the case on it but there’s got to be a better way. And there is. To Amazon and welcome a replacement iPod 4th LCD and digitizer glass assembly for $25. Sounds novel, but am I capable of doing this? To the web and look up the ifixit guide and realize that it’s not a simple thing to do…but I was feeling in the mood to tinker so I bought it. This isn’t for the faint of heart. You start by taking a hair dryer to the phone to loosen the glue that keeps the screen in place and pry the screen off and ultimately need to get through two layers of internal components to get to a wire that’s on the underside of the motherboard. It’s a tedious process that you need to do carefully but three hours later and bam! It was perfect. I still can’t believe that it works and the display is a retina display and looks great. Oh and if you’re considering tools to do this, I did it with one of those eye glass screwdrivers and my Metrocard that’s a thin plastic and I used to get under the screen to start everything. Overall, it’s really a lot of steps but still worth the savings if you ask me. Once you do it it’s actually not so bad in retrospect (as I learned because I screwed up connecting that wire and had to go back in and redo it and the second time around was only about 15 minutes since everything was loosened). Again, don’t be impatient and read the instructions and go slow. It really does work. And yes, it’s now in a case like it always should have been. I’ve also learned to appreciate how much goes into the assembly of these things.

Next up is my Xbox 360. I have the Arcade version that’s a 4gb hard drive and is a slim case so if you want to increase the memory they force you into a more expensive drive. Turns out you don’t need that. GameStop was selling a refurbished 120gb hard drive for just $20 (it’s $25 now on their site). The problem is that the casing that it comes in is meant for the full sized Xbox and that hard drive won’t work on the slim (Arcade) model. After watching this video I learned just how easy it is to make it work. See, that plastic that’s all on the outside is just that – it’s a shell and nothing more. There’s three screws but they’re proprietary so just pop a screwdriver under it and pop pop pop and it’s open. As long as you don’t do anything stupid you won’t harm the hard drive because it’s inside a metal chassis on the inside.  That metal chassis holds the actual hard drive and that has a few screws that are just Phillips so unscrew those and there’s a hard drive there. OK now that it’s free go get your Xbox and unplug it. Turn it upside down and there’s a slot that you can open to drop in a hard drive. Just line it up and push it in place so it stays. It’s a drop loose because it’s too short so I took a small piece of Styrofoam and put it under the hard drive and closed the door (you can buy a case for a few bucks to fit it in but that’s contrary to everything I was doing here). Turned on the Xbox and it sees the extra memory. Really a pretty painless process.

Now both of these fit firmly into the ‘do at your own risk’ and ‘this site makes no warranties or representations about the methods discussed in this article’ type stuff. Don’t be stupid. The iPod was a challenge but the results were well worth it. The Xbox was actually pretty easy and again for that price it’s great to have the extra memory. I’ve heard that if you don’t use an Xbox hard drive that they can ban you but I’m hoping that using an Xbox hard drive (just one not meant for this model) will go unnoticed. Anyway, thought I’d pass this along. I get to tinker with software all the time but hardware tinkering has been on the back burner for too long.

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