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iamjames like the title says, I'm James
After my last article about the Nike+iPod dying and the poor support I received from Apple I decided to try and fix it myself instead of spending $30 to mail it back to Apple just to replace a $2 battery.  So here's my attempt at how to replace the Nike+iPod battery.

Because of the size and number of these images I decided to host them elsewhere. 

I cut it open with a dremel, but the sensor is really tight inside of the plastic case so it's impossible to cut around the plastic without accidently touching the circuit board inside.  You can see in this photo I touched the bottom left and right of the board with the dremel but it doesn't seem to have hurt anything.

Well I got it back together with the new battery...
...and it still says it's dying, but the sensor worked and didn't die.

So I decided to take it out for a run and here's the results:

It worked, but after a few minutes it would just suddenly drop out, reporting that I had slowed to a snails pace, then it would come back, then it would slow... the sensor no longer detected speed accurately.  I stopped using it at that point and finished my run.

So that's it, it's dead.  Time to spend $30 for something that last ~35 hours.

But I decided to see what life was like without the Nike+iPod before spending more $$$.  It took a few glances at my iPod during my next run before I remembered it no longer told me my pace, and after a mile I could finally just enjoy the run and not keep checking to see how I was doing.  I slowed down a bit because I was no longer worried about running faster so I could upload low times.  A slower pace allowed me to run longer, and over the next few weeks I ran further and further, running 5 and 6 miles at a time.  The furthest I ever completed in the 18 months with the Nike+iPod was ~4 miles. 

Without the the Nike+iPod I no longer had to use iPod Nanos, I was free to choose any mp3 I wanted.  I found my old iPod Mini, my favorite mp3 player of all, because it fully supports iTunes and it's easy to dismantle, allowing for battery replacement and even upgrading the drive to 137gb.  If it happens to break they're also dirt cheap, very easy to find for $30-$50 on eBay in good condition. 

I'm also free to purchase a Zune which I've been eyeing for awhile but they haven't had any "must have" features yet.  Only feature I do like about the Zunes is wireless sync, the ability to select the songs I want on the PC and it'll transfer to the Zune whenever it's charging.  That means I can leave the Zune in my car charging and it'll always have the latest info.  Very nice feature.

I guess without the Nike+iPod I no longer need the special Nike+ shoes.  Of course I'll wear them until they wear out, but my next pair of shoes will not be $80 like these were.

Amazing how much $$$$$$$ Nike and Apple got from me with one little $30 device.  The $30 Nike+iPod force me into purchasing a Nano (I used the Mini before buying the Nike+iPod) and strongly encouraged the purchase of Nike+ running shoes.  Without it I'm no longer locked in.  If the battery had been replaceable I would have probably continued to buy Nanos and Nike shoes. 

And it's funny that it was so easy to stop using the Nike+iPod.  Now days it seems every manufacture wants to build a community of users so if you stop using their product you feel like you're being left out.  Like if I were to delete my Facebook or Myspace accounts I would really miss my friends.  For some reason Nike+iPod didn't do that with their site, there's no community there.  Sure there's a few races you can join, but there's no way to find friends using the site or local runners who share my affinity for running.  It doesn't link with Myspace or Facebook or Gmail or any social network.  Had it done that and if I found out some of my friends also used the Nike+iPod I would have probably been more inclined to keep the device. 

I've also started looking around for similar devices.  The Garmin Forerunner 50 is high on the short list of competitors.  It's a watch that measures distance using a foot pod that attaches to your shoelaces.  The foot pod uses a AAA battery that lasts 70 hours and is completely replaceable.  Unfortunately the watch is ~$60 and the foot pod is another $80, so you're looking at $140 just to be able to replace the battery, but there are some deals out there:  Woot had the watch + foot pod for $50 fall 2008.  It's not just about replacing the battery either, it's the insult I felt from Apple and Nike that I had been deceived, tricked into spending $30 on a something that's suppose to last 1,000 hours and then, when it failed after just 36 hours, I have to pay to have them replace it.  Talk about adding insult to injury, and I'm suppose to hand them more $?

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2009 5:18 AM | Back to top

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