FrankenZune… it’s alive!

Here’s a link to an interesting story about a person who bought a used Zune 80 with a non-functional hard drive and replaced it with a solid state disk (SSD) drive. He had to do a lot of hacking to get it to fit, but it seems he accomplished his task! It’s amazing what people can hack these days.


DIY Repair for your Aging Zune

The web site, has some good prices for parts for a broken Zune. For example, a new glass front screen for a Zune 4/8/80 GB device is $19.99 US, and new battery is also $19.99 US. Very reasonable, in my opinion. They also will sell you the necessary tools for conducting surgery on your beloved Zune, as well as an instruction guide. So far, my Zune is still in pristine condition (knock on wood), but I can see possibly cracking my glass screen or needing a new battery sometime in the distant future. So if you’re a Do-it-yourself kind of person, might be your savior for keeping your trusty Zune up and running! 🙂

My faithful Zune 80 almost 1 year old!

I got my Zune 80 last December as a Christmas present, and I use it almost every night watching TV shows that I’ve recorded the previous day. So I use it for between 1-2 hours per day, and it seems to be holding up well. After having to return my Zune when the screen wouldn’t light up (after owning it about 4 weeks), everything has been smooth sailing (knock on wood!).

I suspect that at some point the battery will have a hard time holding a charge, in which case I’ll try to replace it myself with a 3rd-party battery available from the net. Hopefully, that won’t happen for another year.

I wonder if Microsoft is going to come out with any new models for Christmas?

Repairing your Broken Zune

Back in April 2008 I made a posting that talked about repairing your broken Zune after the original warranty expires. If you’re a DIY (do-it-yourself) kind of person, there wasn’t much available in parts for the newer Zune 4/8/80 GB models. Fortunately, there seems to be more available now with regards to such parts. The site called has Zune 80 parts such as a replacement battery, LCD screen, screen cover, etc. available for you DIYers. They are somewhat pricey, but it may be a good alternative to buying a whole new Zune. The RapidRepair site also provides Zune 80 parts and has several guides to opening and repairing your Zune. If you’re not the DIY type, you can always send your Zune to RapidRepair and they will fix it for you (for a fee).

Since Lithium-Ion batteries don’t last forever, I can see myself replacing my Zune 80 battery in about a year or two. In that case, it might be worth the price of a battery to fix my Zune rather than buying a whole new device.

Budget Computer Upgrades

I’ve noticed that most pre-teens have desktop computers that were old hand-me-downs from their parents or relatives. Usually someone in a person’s extended family likes to upgrade their computer every year or two, so there’s always an older computer available for someone’s kid. In my case, I usually give my older computer to my father-in-law who welcomes something that’s a bit faster than what he currently has.

Recently, my niece has been trying to install her Webkinz and Barbie software on her ancient Windows 2000 OS machine without any luck. It seems that most software these days require at least Windows XP, so her computer is getting really too old. She also has trouble browsing certain web site that require special Flash plugins, and the older hardware (slow disk drive, minimal memory, etc.) isn’t helping much. Unfortunately, her parents can’t afford to buy or upgrade her computer, so my wife and I decided to help out. Continue reading

My Zune is back from the Repair Center!

After waiting 18 days, my Zune 80 has finally returned from the Repair Center in Texas. It arrived via FedEx Ground in the same small cardboard box that I was given for the return. Inside, was a well-protected Zune surrounded by fitted foam and a small brown Zune pouch. Also included was a form letter indicating that the repair center replace my unit (instead of fixing it). I’ve scanned this letter and have made it available below:

The replacement Zune looked in pristine condition (just like my original Zune that I sent in), and I verified that it was a different unit by the serial number on the back. So, I couldn’t tell if it was a brand new unit or a refurbished one.

In any case, I began the procedure of upgrading to the latest OS version, followed by removing all the pre-installed audio, video, and podcast files. The next step, was to sync my picture, audio, video, and podcast files to my new Zune (which took all day). As it turned out, my video sync folder had been accumulating new video files from the 18 days of TV show recordings, so I needed to pare it down to fit on my 80 GB Zune.

So far, everything seems to be working ok. I have to admit, it took me about 5 minutes to relearn how all the menus worked on the Zune (I guess I’m getting old), but I seem to be back in business. It sure is nice to have my Zune back, and hopefully I won’t need to send it in for repairs soon!

Because of this experience, it really makes me wonder how fragile the Zune 80 is. Would I have purchased a Zune 80 if I knew it would be prone to failure so easily? Probably not. But then again, where could you buy a large screen video player device with 80 GB of storage space for the price of the Zune 80?

Replacement Zune is on it’s way…

I just checked the web page and found that my replacement Zune is on it’s way back, due to arrive via ground FedEx on next Friday. So, here’s the timline for my warranty repair of my Zune:

  1. Called and opened a repair ticket. Received a FedEx box for returning my Zune (6 days).
  2. Overnight delivery of Zune to Repair Center (1 Day).
  3. Repair center repairs my Zune (6 days).
  4. Zune is sent ground FedEx from Texas to Seattle (5 days (estimate)).

So it seems that from the day I called the repair center to when I got my fixed Zune would be 18 days. What I don’t understand, is that they send a return box that has overnight delivery, but they ship the repaired Zune via ground which takes 5 days.

In any case, I’m crossing my fingers that my replacement unit doesn’t have the typical issues that plagued other Zune users (e.g., dust and fingerprints under the screen, low battery life, constant rebooting, scratches and damage, etc.).