AirPods have a reputation for being beyond repair, but an engineer may have an unofficial workaround. Ken Pillonel (of iPhone USB-C fame) has established an open-source repair kit for first- and second-generation AirPods. If you’re comfortable opening the case, you can make repairs (like installing a new battery) and get back to business using a 3D-printed spare. Plus, the kit will bring your AirPods into the modern era – it upgrades the charging port from Lightning to an EU-compatible USB-C connection.
Pillonel publishes the necessary 3D printing and PCB (printed circuit) files on its GitHub repository. He’s not sure about selling off-the-shelf repair kits himself, but he’s open to the possibility.
This solution is clearly not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need access to printing materials, not to mention some technical know-how. For Pillonel, however, it is worth it. In normal use, the AirPods charging case is destined to become electronic waste if it breaks or loses too much battery life. The DIY kit promises to keep your case useful for years and offers connectivity you won’t get by ordering a case from Apple.
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