Take for example, my 9 year-old son. He goes into an Apple store one time and he walks out with the idea that he can NO LONGER SURVIVE without an iPod. (Yes, I've denied him an iPod for 9 years - do not report me to Child Protective Services) In particular, a fourth-generation iPod Touch with an 8 Gigabyte capacity.
Rather than just whip out the credit-card and fork over my 1's and 0's to Apple, I start Google.
Did you know there's an ENORMOUS supply of broken fourth-generation iPod Touches with an 8 Gigabyte capacity on eBay? Neither did I.
But, my son deserves better than broken. So I asked myself the next illogical question:
"How difficult is it to fix one of these things?"
I asked this not only for financial reasons, but for extending the Return-On-Investment for this item - because if it broke once, chances are, my son will break it again.
This produced quite a few results on YouTube - two videos in particular were shot in very high quality with excellent narrative detail. I had the knowledge, now I need to acquire the items.
Back to eBay to monitor auctions for about a week. I was hunting for:
An iPod Touch that still functioned but with a shattered digitizer. Unit needs to power on, have both cameras working, seen by iTunes, have external and headphone sound, and wifi.
A replacement digitizer glass
A replacement LCD - even though the LCD was fine on the iPod, the digitizer is glued to the LCD at the factory and popular opinion is that if you're replacing one, you're replacing both.
USB cable for charging and connecting. Earbuds were optional.
I also had a price-threshold that I had to stay under. A new iPod Touch sells for $210 at Best Buy. A seller-refurbished (i.e. one that has been fixed by non-Apple) Touch sells for $160.
I was able to get everything for $124.
Now, to make it really profitable, I had to actually fix the thing. The iPod Touch has a lot of fragile ribbon cables (no, you can't solder them back together if something should go wrong) and a LOT of rubber cement. That was the most-surprising thing about this project - the thing is glued together. Whatever works and is cheap, I suppose.
(I left the plastic screen protectors on - I'll let my son peel them off)
Final words of advice: eBay is FULL of people who will overpay for the items you're interested in, so I suggest just using the Buy-It-Now auctions. Also, "Slight Water Damage" usually means it was dropped in a toilet.
My 5 year-old daughter now wants one for herself. See you on eBay!