Tuesday, September 25, 2007

iPod Diagnostic Mode and failure code 702

This is why Apple is pushing so hard for flash memory. Cars in particular are murder on hard drives, and we all use our iPods in vehicles.

My iPod was starting to skip a ridiculous number of songs. It would play a a minute or two then jump to the next song. It's been years since I ran diagnostics on an iPod, but the methodShop iPod Diagnostic Mode was great. Apple's help page on "song skipping" was worthless. Once you reboot (select/menu hold) and enter diagnostics (select/rewind) with the device plugged in you use the menu and previous buttons (M25 Diagnostics 0.7) to select either auto or manual diagnostics.

I ran the auto diagnostics and got a red screen (M25 Diagnostics 0.7) with Failure Code 702, 25 fails on the automatic diagnostics. I suppose one might call this the ipod "red screen of death".

Now, one would assume Apple might help with this, but the Google Search "ipod failure code 702 site:apple.com" fails. So does a search on Apple's "all documents" support site. it's not hard to find a reference on Apple's Discussions though -- so they're not censoring it completely.

I then did the manual test, HardDrive is under the initial IO menu (menus seem to vary with the newer devices). Options are HDSpecs and HDSMARTData. HDSMARTData showed no errors however! Specs, interestingly, told me my hard drive temperature, but nothing useful. The "NTF" option has more tests, but none mention the hard drive.

I'll try a "restore" tonight and retest, and if that fails I'll check my credit card's extended warrantee policy. The next option will be to look at some of the commercial drives, or see what Apple's built-in Disk Utility offers. I don't see a lot of net discussions on this topic, so it might in fact be a relatively rare problem. Just my luck ...

Update: Looks like there's a semi-radical approach I can try
  • mount iPod in disk mode and run disk utility to repair
  • do a factory reset/restore via iTunes
  • test with both OS X Disk Utility and the built-in diagnostics
  • if it still fails, reformat as HFS+ via Disk Utility and follow these restore directions.
  • if it still fails at that point it's probably toast.

Update: No, it's not likely the hard drive. The drive passed every test I threw at it, including OS X Disk Utility. I even zeroed out the entire drive, reinitialized, followed the restore directions, etc. I always get the same red screen and error message:
M25 Diagnostics 0.7
Failure code: 702 with 26 fails
I suspect it's the SDRAM, not the drive.

Update 11/9/07: It's been a few weeks since my original post, but nothing has turned up anywhere to explain this error code. On the other hand, my iPod hasn't been skipping at all, even though the test results never changed.

My best guess is that this is a count of bad sectors on the disk, but that the OS normally masks out the bad sectors. So they represent some lost capacity, but when I restored my data to the drive it went to the good sectors.

It's weird that this is genuinely undocumented, it's the sort of geeky thing that one expects to find an easy answer too.

I did receive a comment about audio problems with a 'red screen of death' test. Mine is not having those problems, it seems fine now.

Update 5/12/2009: No further problems occurred, so my above fix worked for this particular 702 problem.


Samuel Shalhoub said...

I'm having the same exact problem.. I went into apples PLAY store and they told me "buy a new one"... i was not satisfied with this.. I get Failure code 702 with 23 failures and the red screen of death, as well as no audio from either the dock port or the headphone jack.. I don't know what to do, as everything seems to work fine. Ipod in disk mode, transferring files, sync from itunes all work fine. I've restored, formatted, tested, and everything else, and still no sound...

ChuChuKo said...

hey! I'm having the same problem, my ipod skips songs for no reason, and sometimes it won't syncronize correctly :(. Could u guide me through the solution u found? I don't really know much 'bout computers and that stuff. please'?? Thanx! my mail is laliga8@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

My doesn't have the same exact problem...

Mine says ... error 702 with only 6 failures. On top of that it works perfectly fine, no skips, synchronizes perfectly, has great sound, etc.

I just wish I knew why it fails the test, just in case it is about to crash or die on me

Letitia said...

Interesting to know.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a problem with my Ipod 30Gb, it says to run the test automatic, which I did and got the M25 Diagnostics 0.7 Completed with a GREEN Screen. So I'm just assuming that's it's ok. but when I took it to the store they said that they can't help me, i need to buy another one at half price or 10% of any Mp3. S....and F...u!!! I paid $350 for a year of use, that's not cool. Can someone help me fix this problem?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, it sucks there isn't a good write up available for what all the error codes mean. I've got an ipod with the audio problems and there is so little info on fixing that, but the weirdest thing is that the error codes don't always show up.
I wish apple would at least publish some of their internal troubleshooting docs for us geeks.