Since I recently got an iPod dock I decided it made sense to set up one of my older iPods as a permanently docked music player. Now my 4G was bought refurbished and was always a bit wonky. I took it out and after charging it for an hour tried to play some songs. I could hear a lot of audible drive clicking and knew that wasn't a good thing. I tried to play a song, and after freezing up for a minute it began to play. I knew I needed to do a Restore, but then the next song I played resulted in a couple minutes of clicking followed by a Sad iPod.
"Damn, damn, damn," I thought. I tried charging at the wall for a longer period of time, but charging it just led to an endless logo/sad iPod cycle; every time I tried to boot it up without charging it I got the sad iPod. I tried to force Disk Mode, which has worked in similar situations in the past - no dice. I couldn't believe it was just going to give up after working, albeit poorly, minutes before. I showed it to my brother, gave him the story and then told him I was going to try "iPod Troubleshooting Step 22." I then struck the iPod against my leg four times with a fair amount of force. Next I tried the center button and magically it worked! My brother was astounded. My 4G would have been trash otherwise. Now, after a Restore, it's playing beautifully in its dock.
So, if ever you're in a desperate iPod situation, and you're ready to give up, don't forgot iPod Troubleshooting Step 22!