Try slowly and carefully twisting the head phone plug in the jack while music is playing. If it starts coming in in a choppy manner, then you may need to a) resawder the jack down or b) get a new ipod. I'd recommend b.
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If you left it sitting in the box "for a few years"...then that's why. The battery has to be used to stimulate the "memory" of the battery. If it was charged once and never used again, then of course it is going to have a battery issue.
To return it to its normal operating state, you will have to reset iPod.
1. Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Slide it to Hold, then turn it off again.) 2. Press and hold the Menu and Center (Select) buttons simultaneously
until the Apple logo appears, about 6 to 8 seconds. You may need to
repeat this step.
flick the hold button back and forth a few times, then, making sure that it is unlocked press and hold the menu and middle button together. hold them down until it goes dark and the apple mark comes up. hope this helps?