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Friday, January 18, 2013

Paperwhite Kindle Cover, How to add a magnet to wake

This post is about how upgrade a cheap case to enable the automatic on feature of the paperwhite Kindle.

As the previous post described, my Kindle broke and I bought a Kindle paperwhite 3G.   Since my previous Kindle screen broke the second day I had it (that time warranty covered it), I learned that the screens are very fragile and you need to keep it in a case.

Already smarting from the price of the Kindle, I didn't want to pay $40 for an "official" case.   I bought the $12 one below instead.   Which would you buy?  BTW the $12 one is very nice, I'd recommend it.

OK finally to the only interesting thing in this post.   The big difference to me between the $40 and the $12 cover was the magnet in it that automatically unlocks the Kindle when you open the cover.   I first thought, who cares, but the power button is awkward to find and push each time.   I had read about it as a feature so I experimented to figure out how it worked.

I cut out a section of a sheet magnet that was from a file cabinet label.  Probably could have used any refrigerator magnet.   Here is an example of the type I used.  I didn't buy this exact one, I used a magnet that was lying around.  

I moved the magnet around and discovered that the region in the lower right of the Kindle is where the magnet sensor is.   If you put the magnet in that area, then lift it away quickly, the Kindle will unlock as if you pushed the power button.  Note the blue circles in the photo.   A magnet placed in the lower left folds over on top of the region in the lower right and activates the sensor.

Locations of the magnet and magnet sensor in the Kindle cover

With the magnet in place, when you open the cover, the Kindle acts as if you pushed the power button.  You still have to swipe to unlock the screen but that is much easier and natural than fumbling around for the power switch on the bottom.

You may have to experiment a bit to find a good magnet.  However at first it didn't seem to be working when I was doing it by hand, but in the case it worked much better.  The motion of opening the case seems to be important.

I used double stick tape and cut a section of sheet magnet and put it in the lower left of the case cover.  When it folds it lays on top of the lower right of the Kindle.

I've been using the case this way, with the bit of magnet double stick taped in the corner of the case for a few weeks now, and it has been fine.  Every time I have opened the case the Kindle wakes up.   The extra depth of the magnet in that corner isn't hurting anything.

For a more permanent solution is you could hot glue a button magnet or cut a recessed hole.   You can scrounge these sort of magnets off the back of refrigerator magnets, but here are some tiny ones for a couple bucks.