At the end of this post is a summary of what I learned repairing a Kindle. Here is the whole story...
My Kindle Keyboard 3G has been working fine for more than a year. Yesterday while reading it froze. None of the buttons worked, power switch didn't work. I was able to do a soft reset, it worked for a few keypresses and froze again. Subsequent soft resets make it work for a minute then freezes. Battery is good, charges, shows green lite. I just did a factory reset during a period where it was working for 30 seconds. It rebooted and then froze again. Plugging in USB my computer can see the drive just fine and read and write files. Hmmm.
I called customer service, and they followed up with an email. Out of warranty. I'm screwed. The kindle was bought in April 2011, so it is less than 2 years old. They very nicely tell me I'm out of luck.
Your Kindle comes with a One-Year Limited Warranty against defects.
As your Kindle is outside of the One-Year Limited Warranty, I can offer you a replacement device at a reduced cost plus shipping and any applicable sales tax. Keep in mind the pricing and options available are subject to change based on availability.
The following Kindle devices are available for replacement:
Certified Refurbished Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers $74.00
Certified Refurbished Kindle Touch 3G (ATT), Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers $104.00
I understand the inconvenience caused by this situation. However, our goal is to help you get the most out of your Kindle experience.
You can read the full text of the One-Year Limited Warranty for each Kindle device here:http://www.amazon.com/kindlewarranty
In the meantime, If you'd like to access your Kindle library, our free Kindle reading applications let you read Kindle books anywhere:
I hope this helps.
I'm about to buy a new one and reward them for a product that doesn't last. First I'm going to crack it open and see if there is a loose connection to the display or battery. I don't think the battery needs replacement and that would cost me $30 to find out.
Watched an annoying video of how to open it. They basically are trying to sell you their tools.
I have a watch repair toolkit with a case knife.
Prying the case open starting from the two long edge, wedge in the case knife and pry and it pops away. Work around the edge and ignore the bad sounding pops and cracks. The back comes away without any damage, maybe a few small scratches where I started prying.
I can see the video connector. Pried it up and reseated it.
Found the reset switch. Small black button marked RESET on the board. Pushed it.
Nothing much happens. Pushed the power switch for another 20 seconds, and it rebooted again. Light glows green
Again and still, it works again for about 30 seconds. Changes pages a couple times and then freezes up again.
I thought I'd reseat the ribbon cable which I believe goes to the keyboard. I tried to lift the clamp to release the ribbon and it broke off. I've removed many of these sort of connectors before but I this one I messed up. I tried rebooting a few more times and no improvement. I can still get the keyboard to work for a few seconds so the ribbon connector is not totally hosed. I later learned on another kindle that the top gray part of the connector flips up to release the cable. However there is absolutely no need to mess with this fragile connector, it doesn't need to be removed to get the motherboard out of the unit.
The new paperwhite has a built in light. Meh, I can read on plenty of devices that glow, the trick is being able to read in daylight. What the paperwhite lacks is the ability to surf any 3G website, for free, anywhere in the world. While it was slow as death, if you wanted to read your email on the beach in Bermuda, for free, it could do that. I know because I did it. Nothing else could do that. It also had audio so you could play songs. It was the perfect travelling beach companion, the only device you needed on vacation. The new paperwhite can only surf Wikipedia and Amazon for free. Nice, but a considerable downgrade.
I'm going to make a go at fixing it. I think I just need a new motherboard. However that is clearly a guess. The display still works so I could buy one with a broken screen and swap parts.
I found this motherboard for sale:
However I'm supposed to enter the serial number to check compatibility. The serial number is accessed through the settings menu. Which I can reboot and almost get to before it freezes. Arrgh.
Thought I'd buy a broken screen Kindle from ebay. Bid on one, which I lost by $0.50, that sold for $10.55 + $6 shipping. It is a tough call to either buy the motherboard for $30, or a broken kindle for hopefully less. The broken kindle will give me a greater variety of used parts, but who knows if they work. So I'm going to keep bidding on broken ones and hopefully get one for less than $20. Ideally one that says it works except the screen is cracked.
says I can enter diagnostics mode by creating a empty text file "ENABLE_DIAGS" on the Kindle USB root. Since I can access the USB mode, I'll try it. I put a file ENABLE_DIAGS.txt and one that was just ENABLE_DIAGS with no extension.
I unplugged the USB, turned it off and on and nothing happens. I tried the 20 second power switch hold and made it reboot. SUCCESS! This is the menu that came up.
Unfortunately I can't get any of the keys to respond. That could be due to the hardware failure/freeze problem, or because I messed with the keyboard connector. In any case I can't get anything to happen. This would have told me if the battery was bad.
I also seem to have gotten myself painted in a corner. Now the DIAG comes up and the USB mode doesn't seem to work anymore. I see the drive from the computer but it says to insert the media when I click on it. I can't exit the DIAG mode because the keyboard isn't responding. And I can't delete the DIAG_MODE file because USB is blocked by the DIAG_MODE. Doh! Things are worse now than when I started.
I did find some information on telnetting into the Kindle, which appears to require jailbreaking . I don't think it will help fix the issue. To make this work, it requires the ability to put the unzipped files onto the USB connection. Which I now have lost.
Back to surfing for a broken Kindle on ebay...
When I get one I will cannibalize it to repair mine.
Bought two broken ones on Ebay for $30 total including shipping. A bit more than I wanted to pay (they came as a bundle) but I thought the odds were good I'd get the parts I need to fix mine. A new motherboard by itself costs $30 and I'm not sure that is the problem.
I probably pulled the trigger too fast. There are plenty for sale with cracked screens that they say otherwise work. After more time looking at the completed listings, looks like others have managed to buy a broken screen Kindle for $0.99! If you could pull that off you could probably make money fixing them and selling them. I feel kinda stupid, I spent way too much on the broken ones. A savvy shopper could even buy a working one for $40, so the margins are thin in this business :).
The broken kindles from ebay came. I'm disappointed. One is totally non responsive. The charging light doesn't come on, and the computer USB doesn't see it. The back looks like it has been pried off previously. The other one does show a light when charged, I can get the green light to come on briefly and a section of the screen changes. The USB connector doesn't show up on the computer though, which is discouraging. I'm trying a reset, and I do see a section of the screen respond. The green light comes on and flickers off. The computer sees something, but it won't open a file system. Not good.
I opened the non responsive one first and swapped the battery with mine. No improvement on the non responsive one, and mine is no better.
Moved my battery into the semi responsive one. Now it shows up on the computer as a Kindle and I can open the drive. A few public domain books are on it. Some progress. It still doesn't want to turn on and stay green for more than a second. My battery may be poor as well. After charging for a while it is now solid green. Some hope.
I tried moving the display connector from my working display and patching it over to one of the others. I wasn't sure I had the right connector at first. but this picture confirmed I was right. It simply pries up and then snaps back in. In this photo the display connector is the connector marked "broken".
Here are the two kindles connected. They grey one has a working screen, the white one upside down has the working motherboard.
Bingo! Life. The display changes!
Now I know what is going on. The semi responsive unit is password protected. Crap.
- Slide and release the power switch on the top of Kindle to turn on the device or exit sleep mode.
- Enter "resetmykindle" in the password field and press the enter key on the key pad.
- Wait several minutes while your Kindle restarts.