What’s in a… Kindle e-reader?


A Kindle on the edge… of being binned

Well, it’s a New Year, so what better time to peek into some useful device for no other reason than it was already broken when I picked up, honest? After the unqualified success of my last “What’s in a…” post, I thought I would try do it again, with something different.

Before the end of 2015, actually quite a way before, my lovely Kindle lost its own plot as well as those of the books stored on it. I suspect that the poor device knew what was in the pipeline – I discovered it had stopped working when I was about load onto it a copy of my NaNoWriMo efforts, “The Xylophone at the Gates of Dawn”. Personally, I would not have been offended if it had just said “No, please don’t make me store that rubbish in my brain”. However, my Kindle chose quietly to stop working. The charging light would only stay on for about twelve seconds (okay, exactly twelve seconds) before switching off. I am sure there is a little emoticon chappy that represents me going “harrumph”, but I haven’t found it yet.


Cover removed with a handy plectrum

Taking one of these things apart is actually quite easy as long as you remember to be gentle, to treat your Kindle kindly. The many plastic lug things that hold the case together can be eased apart with nothing stronger than a piece of plastic, rather than a metal screwdriver.* Personally, I use whatever was lying around – in this case, a guitar plectrum (my workbench is surrounded by guitars and broken dreams, so it wasn’t that surprising a choice). I have previously replaced the broken screen of niece-of-snail a year ago when she sat on her Kindle (probably) and learnt then that plastic beats metal at this task. There are also twenty tiny screws to remove – not so bad when you consider that the newer Kindle Paperwhite devices are simply glued to the screen so completely impossible to separate and thus to fix. Shame on you Amazon!


The battery and, below it, the 3G module. The bits shrouded in metal contain magic. Or possibly cheese.

My immediate thought was that the thin internal battery was finally too flat, electrically speaking, too far gone to be charged. I bought another but this, alas, failed to fix the problem. By jury-rigging a power supply where the battery goes, I tried to persuade the book-filled flat e-reader** to start up, which it sort of tried to then didn’t.


The back of a screen that has cracked up


What makes up the keyboard

It looked as if there was a component on the circuit board that had given up the ghost. Sadly, you can’t really fix a circuit board as found in modern devices – all-in-one with a few surface mount components. This kind of computing power has come at a price – fixability is zero. The only thing to do is to replace the whole board and then salvage any components you can for making up your own stuff.

So, I bought an old Kindle off e-Bay which was described as having a broken screen. Unfortunately, it too suffered from the 12 second charging light symptom as well and so behaved exactly the same way when I attached my presumed working screen. Perhaps my screen is broken too?

Oh well, back to the drawing board, a board lost under the mountain rubbish, er, useful things on my workbench (a wiring loom for a stuffed VW camper van doesn’t just make itself – it requires a whole mess of its own). I haven’t given up just yet though, as I want to see if my Kindle’s brain is still saying “hello” when it is powered up. If not, well, I’ll acquire a cheap second-hand screen and see if that works with the original circuit board. Or I’ll just stop reading e-books…

RIMG2459 - Copy

Still hovering close to the edge of landfill


* …or a hammer and chisel.

** If you can think of something to go there that makes sense and rhymes with ‘puss’, do let me know.

Categories: NaNoWriMo, repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “What’s in a… Kindle e-reader?

  1. coppicelearner

    Well done for trying! It bugs me that so many things can no longer be repaired easily by a local person. But require the services of a franchisee and /or the purchase of an extremely expensive assembly when only one bit has gone. To maintain its (7 year) warranty my car has to be serviced by the only nissan dealer this side of Cardiff and they drive me mad every year with poor customer service!. My iPad keeps going wrong and I have to go to Carmarthen (20 miles each way) for repairs often having to return at least once to collect it. Even though they eventually gave up on it and replaced it with a ‘may contain reconditioned parts’ ‘new’ one it has gone wrong again. I suppose it is the price we pay for using high tech gizmos and maybe I should go back to writing letters, reading paper books (only sellotape and scissors required for repairs) and walking everywhere – but then the nearest cobbler is a long way away – walk barefoot everywhere? The low tech infrastructure no longer exists! Sorry – Rant over!


    • No need to apologise, this isn’t a rant it is a statement about modern life! I think there is a ratio of quantity to quality that is constant – so the more mass-produced an item is, the lower its intrinsic quality will be. There is a balance to be had, but I guess it isn’t profitable enough – with a few exceptions like our Kelly Kettle, which the manufacturers positively encourage the owner to mend!


  2. It wasn’t Xylophone that did it… my Kindle was quite happy to have it loaded on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like we’re all donning black to attend a funeral. Give it a good send off.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The value of… | The Snail of Happiness

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