Don’t Throw Your Kindle Away..

Barely Broken but not Fixable

A few weeks ago we found that one of our Kindle’s wouldn’t take a charge.  We called Amazon and went through two tiers of support.

1) Push the button and hold it for 30 seconds..  “Umm, did that work?.. No … ok, I need to send you to the next level of support”

2) Next level of support.. Push the button and hold it for 30 seconds.. “Oh, that didn’t work, well you can buy this newer one for x amount of dollars.”

I asked if Amazon if they have a repair service because my general desire to take things apart has decreased over time.  They don’t have a repair service.  They have a replace service, meaning you give them money and they give you a new item.  I have to wonder now, what all the people do with the old Kindles.

One Device at a Time

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I couldn’t see buying a new one and throwing this one away.  They didn’t offer an exchange service or anything that I could even consider as leaning towards being green.   So, I looked into the matter myself.

Come to find out the pins inside the charging port were misaligned and damaged.  This may or may not have been the result of an 8 year old jamming the charger cord into the port.  I went online to see how to repair this kind of problem and there were many links on taking apart the Kindle.  Example here 

The point here is that most people with a small screwdriver, credit card <–for technical purposes, and a little desire can fix / resolve problems with relative ease.

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Getting the outside case off was probably the biggest challenge.  Taking the screws out and pulling out the little motherboard was pretty straightforward and simple.  It took about 10 minutes in total.

The Tricky Part

I got the board out and looked closely at the charger port.  This part of the job was going to take some time and effort.  I didn’t want to invest the amount of effort in soldering the charger port off the board, plus it is pretty small and I don’t have all the equipment needed to perform microsurgery.

Lucky for me… there is a service for that Charger Repair Service $18.00 shipped.   I sent the (board only) out to the repair service and in 3 days got the board back and simply put it back into the Kindle.

For 18 bucks someone else put the charger port in for me.  If I bought the replacement charger port on my own after shipping and tax it would have been 12-15 dollars.  For an additional 3 bucks, it was done for me.

Fixed

It took me less time to fix the Kindle than it would have taken to replace it.  It cost me less money to fix it, even though I sent the part out than it would have been to replace it.  I can’t imagine how many people are just setting their devices on a shelf or throwing them in the garbage.   If you have a device that has a problem, just do a quick search on take apart or repair services, it may be a lot less to fix it.

The bigger picture is that on first glance these things seem complicated and the perspective on the “easy fix” is to purchase a new thing.  Consider taking the time to take a shot at fixing the thing yourself, it may be good for the environment and your wallet.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Throw Your Kindle Away..

  1. So Mr. Cohen, you have had (for yourself) the epiphany of what Dads have done for 1000s of years. If it IS broke … fix it!!! ‘cause you can’t afford or won’t buy again the same thing new!!! Today my 2nd Son and I will be replacing the front brakes and rotors on a 15 y.o. minivan ‘cause I’m not paying $45K for a new replacement!!! Welcome to another chapter in your life as a Dad. Congratulations Howie, you made it. Aloha.

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  2. My wife says the “why replace it if it can be fixed” philosophy is the curse of being married to an engineer. As a result of the “fix it” lessons from my dad (also an engineer) she has (sometimes begrudgingly) continued to use countless appliances and gadgets far beyond their normal service lifetime.

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