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August 2009
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Strange Kindle battery behaviour

Since I’m currently travelling in the UK for more than a month already, I have Wireless turned off on both Kindle 2 and Kindle DX that I have. After a month of moderate reading while Kindle was getting an occasional small charge only when I connected it to the computer to sync new content battery indicators on both K2 and DX were showing roughly 75% battery capacity.

My original intent was to wait some more and then make a post about how great Kindle battery life is if you turn off the wireless. However before I could do that, interesting thing happened. When my wife turned on her K2 the charge indicator jumped from 75% to “critical low” (battery icon with exclamation mark). Kindle had to be charged. In a couple of days exactly the same thing happened to my Kindle DX.

This happened about one month after devices were fully changed. What is interesting that although my wife read roughly 3 times as many pages as I did, batteries in our devices ran out at about the same time. So it looks like it was more related to idle time rather than usage.

Amazon’s official stance is that with wireless turned off Kindle should go around 2 weeks without a charge depending on the usage. Ours lasted twice as long. However what’s more interesting is the way charge suddenly dropped to zero. Something you should keep in mind if you intend to take your Kindle somewhere without electricity for long time.

I’m interested if anyone has observed similar strange behaviour?

22 comments to Strange Kindle battery behaviour

  • rfog

    I live in Spain and I have both K2 and KDX and I always have the wireless off because I cannot use it. In my case is just the opposite. If I power on wireless I got an instant battery exhaustion. However, if I do not open it I can be weeks and weeks without charge the devices, only maintained by the micro charges it gets from connecting to usb to pass the books.

    Y’ve done only two full charges (apart from the first when I received them), those that I got battery exhaustion after powering on the wireless.

  • You get instant battery exhaustion because it’s constantly looking for a nonexistent cell network, which means it’s probably using the maximum amount of power.

  • One thing I’ve found is that (at least on my K1) if I add a bunch of files at once, the kindle will keep trying to index them all for search and thus keep draining the battery unless I leave it plugged in until it finishes or turn it off in between reading.

  • KobyBoy

    The same thing happened to my Kindle. Was running with wireless off for about three weeks and the battery was tinkling down from 100% to about 75% when suddenly I get a critical warning saying that I need to find a power source. This can easily be fixed with a firmware update. I have a Kindle 2 by the way…

  • admin

    The wireless was off. Otherwise the battery would have been drained within days not weeks.

  • That is the nature of lithium-ion batteries. The discharge curve is very flat with a huge dropoff at the end. See http://www.roperld.com/science/RoperPKLog2009.htm#curves. It is not good for batteries to get that much discharged.

    Dave Roper

  • KindleUser

    I have a Kindle 2, I was traveling on the train reading a book, I had 60% or 70% charge and I got a “critical low” message with the exclamation mark as you described.
    I live in Italy, the wireless is constantly turned off… I don’t remember the last time I fully charged it before my travel, but I was not reading the kindle for one week or more… I guess the battery was almost worn out and the indication bar wrongly displayed 60% full… btw, I always make full charges of the battery when empty…
    It’s strange it happened to me for the first time the day before yesterday and today I read your post on the same issue… :S
    I was really surprised and a bit scared that the battery was malfunctioning (I guess no replacement if you live outside USA…)
    I really hope is a bug in the way the battery bar displays the charge, and not a battery issue…

  • Zark

    On my K2 I have had the unexpected dead battery twice with wireless turned off. This happened within 2 days of a USB recharge.

  • I have noticed, just like Neil, that indexing really pulls down the battery on my K1. I thought that I had a bad battery until I realized that I get good life except for the period following the addition of new books. As a result, if I add new content i leave the kindle plugged in overnight.

  • admin

    I don’t think that it has something to do with indexing in my case since there was no new content added to either of the devices within days of battery running out.
    I’d rather think that Kindle doesn’t correctly account for small battery usage in this particular scenario and keeps displaying more charge than is actually left.

  • Jen

    I’ve noticed odd behavior on my battery as well, and only since I got back from my trip to Japan. I can charge the battery and to full capacity and it’s just fine, but if I turn it off and don’t touch it for a week or more, when I go to turn it back on, it won’t. I have to plug it in and give it a boost before it will turn on for me. I’ve been thinking about contacting Amazon about this since my warranty isn’t up yet. I don’t think it should lose a charge just from sitting there. Like right now. It’s been about two weeks since I turned it on, and I know it was fully charged when I did use it last. It’s not turning on now.

  • Jeffrey

    Jen,

    I believe the Kindle will access Whispernet intermittently while the device is in sleep mode if you have the wireless turned on, which would explain your problem.

  • Caroline

    I took my brand new Kindle DX to Canada with 7 new downloaded books. Part way through the first book the battery died. I charged it and the DX stopped working all together. I called Amazon and they said that the DX had been damaged by a blow of some sort. I purchased the Amazon DX leather cover and the DX has been in the cover since it was first unpacked. I have never dropped the DX or hit with another object. Amazon offers to fix the Kindle for $200.00, otherwise they will not take it back. Now I am out the DX and the 7 downloaded books I am unable to read.

  • Brent

    I suddenly started to experience this same type of battery behavior. Wireless OFF, fully charge the unit, then if it sits for a few days it totally drains. I’ve had the K2 since late March and the battery was very, very good until about two weeks ago – which, oddly enough, coincided with an automated software update that installed when I did have wireless turned on to get a book I ordered. Ever since that update, this battery “draining” has been an issue.

  • I recently bought a Kindle DX.
    Since I live in Denmark I can only recharge it using the USB connection.

    After a FULL recharge it will loose all power within 3-4 days without it even being turned on.
    The wireless connection is also turned off.

    I was wondering is any of you might have the same problem !

  • Brittney

    I had a very strange thing happen with my new Kindle DX. I received it in early January, but after a couple of weeks I stopped using it. Before I turned it off the last time, I fully charged it. Now a month later I go to turn it on and it says critical battery/no battery. I agree, the battery disappears when you don’t use the Kindle much quicker than when you do. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • avc

    K2, wireless off, current firmware (2.3.3) with a font hack. I was at close to 50% and suddenly got the same “low power” warning. I won’t have my cable for a few more days so I hope it’s a false alarm. I’ll update when it actually dies.

  • avc

    Okay. It wasn’t lying. So, yesterday the meter read roughly 50%, then flashed the low-power warning. Then tonight it died. Bad meter?

  • RAC

    I also experienced a strange problem in the last couple of days – Kindle (latest one – 3) was fully charged and I had added a few books, turned it off, two days later turned it on and the battery was critical… what gives? The wireless was off but I had just added about 30 MP3 files… going to delete the MP3 as I couldn’t get them to play anyway…

  • Tony

    Exactly the same here. Battery went from 80% charge to critical overnight. This morning got a seat on train, sat down, tried to switch on… nothing. My view now is that Kindle is a solution looking for a problem.

  • Dan

    Hi, I too am abroad with my Kindle DX. I was reading the other night (wireless off) and with a single page turn the battery meter went from about 80/85% to exclamation point. I thought it was an error, but the next day it went to the critical battery screen. It’s charging now and has resumed function, but it will remain to be seen whether it holds a charge or not. I’m in Mozambique, and there is no wireless access here; anybody have any ideas for how to update firmware if that’s needed?

  • tom

    I suspect the sudden drops from full to critical are indications of a defective or worn out battery chemistry. I have the sudden depletion while the device is off on both my Kindle DX and Sony PRS-505. The prs lacks wireless function and i never turn on wireless on the Dx. I would guess the worn or defective or user damaged battery is the problem rather than firmware or wireless connectivity.

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