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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Kindle 4 Disassembly – Part I

So my Keyboardless Kindle 4 (we can call it that since it is the first Kindle device to hit the market that features software 4.0) arrived late in the evening. Surely enough my curiosity got the better of me and armed with a screwdriver and tweezers I set out to take it apart and see what is inside.

Normally one would open a Kindle by prying the back cover off with something sharp and pointy (screwdriver or knife). Kindle 4 resisted my attempts to open it up and when I finally did I understood why – top and bottom latches are much stronger than the rest so you need to bend the center of the cover up to let them slide out. On top of that it turned out that back cover is glued to the internal battery cover with adhersive gel. You need to apply some force to pop it open. If you decide to repeat my steps – be warned that your warranty will definitely be voided. My Kindle 4 device bears clear signs of being opened. There is no way to do it gracefully. Clearly the K4 is not meant to be user-serviceable or serviceable period.

Popping the back cover off reveals battery and motherboard. Most of the interesting stuff is covered with metal and I’ll leave it at that for the time being. I don’t want to ruin the device until I play around with the software. But fear not – soon enough the mission will be complete and I’ll post pictures of bare motherboard even if I end up bricking the device.

kindle4-rfid-tag

Kindle-4-rfid-tag

On the back of the cover there is RFID tag manufactured by UPM. It reads “UPM + 253_1″. Perhaps it is used to automate the personalization process (Kindle comes to your doorstep already configured with your Amazon account. It turns out that Amazon started putting RFID tags inside Kindle 3 and I missed it during my last disassembly.

Kindle4-disassembly

kindle-4-disassembly

Internally Amazon uses T-6 screws rather than Philips like in Kindle 3.

Taking the cover off the LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery reveals its specs:

  • Model No: MC-265360
  • Rating (Voltage): 3.7V
  • Battery capacity: 890mAh (3.29Wh) – this is almost half that of Kindle 3. And not surprisingly Kindle 4 claims half the battery life of Kindle 3 – one month. Which is still plenty
  • Made in China by NcNair
  • Part Number: 515-1058-01
Kindle4 battery

Kindle 4 battery

WiFi chipset is Atheros AR6103T-BM2D 26AR0620.142D PAF284.1B 1126 made in Taiwan. This is very interesting because doing a Google search for AR6103T returns zero results. Nothing. The chip is not mentioned on the net at all. It is clearly a part of AR6103 chip family but seems to be a newer modification. AR6103 chips feature:

  • 2.4GHz 802.11b, 802.11g and 1-stream 802.11n. This means that it can only put though up to 72.2 Mbps in the 802.11n mode.
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2 (TKIP and AES) and WAPI encryption
  • 802.11e, WMM and WMM-PS QoS
  • 8.3mm x 9.2mm LGA package
Kindle4 Atheros WiFi Chip

Kindle 4 Atheros WiFi Chip

Small chip between battery and buttons is Winbond W25Q40BVIG is 512 kilobyte Quad SPI flash with clock speed of 104MHz, 3V power rating and erase block sizes of 4K, 32K and 64K. It has been in manufacture since Q3 2009. It sits right on wires that go to eInk screen. Screen model is ED060CF(LF)T1 REN60B7075(C62)

Kindle 4-Winbond-flash-W25Q40BVI

Kindle 4-Winbond-flash-W25Q40BVI

There is quite a bit of free space around the battery that could have been used for one or some of the following:

  • Larger battery
  • Speakers or at least audio-codec and mini-jack headphone connector
  • 3G modem
  • Memory card (SD or MMC) reader

Perhaps Amazon will add some of these things in the future. Or perhaps they will leave this space empty forever to keep the weight and cost down.

If there is a serial console like in previous Kindle generations, it is not obvious or easily accessible.

To be continued… Continued here: Kindle 4 disassembly – part II

Kindle DX Disassembled

It has been a while since Kindle 2 was disassembled and now Rapid Repair did the same to Kindle DX.

Kindle DX Disassembled

Kindle DX Disassembled

Here’s the scoop of Kindle DX components:

  • The battery is 3.7V Li-Pol 1530mAh. Battery capacity is identical to one used in Kindle 2. MC13783VK5 is used as battery management chip also identical to Kindle 2.
  • CPU is MCIMX31LDVKN5D M91E CTAK0915B by Freescale Semiconductors which is the next revision of the one used in K2. Is uses ARM11 microprocessor core. It can run on core clock frequency of up to 533Mhz.
  • Samsung 916 K4X1G323PC-8GC3 EMA188A5 is a 128 Megabyte mobile DDR SDRAM chip. This is the same as in Kindle 2
  • Samsung 840 K4M28323PH-HG75 AAH055BE is a 16 Megabyte mobile SDR SDRAM chip. Based on the fact that it’s located right next to Epson eInk controller chip (see below) I would dare to guess that it’s used as “framebuffer” memory. I could be wrong though.
  • eInk controller is Epson D135211B1 F09090125.
  • Flash chip is Samsung 907 KMBLG0000M-B998. It is 5 Gigabyte MOVI NAND + NAND + MCU.

Except for the flash and slightly upgraded CPU all other components are identical to ones used in Kindle 2. That’s why Amazon was able to release it so soon after K2 was released.

Kindle Battery Charger – Run Your Kindle On AA Batteries

igo-universal-battery-chargerElectronic gadgets are nice but until Witricity goes commercial there is this annoying need to recharge the things. And even when it does I doubt there will be many Witricity hot-spots in Yellowstone National Park or more remote “in-the-middle-of-nowhere’s”.

It’s not that big of a problem if gadget in question uses regular widely available standard batteries like AA, AAA, C, D etc. But some don’t. Such gadgets turn to useless paper weights once the power runs out if you are away from the power-outlet or just don’t have the proper charger available. This was the case for my iPhone and Kindle. After running out of power caused one too many inconveniences I decided to do something about it.

emergency-aa-battery-charge-extender-for-kindleI found myself another gadget that I never leave home without: iGo Universal Battery Operated Charger along with cables that connect to accessories that I carry. This was a real life-saver for me. Anytime a battery is about to run out in the middle of phone conversation or Kindle refuses to go online because it doesn’t have enough charge left to power the EVDO modem I just plug it in and it works. Because “Kindle battery charger” doesn’t need to be charged itself but runs on regular AA batteries itself I can always get more power. It also proved very handy during trip to Yellowstone National Park – I just stocked up on batteries and had all the travel guides and maps readily available on my Kindle and even internet access in select places.

There are dozens of iGo accessories available so you can pick the ones that go with your gadgets. What iGo did was a pretty obvious yet cool thing. They’ve created a modular power platform. Consisting of power sources (AA batteries, AC for pretty much any country in the world, 12V car) and power connectors for pretty much any device including all standard connectors like mini-B and micro-B USB.

Another device along the same lines is: Emergency AA Battery Charge Extender for the Amazon Kindle 1. This one however is a bit heavier as it takes 4 AA batteries.

Kindle 2 Disassembled

Folks from iFixIt.com have disassembled Kindle 2 and here is brief scoop of what they’ve found:

  • Battery used is 3.7V 1530mAh Li-Pol battery model number S11S01A. It weights 1.1 oz which is 10% of total weight of the device. It has slightly less capacity than iPhone 3G battery which is 1400mAh. Freescale MC13783VK5 is used as a battery power management chip.
  • There is no protective cover on the display. So if you scratch it or break it repairs would be quite expensive.
  • Main processor used is MCIMX31LVKN5C M91E CTAH0850V. It is ARM-11 CPU that runs at 533 Mhz and is manufactured by 90nm process. This is an upgrade from Kindle 1 which used 400 Mhz Marvell PXA255 CPU marked with LUPXA255A0 G7171929.2 0744 KR C400.
  • RAM is represented by 128MB DDR Samsung K4X1G323PC chip. This is an upgrade compared to 64MB RAM found in Kindle 1.
  • Flash memory is 2GB moviNAND. Major upgrade from 256MB built in Kindle 1, but as we know it comes at a cost of not having external SD slot.
  • There is unused space on the PCB for SIM card. This hints to possibility of international versions of Kindle.

We’ll probably get much more comprehensive coverage on Kindle 2 once Igor from Reversing Everything gets his hands on one.

Kindle battery woes

Does Amazon have a problem with the Kindle replacement battery? There seems to be a mixed bag when it comes to the Kindle battery, while some people get awesome battery life it seems like others get a raw deal with the battery.

Amazon Kindle battery

Amazon Kindle battery customer reviews

As you can see, the Kindle battery is out of stock which tells my that there is a real problem with the battery and it isn’t just effecting a handful of people. It scores a pitiful 2.5/5 in the customer satisfaction review which also backs up the theory that the Kindle battery is somewhat volatile when it comes to consistent performance.

The reviews paint a worrying picture:

J. E. Link writes:

My Kindle battery failed within 3 months. It is yet another poor quality Lithium Polymer battery manufactured in Communist China. I had hoped that Amazon would have done better with it’s Kindle product. This is not encouraging.

Michael T. Earle

While I love my Kindle, the original battery that came with it only lasted a mere three months (and not real heavy usage) and is now dead and won’t recharge. And now I see Amazon is sold out of replacements!

James Mueller “Gadget Head”

My battery is dead after only 3 months as well. Based on the comments I have read others are having the same issue. Is Amazon looking into this? Are they going to make good on the replacement batteries for customers who have this problem? It’s a shame, the device is great. I hope they don’t let this issue overshadow the device’s good points. Take a lesson from Apple when the iPod had battery issues when it first came out. FIX IT!

When the iPod came out it was plagued with battery issues, it Apple took a long time to fix them and it definitely hurt iPod’s image – its time Amazon learned from Apple’s misfortune. Lets hope its not as as bad as it looks, how is your Kindle battery, have you had to have it replaced?