As I’ve mentioned before, I put my Kindle to regular use. It has become an essential part of my literate life; every writer ought to have an e-ink reading device. Though I’ve been tempted by the newer models, my Kindle 2 has kept on working flawlessly for more than three years. Or at least, it was working flawlessly until about two months ago, when my Kindle’s battery life began a rapid decline. Rather than going weeks on end without a charge, it could scarcely manage a couple of days on standby.
Rather than rushing to Amazon to order a replacement, I thought I might attempt to do the environmentally-minded thing and repair it first, while documenting the process here. Other than battery life, the Kindle was functioning normally, so I suspected that the Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) battery had cycled too many times and was approaching the end of its life. I spent a little time over the course of several days finding and obtaining the needed part, figuring out how to disassemble the Kindle, and successfully completing the repair. Here’s how it’s done.
To replace the battery, you’ll need:
- the new battery (I found one on eBay for about US$9.00, including shipping),
- a spudger for prying into the case, and
- a Phillips #0 screwdriver.
I bought a battery on on eBay for about US$9.00, including shipping. I have a spudger and screwdriver in my iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit, which has pretty much everything required to disassemble and reassemble electronic gadgetry. Once you’ve got the part and tools, here’s how to actually do the replacement:
- Turn off your Kindle. Slide and hold the power switch for four seconds, then release. The screen blanks.
- Place the Kindle screen down on a flat, clean surface.
- Remove the plastic back panel. Two tabs keep the back panel in place. Use a thin spudger to slide the panel away from the larger metal back panel.This step is a little scary while you do it. You will think you’re breaking the Kindle, but as long as you apply only gentle force, you won’t actually break anything.
- Remove the metal back panel. With a Phillips #0 screwdriver, remove the two screws which attach the metal back panel to the Kindle’s plastic body, then slide the panel away.Until you replace the back panels, keep a close eye on the volume rocker. Without the back panels to hold it into position, it may fall out.
- Remove the old battery. With a Phillips #0 screwdriver, remove the two screws holding the battery in place, then lift the battery out by its black tabs.
- Install the new battery. Drop it in connector first, then replace the two retaining screws.
- Replace the metal back panel. Place it such that the panel lies flat and the volume rocker is held in place, then replace the two retaining screws.
- Replace the plastic back panel. Place it such that the panel lies flat and the volume rocker is held in place, then slide it toward the bottom of the Kindle.
- Recharge the Kindle with a micro USB cable. After a few seconds, the amber light will illuminate and the screen will refresh.
Once the light turns green, you’re finished and the Kindle has a new lease on life.
Though I’m still tempted to upgrade, I’m glad I fixed this Kindle. With the new part, even if I were to upgrade, I imagine my Kindle may still have a second life as a display or in some other use, which I’ll be sure to share. This fix was easy, cheap, and a good thing to do.