Originally Posted by xor_
I took the plunge and opened the cover, which came off relatively well. Waiting for the right cable now to hook up to the serial console. But, yikes, those contacts are small. Will be tough to get a good connection without breaking anything.
I used some fine enameled wire to solder to the pads, the taped it down and folded it back over the tape, then again for another layer (strain relief). The I soldered my serial cable to those fine wires. No more pulling pads loose from the PCB just from moving the cable a little.
I got my wire by breaking open a dead CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) and removing wire from the choke coil inside it. There are some diodes in there you can use too, for a serial voltage level converter circuit.
I did that after accidentally removing the pads from one of my K4s, then again when I found another place to solder. Now that one is output only. My other previously opened kindles have the fine wire soldered into them, ready to go... I even have a diode inside one of them, so it can connect to 3.3v or 5v TTL serial...
Strain relief (using tape and fine wire) will go a long way to protecting those delicate serial port pads. It did for me.