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Old 04-23-2012, 11:09 AM   #1
markocosic
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Kindle "SE Blank Ringo" repair/hack

Hi all,


I have a Kindle Keyboard (WiFi and 3G) that's broken - it seems to think that it's a cabbage not a Kindle.


I bought it this way, with a very dead battery. (3.0V)

It would sit charging with the orange light on indefinitely, and reports itself to the PC as an "SE Blank Ringo" - the product description for the freescale processor used inside the Kindle. I switched this battery out for a fully charged one with the same result.


No amount of resetting appears to achieve anything:

Power on/off - nothing happens.

Hold the slider for 5 sec - nothing happens.

Hold for 12 secs or more and the orange light will go off, the device will disappear from my computer, then the light comes abck on/device reappears when you let go of the power switch.

Normally when you fit a battery to a kindle, both green lights come on then it boots up. In this case, nothing.


It's almost as if there is some low-level hardware functionality there, but there's no software on there. Being a curious type, I'd like to investigate.


Has anybody on here come across this before? (search for ringo didn't flag anything)

Any recommended reading?


The device is long out of warranty.


Thanks!

--
Marko
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:22 AM   #2
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I think that the 12 seconds behaviour (only when connected to a charger/the PC) is some very very low level behaviour.

I have another board from a Kindle that was heavily water damaged whilst powered up and was then dried and left. Then the bare board was rinsed/scrubbed and near as dammit cremated in an attempt to dry/reflow. When you connect a battery to this board, the LEDs flash green briefly then nothing. When connected to a PC there's nothing showing either. (SE Blank Ringo or Kindle) So I assume that there's a separate power/charge supervision to the main CPU/software.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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You are in "USB Downloader" mode. You can download a free software tool for windows, that lets you talk to it in that mode. You can download it from the Freescale website (CPU manufacturer). Search for "iMX AdvancedToolKit R170". I played with it a little, and Hawhill did too:


There are also manuals for it you should download, called "R70_ATK_UserGuide.pdf" and "R170_ATK_Std_RN.pdf", and the download filename is "FSL_ATK_TOOL_WINS_STD_INSTALL_1_70.exe".

Somebody needs to spend some time with these tools and post their results here.



Last edited by geekmaster; 04-23-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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Sorry for pinning in someones thread, but im now in quite same situation.

But is there any description on how to use AdvancedToolKit in order to repair bricked kindle 3 ?
My k3 was damaged because of my fault damaging some core system files. I can now only enter "USB Downloader" mode. I have spoken with someone who said that such thing is possible.

p.s-If I really have to create new thread for that extra question please let me know, and sorry again.

Last edited by uriziel01; 04-23-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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No, there are no instructions yet. I think nobody went that way before - as geekmaster already said, I was playing with it. But I haven't got far, in fact I only checked whether ATK was working in principle. I tried reading from the MMC, but failed. That was probably due to a not directly readable section on the flash memory, but I did not investigate further.

It's not for the faint at heart. In the best case, this mode can be used to flash firmware. But nobody tried yet. And it's all but sure. Maybe it could be used to stage a bootloader that brings up a system in RAM only. Again, not tried yet.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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Daft question - is there a way to exit the "USB Downloader" mode?

The previous owner was reading a book at the time, left the Kindle, and came back to it with a book apge stuck on and it unresponsive. Presumably all of the OS is still intact...
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markocosic View Post
Daft question - is there a way to exit the "USB Downloader" mode?

The previous owner was reading a book at the time, left the Kindle, and came back to it with a book apge stuck on and it unresponsive. Presumably all of the OS is still intact...
If the firmware is intact, do a hard reset by holding the power button for 30 seconds.

If it goes back to USB Downloader mode, that would indicate a problem with the firmware (or a bad mmc device). That is where it goes if it cannot find a bootloader on any of its potential boot devices (including the USB port).

You can also go there with the "magic" key, which is one of the Volume control buttons, as I recall (look in the thread hawhill mentioned).
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:33 PM   #8
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Well, that triggers another idea: Of course, the volume key (I think it was Vol-, but it might have been Vol+) might just be stuck/locked or the IO line is pulled low (just guessing here, might be high, too) by some stuck bit of aluminium foil or dust particles, fluid remains, ... - in that case, one would probably be locked to the USB downloader mode as well.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Thanks again for the tips guys, much appreciated. Thinking along these lines:

Keyboard disconnected just in case
Volume buttons checked out ok (20k open resistance, they short to earth when activated)
Pressed down on various ICs whilst resetting in case it was a dry joint

Nothing - always this USB Downloader mode.

If the previous owner was *trying* to break it, I'd assume that it was a software fault and recoverable. As this happened at random, and there are reports of "intermittent I think I'm a cabbage" Kindles on Google, I think it's just dead hardware and am going to treat it like an expensive replacement screen/spares package.

I'll borrow the good screen for now and keep the spares in the drawer, just in case the serial turns up and is useful as a trade-in against a replacement at Amazon or similar - their CS rep on the telephone suggested that even if purchased secondhand and out of warranty, provided that you are the legitimate owner they'll knock something off a new one.

uriziel01 - feel free to take over the thread! I'm curious, but not quite *that* curious. (and I think I'd be wasting my time if the hardware were dead)
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:47 AM   #10
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You might want to just over to http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=184310 and try if you can recover it using k3flasher. I have a friend with similar problem, but unfortunately we are geographically separated so I can't try it right now myself.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:54 AM   #11
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Many thanks - I'll dig out the paperweight and give it a whirl!
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:57 AM   #12
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It might stumble over the battery being drained. If so, try charging it for 1-2 days (never mind the color the LED shows, if any at all).
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:59 PM   #13
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I had the "SE Blank Ringo" response when I plugged in a frozen Kindle 3 given me by a friend recently. The Kindle was frozen on the Amazon start-up screen, and wouldn't take a charge. When I plugged it in to the wall charger, the amber light would go on (or not) then turn off after a few minutes.

Finally, I opened up the Kindle 3, took out the battery, and let it sit for half and hour, then put it back in. It took several hard restarts while plugged into a wall charger, for the Kindle to get through the whole startup screen without freezing. Finally it started, and I saw that 3G was turned on. It was as though it was trying to charge, but the active modem was eating the charge as soon as it applied. Finally, after several freezes, I got in quickly enough to turn off wireless connectivity, then the Kindle charged normally and works fine. (I did find one book trying unsuccessfully to index, which I deleted). I think the message here might be: "Never turn on wireless when your battery is low."
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:19 PM   #14
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and remember that off is not truly off

a bad book or other bit of garbage code churning away every wakeup is never a good thing. A full 20s reset never hurts if only it will swallow it.

Good points thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montalex View Post
I had the "SE Blank Ringo" response when I plugged in a frozen Kindle 3 given me by a friend recently. The Kindle was frozen on the Amazon start-up screen, and wouldn't take a charge. When I plugged it in to the wall charger, the amber light would go on (or not) then turn off after a few minutes.

Finally, I opened up the Kindle 3, took out the battery, and let it sit for half and hour, then put it back in. It took several hard restarts while plugged into a wall charger, for the Kindle to get through the whole startup screen without freezing. Finally it started, and I saw that 3G was turned on. It was as though it was trying to charge, but the active modem was eating the charge as soon as it applied. Finally, after several freezes, I got in quickly enough to turn off wireless connectivity, then the Kindle charged normally and works fine. (I did find one book trying unsuccessfully to index, which I deleted). I think the message here might be: "Never turn on wireless when your battery is low."
The 3G wireless card pulls 3 AMPS (3,000Ma) when it is transmitting.
You have 1,500MaH in the K3.
Simple math = If the Kindle is trying to call home over 3G on a low battery, things will go to he.. in a hurry.

I.E: Same conclusion as yours, just different words.
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