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Old 03-12-2010, 06:23 AM   #1
Uke
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What do you mean by ‘direct sunlight’?

Hi all! I am new here!

I have a PRS-600 for 4 months now. Until recently, I wasn’t aware of the ‘fonts wash out in direct sunlight’ issue. But I found it the first time I happened to read under such condition (just two weeks ago - winter isn’t my favourite season for reading outdoors).

Though the text still readable, I was alarmed that the sun would actually do harm to the Vizplex screen, so I moved to a less sunny spot and the problem ceased to be.

Looking for information in the forums, most PRS-600 owners seem to imply that their units don’t wash out at all in direct sunlight. So my question is about the definition of ‘direct sunlight’. Do you actually expose your screens to the sun ‘hitting hard’ on them without the text fading? Or do you simply mean that text doesn’t wash out with ‘intense daylight’ coming from the sky - as opposite to rays hitting directly from the sun?

Knowing this is important to me in order to reckon my unit as defective, so I can ask for a replacement from my Sony Service. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:45 AM   #2
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When I tried this with my 600, I stood outside in full sunlight around noon with the screen in direct and unobstructed sunlight, and the text did not fade at all. I think you should expect the same result.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:53 AM   #3
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The sun fade does not affect all Vizplex screens. There was a discussion some time ago and I believe the culprit is screens manufactured by LG. There is no way to know whether your screen was made by LG unless you take apart the Reader. I have a little bit of text fade when in direct sunlight but it's not that bad. The fix is usually to have something 'shade' the screen if the text begins to lighten/fade.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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I tried the same as Ken401. No effect on my screen whatsoever. Only thing I recognized when I was out at lower temperatures is that the screen got somewhat darker with little speckles here and there. Not bad, but recognizable. Once the reader was at regular room temperature, the effect went away.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:04 PM   #5
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Maybe it depends on a few more than just "direct sunlight". For example, overall temperature of the reader? How long have you been reading in "direct sunlight" vs. people who do not experience the same problem?

Last edited by astra; 03-13-2010 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra View Post
Maybe it depends on a few more than just "direct sunlight". For example, overall temperature of the reader? How long have you been in reading in "direct sunlight" vs. people who do not experience the same problem?
My 505 can be in direct sunlight with no fading. My old 500 would fade fairly quickly, but not to the point where I could not have read the screen.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra View Post
Maybe it depends on a few more than just "direct sunlight". For example, overall temperature of the reader? How long have you been reading in "direct sunlight" vs. people who do not experience the same problem?
In my own case I don't believe temperature played a very big role--although I cannot articulate my "proof" in a solid "physics" sense.

My "evidence" that it was light more than temperature is that my reader could be in my backpack where it was maybe 50 degrees F, and then immediately open opening it in the sun and turning a page, that page would be completely faded and near impossible to read. Then a second later a page turn with the reader shaded (facing away from the sun) that page would be rendered perfectly.

No doubt there is radiant energy in terms of "heat" present, but it wasn't a matter of the unit "heating up" before it started fading. I predict that I could have put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours and then done the same experiment with a similar result.

Also the fact that I could turn a page with a couple fingers on the screen in direct sun, leaving a distinct "imprint" of those fingers in the form of black e-ink where the sun-exposed areas were faded...all contribute to the belief that it's photonic energy and not caloric that is making the difference.

But I'm not a physicist. And I could be wrong.

But...what difference does it really make?

My argument in another thread was that these devices are promoted as being readable in full sunlight--unlike LCD screens, etc. It is one of the main marketing points about e-ink. And also, it doesn't afflict every e-ink reader. Only some...and seemingly, a small enough minority that this fading issue doesn't seem to appear in any major tech review article of any e-ink based e-reader I've ever encountered. It only seems to be getting "play" in this forum.

So bottom line, even if it is a more common problem than the manufacturers would like to admit, we consumers can reasonably demand that these devices not fade. And if yours does, it may well be worth your while to pursue getting it replaced.

For me it was easy because I was within the first 90 days of owning my PRS-600. Despite some of the negative things I had ready about Sony USA customer service, I found them pretty easy to work with....once I called them. Email--not so effective.

Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:19 AM   #8
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My 600 and 505 don't fade. But I was glad to read about this problem within my 600s warranty so I could try before it runs out
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:30 AM   #9
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Can someone who has the problem check if the screen fades under direct sunlight but behind a glass window? Another way is to shine a blacklight (UV light) on the screen and see if it fades.
I have a theory that the defective screens lose the static charge that holds the ink particles because of the UV radiation. Window glass blocks most of the UV wavelengths.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Can someone who has the problem check if the screen fades under direct sunlight but behind a glass window? Another way is to shine a blacklight (UV light) on the screen and see if it fades.
I have a theory that the defective screens lose the static charge that holds the ink particles because of the UV radiation. Window glass blocks most of the UV wavelengths.
It happened on my PB301+ when I was reading in my car, direct sunlight through my windshield.

My Cybook (EB100) doesn't have the problem but the PB (EB600) does. I was recently on vacation and reading in the sun and that's when I noticed it. I agree it's not heat related. I held my hand in front of the screen when I turned the page and after you could see the fading between my fingers. I ended up just flipping the screen when I turned the page and then flipping it back and it was fine, but it was annoying.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:56 PM   #11
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Interesting, thanks for the info.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Can someone who has the problem check if the screen fades under direct sunlight but behind a glass window? Another way is to shine a blacklight (UV light) on the screen and see if it fades.
I have a theory that the defective screens lose the static charge that holds the ink particles because of the UV radiation. Window glass blocks most of the UV wavelengths.
I tried with slant sunlight in the evening through a glass pane, and there was a certain amount of fading. What's more interesting is the fact of the fading being almost inmediate at noon and outdoors, even in a (still) cold and sunny winter day.

By the way, thanks to everybody for your feedback!
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Can someone who has the problem check if the screen fades under direct sunlight but behind a glass window? Another way is to shine a blacklight (UV light) on the screen and see if it fades.
I have a theory that the defective screens lose the static charge that holds the ink particles because of the UV radiation. Window glass blocks most of the UV wavelengths.
I had the problem pretty badly when I was visiting Phoenix sitting out on my IL's patio. Nearly unreable unless I shaded the screen during page turns.

Sitting in my sunniest window here in MN, it's not a problem, but then it's barely detectable if I take it outside here, either, and it was pretty sunny out today. However, it did show that a window cuts the effect to some extent. I asked for a replacement, I'm not waiting to see if it fades enough to be troublesome come August when I'm enjoying our brief warm weather on the pontoon boat! I didn't have an opportunity to try it in a sunny Phoenix window, as my IL's house has ginomous overhangs so there's never any direct sun
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:46 PM   #14
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I guess I'm the odd one out, because in all the years I've been using liquid ink e-readers I've never once wanted to read one in the sun.

Perhaps I've outed myself as a vampire just now...
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xochipilli2012 View Post
In my own case I don't believe temperature played a very big role--although I cannot articulate my "proof" in a solid "physics" sense.

My "evidence" that it was light more than temperature is that my reader could be in my backpack where it was maybe 50 degrees F, and then immediately open opening it in the sun and turning a page, that page would be completely faded and near impossible to read. Then a second later a page turn with the reader shaded (facing away from the sun) that page would be rendered perfectly.

No doubt there is radiant energy in terms of "heat" present, but it wasn't a matter of the unit "heating up" before it started fading. I predict that I could have put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours and then done the same experiment with a similar result.

My argument in another thread was that these devices are promoted as being readable in full sunlight--unlike LCD screens, etc. It is one of the main marketing points about e-ink. And also, it doesn't afflict every e-ink reader. Only some...and seemingly, a small enough minority that this fading issue doesn't seem to appear in any major tech review article of any e-ink based e-reader I've ever encountered. It only seems to be getting "play" in this forum.

So bottom line, even if it is a more common problem than the manufacturers would like to admit, we consumers can reasonably demand that these devices not fade. And if yours does, it may well be worth your while to pursue getting it replaced.

For me it was easy because I was within the first 90 days of owning my PRS-600. Despite some of the negative things I had ready about Sony USA customer service, I found them pretty easy to work with....once I called them. Email--not so effective.

Good luck!
R u following me and stealing my thoughts?! Huh?!

It was also very easy for me to exchange mine as well (I was in the 90 day period too) with no problems from customer service. I don't think the heat had anything to do with it; when it was 30 degrees out with the sun shining I would go outside with my reader and Within 2 pages turns it would fade.

I think heat is pretty irrelevant, except in the cases of extreme temperatures.
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