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Old 09-30-2011, 12:47 AM   #1
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Kindle 4 disassembled

Just started Kindle 4 disassembly. Didn't get to the CPU and big flash yet, but figured out the WiFi chip and battery. See link for more details and pictures.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:58 AM   #2
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Thank you! Now, to find serial port and dump firmware...

Can you post opening directions?

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Old 09-30-2011, 01:14 AM   #3
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Directions are in the link. Just pry it open with something sharp and don't be afraid to use some force to rip off the glue from battery cover. As far as I could see there is no easily accessible serial console.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:34 AM   #4
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Today I went ahead with the dissection of Kindle 4 (ruining it in the process). Uncovered:
Battery and power management chip,
ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
128 Megabyte RAM chip (half the capacity of Kindle 3 Keyboard)
San Disk Flash chip

There is also connector next to the CPU that I suspect to be a serial console, however it will be tough one to hook up to. Nothing like K3 plugs - some precise soldering will be needed.

Motherboard is glued in.

Battery is glued in so tight that if you try to pull it out you are likely to destroy it in the process (hint: lithium catches fire when exposed to air). It also has a custom connector so it is clearly not replaceable period.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:56 AM   #5
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Thanks again! Any luck finding a recovery port? I really want a firmware dump so I can start developing for this thing.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:07 AM   #6
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I don't think older Kindles were "underclocked" to 533MHz, this was the standard clock speed of the Freescale i.MX35 they used. The new Kindles use the i.MX50 which is runs at 800MHz, and your disassembly confirmed that it is using the i.MX508.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
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That was an expensive exercise in curiosity.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:47 AM   #8
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There is second part of disassembly on the above site.

I am very disappointed [with Kindle designers]. The cover is almost impossible to take apart without damaging it, and the battery is glued in.
Such an expensive device is supposed to be used for many years. I know, that in two years it will be surpassed by better and cheaper devices, but it should be handed down to kids or people that can't afford a better reader.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:58 AM   #9
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I am very disappointed [with Kindle designers]. The cover is almost impossible to take apart without damaging it, and the battery is glued in.
Such an expensive device is supposed to be used for many years. I know, that in two years it will be surpassed by better and cheaper devices, but it should be handed down to kids or people that can't afford a better reader.
User-replaceable batteries seem to be on the decline. If you look at most popular devices these days, they don't have them. Sony, Kobo, Nook - do any of them have replaceable batteries? Apple devices certainly don't.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:13 AM   #10
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User-replaceable batteries seem to be on the decline. If you look at most popular devices these days, they don't have them. Sony, Kobo, Nook - do any of them have replaceable batteries? Apple devices certainly don't.
Well, it is one of numerous reasons I do not buy Apple devices.

I have an old Sony device. It is still in working order and could be used by somebody that can't afford something better(*). The problem is battery. I will have to change it, and I am not looking forward to doing it. At least PRS500 can be disassembled non-destructively. I have even ... aehm ... acquired maintenance manual that describes disassembly.

When I am shopping for a new device, an user replaceable battery might be a deciding factor.

(*) Even the cheapest Kindle (non KSO, plus postage plus VAT, plus fact you need to pay for it by Credit Card) is quite expensive thing where I live.

Last edited by kacir; 10-02-2011 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:43 PM   #11
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User-replaceable batteries seem to be on the decline. If you look at most popular devices these days, they don't have them. Sony, Kobo, Nook - do any of them have replaceable batteries? Apple devices certainly don't.
While Apple's batteries aren't user replaceable, they are (in most of their products, anyway) intended to be replaced by a tech. It sounds like the new Kindle's isn't designed to be replaced at all.
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Old 10-02-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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While Apple's batteries aren't user replaceable, they are (in most of their products, anyway) intended to be replaced by a tech. It sounds like the new Kindle's isn't designed to be replaced at all.
It's not a problem if have a bomb disposal robot
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:23 PM   #13
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Hmmm... So any thoughts if an extended warranty is justified with this thing?

Or just budget $50 to $60 per year as the cost of running a Kindle? The battery dying makes this thing useless.
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:36 PM   #14
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$25 for an additional year of warranty on $79 device? Me thinks not...

Unless you get a lemon, Kindle is a pretty tough device. My K1 still runs fine when I occasionally power it up.

Personally I think that replaceable battery nowdays is overrated. Battery technology has advanced a great deal since 90s. So batteries live longer. On the other hand devices become outdated much faster. They rarely if ever outlive the battery.

With Kindle specifically, its definitely a non issue due to very low number of charge cycles since you only need to charge up once per month.

Besides immediately swapping out stock battery for extended one with 2x capacity I'd be hard pressed to recall myself replacing a battery in a mobile device during last 5 years.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:00 AM   #15
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Thanks for the teardown photos, it actually reminds me of the innards of an iPod touch.

At least the major parts are connected by flex cable not soldered together, it is somewhat user servicable. The glue should be the same kind used on the K3 which usually give away easily once it is heated with a hair dryer.
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