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Old 01-14-2012, 05:38 AM   #1
rbarham
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Question Replace Kindle e-ink screen with LCD?

Hello everyone,

I have had a big interest in the Kindle lineup for a few years and just recently purchased a used Kindle 2. I am interested in updating the firmware to 3.x and installing Debian.

I am curious if it is possible to replace the e-ink screen with a resistive tablet screen? The reason I mentioned Debian is because I assume it would be possible to find display drivers that could be compiled for it.

If this has been mentioned in this forum before, I apologize. I searched Google and this forum and could not find any information over this subject.

First post!

Last edited by rbarham; 01-14-2012 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:56 AM   #2
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This is the connection to the motherboard from a supposed kindle e-ink replacement screen.



This is a replacement capacitive touchscreen for an iPhone 3GS. The image is too big and I didn't want to page-stretch.

http://image.made-in-china.com/4f0j0...-Ship-Fast.jpg

Would it be as simple as finding an LCD screen with the same type of connection as the Kindle's screen has?

Would I need to have a custom circuit board with a connection for both the screen I want to use and another one to the Kindle's display plug?

I would think it would be easier to make some kind of bridge board instead of removing and replacing the plug on the Kindle's motherboard.

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I am sure that this is possible with a Debian install as it will eliminate driver issues.

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Old 01-14-2012, 05:59 AM   #3
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I do not know for sure, but I'd be extremely surprised if you could replace the eInk screen with an LCD one.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:04 AM   #4
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I know it won't be a direct swap but the hardware has enough processing power to do it. I have no idea if there would be a voltage issue or anything like that but making a bridge board sounds feasible to me at least. :S
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:06 AM   #5
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Good luck. I'm afraid I don't even know where you'll find pinouts for the connections, let alone info on what kind of signals are being passed. I suspect, but don't know, that some of the eInk-specific signal processing is done on the motherboard.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:15 AM   #6
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This website is saying it's a press fit socket. The connector is the bottom left one with the grey thing on the end of it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:17 AM   #7
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Eh, I guess it would be easier to VNC into the kindle instead of replacing the screen so I can mess with stuff with a friendlier interface.

Edit: Ok, from what I'm reading on that last link, the controller for the e-ink display is actually on the ribbon itself. This would mean that I'm good to go, right? I really wish I knew more about this stuff.

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Old 01-14-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Eh, I guess it would be easier to VNC into the kindle instead of replacing the screen so I can mess with stuff with a friendlier interface.

Edit: Ok, from what I'm reading on that last link, the controller for the e-ink display is actually on the ribbon itself. This would mean that I'm good to go, right? I really wish I knew more about this stuff.
I read elsewhere that somebody looked up the part number of the IC on the eInk flex cable, and reported that is was a large ROM chip containing eInk tuning parameters adjusted for that specific display. It makes sense that a display and its custom tuning parameters stay together as a unit (for easy replacement), and that the common components (eInk driver circuit) go on the motherboard (to reduce display replacement cost).
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #9
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Ok, then since the Kindle will try to use any display connected to that socket as an e-ink display, would it be possible to use one of these:



If I could use a micro-B adapter and charge the display through a wall socket, would this work? This is, of course, using Debian and not the original Kindle firmware.

USB 2.0 to Micro-B adapter
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
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Given the price of cheap 7" Android tablets, why bother? You can buy a 7" no-name Chinese 7" tablet for peanuts, and it run will the Kindle Android App if you want to read Kindle books. What would you gain from having an LCD screen on a Kindle?
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:45 PM   #11
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Ok, then since the Kindle will try to use any display connected to that socket as an e-ink display, would it be possible to use one of these:
I really think you're vastly underestimating the difficulty of the project you're proposing.

And what has USB got to do with it?
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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Oh yes, I realize that this is way over my head.

I mentioned USB because the Kindle has a micro usb OTG connection. I thought it would be easier to use this commonly found port instead of the obscure socket found on the motherboard. On-the-go USB supports host mode when a device is connected with a micro-B connector. That specific external display uses two standard USB plugs: one to to receive data about the display and another one to power it.

If the display was powered externally and not through the Kindle, and was connected via a micro-b connector to activate host mode on the Kindle, would it not be possible to control the display through Debian on the Kindle itself?

Oh and there's no particular reason for doing this. I already have two tablets and a laptop and just wanted something to mess around with. In short, it sounds fun?

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Old 01-14-2012, 05:22 PM   #13
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Wow. OK, I've never heard of a display being driven over USB before, but it seems that that one is. An so yes, I suspect that if installing Debian on a Kindle gives you the ability to drive the USB post as a host USB port, then it might be possible to write a driver that would drive that display.

It's probably going to be writing that display that's the really hard bit, if others have already done the Kindle/Debian port.

The page of info I found only shows Windows and Mac OS X (intel) drivers. No open source drivers, but perhaps there are some out there that you could adapt.

An interesting project, and more feasible than replacing the eInk directly with an LCD.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:19 PM   #14
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Actually, the OTG USB is the INTERNAL one used by the 3G modem. The external connector only acts as a device, and does not support host mode. It would be possible to connect the external USB with another USB device such as the USB LCD, but you would need a host bridge device between them.

And you would need special device drivers inside the kindle.

EDIT: I finally found this post again so I could update and correct it. I have since read the freescale manual, which says the internal port is Host-Only, and the external port is OTG (Host or Device mode), so we can connect USB devices to the kindle (like a USB flash drive, or keyboard or mouse). In theory you could connect a USB video display too.

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:51 PM   #15
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Well thanks for the input everyone. I've decided to not pursue this project after receiving my Kindle. I'm just too attached to the e-ink screen now and think that this is still too big of a project for me at this time.
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