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Old 10-30-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
goldenarmZ
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Troublesome K3

First off, apologies if this is a bit of a long read but I want to describe the problem and attempted solutions fully and accurately.

I have a K3 D00901 which spontaneously stopped working a few days ago, and I'm having huge troubles trying to resurrect it. The Kindle was running Duokan 2012 alongside 3.3 and was working perfectly a couple of weeks ago. It's been sat unused on a shelf since then, and now I'm getting no response from the power switch.

I immediately assumed the battery was over-drained and plugged it in to charge (wall charger). I noticed the the orange light went out after a few seconds, but left it overnight anyway. Next day I decided to whip the back off and test the battery with a multimeter. It read 3.64v, which seems a pretty healthy voltage to me, but indicates that the overnight charge did nothing. I put the Kindle back on charge for another few hours to confirm the broken charge cycle, and as expected the voltage didn't change.

At this point I decided to try the ATK unbrick procedure as described in the noobs guide. I was unable to get the Kindle into USB mode using the normal reset and hold [vol-] method. The only way I can get into USB mode is to plug in the USB cable with the battery disconnected, then hold [vol-] and reconnect the battery. With this method the device was detected by windows as an MX35, and I was able to start ATK.

While trying to flash the 3.02 kernel, the connection dropped and the transfer failed. After trying this several times, it seems that my Kindle drops the connection (and disappears from device manager) anything from 1-20 seconds after entering USB mode. This was not enough time to flash a complete kernel.

I theorised that these drops might be down to some kind of safety measure, whereby the Kindle won't stay in USB mode below a certain voltage to prevent bad flashes. Since the battery wouldn't charge in the kindle, I MacGyvered up a connector to charge the battery with a Xtar WP2, and left it to charge right up to 4.15v. This didn't seem to help at all, so I tried powering the kindle directly with a DC source connected to the battery terminals. The closest supply I could muster was 4.5v, but it still exhibited the same dropping behavior.

At this point I suspected hardware failure of some kind and was close to giving up. As a last resort, I stripped the Kindle right down the the bare board, removing all ribbons, pop connectors etc. and placing the board outside the case on my desk. I also gave it a blast with compressed air to rule out dust particles (even though it looked spotless). I tried ATK again, only to be met with yet another drop after a few seconds. I should've given up then, but didn't for some reason, and tried one more time. Weirdly, this try worked. The connection didn't drop and I was able to flash the kernel then begin flashing the root fs. The connection finally dropped after about 20 minutes, so I didn't complete the process, but definite progress was made. At this point the kindle would remain in the charge cycle normally, I could enter USB mode in the normal way with the power switch, and when trying to power on I got a green led followed by what looked like a flashed error code (remember I dont have the screen or keyboard plugged in and only half a file system, so I wasnt expecting it to boot properly). It was getting late, so I put the Kindle back together and left it til this morning.

Now, I'm back at square one. The charge cycle dies after a few seconds, I can only get USB mode by disconnecting the battery, and USB mode drops in seconds. I've tried disconnecting everything again to no avail. The battery is still reading 4.14v and I'm now pretty stuck for anything else to try.

I really can't afford to replace this thing at the moment, which is why I'm so unwilling to accept its death. I would put it down to hardware failure and be done with it, were it not for the sudden anomalous 'normal' behaviour last night. Is there any way to get a boot log out of the kindle over USB, so I can try to get some indication of what's happening? I have both Windows and Linux environments available, but I'm by no means a Linux power user, so please be gentle with any instructions. :P

Any suggestions at all from the kindle gurus here would be most welcome. I'm officially stumped.

edit: I forgot to mention, the screen is blank, and has been the entire time. This in itself seems weird, as surely it should be displaying the lock screen (or whatever the last drawn image was)?

Last edited by goldenarmZ; 10-30-2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:34 PM   #2
hawhill
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You've already tried a lot of things, much respect for that. I'd probably done the same things and I can't think of much other possibilities than hardware failure. Well, I would have probably tried out k3flasher on Linux, too, and I would in fact be interested in how it behaves. I don't expect a success report with it, though.

You could also hook up a serial connection (though this is cumbersome due to the low-voltage requirement), out of interest whether uboot and early kernel init run well.

About the blank screen: I think it is only initialized when the kernel's eink drivers get loaded.

Between the lines of what you wrote, I was thinking a lot about the Tight-Restart-Loop that keeps so many people from using the ATK/k3flasher method. I'm still puzzled over that distinct, clear repeating picture of this specific error you are facing. After figuring out USB Downloader mode for backup/recovery, this seems to be the next hurdle for K3 recovery.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #3
goldenarmZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawhill View Post
I would have probably tried out k3flasher on Linux, too, and I would in fact be interested in how it behaves. I don't expect a success report with it, though.
I did actually try that too, I just forgot to include it in my post. It basically did the same thing as atk, the connection dropped and k3flasher threw a libusb "no device" error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hawhill View Post
You could also hook up a serial connection (though this is cumbersome due to the low-voltage requirement), out of interest whether uboot and early kernel init run well.
If the only way to get that output is by serial, I'll probably give it a try at some point. I was hoping there was some way to get that over usb, but it seems not.
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