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Old 01-13-2022, 02:39 PM   #1
AlexPartridge
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Kindle 4 Bricked, No Fastboot/Diags, Need Help!

Hello All,

I debated whether or not it was worth creating an account and posting, but here I am and I'm at my wits end trying to unbrick my device.

I know there are probably countless other threads on these forums dealing with this topic, but as there are so many of them and a lot of them are already quite long/old, it was hard to know where to post this for the best. So, apologies if this isn't the right place and feel free to move it if need be!

I have a Kindle 4 (Non-Touch) and after leaving it for a little while the battery drained, and after recharging it boot looped and would only display the 'Connect Charger' screen. The device would not boot, nor display anything on the screen except the low battery indicator when it discharges.

I attempted to recover it and I have tried both the Kubrick LiveCD, and the KindleSelectBoot/MfgTool on 32-bit Windows XP. Besides being able to get it into recovery mode I get absolutely nothing from the device. I cannot get it into fastboot mode, nor can I boot the diagnostics tools either. Kubrick sits at the 'Waiting for device...' prompt on the fastboot screen, and the Kindle never shows up as a 'New' or 'Unknown Device' for me to install the fastboot LibUSB Drivers in Windows XP. All the while, the Kindle just shows a blank screen.

The device was 'jailbroken' prior to this set-back, but was done for nothing more than the 'Cover Screensaver' feature. It had been working perfectly before this.

I'm pretty competent with tech, and am in no way afraid of the command line, but this has really got me stumped. A lot of the information I have been trying to read for my model of Kindle was posted on these forums around a decade ago, so there are a lot of broken links and applications that no longer work, but if there is anyone who can help, or has any more ideas about what's gone wrong I would be extremely grateful!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-14-2022, 03:24 AM   #2
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To begin with, check what voltage the battery has. Maybe it's just time to replace it.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:20 AM   #3
AlexPartridge
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Hello, thanks for your response.

I should've mentioned in my post that I have already replaced the battery, the old one was definitely well worn but worked fine during the time that I used it.

The new battery didn't make any difference to my ability to attempt a recovery, but thank you regardless for your suggestion!
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Old 01-14-2022, 01:46 PM   #4
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Just because it's new doesn't mean it's charged. It is better to check than to look for the problem elsewhere.
It is best to connect to the serial port of the reader then it may be easier to diagnose the fault.
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Old 04-01-2022, 10:07 AM   #5
AlexPartridge
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Hey, it's been a few months and firstly apologies for the silence, however, I was able to get my hands on a 1.8v FTDI Serial Adaptor, and have been able to get some output from the device.

Sadly, unless I plug it into the computer and use the Kubrick Utility I don't get anything out on the serial monitor. But this is what I was able to get:

Code:
U-Boot 2009.08-lab126 (Feb 19 2012 - 05:03:11)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 50000000Hz
ipg per clock : 50000000Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 100000000Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 800000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
MMC:  FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1
Err -19 on send ext_csd

Warning: fail to get ext csd for MMC!
idme_get_var ERROR: couldn't switch to boot partition
Err -19 on send ext_csd

Warning: fail to get ext csd for MMC!
idme_get_var ERROR: couldn't switch to boot partition
Board: Unknown
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: MMC
Board Id: 0000000000000000
S/N: 0000000000000000
*** TODO: Dump protected MMC here ***
Invalid board id!  Can't determine system type for RAM init.. bailing!
DRAM:   0 kB
Using default environment
I'm not overly sure what this means for the potential of recovering my device, but hopefully it could shed some light on what's wrong!

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2022, 06:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexPartridge View Post
Code:
U-Boot 2009.08-lab126 (Feb 19 2012 - 05:03:11)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 50000000Hz
ipg per clock : 50000000Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 100000000Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 800000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
MMC:  FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1
Err -19 on send ext_csd

Warning: fail to get ext csd for MMC!
idme_get_var ERROR: couldn't switch to boot partition
Err -19 on send ext_csd

Warning: fail to get ext csd for MMC!
idme_get_var ERROR: couldn't switch to boot partition
Board: Unknown
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: MMC
Board Id: 0000000000000000
S/N: 0000000000000000
*** TODO: Dump protected MMC here ***
Invalid board id!  Can't determine system type for RAM init.. bailing!
DRAM:   0 kB
Using default environment
I'm not overly sure what this means for the potential of recovering my device, but hopefully it could shed some light on what's wrong!

Thanks!
Indeed it does, but there's not much hope of recovery. Error -19 is -ENODEV, "No such device". Your flash chip ("MMC") has failed so hard that you're not just getting write errors: it's not even appearing on the bus. With no flash chip on the bus, the CPU has nothing to boot from, and booting inevitably fails. Since the flash chip has not only, well, the entire Kindle operating system and all your books on it but also identifiers unique to this specific Kindle without which it won't talk to Amazon and can't decrypt (the majority of) its own books, simply replacing the flash with the Flash from another Kindle wouldn't help, either (not that doing that would buy you much: you lose one Kindle in the process of gaining another!). I don't really see how merely sitting without power could do this: I wonder if the battery has corroded some trace or other on the board. It might be worth looking for bad traces...

(As a side note, here the Kindle is showing its age and relatively limited budget: it has a discrete flash chip, and a separate CPU! Seeing this in a modern retail mobile device is like seeing a dinosaur in the wild to me. Most modern mobile systems, even ones built for easy repair like the Fairphone, have absolutely everything in a single chip, sorry, "package"; usually if that fails, well, you'll see nothing at all because not only is all the flash missing but so is all the RAM and oh yes the CPU as well, and probably all the mobile stuff other than the actual antenna. It's more or less impossible for just part of a package like that to vanish in a coherent lump like this. Random failures due to age-related failures or electromigration or unfortunate overvoltage incidents, sure. Sudden failure of "the flash" but not of any other part of the package? Not going to happen.)
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Old 04-04-2022, 01:51 PM   #7
AlexPartridge
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Hi NullNix, thanks for your response!

When I saw the error the thought did occur to me that it might be a problem with the flash memory itself rather than anything else, but thank you for basically confirming it for me!

I honestly think, given what you've said, that the battery draining was likely never the root cause of the problem and that the battery was dead purely because of the age of the device (it was the original battery) and the time it was left idle. There's nothing visually that I can see on the motherboard or case in terms of battery goop, corrosion or damage, so this is more than likely an internal hardware failure.

It's a shame that it's not recoverable, but I guess that's just how things go sometimes. I can't say that the device didn't have a good life though; I originally gifted it to my Mum for Christmas way back in 2010 and it was used daily for ~7-8 years before she eventually upgraded to a Paper White Kindle model and this one boomeranged it's way back to me last year!

It's unfortunate that it's not something that can be fixed, and I'm a little sad that I wasn't be able to, but there's a limit to everyone's abilities and I can at least say I tried everything I could to rescue it!

I'll likely look into buying a new kindle in the next few weeks, as I'm quite keen to get back into reading. And, on the plus side, now I have an FTDI Serial Adaptor in my arsenal to use on some potential future projects!

Thanks again!
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