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Old 02-02-2015, 09:27 PM   #1
xtine
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Broken Kobo Aura H2O Screen

I broke my screen

I dropped my Kobo from a table about 3 feet high and it landed on its back. It wasn't that hard a drop and I actually wasn't expecting it to be damaged. A quick check and the screen seemed to be ok (it was already on when I dropped it) but a few minutes later, vertical lines appeared at the right side of the screen.

I've actually dropped the Kobo several times before this and it's always survived. Could it have been the previous drops that contributed to the screen finally breaking? (Despite dropping it in the past I'm actually very careful with my devices. I've maybe dropped the Kobo less than 5 times in the 3 months I've had it.)

I've had a Sony Reader and three Kindles before this and have never had a broken screen before. Then again, I always had covers for them and this time decided to use the Kobo naked, with only a sleeve for when it's not being used. I'm not sure if the Kobo is less sturdy or if a cover really adds that much more protection.

At any rate, I've totally accepted that it's my fault but emailed Kobo anyway to see if they can maybe give me a discount towards a second unit. I'm back to reading on my PW1 for now but I've gotten so spoiled with the Kobo screen that the "bruises" on the PW1 are bothering me a lot more than they used to.

For now, I'm undecided whether to jump right in and get another H2O, or just stick with the PW1 for another year and see what new device Kobo (or Amazon) comes up with.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:30 PM   #2
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Could it have been the previous drops that contributed to the screen finally breaking?
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Then again, I always had covers for them and this time decided to use the Kobo naked, with only a sleeve for when it's not being used. I'm not sure if the Kobo is less sturdy or if a cover really adds that much more protection.
It's possible that previous drops may have started a crack or it may just be that you were unlucky and it happened to land wrong. In my opinion cases are overrated in terms of the amount of protection that they provide. I don't think the Kobo's are any less sturdy than the others, although your chances of getting a discount on a new device are pretty slim (which Amazon seems to be willing to do in most cases).

EDIT: after actually looking that picture I'm not sure you've got a broken substrate. It looks like a controller issue or loose connection since those lines are straight up and down. Cracked screens usually have some curvature or diagonal lines in them. Worth trying to see if Kobo might do something or if they won't opening the device and seeing if something has come loose.

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For now, I'm undecided whether to jump right in and get another H2O, or just stick with the PW1 for another year and see what new device Kobo (or Amazon) comes up with.
Personally I'd just jump in and get the H2O . The extra screen size and better screen quality are worth it (especially if you're not happy with your PW).

Last edited by robko; 02-02-2015 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:02 AM   #3
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EDIT: after actually looking that picture I'm not sure you've got a broken substrate. It looks like a controller issue or loose connection since those lines are straight up and down. Cracked screens usually have some curvature or diagonal lines in them. Worth trying to see if Kobo might do something or if they won't opening the device and seeing if something has come loose.
A glimmer of hope! I actually had to have my H2O shipped over through a forwarder so sending it back to Kobo probably isn't an option. I can open it up myself to see if something is loose. Would you know if there are any service manuals for the H2O out there?

Additional info: screen is unresponsive now except for sliding up and down the left side to adjust light. Aside from that, tapping/swiping to turn the page does nothing. Turning it on and off also does nothing to change the display, it's stuck on that same page. Also, the vertical lines seem to have grown darker and thicker. In the picture you can see still see some of the words between the vertical lines but they're not visible. I'll have to take another picture to upload later.

Quote:
Personally I'd just jump in and get the H2O . The extra screen size and better screen quality are worth it (especially if you're not happy with your PW).
I'm just waiting to hear back from Kobo. After that I'm probably getting another H2O, with a cover this time just to be on the safe side

Last edited by xtine; 02-03-2015 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:12 AM   #4
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I found this youtube video demonstrating how to open up the H2O in case anyone is interested

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bffxKvz9RhA
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:54 AM   #5
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I found this youtube video demonstrating how to open up the H2O in case anyone is interested

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bffxKvz9RhA
Nice to have a video of this.

Although I'd recommend just using your fingers instead of an instrument, since the instrument is what made my glue turn all lumpy and it doesn't fit back together too well afterwards (unless you fancy removing the glue entirely and applying new, e.g. a double-sided adhesive 2mm tape).

He also says you can be as harsh as you want with the instrument since there are barriers inside the bezel... I'd not recommend that either, those barriers are actually the optics for the touchscreen IR, you want to be extra careful with those, anything happens to those barriers and your touchscreen is dead.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:56 AM   #6
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Thanks for the additional tips, frostschutz I'll try opening up the H2O later, although what I'll do when I actually have it pried open, I still have no idea
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:23 AM   #7
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I took a picture of the darkening vertical lines before prying the H2O open. After opening, I didn't know what to do so I just removed and reattached the flex cable connecting the screen to the board. I also pressed on the IC's in hopes that whatever was loose would reattach themselves. From lack of anything else to do, I also removed and reseated the micro SD card and pressed the reset button several times. The vertical lines seemed to rearrange themselves once more but the part with the text still remained as is.

Attaching pictures in case anyone wants to see what the H2O's insides look like but at this point I'm stumped. If the H2O is even still reparable, it's probably beyond me.

On a side note, it's kind of amazing (and a little frightening) to know that a little glue is the only thing that's keeping this device waterproof. To think that I've swum laps with this in the pool!
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Last edited by xtine; 02-03-2015 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:56 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear about your H2O's accident. On the bright side, it's still usable if you set a wide right margin in your css.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:02 AM   #9
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Thanks, treadlightly. Unfortunately the display is unresponsive now.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:24 AM   #10
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Edit: I take it back, it looks like that for me too (diagonal line under the bezel). Not sure what's wrong with it after all.

Does the power LED still light up when you turn the device off/on? If not there may be an issue with the battery...

Last edited by frostschutz; 02-03-2015 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:45 AM   #11
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I noticed the diagonal line under the bezel too. The LED still lights up when I press the power button. I was monitoring my battery before the screen broke and I had just charged the H2O a week before so it's probably not a battery problem.

Might be time to just suck it up and place an order for a second H2O. I've been eyeing that sleep cover anyway
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:09 AM   #12
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You could take the PCB off so you have a clear view of the display's back. If there are any cracks they are obvious then.

I guess if there are no cracks you would've gotten a replacement from Kobo if you didn't take it apart
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:55 PM   #13
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Since the H2O has a broken screen, keep the damaged H2O as spare parts and get a new H2O but with a case.

Given that you are prone to dropping the H2O, get the most padded case you can find.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:41 PM   #14
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@frostschutz I tried to take the PCB off but I couldn't remove it fully because I couldn't figure out how to remove the wires connecting the battery to the board (it looks like it's just clipped on but feels soldered). I think I could see cracks along the sides though, corresponding to the diagonal lines under the bezel so the screen probably is damaged.

@JSWolf Yup, that's what I plan to do (get a new H2O with a case this time). This H2O had an amazing battery so hopefully I'll have a good spare to use in the future. I just have to remember to keep this thing charged every once in a while
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:20 PM   #15
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I think I could see cracks along the sides though, corresponding to the diagonal lines under the bezel so the screen probably is damaged.
That makes sense. The symptoms certainly looked like a broken substrate including the fact that the screen doesn't change in response to touch any more but the light brightness swipe still works. Unusual to only have vertical lines with a broken substrate, but it looks like the break was hidden by the frame.
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