SOLVED (mostly) #Kindle 3 instability, crashing, battery failure, losing charge: it’s the leather cover!

I wrote up my problems here, and you can read the comments to follow the developments and line of thinking.

I have the following symptoms:

1) My Kindle frequently crashes upon wakeup from sleep

  • I flick and release the power switch
  • there is a long, long pause
  • then a green LED shows
  • and then the Kindle resets (watch the progress bar as it boots, etc)

2) My Kindle drains its battery at a horrifying rate; I am very careful to switch OFF the Wifi when not in use, but last night:

  • I fully charged my Kindle
  • disconnect it from power
  • switched off Wifi
  • read a book for about 30 minutes
  • I flicked the power-switch off – the Kindle displayed one of its screensavers – and I went to sleep.

This morning I woke up, flicked the power switch on; the kindle crashed and reset, and the battery showed approximately 40% charge remaining.

3) My Kindle occasionally crashes/resets mid-reading, but crashes are far more common when “waking it up” after a few hours “off”

After a few interactions with Amazon I received a phone call from one of their tech guys – instigated by my demand for a replacement – requesting if I could try one more thing:

“Please remove the Amazon-brand leather cover that [I had] purchased for it.”

If this sounds weird be aware that the cover attaches to the Kindle via two metal clips, and the mountpoints into which it clips are wired to the unit’s battery; this is so that certain models of the Kindle cover can use the battery to power a LED reading light.

I do not have one of those covers but it seems that although my cover is passive something about the clips is causing leakage of current and consequent instability; this neatly explains why it could be apparently well-behaved all night and then crash spontaneously when I picked it up to start using it, and also explains the battery drain.

It was an instant fix – stability is back, but I am a still bit worried about the battery. It appeared not to take a full charge a couple of times since, but is now discharging so slowly it’s hard to measure if it’s been fritzed by this problem.

I am waiting for a callback from Amazon to find out what they intend to do about this matter – I shall be pressing for a Kindle replacement because I am not convinced of its ability to take a full charge, nor how much damage has been done to the battery cycle life. What to do about the cover I don’t know – perhaps a refund and a slipcase?

I don’t know if the lighted/active covers will suffer this problem – after all, they should be designed to offer electrical isolation?

31 thoughts on “SOLVED (mostly) #Kindle 3 instability, crashing, battery failure, losing charge: it’s the leather cover!

  1. alecm Post author

    Facebook Comment c/o James Lick:

    The Kindle 3 built a 4 pin connector into the bottom clip slot. Two of these are for supplying power to lighted covers. The other two are the console serial port, and these are normally recessed so that they don’t touch the cover clip. I’m guessing that somehow the pins or the cover clip got bent such that you were shorting out and/or spamming the console port when the cover was on.

    I’d be less concerned about the battery than about the likely bent pins. (It is an easy mod to remove the serial port connector. Pop the back off and remove four screws and you’ll never short anything again, but presumably Amazon will come through with a replacement.)

    Reply
  2. Utsav

    This appears to be my problem, too. Coincidentally decided to try the same thing this morning and then found your post a few minutes ago. My Kindle has been stable since I removed the case this morning. Need to give it a day or two to confirm, but so far so good. Crap – I liked the case.

    Reply
  3. Dave Walker

    Well, I barked right up the wrong tree with my initial comment :-}.

    From a conversation back in Uni days, I remember an old pal (and electronics wiz) ruminating on how the most bizarre and difficult to replicate issues he used to have, were almost invariably down to power supply instability.

    The obvious question after the fact is, of course, “did the Kindle behave as expected, when plugged into the mains”?

    Reply
  4. Ross

    I’ve been having exactly the same problem and it comes as a bit of a shock that the likely culprit is the nice Amazon branded leather case that I ordered with it. I hope this solves my problem. If it does I’ll try returning the cover to Amazon for an alternative.

    Reply
  5. Debi

    I am having the exact same problem. I have only had my Kindle 3 WFi/3G for 5 days now, loaded tons of books on it, bought books, love it, inserted the Kindle into its new Amazon Kindle Cover (unlighted) right from the start and noticing my battery, though recharged yet again last night, is now at half, even though I have not read from it, and my WiFi was off all that time. I just took it out of the cover. I will recharge it and see what happens. I have the red cover with the light coming in the mail. I am so discouraged. I hope my battery is not ruined and if so, will have to return this. But if I cannot get a cover for it, what is the point of owning a Kindle that can break? And I was so happy. Please advise and how do I get in touch with Amazon or Kindle store for help?

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      How to get Kindle Support:

      I Googled for Kindle Support and got the following URL:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200487800

      …which for me hangs off amazon.co.uk because I’m in England; then, on that page in the right-hand sidebar, is a yellow button:

      Get Express customer service or contact us by e-mail or phone.
      (Contact Us)

      You can click that, authenticate, and fill out a form.

      Then they mail you back; the return e-mail was not much use, unfortunately, but I clicked a link (“This Did Not Fix My Problem”) in the _e-mail_ and it offered up a new form, where I could insert my telephone number and get Amazon to call _me_ back.

      Since then it’s been a series of phone conversations, and very helpful.

      If it’s any help, I’ve been dealing with Richard in the Kindle team in Ireland. I am not sure what days he works shifts. Feel free to cite this blogpost and my name.

      Reply
  6. alecm Post author

    Update: I had a call from Richard this afternoon – he schedules callbacks and followup meetings and seems to hit his targets well – and told him that since the Kindle is at least _stable_ without the cover, I want to keep hold of it until after the chaos of christmas and then work out what to do about getting the Kindle swapped and/or returning or replacing the cover.

    Reply
  7. Debi

    Hi Alec! Boy am I frustrated! Right now I am recharging my battery and plan to see how it works without any kind of cover on it, though I do want some kind of one. I can’t believe they know about this problem and have not recalled the product and quickly come out with something else. It sounds like the lit one creates the same problem, so I probably will either call them before opening it or just send the package back unopened. I live in the US so I need to find a US number to contact. Drats! Right now it is charging longer than it ever has, so I am hoping this is a good sign!

    Reply
  8. Debi

    Alec~Out of curiosity, do you keep your Kindle usually in sleep mode or do you just turn it all the way off when not using it? I have been turning mine off and someone said that also drains it more. Not sure what to think or do.

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      I just flick the switch into sleep mode. Use it in the way it was designed to be used.

      Repeated reboots will eat more power,.

      Reply
  9. Debi

    Good morning, Alec! I took my Kindle out of the cover, recharged it, it charged longer than ever, kept it in sleep mode when not reading, read for 2 hours this morning and the battery is holding its charge perfectly. It definitely was the cover. Now I need to make arrangements with Amazon to return my covers, both the lighted and non-lit ones. What a pity. The styling was very nice and streamlined, but not worth a cent if it will do damage to my Kindle, which I adore!

    Reply
    1. alecm Post author

      @Debi: before doing something that rash, actually talk to Amazon about the problem; it may be that your Kindle is at fault with a bent wire or something. Merely punting on the problem won’t solve it for everyone, and you may miss an opportunity that could help make you happy…

      Reply
  10. Debi

    Well said, Alec. And here is an informative share. I spoke with Amazon today!

    I have found out the problem after a very in length discussion with Amazon. The clips on the covers. When they designed them they knew that they would be having ones that would have a light attached to them and need a metal device to plug into. These covers have clips of metal that has gold in them. These covers have no problem with draining batteries, freezing screens, rebooting, as far as they know. The regular covers have clips made of a different kind of metal that is causing the batteries to drain, booting, rebooting, freezing problems. They are in the process of taking them off the market. They will design something else with a different metal/material. You can return your unlit ones for a full refund, plus they give you a 25.00 gift certificate to Amazon. Nice! These will be off the market soon.

    Today my red M-Edge Zipper case arrived. I will keep this one for travel. It is a little bulkier, but holds the Kindle nicely and does not interfere with buttons and doesn’t plug into the Kindle to create havoc! My other one will be sent back, the label is already in the mail, and the one with the light should arrive today or Monday and I will give it a go and see how things work out. Hopefully I will like it and be able to keep it. They said the problems seem to have started up about 2-3 weeks ago with these covers and it was only released yesterday as to what the exact problem is. Good chat with Amazon! Hope this is helpful to others!

    Reply
  11. alecm Post author

    It’s 0726 and my Kindle has been charging over USB all night – 8 hours – and still has an Orange light.

    Come the new year I am going to be pressing for a full replacement of both items – maybe I will upgrade to a lighted cover – because the battery in this kindle is trash if it can’t gain/sustain a full charge after only a month’s “usage” with all this connection hassle.

    Reply
  12. Debi

    I have not tried to charge mine via USB port. I have only used the regular electrical outlet, but 8 hours is ridiculous. It sounds like your battery is fried. Very frustrating. Ever since I have removed mine from the Kindle cover, recharged it (it was drained by about 50% and took less than 2 hours to charge fully up) it has been working fine. So far I have not had the courage to put it in the lighted one. I have it in another cover and realizing, through chatting with friends and reading forums, most people prefer the ones like mine that “strap” the Kindle in, thus nothing being “plugged” directly into the device to interfere with it and the Kindle itself being more secure. I’ve been reading a lot the past few days and seeing absolutely no drain on the battery.

    Reply
  13. Arvoredo

    I had this open-any-PDF-self-reset-problem. I thought of the cover, since it’s connected straight to the battery, so I tried to power from outside, but it kept resetting.
    Fortunately with some research I’ve found it was a firmware problem, downloaded from Amazon and it apparently solved the problem.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  14. Jeff

    I have my Kindle about three months and it has recently had similar issues. A couple of times when I have recharged it on it’s electrical plug the Kindle has actually lost charge. I am using the lighted cover. I’ll be speaking to Amazon about this after the New Year.

    Reply
  15. Debi

    Hi! Quick update. I have had my Kindle out of the Kindle cover for about 3 weeks now and in an M-Edge cover instead, and everything is working great. I bought a few varied ones, including one with a zip. I have not yet put the Kindle into the cover with the light because I want to see how my battery holds without any plug ins. So far so good. I still have at least 1/3rd of the battery left, possibly more, so it doesn’t look like it had done any damage. I returned my two non-lighted covers and received my money back, plus the gift certificate. All seems well and enjoying my Kindle fully!

    Reply
  16. Pingback: dropsafe : Kindle Battery / Cover – Amazon Resolution

  17. jillesp

    I had this same problem – called Amazon – they sent me a new cover with the light as the nonlighted version is causing a problem with the device. They are aware of this and the engineers are working to correct. in the meantime the non-lighted cover is no longer available. Amazon refunded me for the price of the original cover and gave me a $25 gift card to cover the difference between the old and new cover. so far, so good.
    the lighted cover is not extra heavy either – not much different to tell you the truth and now i have a light. good luck – the Amazon CS is great – they don’t give up until you are satisfied — great CS.

    Reply
  18. littlebear

    I have read all the above with interest – I am just about to order my first kindle and was looking at the various cases available – I hadnt particularly wanted one with a light, not least of all beacuse of the cost of it – but the above discussions have helped me enormously – thank you to you all. LB

    Reply
  19. littlebear

    Debi – could you tell me where you purchased your M Edged zipper cover – does this hold a kindle like a book? (ie the kindle is held inside)
    Have you tried the lighted version of the Kindle amazon cover yet? Im still unsure about actually needing a light, so am loathed to pay £51 for one unless I have to.
    Thanks LB

    Reply
  20. Kristeen

    I’m on my third kindle and it won’t hold a charge. The fact that they send refurbished units as replacements makes me think I’m just getting someone elses problem. They insist NO ONE else has had these problems. When I was at UPS returning the last one I was complaining loudly and three other people stated they had had the same problem.

    Reply
  21. Better Late Than Never

    Selloptape / sticky tape…. just wrap some selloptape / sticky tape of the clips and bingo solver

    Reply
  22. Pingback: Just found this referrer from #BlueCoat in my logfiles; does this mean they have blocked me? #security #censorship – dropsafe

  23. PeteE

    Hi all. I have experienced the same thing with my kindle and cover. Didn’t know that this was a common problem until finding this forum. I may have resold the issue by tapping up the fixings in the cover with Sellotape. No problems so far. Am monitoring performance. Will let you all know if successful.

    Reply
  24. wilvic

    ..Hi all, I had the same experience with my Kindle 3 3G, with amazon lighted cover. I just want to share it since I think I have the same issue with some of the people he in the forum.

    It was OK at first then there comes a time that the Kindle will reboot on itself. Then the worst happened, it stuck on boot screen, the one where there’s a kid under a tree and there’s this progress bar. The progress bar stuck about halfway and stays there.

    I left it for few days and it never changed whatsoever. I found some solutions on the net that I need to open the back and try to reset it by pressing the reset button inside the unit (which is not present on the newer batch of kindle 3) or removing the battery and putting it back after 5 mins. The removal of the battery did the trick, it restarted the Kindle and it prompts me the critical battery message. So there the Kindle was good after recharge.

    Then I put the Lighted leather cover again, then after a few days, the issue happened again. Reboot on its own then stuck on booth after a while. So I did the same process and when the Kindle was revived, I didn’t put the lighted leather cover again. And the Kindle was fine till this day. So I guess it might be the cover, lighted or not, can be the cause of the issue.

    Reply

Leave a Reply