Introduction: Repair Kobo EReader N647 D-pad Controller
I had an old Kobo eReader N647 that still worked, but the rubber touch pad / "D-pad" controller button on the front had torn and perished badly, making it difficult to use the menus / turn pages.
I could find a few people on the internet with the same problem, but couldn't find a replacement anywhere. The rubber was too badly damaged for a simple glue repair, and I decided 3-D printing a flexible replacement would take too long. I wanted a simple, quick fix.
My repair took a few minutes, used only household stuff and works nicely. It looks reasonable too.
Discarded ice cream tub or other piece of thin plastic (preferably clear)
3cm Double sided tape
Fabric / cloth adhesive duct tape
5 small beads / stones / pinheads / small piece of toothpick (I used the contents of an old sachet of silicon dessicant)
Marker, scissors, knife, punch, small hole punch or drill with1.0-2.5mm drill bit (sized to just match your bead size)
Step 1: Open the Kobo
Open the Kobo Reader by inserting a flat knife/ screwdriver on any side and carefully sliding this around the edge, releasing the "clips" as you go.
Remove the old perished rubber controller touch pad.
Identify the 5 little gold contact points of the controller and the circuit board they are on.
Step 2: Cut 2 Plastic Templates
Using the Kobo cover and a marker, trace a template rectangle onto a piece of thin plastic (an old ice-cream tub). Do this twice to get 2 rectangles with rounded corners. Cut these out leaving about 2 mm border around each rectangle.
Hold each plastic template over the controller contact points, ensuring the borders are small enough to still fit over the controller.
On one template carefully mark the centre of each contact (this is easy if you use clear plastic, or you can use a ruler / tape measure to mark the points) - Use a small hole punch (2-3mm diameter) to punch a hole over each of these marks
On the other template mark the approximate edges of the controller components. Cut these out using a knife or scissors - this doesn't need to be neat or exact, you can cut out 5 individual squares or simply 1 bigger cross. It is easier to simply cut a cross out, so that the template can lie flat on the circuit board without touching the contacts.
Using a small amount of super glue, glue the 2 templates together, and trim the borders so they easily fit over the control unit on the circuit board on the eReader..
Step 3: Create "buttons"
Using the front piece of the eReader, trace another rectangle onto a small piece of double side tape. Cut this out on the markings. It doesn't matter if your tape is not wide enough cover top and bottom edges of the rectangle, but cut the side edges carefully and as straight as possible.
Stick the double sided tape to your templates, sticking it onto the side with the small holes punched out, not the cross side. Be neat and careful here - try keep the traced rectangles on your tape and plastic pieces all aligned.
Tear open a sachet of silicon dessicant (or find some small beads) and insert a small bead into each of the 5 holes you punched - so they stick to the double sided tape.
Using a ordinary paper punch, punch 5 small pieces of thin plastic (or simply cut these out with scissors) and stick these on the other side of the double sided tape, approximately opposite each of the 5 beads,
Step 4: Wrap It in Tape and Place It on the Contact Points
Wrap your new controller in a piece of fabric cloth tape, covering both sides. Cut off the excess tape.
Lie it on your Kobo contact points. Check that pushing each "button" works. The double sided tape should just snuggly fit through the hole for the kobo controller.
Close the kobo case over your new controller, clipping the sides together. Check again that each button works and that the new controller is held snuggly and securely in place.
That's it. A quick and easy fix for a broken Kobo eReaded controller button.