The Kindle Fire is a great way to engross yourself in a good book or enjoy a nice game of candy crush without the need of a big book or a heavy computer. However, with all electronic devices, they can break down. In the case of the Kindle Fire, the USB port used for charging can become dislodged or wear out from normal use after the warranty is up. Buying a new one or paying to have it fixed can become costly. These instructions will help fix this small problem. The process takes around 45 minutes to an hour and half. This repair does require the skills to solder small parts back together and should not be attempted by children.
The materials I used:
#00 Philips Head Screw Driver
Plastic Pry Tool
60/40 Rosin Core Solder
30 Watt Soldering Iron with Fine Point Tip
Magnifying Glass Station
New USB Port (I bought mine on Amazon)
Sharp Knife or Other Sharp Blade
Step 1: Open the Kindle
1. Starting at the top of the Kindle between the speakers, wedge the plastic pry tool into the crack between the two halves.
TIP: If you are having trouble getting the pry tool into the crack you can use something sharp like a knife or a small flat head screw driver to get started. However be careful not to damage the plastic case.
WARNING: If you are going to use a knife or something sharp make sure to be careful not to cut yourself.
2. Gently start to pry the two halves apart slowly running the pry tool along the edge as each section is broken loose.
CAUTION: The plastic tabs connecting the two halves together are brittle and can break if too much force is applied so be gentle.
Step 2: Disconnect the Wires From the Motherboard
1. Lift up the tape covering the speaker cable.
2. Gently remove the speaker cable from the connection.
3. Lift up the display data cable to disconnect it.
4. Lift up the antennae cable to disconnect it.
5. Lift open the power button connector and pull the ribbon away.
6. Lift up the light sensor connector and pull the ribbon out.
7. Remove the two screws holding the touch-screen controller down with the Phillips screw driver.
8. Lift up the touch-screen connector and remove the ribbon.
TIP: These connectors are small so it may be easier to use the pry tool to lift up the connector and cables.
CAUTION: The wires are fragile so make sure you gently pull the ribbons and cables out to prevent breaking them.
Step 3: Remove the Motherboard
1. Remove the six screws holding the motherboard in place with the Philips screw driver.
2. Make sure the cable that you removed are out of the way so they do not get caught on the motherboard.
3. Gently pull the motherboard away from the frame.
TIP: The motherboard is also held down by adhesive tape on the bottom so you can use the pry tool to work the motherboard back and for to break the seal on the glue.
TIP: The screws are very small. Placing them in a small cup will prevent losing them.
Step 4: Clean Up the USB Port
NOTE: For these next two steps I used a magnifying glass stand to help me see and work with the small parts.
1. If the USB port has come off completely make sure all of the connection points are cleaned.
- Heat up the excess solder on the points with the soldering iron.
- When it is melted use the solder vacuum to suck up the excess solder.
WARNING/CAUTION: The soldering iron gets very hot so be careful not burn yourself or touch it to areas on the motherboard you are not going to be soldering that it can damage.
2. If the USB port is still partially or fully attached, heat up the points with the soldering iron and vacuum the solder away with the soldering vacuum until the part is fully detached.
3. Place a little amount of new solder on the points that the new port will be placed.
- Place a little amount of solder on the iron.
- Touch the iron to the points until the solder comes off.
CAUTION: Make sure that the new solder does not connect any of the points together or else the motherboard might short circuit and cause damage.
Step 5: Solder the New USB Port Into Place
1. Place the new USB port into the cleaned spot.
2. Solder the posts that hold the port to the board.
- Place solder on the iron and heat up the post until the solder attaches to the posts.
- Once the posts are soldered push down on the top of the port while heating up the solder to make sure the port is adequately in place.
- Turn the board over and fill in the holes on the bottom of the side.
NOTE: Make sure that the five pins are pushed down and touch the board before soldering them down.
3. Solder the five pins to the board.
NOTE: This step is really tricky since the pins are very small. Make sure to use just a small amount of solder and make sure the solder does not bridge any of the points together. If they do make sure to clean the area before finishing.
Step 6: Replace the Motherboard
1. Make sure all the ribbons and cables are out of the way before putting the motherboard back into place.
2. Follow steps 2 and 3 in reverse order to replace and reconnect the motherboard.
Step 7: Put the Two Halves Back Together
1. Line up the two halves of the case.
2. Gently press the two halves back together making sure the clips click back into place.
Congratulations, you have successfully repaired your Kindle Fire! The soldering is the hardest part, requiring practice and a steady hand. However, with the new USB port and a more secure soldering job, your kindle will now last last longer. Not only will it last longer but it cost a lot less than having someone else repair it or buying a new one. Now you can curl up on your favorite chair and begin a new adventure.