What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

Summary: Rumors of my Kindle Fire's death have been greatly exaggerated. I hope these tips and links will help you if you run into an apparently dead device.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
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Yesterday, I woke up and decided to read my Kindle Fire for a few minutes before getting out of bed. It wouldn't turn on. This is unusual, because the Fire always turns on -- or at least it has every time in the month I've owned mine.

I need to be clear that this device is babied. It lives on my night table and is only used for a half hour or so before I go to sleep, once in a while if I wake up in the night, and sometimes as an excuse to avoid getting out of bed for a little while in the morning.

It's my bedroom reader and hasn't left the room since I brought it in there the day I received the device from Amazon last month.

Because the device gets so little heavy use, it holds a charge like nobody's business. The battery is almost always full, even if it hasn't been plugged in for days. Just the night before, I'd used it for some light reading, and the battery showed almost full.

And yet, it wouldn't start.

I tried plugging in the charging cable. No happy little green charging light was to be seen. I checked the socket. I checked the charging cable itself by plugging in my wife's Kindle Fire (yes, we are a two Kindle Fire family). That machine showed a happy green light.

My Fire, it seemed, was dead.

I gotta tell you, it was before coffee and I was starting to work up quite the head of steam. My wife is very familiar with the signs of a coming rant and quickly intervened. First she got me coffee and made me a nice breakfast (french toast and sausage -- she was definitely in full-on rant-manage mode!).

This distraction bought her enough time to go onto Amazon's Web site and look around. As it turns out, there's a Troubleshooting your Kindle Fire page, and a section devoted to power problems.

There were two symptoms documented, and one, specifically seemed to apply to me, "Kindle Fire battery not charging". The troubleshooting page recommended holding the power button for 20 seconds and then releasing. It also recommended charging the machine for a full cycle. Since I'd had the device on the charger all night, all she had to do was press and hold the button for 20 seconds, and my Kindle was back to rights.

I have some observations to share from this experience. First, I'm lucky. My wife is awesome and awesomely tolerant. I didn't even have to reach the diagnosing the problem stage (which comes about an hour after the childish ranting stage). I just ate french toast and the problem went away.

A second observation is that this shouldn't have happened. The device gets very little usage, I run very few apps, and all I did was read a Kindle book the night before. We'll keep an eye out to see if this is an ongoing Kindle Fire problem or an isolated event.

A third observation occurred later yesterday, when our own Jason Perlow pointed out that there's already an update for the Kindle Fire. He says his Kindle Fire seems snappier after the update.

Anyway, rumors of my Kindle Fire's death have been greatly exaggerated. I hope these tips and links will help you if you run into an apparently dead device.

Update: Apparently, this isn't just my Kindle Fire. Our own Joel Evans reports this is a surprisingly common occurrence.

See also:

If you've had any issues with your Kindle Fire, please share them in the TalkBacks below.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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Talkback

20 comments
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  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    What to do if you think your Kindle Fire is dead: Buy an iPad?

    Just saying.
    Bates_
    • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

      @Bates_ Nah, iPads do the same thing, you just need to hold the home and power button for 30 seconds and it reboots. It's nice to see that it's not just Apple that has these issues.
      hammeroftruth
      • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

        @hammeroftruth

        This is such a nice opportunity for obvious jokes about fires going out etc.

        Yeah all devices including iPads have the occasional startup issue.

        If the Kindle was actually dead then an iPad would be a good suggestion, but just a startup glitch is not a reason to be hard on the poor Kindle.
        richardw66
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    C'mon Dave. As a DIY Geek, you disappoint me. Whenever you encounter a "dead" device, the "geek manual" says that after exhausting all the obvious things like you did, you hit the "reset" button. This goes back to the earliest computer days. <br><br>For the record, my Kindle Touch did this the first week I owned it. I had to look online for a solution. The docs you get with the Kindle are relatively useless.

    Oh, and I have also had several iPods do a similar thing..Same solution. It seems a long press on the power button solves a lot of ills. Make sure you are backed up though. Many devices clear the storage when you do this.
    tradergeorge
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    My e-ink kindle does this all the time, typically when I haven't used it for a few days. Same solution. Same thing with our iPad and same solution. Don't see why it happens, but seems to be a common problem.
    Jay1076
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    Ahh, this was a delightful read. It had just the right amount of technical help, personal interest and great humor. It is quite refreshing to see that other DIY Geeks go through the same process: denial, disappointment, a rant or two, and THEN get on to the problem resolution. Whether that process only takes a few moments or extends to many minutes, I have done the same.

    The best part was reading about your wife's intervention. Her quick thinking and resourcefulness makes her the real heroine of the story. Too funny.

    I will remember your experience and should I encounter the same with my wife's Kindle Fire (currently under the Christmas tree), I will know just what to do.
    norm.parker@...
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    Hit it
    edkollin
    • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

      @edkollin

      Throw it at the cat, who surely, being a cat, deserves it.
      fairportfan
      • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

        @fairportfan

        If it had a mouse???
        richardw66
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    They're all still computers. Wether it is a Kindle, an iPad, iPod, or any other e-reader for that matter. They will at times require a hard reset. That's life.

    It shouldn't have happened? Come on, you buy a first generation device, you are going to have to expect some bugs. That's what updates are for. No matter how much pre release testing gets done by the select few, it isn't until a device hits the big bad world a lot of bugs get discovered.

    It's more about what gets done in the form of addressing the bugs that is important here.
    shsdarwin
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    Considering that all those devices are built by the same company should not be new to anyone.
    redbear2
  • "The device gets very little usage, I run very few apps"...

    Then, it sounds like a waste of money to spend $199 for something that barely gets any usage. And, if the wife also barely uses hers, then it's a waste of $400. <br><br>As a blogger, perhaps one needs to "own" the device to learn about it? Or, perhaps borrowing one would have sufficed? If the need is to just understand the device, then one Kindle Fire in the household would have been enough, but, still if the two devices aren't used much, then none would've been enough.
    adornoe
    • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

      @adornoe@...

      Sometimes the life you envision for yourself doesn't work out.
      richardw66
      • You make no sense.

        Try to write something worth reading and getting comments about.
        adornoe
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    In response to the comments that David has made concerning the Kindle Fire in this and previous articles, positive and negative (If you've read them you will understand my references below):

    Have had to reset my Playbook the same way. Kind of universal among these sort of electronics, especially when they are in their first iterations.

    No bluetooth with the Kindle Fire. The Playbook has Bluetooth. My old Think Outside Bluetooth keyboard works with it, simultaneous with bridging to my Blackberry phone.

    The Playbook can read any Kindle book, via the built-in web browser using the Kindle Cloud Reader (but be sure to go to portrait mode.)

    The Playbook has superior system specs (better than the Ipad) for speed and multi-tasking. Nothing seems to slow it down.

    Unlike the Kindle, the Playbook has external volume buttons, and a power button you can't accidentally activate (it's a feature, not a bug).

    The Kindle has no Home button, but with the Playbook, to go "Home", just swipe up once from the lower bezel of the screen.

    The Kindle has adequate touch sensitivity. The Playbook has excellent touch sensitivity

    The Kindle is limited to the Amazon ecosystem. In February, the Playbook will be able to run any and all Android apps (good and bad due to malware), and a built-in email app.

    The Kindle has 8 hours of battery life. The Playbook battery life is 10 hours with continual use. Longer if just reading books.

    Rather than characterizing the Kind Fire as a "hand-me-down hardware" version of the Playbook," it is more accurate to characterize the Fire as a dumbed-down hardware version of the Playbook.

    The Kindle accommodates Flash, but the Playbook allows Flash to dance and sing, and as David says, "..the real fact is, Flash is not dead. It???s baked into many web sites, and I???m talking about real web sites, not just silly casual gamer sites." Of course with the Ipad, there's no Flash at all.

    Like the Kindle, the Playbook supports PC Formatted Documents - Word, Excel, Powerpoint.

    As with the Kindle, the Playbook is just the right size. As David says, "There is something deeply satisfying about the 7??? tablet form-factor. It???s possible to easily hold it in one hand like a paperback, carry it around without worrying that you???re lugging an entire window pane in your backpack, and even use it as a live shop reference when crawling around machinery, doing maintenance. It???s easy to hold in the hand, it???s easy to prop up on a pillow for bedtime reading or a last-minute TV show, and it???s just, plain comfortable."

    The Kindle with 8gig memory can be had for $199
    The Playbook with 16gig memory can be had for $199
    The Playbook with 32gig memory can be had for $299
    The Playbook with 64gig memory can be had for $399
    And there are better deals out there now. (I got my 64gig new-in-the box Playbook off Craig's List for $300)

    Why buy lesser hardware and lock yourself into the Amazon ecosystem? Get the Playbook now while it is still ridiculously cheap! It won't stay that way come February.
    The smart money right now is buying RIM stock. These are probably the same people who are encouraging all the talk about its demise. Don't kid yourself. When Mark Twain visited England in 1897, he heard that US newspapers had reported his passing. Having received an inquiry about this, he answered by cable with the now-famous line, ???Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.??? Exactly.
    smather
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    Sendd it back to Amazon, they'll even pick it up.<br><br>They'll punt you a new one, with little of the grimacing and posturing over 'user damage' all the rest will do.<br><br>No Kindle Fire = No Buying of sh1te from Amazon.<br><br>Due to being dead/stuck on idle screen, cracked LCD or stress fracture in bezel - had about 4 Kindle's now, no fuss. Nice Amazon.
    neil.postlethwaite
  • RE: What to do if you think your brand new Kindle Fire is dead

    I find that most of these problems with electronic devices locking up over night can be caused by lower night temperatures. I have had a number of devices play up in the winter till they warm up a little.
    NZJester
  • Size matters

    Obviously it is a game device, an e-reader, a travel gadget and only an occasional web device.

    12" tablets will appear in the new year no doubt.
    albionstreet
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  • look i need.help

    Ok my kindle firebis working fine and dandy the only thing that dosent work is my books every time i tap one the word Kindle shows up and thats itl
    also my book store changed to sonething different and says i need an app to it plz help i wanna read my book :(
    hershey00