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

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.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor on

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.

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

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