kindle liquid damage

my neighbor sent me a text and their child had dropped their kindle in the water for a bit, and it had become unresponsive.  was still on, but stuck.  like we have been conditioned to do, they had put it into rice for a bit, and then decided to give me a call.  it’s not what we recommend to do these days as the concept has been busted (as they say in mythbusters).  when a device gets wet, they liquid needs to be cleaned and the sooner the better and even that depends on what type of liquid.  urine, salt water, etc are highly corrosive and usually the damage happens instantaneously.

that being said, let’s get this thing open and see what’s what.

when we got it open, we found several areas that needed some cleaning and we got to it.  one of the focus areas was the LCD connection.  there are before and after cleaning comparison shots of the nasty corrosion.

LCD connector

and the other area was around the touch connection where the ribbon cable from the glass connects to the motherboard (brain) of the device.

touch connector

after cleaning, i decided it was ok to reassemble and yay!!! it started up normally.  but…..

there was no touch.  completely unresponsive…

 

sooooo… let’s take another look.

and as we take a closer look (with our handy microscope), what do we find around the touch connector but a severed trace from the corrosion.  this is the end of a flexible cable from the touch that goes into the connector in the photo above.

severed trace

one of the pathways used by the glass to indicate a touch was severed by the corrosion of the liquid.  the motherboard (brain) no longer could tell that a touch was being made.  it could not “feel” it.

keep in mind this device had not been in the water that long and they had called me relatively quickly (i think it was less than 24 hours), but corrosion had already begun to take it’s toll.  the device was now rendered essentially useless.  one of their options was to get a new unit, or to try to replace the front glass ($).  they let me know that this unit was less than $50, so any repair would be in excess of the cost of a new unit. even my minimum iron fee was higher that, but they have been exceptional neighbors and friends, so i cut the iron on.  let’s see what we can do.

first task was to expose the trace to be able to apply some tin.

scrape

i scraped away some of the orange protective layer to expose the copper line underneath.

then i applied some tin to either side of the break.  the tin will help the new line “stick”.

tinned

now we take a smaaaaaall wire and tin that as well.  then i flattened it and applied it to the area to recreate a new trace for the current/signal to flow.  keep in mind we are looking at this through a microscope and the size of the copper wire is about the size of a human hair.

tinned flattened copper wire

after the trace was secure, i filed it down flat.  voila!!! – reconnected.

finished repair

i also took a photo next to a dime for a size comparison, then put it back together and yay!!!  this time fully functional.  you can see above the cable we were working on, the black connection that it will be inserted into that we has already been cleaned (from photo above).

size comparison

they were happy to get back a working unit.  and to our neighbors – thank ya’ll for keeping our dog and an eye on the house while we were with willow in the hospital.  were are indebted to you and deeply grateful.  i was glad for the opportunity to help in return.

it works!