I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a DIY kind of person. I like the challenge, I like not wasting, I like the ingenuity, I like the frugality. Sometimes my DIY projects are total wins. Sometimes they are total fails.
Today’s post is an example how NOT to DIY.
Late Summer 2015.
My daughter drops our Kindle; the screen shatters. Grr. Kids. Though it looks awful, I put packing tape over the screen to protect fingers from getting cut and we keep using it as-is.
I look around for Kindle repair cost. I discover it’s cheaper just to buy a new one at $70.
But I don’t want to buy a new one. I want to save money and be hip and sustainable and save the environment and be all cool and DIY the repair myself. I figure I already change my own printer toner, cut my own hair, and Ikea hack my own standing desk, so hey – I can handle this too.
I go on eBay to find a replacement screen. My Kindle Fire was a 7″, and I find a 7″ screen that even comes with the necessary tools. $18. Easy Peasy. I order it.
The new screen comes, but I’m busy (you know, life) and don’t do anything with it.
It’s over a month later and I (finally) get all set up to complete my DIY challenge. I pull out the broken Kindle, the new screen, the tools, my camera (so I can document my awesome “I’m-so-DIY-I-fix-my-own-Kindle” prowess on this blog of course) and pull up the instructions online.
But. I have a problem.
The replacement screen and my Kindle screen don’t seem to be the same size. Close. But no cigar. I look up my purchase. I look up my Kindle. They are both 7″ Kindle Fires, but totally different generations.
Oh yeah. I probably should’ve verified that detail before purchase, huh?
I look up return info, but I’m over 30 days out and a return is no bueno. So I’m $18 down the drain. Yay.
I know I should post the screen on eBay and try to get a few bucks out of it still. But I’m lazy, or busy, or distracted, and for whatever reason, I don’t. We have a garage sale on Halloween and I throw the box with the screen into the sale. It doesn’t sell. It gets gathered into the “donate” pile and I forget all about it.
I again go on eBay and this time find the RIGHT replacement screen. For sure. This is is. It’s $20 and doesn’t come with the tools, but that’s ok since I already have them from the first screen. I hate paying more money but I still figure that $18 +$20 < $70 for a new Kindle. Plus, whenever I finally finish, I’ll additionally gain the reward of being so cool for repairing my own stuff, right? It’ll be worth it, right? I order it.
The new screen comes. It sits for weeks, both in the box and on my to do list. It’s now early-mid December and I finally find a good day, a good motivation, and a sort of good nap time to sit down and attack this GRAND DIY REPAIR thing.
I pull up internet tutorials on dismantling your Kindle, I pull out the broken Kindle, the newest replacement screen, I
pull out the repair tools, er, I can’t find the tools. Because, oh yeah, that’s right, the tools that were in the box I put into the garage sale that got donated away.
Grr. I am not rocking this DIY challenge.
But whatever, right? I’m like MacDIYer and I don’t need no stinkin “proper” tools! I’ll make my own tools from household items! So I search around and the best I find is a do-it-yourself mani/pedi set and some tiny phillips screwdrivers. I figure it’ll do.
I sit back down to work and attempt to pry the back of the case off. It’s not happening. I figure the front of the Kindle is already in shatters so maybe I can just pick off all the glass shards and go in from the front to pop the back off.
I use the nail file and dig into the broken glass, but apparently there’s some sort of strong, flexible adhesive tape under the glass (probably to keep it from shattering into a million dangerous pieces when dropped). It’s tough, but I manage to get a few glass shards out.
But then I suddenly remember that, oh yeah, directly to my right is a refusing-to-nap, yet adorable, toddler who is trying to grab at everything on my desk and that maybe picking glass shards from an electronic device right next to him is not such a great idea.
Geez. Kids. Always in the way.
So I go back to trying to pry the back of the thing off. I pull out a mini flat head screwdriver and just when I’m pretty certain I’m about to break the whole thing, I manage to wedge it into the crack. Enough wiggling and force and I slowly, eventually, pry the back of the case from the front.
Finally success!! Well, not that it counts for much because…
I look at my dismantled Kindle and the dismantled Kindle in my online instructions, and once again – I totally mixed up the correct model of my Kindle. I do a couple searches, and finally land on what I think is correct. ifixit.com’s Kindle Fire HD 2013 Teardown.
By this time though, both my kids are awake and running around the house and there’s toys thrown everywhere and someone’s whining about something and everyone is “sooo hungry” and have to go to the bathroom or have their diaper changed, or sigh…motherhood.
But this is *my* DIY time and I’m *going* to do this, and kids or no kids I will *not* be stopped!
Ok, so I’ve got the back of the Kindle off now. And I think that all I need to do is remove the screws and the hardware and then I’ll get to the glass screen. But these screws. What are they? Not phillips. I pull out my allen key set. Even the tiniest size I have doesn’t fit, because um…wait…let me look closer. What are those things? Like a star-shaped socket or something?
Oh yeah. Those tools I threw out. Maybe I did need them after all.
Seriously, could I fail at this DIY thing any worse? (spoiler: yes.)
So apparently I’m stuck and I need a special T5 Torx screwdriver tool that I don’t have. Blah. I find a 16-piece set by Kasai on Amazon for $7. Do I reeeaally want to put more money into this thing? $18 + $20 + $7 *is* still < $70, but not by all that much anymore.
Sigh. I’m pot-committed now. I have to keep going. I order the proper tools.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, the tools arrive 2 days later and I once again drag the whole Kindle repair thing back out, minus the mani/pedi “tools”. Ugh. This will be my last go at this. We’re leaving in 5 days for a cross-country Christmas vacation and if the Kindle isn’t fixed for then, it never will be.
The new Torx screwdriver works beautifully, oh and look, they are magnetic at the ends so the tiny screws aren’t lost as easily! Cool!
I get the motherboard unattached and lift it up and…there’s another layer of white board or something. More tiny screws, and….FINALLY!!! The underside of the broken glass screen!! I’m going to do it this time! Victory and a (working) repaired Kindle will be mine!!
Except that I can’t pop the broken glass screen out of the frame. I try prying it off with a little tool I got in the kit, but that only succeeds in breaking through the glass – not popping the glass screen out, like I needed.
(I take a break here because my son wakes up from his nap with one of the most unpleasant-smelling diapers ever and I must deal with it, and deodorize the house, first.)
I go back to my Kindle mess while my toddler runs around or watches Blue’s Clues or something, and I try to decide if it’s even worth it to go on anymore. I am this.close to throwing in the towel.
But seriously, There’s got to be something. Some way to get this glass off still. I get an Xacto blade out and try prying again from the front. Whoa there was a lot of grime and dirt along the crack. I managed to get a couple teeny tiny pieces of glass shards out.
And then I managed to no longer care.
I was done. Just done. All the hope was gone and I freely admitted my failure: I am *NOT* DIY Champion. I came, I tried, I threw my money away.
(Well, and I’d bought a brand new Kindle Fire for only $35 on their Thanksgiving Day sale, delivered straight to my house, for free, via Amazon Now….. soooo…… I didn’t feel too bad trashing my old Kindle after all… )
p.s. I only JUST NOW, 1/6/16, long after my old Kindle is long gone, notice this little blurb on the ifixit post:
I do a quick little search and guess what I could have used in place of a heat gun? A hair dryer. Yep, I could have totally fixed the broken Kindle still. Hope was not yet gone after all. But I gave up. Boo on me.
I’ll guess I’ll have to remember that next time I decide to replace the broken glass on my Kindle or any other device (and there will be a next time…someday). Someday, someday, I shall overcome this failure…with the use of more thorough research, proper tools…and apparently a hair dryer.
Don’t be like me. This is NOT how to DIY.
But in happier news, I still have this new replacement Kindle screen for a 2013 7″ Kindle Fire HD. Anyone want it? First person to comment below and pay for shipping gets it for FREE! [still available as of 7/18/16! ]