Amazon Kindle Teardown

Assignment 1


The Amazon Kindle is one of the most popular ebook reader in the United States. It was exciting to get this product to unravel its inner workings.

The Kindle 2 and its AC adapter.
Cracking open the back.

Closer look of the inside of a Kindle.

Tools used to take apart the Kindle 2

To remove the Back Casing(1) of the product I used a metal chisel. I must say this was an exciting look into a product with electronics. I then used a screwdriver to remove the small screws and lifted the logic board and display assembly out of its plastic housing.

Disassembled: Front View

The Back Casing (1) and Front Casing (2) are made from Plastic that is obtained from oil through the process of injection molding. The Back Casing has speaker holes on the top right and left. Amazon is not discrete about what plastic they use for the production. However, when we are done using our Kindle we can send it back to Amazon and they will properly dispose it. The Keyboard (3) seems to be a blend of plastic and rubber. It’s has an elasticity, when we press any key, it comes back to its original position. The Metal Case (4) is a part behind the Electrophoretic Display (5). The display is held by a “window frame” of adhesive on the Front Casing (2). After a couple of gentle twists I was able to separate these parts. The Electrophoretic Display (5), is made of tiny titanium dioxide, hydrocarbons, black dye and oil.

Disassembled: Back View

The Keyboard (3) fit into the Front Casing (2). 16 screws (6) attach the Front Casing (2) to the Metal Casing (4).

Disassembled: Back View

The back of the Electrophoretic Display (5) has a mirrored shinny appearance and is sandwiched between these two pieces. The lower end of the Display is attached with a copper coated piece known as a Flex Circuit Connector (11) Flex circuits are typically manufactured in China using a polyimide (Kapton) material and one to multiple layers of copper. It is responsible for allowing electrical circuits to flow through the device. The Lithium Ion Battery (7), Controller Board (8) and EMI Shield (9) are secured with screws on the grey area of the Metal Case (4). The Lithium Ion Battery (7), is a rechargeable power source that is made using heavy metal such as Lithium, Cobalt and Lead making it extremely important to dispose correctly. The battery is Model No. S11S01A. It’s a 3.7 V, 1530 mAh lithium polymer. The Controller Board (8) is used for video cards and Random-access memory (RAM) which allows connection of different video source inputs to be selected and shown on a screen. The EMI Shield (9) is a metal piece attached on top of the Controller Board (8) to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) from impacting sensitive electronics. The black piece (10) is attached to the red and black wire. It looked like a plastic part that felt like the control for the exterior button

Disassembled: Back View

The Logic Board (12) contains 7 chips that are protected by different EMI Shields (13). It also has a wireless card (16) that was inserted in its own Card Casing (15).

Close-up of Logic Board

The wireless card (16) is by Oberthur Technologies , a French digital security comment that enables the Kindle to connect to the internet via radio wavelengths. Most of the chips are made by Freescale, Samsung and Epson. The main processor of the Kindle 2 is the Freescale chip which is  labeled MCIMX353DjQ5C M99V BTHV1052C SNGPR (12 A). It is a 532 MHz, ARM-11 90nm 14mm package. The MC13892AJVL CTGL 1103K (12 B) is a Freescale battery management chip that is made in china. The Samsung semiconductor K4X1G323PC -8GD8 (12 C) is a Mobile-DDR SDRAM chip. There another Samsung SDRAM chip, KLM4G1EEER (12H). The WM8960 (12 D) is a low power, high quality stereo codec designed for portable digital audio application. The Atheros Chip (12E) supports for Kindle’s WiFi.  The Texas instrument SN92009 A2 TL 11L A14G G4 (12 F) is the power management chip. The co-branded Epson and E-Ink chip (12 G) is the display controller. It is a PFBGA package that supports “high speed screen updates (2048×1536 at 50Hz+) 

All the parts

Interesting Design Elements:

The redesign of the Kindle 2 from its first generation seemed to have cleaner lines and carefully designed proportions. Despite new models, the Kindle 2 still has an evergreen design and personally I love the white. Additionally, the Kindle 2 is a good example of Design for Disassembly. I only required 2 tools (Metal Chisel and a Screwdriver) to take the whole tablet apart. This helps facilitate future changes and dismantlement for any parts that need to be replaced and recycled.

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