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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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May 2018
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Kindle Infinite Reboot When Updating

I’ve received several messages from people who try to install an update or a hack (for example Unicode Font Hack) and Kindle enters infinite install update-fail-reboot cycle. Some believe that the device is bricked. I also saw people posting on forums about similar problems. Good news is that if it happened to your device chances are it’s not bricked. All you need to do is put your device into Recovery Mode by holding “Home” button when the device boots up. Once in recovery mode, connect it to your PC via USB cable and remove the update_*.bin file that fails to install from the Kindle drive, unplug the USB cable and then press “R” to reboot the Kindle. It should boot normally. Once it boots you can make another attempt and installing the same update. Most likely you will not have the same problem.

It’s unclear what causes this problem. I saw it happening with hacks as well with official Amazon updates. Deleting and copying the same update will fix it. I can guess that there is some bug in Kindle USB disk related software and sometimes update file is not stored correctly which causes update unpacker to fail. Good way to test this theory would be to make a copy of the faulty update file from the Kindle drive when in recovery mode and compare it to the original. I’ll test it if I get a chance.

Kindle Software 2.0.3 (327610024)

Kindle software update version 2.0.3 is being rolled out over the WhisperNet. I decided not to wait for the automated installation to fail because I have font hack and Savory installed and did a manual update. Uninstallers for both hacks worked just fine and official update installed without any problems. I used Igor’s script to take a peek inside the update packages and copied some files from Kindle before I installed the update. I then sucesfully applied the official patch, made another copy of the files that were updated but didn’t find any exciting changes.

All-in-all, it looks like a collection of bugfixes. It’s possible that TTS change is there.

First thing after the official patch – I’ve reinstalled the Unicode Font Hack and it installed just fine.

Kindle Software Update 2.0.3

Kindle Software Update 2.0.3

Kindle 2 Recovery Mode

There is this undocumented feature of recover mode in Kindle 2. I’m posting about it but please don’t mess with it unless you know what are you doing because it can potentially brick your Kindle. K1 had an option of 100% wiping and reflashing the device to the origianl state. This option doesn’t seem to be present in K2 tough.

To enter Recovery Mode you need to hold the “Home” key while the device is rebooting when the screen flashes from black to white for a couple of seconds. If you see “Amazon Kindle” and boot progress bar – it’s too late and you need to reboot again.

When in recovery mode, you can hook up your Kindle to computer via USB and mess with the files just like in the normal mode. You can also press “1” and this will initiate installation of update from the root directory of Kindle drive. However normal updates (2.0.1 and 2.0.2 as well as screensaver hack) don’t install this way – Kindle just ignores them. With a little tweaking I was able to get Kindle to see the update but it would still fail to install.

Pressing “R” key will reboot your Kindle 2 back into normal mode.

What is interesting is that when I called the number on the screen the tech didn’t know what “Recovery Mode” I was talking about.

This is not a whole lot of useful information yet even that I had to piece together from different places on the Internet when trying to repair my Kindle 2 myself. I eventually gave up and called the warranty.

If I figure out the “recovery mode update” trick I’ll surely post about it.

kindle 2 recovery mode

Kindle 2 Software Update 2.0.2 (309510017)

My Amazon Kindle 2 just updated itself to new firmware version 2.0.2 (309510017).

kindle software 2.0.2 (309510017)

At the moment there are no official release notes from Amazon.com, however by looking at the source code I could speculate that there are some changes related to sound system (most likely bugfix). There seem to be changes related to watchdog timer. In plain English it’s a software and hardware system that will reboot your Kindle automatically in case it freezes and stops responding to user input.

Some people have reported that screen seems to refresh a tad faster now. Now that I’ve read it I seem to notice it too but it could be the placebo effect. Please leave a comment if you noticed any changes in your Kindle 2 after the update was applied.

If you have Kindle 2 Screensaver Hack installed you’ll need to uninstall it first and then apply the update manually. After update is installed you can re-install the hack.

Kindle 2 Screensaver Hack

For people who wanted to replace author pictures in Kindle 2 Screensaver with any pictures of their own there is now a solution. clarknova from MobileRead Forums created a custom update that allows you to replace Amazon-supplied pictures that are shown when Kindle 2 goes to sleep with any pictures of your own.

Before you continue with instructions below, please understand that you are doing it at your own risk and this can potentially void your warranty. On the bright side, the update seems small, straightforward and reversable and several people (myself included – see pictures below) have successfully applied it to their devices.

Important thing to remember is that this update changes some configuration files. Official Amazon updates verify file checksums before installing. So while you have this hack installed updates that would try to change the same file will fail. Solution is to reverse this hack (instructions below), apply Amazon update and then reapply the hack.

Before proceeding you may want to take a look at “Updating Kindle Software Post” and make sure that you have the most recent software on your Kindle.

To enable custom screensavers:

  1. Download kindle_screensaver_hack-0.3.zip. This seems to the latest version now and I’ll try to keep this post updated with more versions as they become available.
  2. Unpack it.
  3. Connect your Kindle to your PC via USB. Go to the Kindle drive (usually K:\)
  4. If you don’t see system folder, you need to configure Windows to show hidden files and folders. Otherwise go the next step.
  5. Go to the \system folder and create screen_saver subfolder in it.
  6. Copy all of the images you want your screensaver to randomly cycle tough. Both PNG and JPEG formats are OK. While Kindle will resize images it’s best to resize them to 600×800 beforehand. Definitely don’t try putting 10 megapixel photos from your camera there as screensaver would then take long time to load and image will not display right. Good freeware tool to edit images is Paint.NET
  7. Copy Update_kindle2_user_screen_savers.bin that you’ve unpacked in step 2 to the root directory of your Kindle 2.
  8. Unplug the USB cable.
  9. Press “Menu”, select “Settings”, press “Menu”, select “Update Your Kindle”.
  10. It normally should take under a minute to update and reboot your Kindle. And you’re done!

If you did everything right you should see the following in at the bottom of your settings screen.

kindle-screensaver-hack-version

kindle-screensaver-hack

To revert to standard screensavers:

  1. Connect your Kindle to your PC via USB. Go to the Kindle drive (usually K:\)
  2. Copy Update_kindle2_restore_default_screen_savers.bin to the root directory of your Kindle 2.
  3. Unplug the USB cable.
  4. Press “Menu”, select “Settings”, press “Menu”, select “Update Your Kindle”.
  5. It normally should take under a minute to update and reboot your Kindle. And you’re done!
  6. If you want to disable custom screensavers for good rather than temporarily disable the hack to install Amazon Update, you may want to delete the \system\screen_saver directory you’ve created before. Be extra careful not to delete anything else in the \system directory!

Wikimedia.org may be a good place to stock up on nice copyright-free images.

If you try this hack, please take a minute to post your experience in the comments as I”m sure most people who read this post will be interested in them.

Kindle Software Update 2.0.1 (303870012)

Today my Kindle 2 updated itself to 2.0.1 (303870012) without even me noticing it. I had very hard time figuring out what this update is about since it’s not officially announced by Amazon (although it’s listed on the source code page) however – here’s what I could gather:

  • This may or may not be related to selectively disabling text-to-speech feature on some books since on one hand the updated started circulating among limited number of users before the decision was announced. On the other hand it’s very logical that Amazon prepared the code that started testing it on limited number of Kindle’s before it made the official announcement.
  • Some users have reported that 5-way controller got an acceleration feature (cursor starts moving faster after a second of holding the controller in some direction). I checked and it really seems to be the case now, though I can’t say that the feature wasn’t there in the first place.
  • At first it was rumored that this update addresses some kind of hardware issue that affects only some devices however this proved false since gradually more and more Kindle owners are getting this update.

I’ve downloaded both 2.0 and 2.0.1 source codes, ran a WinDiff (a program that finds changes in the source code) and here’s what I’ve found:

  • Several changes in power management code including the code that talks to MC13783 power management controller. These are most likely to improve battery life.
  • Minor change in code related to ISP1504 USB Hi-Speed transciever.

This only entails changes made to GPL portion of the Kindle source. Amazon code that controls high-level Kindle functions is not published so there’s no telling what was changed there. My personal guess would be that it is the text-to-speech update that was released before decision was publicly announced.

kindle-software-2-0-1

Instructions for manually installing this update can be found here. Use at your own risk!

Updating Kindle Firmware

After my last post about custom Kindle firmwares possibly making appearance soon, I received several emails with questions on how official firmware updates should be applied. Indeed there is very little information in the User’s Manual on how to update the Kindle software.

Normally Kindle 2 would automatically download appropriate software updates if it is connected to the WhisperNet and automatically intall it when Kindle goes into sleep mode. Update installation will be followed by a reboot.

If you are don’t have Sprint EVDO coverage and therefore don’t have access to WhisperNet update can be done manually by following these steps:

  1. Download appropriate update file from Amazon.com. Kindle 1 updates should be downloaded from http://www.amazon.com/update_kindle.bin. Kindle 2 users should download from http://www.amazon.com/update_kindle2.bin. It’s very important not to mix these files as you can possibly brick your Kindle by installing the wrong update.
  2. Connect your Kindle to your PC via USB cable.
  3. Once Kindle USB drive is mounted copy the downloaded file to the root folder of it.
  4. Unmount the drive using Safely remove installed hardware icon in the system tray (next to the clock, volume control icon etc)
  5. Disconnect Kindle from the PC.
  6. Go to the Home Screen, press Menu and select settings and then select “Update Your Kindle”. If your Kindle is already updated the menu item will be gray and you will not be able to select it.
  7. Once update is installed your Kindle will reboot.

Please be extremely careful when following these instructions and even then do it at your own risk!