Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Replacing the battery in my Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"

I have had my Kindle Fire HDX for over 4 years now and I like it a lot.  It is my go-to device for social media, email and web browsing while at home.  Recently the battery has been lasting only a few hours - previously it would last over a week of normal usage.  So I decided to replace it.  I found a deal on ebay for about $25.00 which is a LOT cheaper than replacing or upgrading to a new tablet!  I found a instructions on ifixit that shows how to open up the Kindle and replace the battery and it did seem a bit daunting, but I'm an engineer dammit!  It turned out to be quite challenging, but I got it done without ruining the tablet.  At one point I did puncture the batteries (there are 2) and smelled a strong solvent odor, but nothing exploded or got hot so I proceeded.  Those batteries are glued in there quite firmly, and it took about 15 minutes to pry them free.  Replacing them and re-assembling the case was relatively easy.

From a sustainability standpoint I'm pleased with the outcome.  I can responsibly recycle the old batteries at Lowe's.  Also I'm not contributing the the consumer culture that drives people to upgrade their devices every year or so.  Plus I have delayed the day that I will have to recycle this great tablet, and I saved a bunch of money.  I do wonder how these things are taken apart and recycled given how much trouble I had.

Here's a brief photo summary of what I did:
 Here is the replacement battery and the relatively useless tools that came with it.
The blue spudgers broke and I ended up using a flat blade screw driver and my trusty Swiss Army knife to pry the case open.  There was a tiny specialty screw driver tool that was needed to remove 4 small internal screws, but it was for a smaller screw.  I was able to grind down the tip to make it fit.

Here's the case opened up and the display disconnected and off to the left.

You can see that I had to do horrible things to remove the batteries!

Here's the back of the device after I got them out. 

I don't recommend this for the faint of heart or those not "tool enabled".

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Solar and snow

The first morning after a snow storm is often sunny.  This morning (Feb. 8, 2018) was a good example and I got up early so I can clear all the snow off my solar panels and collectors.  Yesterday's total was about 8" capped with a layer of ice.  I have a snow rake that can reach up about 25 feet with multiple extensions.  Each different type of snow requires a different strategy.  Sometimes I can just whack the panels and it all breaks loose in big chunks.  Other times I have to chip away at it.  Today I worked my way up from the bottom.  Some big areas broke loose and came down hitting me in the legs which is why I wear waterproof slickers.  That stuff is heavy!

Here's a time-lapse of the process:

Obviously the sooner I get everything cleared, the more free electricity and heat I get.  Maine is at the 43rd parallel and we get a lot less sun in the winter so I want to optimize every Watt.  My electric bill is at the minimum connection fee for most of the spring/summer, but jumps up quite a bit in the winter due to my increased use of electricity for heating and the reduced solar.