Kobo won't turn on!
March 19, 2017 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I have a Kobo e-reader that is about 5 years old. I haven't used it in a couple of years. Now, no matter what I try (all kinds of suggestions from the Internet - various different chargers, pushing the button several times while plugged in, holding down for X seconds while plugged in, etc. ), I can't get it to turn on. The error message is "Please charge your EReader. Please connect to an AC outlet or your computer to recharge.". I realize this is my mistake. I should have topped up the charge occasionally. It's a micro USB if that helps. Do you know any hacks that I may not have happened upon? Am I wasting my time? Thanks!
posted by leslievictoria to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried just leaving it plugged in for awhile without doing anything at all? If the battery has fully discharged, the Kobo may need to stay plugged in for several minutes before you attempt to turn it on.
posted by Roger Pittman at 7:58 PM on March 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

My Kobo sometimes goes brain-dead on a low charge. Holding the power slider in the on position for 5-10 seconds seems to kickstart it again. But I'd definitely take Roger's advice above and give it some time to charge up.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2017

Hi! Thanks for your replies so far. I have tried leaving it plugged in - even overnight. And also have tried holding the power slider for 5-10 seconds. But please keep the ideas coming. Thanks!
posted by leslievictoria at 8:34 PM on March 19, 2017

I had a similar issue with a Kindle once; it took several days of being plugged in before I was able to get it to turn on again.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:36 PM on March 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

2nd leave it for a couple of days on a charger. Thought I'd killed mine in exactly the same situation.
posted by pompomtom at 8:39 PM on March 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

You say you tried different chargers, but did you use the same cable? The cable could be bad after 5 years. You could also try cleaning the cable connections and input with the end of a steel brush and blowing it out. The connector could have a layer of corrosion or trash in it.

There looks to be a basic reset button which is a hole in the bottom you stick a paper clip end into. This should not erase anything but just reset the power.

I am not familiar with this battery, but some charging circuits, especially for lithium batteries, will not charge the battery if it is below a certain level, so leaving it for extended periods may not help. There may be ways around this, but they are not without risk. You may be able to get a new battery, but I am not sure how cost effective that would be for an old reader.
posted by Yorrick at 9:37 PM on March 19, 2017

The connector could have a layer of corrosion or trash in it.

This is a good point. You may have a dust problem even if you don't have a corrosion problem, per se. Blow some compressed air in the jack to get any dust out of there, then try leaving it plugged in for a couple days.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:41 PM on March 19, 2017

Meanwhile, their free apps are pretty good and you might be able to re-download any books you have on your account on a smartphone or other device, if you need something to read while waiting for your reader to charge.
posted by Coaticass at 12:13 AM on March 20, 2017

Yes, try the reset with the paper clip. If that doesn't work, Google "kobo hard reset" and try any reset you can find short of, I don't know, baking it in the oven or something. The Nook HD had this problem and it was often solved by doing the factory reset, sometimes repeatedly. (And while plugged in, which it looks like you can't do while using the paper clip method.)
posted by BibiRose at 4:38 AM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

This page (apparently unauthorized) has instructions for what to do if your Kobo "locked up/screen frozen" that are more like what I've successfully used with the Nook.
posted by BibiRose at 4:49 AM on March 20, 2017

The battery is almost certainly bad. You really should probably just buy a used Kobo or maybe a new Kindle.

You could check with Kobo about replacing the battery.

You could try replacing the battery yourself:
Here's a teardown to show you how to open the Kobo.
Here are some Kobo batteries.
posted by gregr at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2017

What specific charger(s) have you tried?

A lower amperage charger may have better luck, maybe try a fresh cable with a USB 1.0 or 2.0 port on your computer/laptop. I've experienced tablets that wouldn't charge on the factory supplied AC-adapter but left plugged into a computer USB outlet for a day did the trick. Depending on the complexity of the battery protection circuit, it may allow a lower current to charge the battery.

You can save over-discharged batteries in other ways, but it is a little complicated and requires some equipment (You'd probably have to open up the kobo): http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/low_voltage_cut_off
posted by czytm at 8:12 AM on March 20, 2017

I had a kobo with a spring-loaded switch that slides sideways. My new one has a button. Anyway, the old one wouldn't turn on. I discovered if i flicked the switch repeatedly over and over rapidly, it would slowly advance the screen from sleeping to on. It wouldn't actually turn on. It was just a weird glitch. I was unable to get it fixed and I threw it out. I got two years out of mine, so five is decent.

When I called for assistance, they pulled up my account to see if I had purchased many books. I got the impression that if I was a heavy purchaser, they might've sent me a new one. Alas, I was not shopping from the kobo store very much. Maybe you could try that route.
posted by Brodiggitty at 9:06 AM on March 20, 2017

Nthing the paperclip reset.
posted by Coffeetyme at 9:51 AM on March 20, 2017

I'm a longtime e-ink ereader person. If you let them get dead-dead-dead, they can indeed take a much longer charge time to wake up. And as mentioned, the battery itself has an active life which may have run down. (However, you can usually get them charged up anyway; they just won't keep the charge long enough to be useful.)

If you have a way to charge via wall instead of computer, use that. It charges faster; the trickle rate may not be enough if the battery is too low.

Paperclip reset shouldn't be necessary - because letting the battery get that low will cause its own reset.

Good luck? As others have mentioned, it's probably time to get a new device; ereaders are (sigh) designed for about a 2-year working life, and none of the current tech companies that make them will support them longer than that. (I miss my PRS-505. A lot. I currently use a Kobo Mini and I'm dreading having to switch to something loaded with bells & whistles I don't want when it dies.) Kobo may have a replacement battery available - if so, that's probably a great place to start - but otherwise, you may need a replacement ereader.

Mobileread.com is where to look for more specific info; they even have a "which one should I buy?" forum to compare features and which ones are important for you.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2017

Make sure you're charging it via a wall outlet and not a computer.
posted by bq at 12:53 PM on March 20, 2017

My old Kobo does this now and then. I plug it in to my computer with a USB cable and that seems to wake it up again.
posted by Calzephyr at 4:13 PM on March 20, 2017

Thank you everyone for your efforts in writing out and linking these solutions. Will give them a try starting now! Much appreciated!
posted by leslievictoria at 5:42 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great news! It has woken up! I plugged it into a different (wall) charger - it is actually my BlackBerry charger - and left it for over 24 hours. And now it works! Hooray, thanks all of you!
posted by leslievictoria at 7:54 PM on March 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

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