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Critical Battery on Kindle 2: Hard Reset

April 18th, 2009 · 48 Comments · support, tools

My Kindle 2 has run out of power and had a splash screen with this bone-chilling message:

Critical Battery

Your battery is empty.

To continue using your Kindle, connect it to a power source.

It may take a few minutes of charging before your Kindle starts.

It was bone-chilling because I was at the airport and did not have the charger handy, so I was facing four hours on the place with just the  Hemispheres magazine…  the horror…So I connected the Kindle to my laptop with the USB cable but still the  same message.   Ughh. But when I got home (after the utter misery of having to read a random paperback hastily bought at a newsstand) and connected with the proper Amazon charger – it still won’t charge!

None of the tips on the Web helped, but I did call Kindle Support and here is what worked (in this exact sequence):

1. Slide the power button and hold it for 30 sec.

2. Release and wait for 20 sec until the screen begins to flash.

3. As soon as it does, plug in the power and keep it connected for 2 hours.

Worked as a charm!

What was disapponting in this whole experience was that the Amazon support agent immediately know what the problem was and had the exact step by step instructions for this process, but it was nowhere to be found on the Amazon FAQ list. Why force the customers to talk to a live agent for an issue that is apparently well known to Amazon???


48 Comments so far ↓

  • gammoner

    THANK YOU! my kindle was stored for a while and when I unearthed it again it had that awful message and no charging helped. Your message was the trick. May the Universe rain wonderful blessings on you!

  • Kimstone08

    I just got my kindle in the mail, and when i plug it in (both computer or wall) the charging light indicator never comes on. I cannot get the darn thing to turn on. its been plugged in for about an hour, and still nothing… HELP!

  • Martin

    Just had the same problem with my kindle 2. Had to use the Kindle power unit to get it to work with the 30sec/20sec restart thing. Tried 2 Apple USB chargers and nothing worked, found my original Kindle charger and finally got the restart screen. Thanks from Australia!

  • Beth

    Thank you so much. I leave for China in two days and I was counting on my Kindle for the long flights! I put in a Google search and found this site with your suggestions and in under one minute it was fixed! That’s how I wish everything worked in my life!!

    Can you fix my mortgage now??? Thanks again.

  • IronMike

    i had problem with the NEW 3G kindle and did the reset procedure. it looked like nothing happened. i plugged it back in…

    after a few minutes, the screen started flashing and updating, and the boot screen came up (i’d never seen that before).

    it works, it just doesnt look like it’s working.

  • Alex

    Here is my way:
    Critical battery and all that stuff. I tried to charge using a wall charge from iPhone (wth usb connection) and Kindle’s usb cable. Yellow light was on and nothing else. After 30 min or so the light switched off and this was every time I replugged the cable, the monitor was the same with the same words. Connecting to my PC had the same effect – yellow light for 30 minutes. Hard rebooting didn’t work -just nothing. Then I read the method with rebooting while charging. Nothing new, but after a couple of minutes the sign that something was connected to my PC appeared and I saw the Kindle item inside “my computer”. I realised that this was something new in the process, after about ten minutes the Kindle try to reboot itself but without any success, still it was a great progress! After it the connection with PC was lost and I repeated the procedure described above. The next time when the Kindle tried to reboot (still with no progress) the connection survived and after the third attempt of rebooting it was successful and the device appeared to work as usual!
    Wish you pass through it, hope my experience will help!

  • eddy

    Thanks, man! that help me out of the hole

  • Brian

    To get it to work I had to plug in while I did the hold for 30 wait 20. Then when it flashed I unplugged and replugged it. Charged up fine then.

  • Critical Battery on my Kindle 2 « the little reader

    […]  i’ll try google.  and found a post about how to hard reset my kindle, only it didn’t work.  i woudn’t get the flashing screen that is […]

  • Melissa

    All great advice. Nothing worked for me EXCEPT this so I thought I would pass it on. Plug your kindle into powered USB on computer. If the orange light does not come on when it is supposed to be charging, then hold the power switch to the right for a few seconds while it is plugged in. This forced the kindle to somehow reboot. It is working fine now. Hope this helps someone who is having similar issues.

  • redheadcheesehead

    Thank you so much. I was convinced my Kindle2 was toast. I had actually been getting that “critical battery” message for a few weeks, and been able to charge just enough to make the Kindle usable for a day, then the next time I tried to turn it on, same message, and I would have to charge again. Tonight, though, I took it off the charger to find the dreaded screen of doom, and thought I had lost my Kindle for good. Thank you for saving it.

    Robert Davies, you also have a good point – I had inadvertently switched the USB to wall-plate plugs between my Kindle and my iPhone, and although they were seemingly the same, the Kindle was not happy with the switch at all. It seems that the Kindle charger is what the Kindle needs.

  • Robert Davies

    I have had the same problem with the empty battery error message and nothing would work until I found my misplaced Amazon charger.

    Apparently, the Amazon charger is a better match for the Kindle, as it charged the battery enough to reboot the Kindle automatically after about ten minutes. I had been using Apple iPod and generic chargers successfully for nearly a year, but when the battery error message appeared, only the Amazon charger worked.

  • Jerry

    Thanks for the tip!! Screen flashed and in midst of a charge.

  • Jenn

    Thanks worked great for my new DX when I let the battery go flat! I used the wall to charge it; though USB sounds like a viable option but I think it charges slower.

  • Donna

    YAY! Worked for me on the second try. THANK YOU!

  • Ed

    Nothing worked for me. Tried the 30sec/20sec-no help- Plug it in for hours in wall socket.
    Until I saw the message that to use the usb port on computer and now the charge light came on.
    I think this is going to work. Could it be that the charge adapter is faulty under certain conditions ??

  • Antigen

    OK I have been through the whole procedure with two Kindle DX’s now, both had issues with charging, where it showed CRITICAL BATTERY and would not charge. The orange light would come on and then go out. I did it all, including the key sequences, holding this, pressing that. Called Amazon support, who were really helpful and knowledgeable, and pleasant too. Honestly. But after two Kindles doing the same thing, a bit odd isnt it??


    The Kindles are picky about the USB ports they will charge with. I tried charging on two different PCs, using the USB ports hardwired to the motherboard and on the case front, no dice. Then as a last ditch effort I decided to plug into the LCD monitor, which has its own USB ports. And BINGO, after 5 minutes or so the thing started charging again and has worked fine since. The USB standard dictates limits on how much current they will provide to devices connected to them, and my guess is that some ports are more compliant than others. In the end when I gave the Kindle to my father, since the USB ports on his PC did not charge the device, I gave him the USB charger that Amazon sell, ie. the device that plugs into the mains and has a USB port on the back. It charges fine with that.

    Amazon sell the charger separately. You can also buy third party USB mains chargers cheap on Ebay etc. but be careful, they are Chinese and cheap. Probably stick with the Amazon one though, its is pretty cheap as well, and designed to work with the Kindle. To those who are having this problem but are reluctant to return their Kindle to Amazon, please try this method. Plug into as many USB ports as you can before giving up. Try your desktop, try your laptop, try your neighbor’s PC, try your work PC. Or just order a mains to USB charger. It was worth the effort for me.

  • Kindle Jo


    I’m leaving on vacation tomorrow and I’d have been lost without my books!

    I’m pretty much ready to weep with relief!


  • Grateful Googler

    My kindle did not show a critical battery warning (which I have seen before), it just displayed an author in regular sleep mode but wouldn’t turn on. After a few tries it went to a complete blank screen (something I’ve never seen). Your instructions were the only successful solution. Thanks!

    Also, this happened when my battery was fully charged… Note to others, these instructions are worth a shot even if your problem isn’t exactly the same.

  • ishepperd

    I was in the situation like some others where the 3-step reset did nothing. Here’s what finally did. I would plug in my Kindle 2 and the charge light would come on for a few minutes, then go out. When it did I would disconnect for about 2 seconds and reconnect. I did this repeatedly, perhaps 10 times, and it finally started charging for real.

  • Ria Prinsloo

    I have the same problem as Lauren and Dan. The steps won’t work. Any other suggestions? Please I’m dying to use my kindle.

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  • Troy

    I’ve tried the sequence three times and no luck. Any other ideas?

  • Dan

    I’m with Lauren. On a cruise and my Kindel is dead. I may go overboard. I tried the hard reset, plugging into a computer and into an outlet. Nothing. No flash after the 20 second step 2. The amber light comes on for about 40 minutes but the message remains the same.

  • steve

    My kindle is dead and holding the start switch for 2 minutes does nothing. Does anyone have a different fix? Steve

  • Dawit

    I had never used a kindle until one came to me with the above problem(People think i can fix everything) and after spending hours googling – your solution is the one that worked,

    Thanks – you saved my day!

  • ShaybraMom

    Thanx to the first poster, had the same problem with my Kindle yesterday. I haden’t had time to read in a good long while and the battery was empty- so my Kindle wouldn’t start- just the message. A friend of mine I had told about my Kindle was in town and asked me if she could see it again, to get a feel for weight and stuff before she buys it!, had the smae message and everything!

    I followed the instructions and it sure did work like a charm! Thank you so much

  • aaa

    The wall charger never did work for me, even when I followed the steps…. however, it did work when I used my computer and the USB cord….. Now I have my books back!!! Thanks for the help!

  • SBK

    I am having the same problem but the solution suggested here has not worked for me. I tried four times.

    Is there any other solution?

  • Cecily

    Wish I could join the party but the fix didn’t work for me! Any other magic out there?

  • bob

    held for 30 seconds, flashed, plugged in during flash, same critical error message. Any suggestions? Heading to maui in the morning! help!!!

  • Arturo

    Worked like clockwork, inded, exactly clockwork! Amazing, Thanks! I live in Spain, so the prospect of sending it for repair is a painful one.

  • Laurent

    My problem is that after the 20 sec of<step 2, the screen of my kindle does not begin to flash … looks like nothing happens. I am desperate.

  • John

    I had this exact same problem and thought my Kindle was a goner – decided to do a quick google search before calling Amazon support and found this.

    Worked like a charm – my kindle is now happily gulping down electrons and I don’t have to deal with Amazon support. Thanks for posting this.

  • Eddie

    Whoa, Thanks! Saved my Kindle from certain death. You’re the best!

  • How To Fix Your Kindle 2 When It Won

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  • kindlegirl

    Thank you for your message. Your directions for resetting my “critical battery” message worked like a charm!

  • JOhan

    Thanks! I had the exact same problem. Your excellent customer service really helped me.

    Recomendations to Amazon
    1) Fix the defaulted hardware problem
    2) Provide a FAQ on the website
    3) Incorporate a Zappos service culture
    3) Hire Epistemist


  • Victoria

    Thank you so much for the sequence. Like subboy I had been charging my K2 for hours with no result. It is relieving to see the old familiar charging screen come up.

  • walt schillinger

    same problem but results are nill any sother suggestions?

  • David Kay

    I just did a review of the Kindle tech support site as part of a benchmarking analysis for a customer. I agree — as good as their self-service is overall (“where’s my stuff?”), the Kindle tech support site is really, really thin.

    They need some Knowledge-Centered Support, I was thinking.

  • pk

    thank you for this post. i was not sure what to do with my kindle cos i encountered now what you just narrated.

    again, thank you.

  • subboy

    I had the same problem, and charged for 4 hours with no results. I tried the above fix in proper order…and it works wonderfully. Many thanks to 1st poster.

  • Steve A

    This is just dumb how do the instructions on the kindle contradict what they tell you on the phone. Annoying.

  • EP

    thank you soooo much. what a scary feeling when i was just about to delve into my nightly reading 🙂

  • jkj

    OK, I’m having the same issue – I have it plugged in but the light which normally shows that it’s charging is not on. I talked to support and they said it was charging but would need several hours.

  • Madam Hooligan

    I really hope this works!! I’m lost without my Kindle and Tech Support will not be available for until tomorrow Pacific Time!

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