Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Adjusting the Contrast on my Sony Reader

7 comments
technology.pngMy walkthrough is for a Sony PRS-300, but the original directions are for a Sony PRS-505. It is very possible that this goes for all Sony readers - but I DO NOT GUARANTEE IT. YOU WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY DOING THIS. (I considered voiding the warranty a challenge...)

I just replaced my Sony PRS-300 - the eInk display does NOT do well with any degree of twisting torque, so don't put that sucker in a pocket where a seatbelt overlaps it!

The problem is that there was a significant degree of "ghosting". That's when the last displayed image (or text) remains faintly on the screen when you change the page. There's always going to be a bit of ghosting - but it can be bad enough to mess with your reading experience. That was the case with my replacement reader. (Images of ghosting from this webpage which I direct you to later.)



I was afraid I'd have to send it back (or just live with it) until I ran across some hacking directions. Luckily, I had the old one to mess with as well, so I thought I'd give you a walkthrough.

TOOLS NEEDED: A good set of eyeglass/electronic screwdrivers, both flathead and Phillips head.

First, I got a copy of the service manual from the MobileReads forum. PDF Link (again, for PRS-300) here. I'd run across guide for adjusting the contrast on another model (link) and then a guide for replacing the PRS-300's battery here. You'll want to look at both of them.

The repair manual can be intimidating, so rest assured that you don't have to do anything more violent than the "replacing the battery" instructions. Follow the instructions on removing the battery up until where you actually take the battery out. Note: The decorative strip is somewhat fragile, so be careful with it. You can use a small flathead screwdriver. Also note - there are two rare-earth magnets that are not held in by anything else.

Now the back of your PRS-300 should look like the one in this flickr photo (clickthrough to embiggen and see annotations):
Hacking the PRS-300

The screw that you're interested in is annotated there - a closer view is here (again, click to embiggen):
Hacking the PRS-300

Here's the important bits:

1. It is a TINY screw. If your smallest Phillips doesn't work, get another one. Do NOT try to use a flathead with this.
2. It is VERY easy to strip this screw. In fact, the one I took pictures of *is* stripped - you can't even tell it's a screw any more. Turn slowly. There's a small amount of resistance, but not much. There ARE limits on how far you can turn the screw.
3. Empirically I found that clockwise is less ghosting and (slightly) less contrast. Counterclockwise is more ghosting and contrast.
4. You MUST turn the page in order to see the change - remember, eInk doesn't update until you force it to.

Once you've got it adjusted the way you like it, then replace the decorative border and replace screws. The screws will hold the border in place.

Five screws and a little bit of elbow grease later, and my Reader is just the way I like it!

7 comments :

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.

Danny Lee said...

Thanks for the walkthrough! This worked great for me, but I had the opposite problem from the author. My screen seemed a little dim with low contrast. So I turned the screw counterclockwise to raise the contrast. Screen looks wonderful now!!!! Thanks again for all the author's work.