In my last post, I discussed the poor quality switch that V.Tech used on the V-Reader. Well, I found a replacement switch at a local Radio Shack, which is, in itself, a remarkable event. Side note: I didn’t realize that Radio Shack still carried such parts, but, they do. Most of the little parts like switches, resistors, breadboards, etc. are in a bin full of drawers. They are organized very nicely and were easy to find what I wanted.
Back to the V-Reader. The part, number 275-0002 5.0 mm High Tact Switch, came in a package of four for under four dollars. You will need a small Phillips screwdriver, soldering iron, solder and wire cutters to make this repair. Soldering skills are necessary.
Once you have the part, you need to take the back off of the device. Remove the batteries and the SD card if you have one installed. There are a number of screws on the back that you must remove, including one in the battery compartment, two on the back under the rubber feet and the rest are under the plastic booties. The booties are easily removed with a pocket knife or the tip of a pair of tweezers. Carefully lift up on the booties as you’ll need them once you are done. After you have removed all of the screws, very carefully lift up on the back. The orange on/off switch piece just sits between the two halves and it will fall out. Note the direction it was sitting (it really only sits one way) and put it aside.
Next, there is a screw with a washer made on the screw. This screw keeps the little pc board in place that has the switch soldered in place. Remove the screw and set it aside. Carefully lift up the board and, using the wire cutters, cut the old switch off the board. You’ll need the existing legs to stay in place since the legs on the new switch (yes, I know they are called pins…I like legs more) are too short. Here’s where it gets tricky…
Using the soldering iron, very carefully solder each leg on the new switch to the legs of the old switch that are still on the board. You may need needle nose pliers to steady the switch. You may be able to ditch the board all together and solder the red wire to one leg and the black wire to the opposite leg as two legs are all you need. You would need to fasten the switch to the case somehow. But, if you can use the board, the better.
Once you replace the old switch with the new, put batteries in and test. Hold down the switch for a few seconds and the device should power on. Once you have successfully replaced the switch, put the board back in the slot it came out of and then place the orange tip in the slot. You may need to shave the tit of the orange piece just a bit as the replacement switch is just a little too tall. Put the back cover in place, being careful not to pinch the power wires and ribbon cable on the bottom right of the device. V.Tech did a poor job laying out the wires.
Screw it all back together and replace the screw covers and the rubber tips.
Turn the unit back on to make sure it is working. If so, congratulations, you saved yourself the cost and headache of replacing the device. If not, don’t despair, recheck your work. A wire may not have been soldered correctly. I made that mistake myself.
Even though this is a cheap and simple repair, it is one that should not have to be made. The poor design and choice of parts is inexcusable. V.Tech should have been more proactive and, at the very least, let registered users know about the issue and allow them to exchange the device.