Here's the array of responses for the various attempts:
The device will charge if it is plugged in (USB cable and AC charger) but no light comes on at all under any circumstance. And it will shut down when plugged in to charge, and will not power up if on the charger. If it is just powering up and you plug it into the charger, the light stays on for a few seconds and the first screen that just says "Kindle Fire" shows up, then it shuts down.
The device will boot if no USB cable is inserted. The device will shut down when you insert a USB cable. The device will not boot with the cable plugged in (AC adapter or computer) and the power button never goes green. With a usb cable plugged into a computer, the computer will not recognize the device (and it shuts down immediately upon the cable being plugged in to the Kindle.) Also, if you just power it up, then plug it into the computer (just like with the power supply above) the light stays on for a few seconds and the first screen that just says "Kindle Fire" shows up, then it shuts down.
When I received it, I noticed that the case had been opened (or at least pried on.) Also, the USB connector was loose. I removed the board, re-soldered the connector (it appears to be intact now, but the connections are TINY so there is a limit to what I'm sure of) and reinstalled the board. Behaves the same way. I performed a 'power button' reset to the device and there was no change. I performed a factory reset and there was no change to the behavior.
Next I purchased the N2A fastboot cable thinking that would allow me to boot the thing and force a real reset (and install a non-kindle version of android), but I went through everything again and there is no change in how it reacts. The moment that USB cable gets plugged into the kindle, it shuts down. I think I followed the instructions properly (they aren't that complicated) but I'm having no success.
I've reset it a couple of different ways and several times with no change.
My goal is to get this thing working, install a 'non-kindle' version of android and get it back to her to use as an inexpensive tablet and e-reader, just not tied to Amazon (or BN).