Keep using your Z71 even with internal cable problem!

Discussion in 'Palm' started by maceyr, Apr 18, 2005.

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  1. maceyr

    maceyr Palm Explorer

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    Last edited Dec 25, 2006
    For those people who are experiencing the dreaded internal cable problem, there is hope.

    First of all, how do you know the Palm is suffering from the internal cable problem?

    - If you notice that you can't Hotsync anymore when you press the hotsync button on the cradle or charging cable.

    - If you notice that you can't charge your Palm anymore (no lightning bolt on the battery indicator) when you're plugged into the charging cable or cradle. But, if you slide out the camera a bit, you may get a connection and the lightning bolt if you turn on the Palm to show the launcher.


    That's the telling tale that the internal cable is breaking, when you can get a connection by sliding the camera out a bit, since you can get a connection by moving the cable until it touches another part of the cable rather than sitting on the broken part.

    Hopefully, you should still get a connection when you open up the camera completely. Of course, once you do, the camera opens up, the default Palm camera application launches and you then can only see what the camera sees and not the Palm launcher. Just do a soft reset and you should get the default Palm launcher and then be able to determine whether you have a connection (lightning bolt in battery indicator).

    If you can get the battery to charge (lightning bolt shows up), most likely, you have a connection. You can launch the Hotsync process manually by running the Hotsync app on the Palm and clicking on the Hotsync icon, the big square icon, just above the "Cradle/Cable". If there's a connection, Hotsync will start.


    If you have the dreaded internal cable problem, you pretty much have limited options to deal with it.

    1 - Send it back to PalmOne to get it fixed if you're still under warranty. This is where getting the PalmOne extended warranty comes handy since it not only extends your warranty period, but also allows for ONE screen replacement (if you break the glass screen). If you are still under the 1 year warranty (USA only), a good idea is to get the Palm extended warranty via GetHighTech. They offer the extended warranty for $9.99 but you MUST get it and register for it at least 90 days before your 1 warranty expires.

    If you are no longer under warranty, I guess getting it repaired would be the other option. You may want to check out Chris Short. More details on his service and his reputation at the article. Or, you can check out others that offer repairs.

    UsedPDAParts is one.

    Fellow member, Legodude522 also has opened a few Palms himself including his own Zire 71 and may possibly be able to help solder the cable for you. More info on what he's done can be found here

    2 - Open it up and try to solder the cable yourself. This isn't the easiest thing to do since the cable is tiny and you'd need to try to solder a cable that is very hard to see (you may need a magnifier). Check out member junglemike's posting for more info. There are some pages that can help you with some pictures of opening it up here, here, and here.

    3 - Open up the Zire 71 and try to drill a hole at the back of your Palm to allow the camera lens to peek through without opening up the slider and on the side (there's a switch/triangular clip that will activate the camera). Check out this particular post by jesus_bon_jovi with the picture on where it's located. It's a triangular shaped extension about 1/3 of the way on the left (if you're looking at the front). And another picture by junglemike in here and here. If you think you can drill a hole at the back and on the side, you can easily activate the camera when you want to without opening up the camera slider. But, for me, I don't want to risk anything by opening the Palm up. You may want to try it rather than keeping the camera permanently open.

    4 - Stop using the camera so that you don't break the cable any further. But this isn't a feasible option since most of us bought the Zire 71 for the camera. (At least, for me, the camera is the reason I got it as opposed to the T2).

    5 - Keep using the camera until the cable finally breaks and then get something else like the Zire 72 or the Treos.

    6 - Keep the camera PERMANENTLY OPEN in such a way that it won't move so that the cable doesn't get any further damaged and try one of the following methods I'm going to explain below.

    Solution 1 : Use Palm Webcam and Screenshot5

    If you own both applications, you can take pictures, although it is a tedious and time consuming process.

    Run Palm Webcam. To take a picture, use your Screenshot5 to snap a screenshot. Transfer the jpeg image to your card and then to your computer. Use an image software like MSPaint or Photoshop to crop the image and resize it to 640x480 resolution.

    Here's a screenshot of what Palm Webcam sees using Screenshot5. You then crop out the bottom part and resize it.


    One advantage of using Screenshot5 is that the screenshot is almost immediate, unlike the camera application which takes a one second delay before it captures the photo. But, you have to do some crop work and can't access the camera settings like you can with the camera app. And there's no datestamp.

    Solution 2: Use Resco Explorer

    Run Resco Explorer. Go to the ROM. Tap on the Photo Capture appl and you should immediately launch the camera application. Snap your photos and do everything you can do in the default Palm camera app. To exit, you have to do a soft reset by poking a pin at the reset hole at back of the Palm. It's a crude way of doing things, but it works. At a price of $14.95, it's not bad since it's a fully featured file manager. I consider it cheap compared to paying someone to fix the Palm.


    Solution 3: Use MacroPlay Pro

    I've just tried the MacroPlay Pro demo. It looks like I can also launch the PhotoCapture app from that and make it into a new Macroplay event. So, rather than going through Resco Explorer, I can now just open Macroplay and tap on the Macroplay event that I've named Camera and it will launch the Photo Capture app. I'm not sure if MacroPlay has that capability but it's only $5 cheaper at $15 as opposed to $20 for MacroPlay Pro. Again, to exit out of the camera app, you have to do a soft reset since the default camera app requires to detect the opening and closing of the camera rather than via taps or hardware buttons to exit out. That is one part that you can't change since the program was written that way. Unless someone writes a better camera application or program that allows exiting, similar to Palm Webcam where you simply press the Home icon and it goes to the launcher.


    Solution 4: Just press the Camera shutter button (Duh!)


    This makes me look VERY DUMB. All this time I've spent emailing programmers and reading postings, researching and I never thought of trying to press the camera shutter button. That may be because it wasn't until recently that I kept the camera permanently open. And then, I thought about pressing on the shutter button and discovered this trick. Well, it works! So, save your money on the previous softwares that I've mentioned, unless you find other uses for them. Just superglue your camera so that it's permanently open (or use other ways and methods) and press the bottom rectangular shutter button (that's the button that's exposed when you slide out the camera). Once you press the shutter button, the camera app immediately launches. Now, you can take your pictures. And do a soft reset to exit since there's no way to exit from the app except to close the slider.

    If only I tried that long ago before emailing and bugging various palm programmers and doing google searches all over the net, then I wouldn't have discovered the other methods I've discussed. Oh well, I'm now starting to check into Palm programming since I've finally gotten prc-tools to work. I can at least say I've learnt a few things but it took me quite a while.

    At least now, you can still use your camera and not have to open and close the camera, breaking the cable even further or try to open the Palm and fix the cable yourself. And unlike fixing the cable yourself, which may last you a while before the cable breaks again(I'm not sure since junglemike and others haven't commented whether they needed to go back to repair the cable after the initial soldering), this way, you know that although the cable is damaged, you are not further damaging it anymore provided that the cable no longer moves since the camera slider is stuck and immovable.

    All I can say is that I'm so happy that I've found a way to still use the camera and the Zire 71 without further damaging the internal cable.

    Now, aside from having a somewhat "bigger" Palm, it feels almost like a Zire 72. (except the better camera, bluetooth) ;)

    Please feel free to add any other solutions you may find that works to add to this.

    Also, to improve on a connection, you may want to try to bend the cradle or charger clips, you know the ones that look like << or >> depending on which side you look at them. Bend the clip so that the angle of the > gets bigger. You may find that you get better connection on the charger/cradle by doing this.

    If you have a "dead" Zire 71 and can't seem to get it charging to even determine if there's any connection, you may want to try to do an "in-cradle" reset and recalibrate the battery. Plug in your cradle or charger so that there's power. Slide open the Palm so that the camera is completely out and you can put a pin in the reset hole. Place the Palm in the cradle or charger and put the pin in the reset hole to reset the Palm while it's charged. Then, leave your Palm to be charged for 3 - 4 hours. Make sure to not touch the display, buttons or power button as it's charging for 3 - 4 hours. After the charging, see if you can turn on the Palm. If so and you still have it charging, check whether you can see the lightning bolt in the battery indicator on the launcher menu. If so, you are finally getting some power in the battery and have successfully recalibrated it so that it can retain the charge.

    If you couldn't get it charging previously and this method does, then, I sense that the internal cable is breaking. You may seriously think about the solutions I've provided above.

    Still use your IR keyboard even with the extended Zire 71

    EDIT. For those who are worried that they may no longer be able to use their wireless IR keyboard once they keep their Palm extended since it's no longer "sitting" at the base, here's a possible workaround.

    Get a small strip of those thin, anti-skid, grippy mats (those you can buy a roll at dollar stores). Cut a small strip of it out, just enough so that you can place it where the back of the Palm touches the keyboard stand. This anti-skid mat somewhat keeps the Palm in place so that it doesn't slide much from left to right when you're moving the keyboard around. Once you're done using the keyboard, just place your thin strip of grippy mat on the keys, fold up the keyboard and away you go. Since it's thin and small, it shouldn't really take up much space. Try it and see if it works for you.
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