Monday, October 08, 2007

Treo Repairs and FAQ

Seems I need a license in California to repair personal electronics, So I am no longer fixing Treos... Sorry.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

>Cingular MediaRoom - News Releases

>Cingular Wireless offers Blackberry Connect for Palm Treo 650

BlackBerry Connect for the Treo 650 enables users to benefit from many popular features of the unique “push”-based BlackBerry architecture via BlackBerry Enterprise Server(TM). For corporate customers, BlackBerry Enterprise Server software tightly integrates with Microsoft(R) Exchange and IBM Lotus(R) Domino(R) and works with existing enterprise systems to enable secure, push-based wireless access to email and other corporate data. The Treo 650 operates on Cingular’s EDGE network, the largest high-speed national wireless data network in the United States with availability in 13,000 cities and towns and along some 40,000 miles of major highways.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Treo 700P Now Availible on Verizon Wireless... not Sprint

Looks like the long awaited Treo 700P is now availble, But not on Sprint (yet) as expected, but on Verizon.

Price with a 2 year contract is $499... Ouch!!! Picking a decent voice plan with unlimited data and MMS messaging "pay per use", the monthly payments come out to well over $100.

It will be pretty hard to get me to leave my great plan with T-mobile with those rates, but I think Sprint will definitly have more resonable plans.

Here is the link to the Verizon 700p offer.

Treo 700P on Verizon

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Treo 700W coming to Cingular?

Rumor has it that Cingular will be releasing a new Windows based Treo next month. Just so happens that the 3 month exclusivity of the 700w for Verizon expires in less than 2 weeks.... Anyone have any more information? (or misinformation, who am I to judge)

The phone does exist, it has for over a year... Check the pictures below. The GSM phone is on the left.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Excellent Treo 650 and 700 specific Headset Earbuds

About once a week I get a request for information regarding making high quality stereo earbuds for the Treo that have a built-in mic and a 2.5 mm connector. Well, now that Shure makes earbuds for the Treo, one no longer has to put up with cheap earbuds of poor quality or go to the extreme of hacking a good pair together.

Here are 3 excellent earbuds for the Treo...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Add Bluetooth Stereo Audio to your Treo 650

Finally!!! Someone came out with the most desired feature missing in the Treo 650... Wireless Bluetooth audio. Looks like Softick has been busy working on a solution and have come out with Softick Audio Gateway. You just simply install the software (download here) on your Palm compatible device, setup the compatible Bluetooth stereo headset, switch the audio to wireless, and just play your audio wireless from whatever source you want!!! At $19.95, I find this program a bargain.

Why Palm has not come out with this feature is beyond comprehension. I believe Softick is a 1 person operation, at least from a development standpoint. Can't Palm hire 1-2 software programmers to add much needed functionality to their devices? Softick also added USB Mass Storage device emulation via Card Export II, Bluetooth file receiving functionality via Bluefiles, and a bunch of other often needed features.

I had been working on a hardware hack that added to the feature and was about to install it, so the software came just in time. I even purchased my IoGear Stereo Headphones last week in anticipation of using it with my Treo.

I found out about this new feature via Treocentral's very helpful discussion forum. Here is a link to the specific thread, which is very active and should be very helpful in resolving issues with the software and Bluetooth headphone compatibility.

So I downloaded the program, V1.01, and promptly wired it over to my Treo via Bluefiles.

And just like that it was installed.

I then initiated the program and the first thing that appeared was a configuration wizard.

Upon selecting continue, it took me to a screen instructing me to set my Bluetooth headset into search mode. For my IoGear Stereo Headphones, I held the center button for 6 seconds.

The Treo 650 promptly discovered the headset. Since I had already set up the headset as a trusted device and used it for phone calls, it was already to go.

After selecting the IOGEAR headphones, I was taken to a Audio Gateway Configuration screen. I just left everything the same and selected done.

That is it as far a setup is concerned. Upon starting the Audio Gateway program after the setup procedure, you simply get a screen that allows one to select between internal and wireless audio. A configuration and test option is also available.

I selected "remote" and it quickly went thru a quick connection process...

And after a few seconds you get the main screen showing the setting.

I exited the program and went to Pocket Tunes.... Expecting something to crash or for some strange sound to emanate from one side of my headset or my Treo.

WOW!!! Good quality wireless stereo audio from my Treo!!!

Pocket Tunes does seem to hiccup a bit. I suspect that the Treo is being pushed to the limit. TCPMP seems to handle audio a little better. Once I put my Treo in my pocket and let the screen go off, the hiccuping disappeared. I still need to play with the setting to see if I can get better performance.

I did have some issues though. After receiving a phone call, my headset was unable to take the call. After taking the call manually and ending the call, Pocket Tunes resumed but via the rear speaker. I suspect a better quality headset would be able to take the call via Bluetooth and resume normally. My headphones are not listed as being supported but work great for just stereo audio.

If you are still reading this, you are wasting your time... Go run and get you Bluetooth stereo headphones and play with this awesome program yourself.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Adding a 3.5 mm jack to your Treo 600

Well I finally got a hold of a working Treo 600 and I was able to perform the 3.5 mm antenna jack hack, just like I did on the Treo 650. It works great and you can even use your 3.5 mm stereo headphones on a call using the internal mic.

It was easier to place the jack in the antenna, but unlike the 650, I had to disable the existing switch in the 2.5 mm jack and use a 3.5 mm jack with a switch. The existing jack was broken so no big deal, but if it had been functioning properly I would have wired the switch in series with the new jack so that the existing jack would continue to function.

I won't be doing a how-to for this. Anyone with the right knowledge to perform this hack can figure it out using the instructions for the Treo 650. You just need to run 1 extra wire for the switch, which is for the right channel, or middle pole. I don't have a recommendation for a jack since I used a 4 pole and disabled the forth pole.

Hope you guys find it useful...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Treo 650 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm Audio Jack Swap

Update: I now offer a 2.5mm to 3.5mm jack swap service. The cost is $200. This is a very difficult and time consuming modification but the end result is a very sturdy and useful audio jack. Apart from the jack swap, the rear plastic cover needs to be trimmed a bit so that the jack fits. I have been using this setup for 3 months with no problems. I even caught my audio cable on a heavy suitcase and almost ripped my leather jacket since the Treo was in my inner pocket.

This is not really a How-To guide but more of a Proof-of-Concept. Palm could have made the Treo 650 with a more media friendly 3.5 mm jack, but they chose not to. A correctly designed connector would have worked great.

If you want to do this mod, there is enough information here for any competent electrical hobbyist to perform the upgrade. I would not recommend doing this upgrade and don't ask me if I can do it because I will not. I have been repairing broken jacks for a nominal fee but this is way different. If you really want a 3.5 mm jack, look at my Audio Jack Hack. I also do those for a fee.

This jack swap uses the same jack as the one used in the Audio Jack hack mentioned above. Let me start by showing a board with the original 2.5 mm jack removed.

You will need to bridge MIC and GROUND where the 2 white arrows indicate "BRIDGE" this is so you can have internal mic functionality with the 3.5 mm stereo headset. The 2 pads labeled "TIP or LEFT" also need to be bridged together. The round pad labeled "MIDDLE or RIGHT' will be used to solder to the connector and the square pads need to also be bridged together. There is no need for a switch since the Treo has an electrical switch that senses when there is a Stereo headset pluged in.

After performing the above modifications to the board, you can now prepare the connector. I used a Kycon P/N ST-3500-3N. The connector needs to be shortened by 2 mm and a placement pin removed. The pin removal weakens the connector bond to the board, so you may want to use a non-conductive epoxy afterwards to secure the connector to the board. A before and after picture of the connector is shown below. Notice the edge of the connector is cut away to the metal contact. That metal contact will need to be soldered to the board since the tab had to be cut away.

Afere the connector modification, you can then place it to the board and solder it in place. Solder as shown below, making sure the solder point on the right is soldered to the contact deep in the connector. The other solder tab on the opposite side of the connector gets soldered to the round solder pad previously shown.

Once the connector is soldered in place. place the rear plastic on the board. Notice you will need to cut some plastic to get the board to sit flush. You will also need to trim more of the connector if it protrudes out like pictured below. It need to be flush with the plastic so that it does not interfere witht the battery. a normal OEM battery should be ok, but high-capacity batteries barely fit. Notice the jack tip in the pcture, it fits but any longer ant it would hit the battery.

below is a picture of two plastic shells joined together, notice they do not join correctly. You will need to cut the half circles on each plastic halve to make room for the bigger connector.

Well, that is enough info I think. Please let me know if anyone else was brave enough to do this mod. I did it just to prove that it would work on a spare board.... It works!!! the board is now sitting in a box of treo junk...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mac and SD friendly Treo 650 GSM 1.20 update

I received a comment indicating dissapointment at the unavalibility of a Mac updater, so I decided to look for a way. Below is a link to a file that will work on a Mac via transfer to a SD card.

This update also includes the missing files needed for voice playback of videos.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New GSM Unlocked Firmware released from Palm

New Firmware was released today... Go check it out!!!

Palm - Support - Treo 650 Updater (Unlocked GSM version)

Pocket Tunes Streaming MP3 Playlists

Here is a list I put together of popular streaming internet radio stations. The playlists link to other playlists that are on the web and will be updated periodically. This is just a quick list I made, I will have more later.

To get the liks to work, just open them up with blazer. Eventually you will want to save them to the SD card under /Palm/Programs/Pockettunes, but for now this is beta and the links may be down or change in the future. Any updates will be posted here. Change the text under Skin Properties to a smaller size to see a full description of the audio stream.

You can also check the streams out via Winamp and itunes before you download.

Here is the List:

I hope you guys like them and find them useful. Please let me know if there are any problems or suggestions.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Treo 650 Screen Replacement Video

I found this video the other day while checking out one of the Treo forums. It's pretty good, better that my how-to (never did one... opps). My disassembly instructions did not go that far, but are good for opening up the shell. Two suggestions I would give: Use your fingernail to split the case and watch for the tabs holding the mainboard to the housing. here is the video.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Treo 650 Audio Jack Fix, Part 1.


I have been fixing the Treo 600 and 650 of this defective and broken jack problem. I charge $75 plus $10 for USPS Priority shipping with insurance. I usually ship your phone out the same day. The fix is a permant fix and will not require to be repaired ever again. I leave no external signs of tampering for warranty purposes.

It seems that apart from the poor volume , buggy software and other issues, the Treo 650 also suffers from an audio jack of poor quality. Their are different issues with the audio jack, but the most common are:

  1. The internal speaker and speakerphone stop functioning.
  2. The stereo outputs only mono.
  3. crackling sounds with audio connector movement.
  4. jack is easily broken when using an adapter, and sometimes without.

If you have a good carrier that provided your phone or you bought it straight from Palm, you have a warranty that is good for one year and I would recommend replacing a faulty phone. Unfortunatly, many people bought their Treos from other places, and theses phones are also starting to come out of warranty. So, for the rest of us poor souls, including me, we need to look for other solutions. This article deals mostly with solving problem #1.

First, some general information. The problem with the jack, aside from its smaller size compared to its more rugged 3.5mm cousin, is the fast that it is a generic jack that is even less rugged and durable than a normal unswitched 3 pin 2.5mm jack.

The jack is of the switched type with one switch and 6 pins, one of which is redundant. The plastic housing being generic for the 2.5mm size, has a provision for 2 switches. The second circuit is the circuit that causes problem #1. It is basically a "switch" that is always connected, with the connector inserted and the connector removed. With gereral use, this switch opens, and causes problem #1. With a good board design this would not be a problem, but seems Palm initally had planned to incorporate a switch in that location and later changed their mind. An error in their Treo 650 developers guide indicating a switch in the problem circuit would seem to suggest a switch was planned but later removed.

Why palm even used a mechanical switch in the jack is hard to understand, since the Treo also has an electrical switch. My Audio Jack Hack , a 3.5mm audio jack in the antenna, taps into the audio source before the original jack and uses no switches, but the internal audio still switched off when I plug in my headphones.

The Fix:
  1. Install a program that overrides the switching
  2. Disable and bridge the mechanical switches.

The first is a good solution for people that cannot or will not take apart their Treo. Their is a drawback though, in that the electrical switch is also overridden and one needs to make the switch manually from internal speaker to headset.

The second fix requires some work, but will still keep the same fuctionality. It should only be attempted by people familiar with electronics and soldering. That fix is described next.

The tools needed for the job are:

  1. T5 Torx Driver.
  2. Small wire cutters.
  3. High quality solder tool.
  4. fine solid core copper wire.

first, take apart the Treo 650, as described in my Dissassembly Instructions. After taking apart the Treo, look at the ajck to see if there is any damage. You probably will not see any damage, unless the jack was broken by force, the damage will be internally. below is a close-up of jack. Signal1 is for left channel audio or for mic (with mono headset). Signal3 is normally grounded, or mic only with the special 2-in-1 headset.

Create a copper wire bridge between the two pads labeled switched signal1 and signal1. This mechanical switch only causes problems and is not needed. Below is a picture of the other side of the connector.

The electrical connection between the two signal2 pads should never be broken. Bridging the two pads together will make the jack more durable and will cure the "ghost jack" problem.

Please send me feedback or ask for help if needed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Marriage Not Made in Heaven - New York Times

A Marriage Not Made in Heaven - New York Times

So much for the Treo 700w being "better" that the 650. I can't wait to read more reviews... and the 700p

Best of Gizmodo - Winner Time! - Gizmodo

Best of Gizmodo - Winner Time! - Gizmodo

With all the problems and less than lackluster customer satisfaction rating, I am a bit surprised that The Treo 650 was voted number one. Probably the people willing to vote for the other devices were too busy enjoying their gadget instead of surfing online to try to figure out how to use it or fix it.

I love my Treo buy it takes a lot of work to get it working productive. I know many user that could not put up with the many problems or that do not use it to it's full potential. I hope palm does a better job with their newer devices.

What I am looking for:

1) Sufficient memory.
2) More robust software (less resets).
3) Better Bluetooth (at least voice dialing).
4) 3.5mm Audio.
5) Wifi via SD.
6) A good camera.

The last 2 are not too important, but more and more smartphones are packing in more features. If a better phone that The Treo hits the market, I might jump ship!