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Stowaway suddenly died!

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rosswords
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Registered: Dec 1999
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Stowaway suddenly died!

I've been using my Stowaway with my VDX (yes, still waiting for the color Treo) for a year-and-a-half, and suddenly it stopped working. At first, it started intermittently repeating out-of-control, so I tried to adjust the key-repeat and delay-until-repeat settings and it just stopped working altogether!

I've tried every trick I could find in various posts on this board: disabling and re-enabling the software, disconnecting and reconnecting, disabling all hacks, deleting and reinstalling the software, shutting off beam receive, installing newer versions 1.5.1 and 1.6 (I was still using 1.2), etc. And in various combinations.

Still no luck. Any other suggestions?

rosswords is offline Old Post 04-26-2002 10:16 PM
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terrysalmi
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Location: Washburn University in Topeka, KS
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Sounds like a key is stuck somehow, or something similar that would make the driver incompatable...

If you have a can of pressurized air, try cleaning the stowaway with it. See if that helps...

You can also try calling ThinkOutside or Targus and see what they say.

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terrysalmi is offline Old Post 04-26-2002 10:19 PM
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rosswords
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No, that's not it. I just tried a borrowed keyboard and it still didn't work. So it's not a hardware problem. And I e-mailed customer support but haven't heard back yet.

Anyone else have any suggestions?

rosswords is offline Old Post 04-30-2002 03:34 PM
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rosswords
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Well, now I've heard back from customer support. This was very helpful:

Dear Customer,

Based on what you have told me, I cannot determine any other reason why the device would be doing this other than the keyboard has become defective. Unfortunately the keyboard only has a year warranty on it, which means this device is out of warranty. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may place upon you.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns that you may have.

Sincerely,

Wendell H.
Targus Technical Support

rosswords is offline Old Post 04-30-2002 08:41 PM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by rosswords
No, that's not it. I just tried a borrowed keyboard and it still didn't work. So it's not a hardware problem. And I e-mailed customer support but haven't heard back yet.

Anyone else have any suggestions?

Have you ever considered that your Visor might be the problem (either software or hardware)? If you know someone else who has a Visor Stowaway, get them to try _your_ Stowaway with _their_ Visor. If that works, then get them to beam their Stowaway driver to your Visor. If that doesn't fix the problem, then it's probably at the hardware level on your Visor

Toby is offline Old Post 04-30-2002 09:15 PM
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rosswords
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Good thought. I've already downloaded several new copies of the driver, but they didn't help. My assumption all along is that was a software problem (or maybe a keyboard hardware problem); it didn't occur to me that it could be a Visor hardware problem.

What kind of Visor hardware problem could it be?

I know it's not the connector, since I'm using it to hot-sync and to recharge my Visorphone (which isn't connected when I'm trying to use the keyboard, by the way).

rosswords is offline Old Post 04-30-2002 09:36 PM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by rosswords
[...] What kind of Visor hardware problem could it be?

I know it's not the connector, since I'm using it to hot-sync and to recharge my Visorphone (which isn't connected when I'm trying to use the keyboard, by the way).

Actually, it may still be something with the connector. All of the same pins aren't used for a hotsync and a keyboard. I don't recall the specifics off the top of my head, though.

Toby is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 12:18 AM
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terrysalmi
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Registered: Feb 2002
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Did you get an extended warranty for your Visor (from handspring, best buy, staples?)

If so, try to see if you can get a new visor and see if that solves the problem



Also, try cleaning the connector (rub on it gently with an eraser..) on both the visor and the keyboard. Sometimes, a little dust or buildup can cause the connector to not work (like on my ham radio sometimes...)

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terrysalmi is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 12:27 AM
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MarkEagle
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Try cleaning the contacts on both the Visor and Stowaway. Use a Q-tip with a little rubbing alcohol... maybe even a pencil eraser if they're severely tarnished. Just be gentle and don't apply too much pressure.

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MarkEagle is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 12:29 AM
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terrysalmi
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quote:
Originally posted by MarkEagle
Try cleaning the contacts on both the Visor and Stowaway. Use a Q-tip with a little rubbing alcohol... maybe even a pencil eraser if they're severely tarnished. Just be gentle and don't apply too much pressure.

I beat you to it! (by 2 minutes!)

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terrysalmi is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 12:30 AM
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rosswords
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Thanks for your help!

It is a Visor hardware problem. Cleaning the connectors didn't help, but when I pushed on the connectors in a certain way, it made a temporary connection. Then it stopped. Now I can't get it to work again, except while I push the Visor back gently (not so hard that I separate it!) as it's connected to the keyboard. Unfortunately, the connection doesn't last (although sometimes it starts repeating characters on its own).

The problem appears to be inside the Visor, where the connectors connect to whatever they connect to. (Does that sentence make sense?) My warranty has run out, and I don't want to spend a lot of money to repair it because I'm going to buy a color Treo this summer. (Frankly, I've never been happy with the quality of the replacement VDX they sent me when I bought a YadaYada springboard, because my early-model VDX wasn't properly shielded. I'm pretty sure it was a reconditioned unit.)

Does anyone have any experience opening up the Visor? Do you think it could be repaired that way?

rosswords is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 04:55 AM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by rosswords
Thanks for your help!
You're welcome.
quote:
It is a Visor hardware problem. Cleaning the connectors didn't help, but when I pushed on the connectors in a certain way, it made a temporary connection. Then it stopped. Now I can't get it to work again, except while I push the Visor back gently (not so hard that I separate it!) as it's connected to the keyboard. Unfortunately, the connection doesn't last (although sometimes it starts repeating characters on its own).

The problem appears to be inside the Visor, where the connectors connect to whatever they connect to. (Does that sentence make sense?)

Yes, it makes sense. The reason why I suspected it is that my wife's Visor Deluxe seems to be exhibiting the same behavior over the past week or so. I suspect that the hotsync connectors just weren't made to withstand the stress required to snap it into and out of the Stowaways over an extended period of time (just like the translucent plastics don't hold up well either).
quote:
My warranty has run out, and I don't want to spend a lot of money to repair it because I'm going to buy a color Treo this summer. (Frankly, I've never been happy with the quality of the replacement VDX they sent me when I bought a YadaYada springboard, because my early-model VDX wasn't properly shielded. I'm pretty sure it was a reconditioned unit.)

Does anyone have any experience opening up the Visor? Do you think it could be repaired that way?

Well, if you don't think that $15 is too much money, you could get a replacement button board from GetHighTech. Opening up the Visor is fairly easy. You just have to be careful not to mess up the ribbon cable to the screen.

Toby is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 02:33 PM
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rosswords
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quote:
Well, if you don't think that $15 is too much money, you could get a replacement button board from GetHighTech. Opening up the Visor is fairly easy. You just have to be careful not to mess up the ribbon cable to the screen.


Thanks, I'll try it.

rosswords is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 02:47 PM
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MarkEagle
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quote:
Originally posted by Toby
I suspect that the hotsync connectors just weren't made to withstand the stress required to snap it into and out of the Stowaways over an extended period of time (just like the translucent plastics don't hold up well either).
My 2-1/2 yr old Ice VDx looks as good as it did the day I got it, except for a chip at the top of the Springboard slot where the hard cover snaps on. It's held up fairly well in my opinion.

As for the connector, we've seen a definite problem with the Prism's coming loose (just ask Miradu ). I've not had any problems to date, but then I only use the Stowaway maybe 3 or 4 times a month.

While I agree the the Visor's connector can be at fault here, I'd double check the Stowaway's since it appears to be much more fragile. I did have one of the contacts on mine get stuck "down" where it wouldn't make any contact...

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MarkEagle is offline Old Post 05-01-2002 11:17 PM
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rosswords
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Since I'm having the same problem when I use a friend's Stowaway,I think the Visor's probably the problem. But I'll find out for sure in a couple of days when my replacement button board arrives. I'll let you know. Thanks for the tips, everyone!

rosswords is offline Old Post 05-02-2002 02:07 AM
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mcristia
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quote:
Originally posted by rosswords
Since I'm having the same problem when I use a friend's Stowaway,I think the Visor's probably the problem.


Of course, I am having the exact opposite problem. Stowaway (couple of years old and used about as often as Mark's doesn't work on either of two VDXs, regardless of what driver version is resident on them. Gonna check the contacts, etc. Back with results as warranted.

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mcristia is offline Old Post 05-02-2002 03:30 AM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by MarkEagle
My 2-1/2 yr old Ice VDx looks as good as it did the day I got it, except for a chip at the top of the Springboard slot where the hard cover snaps on. It's held up fairly well in my opinion.
I think you're either one of the lucky ones, or extremely delicate in caring for yours. I had three Ice VDxs (sold the third untouched) and my wife is on her second or third Blue VDx, and all of them (excepting possibly the sold one, since I've no idea) had problems with case cracking. Now, perhaps this was due to the cases in which they were carried, but those were Handspring's too. Mine were in the slim leather case and carried in a loose jeans front pocket. My wife's is a custom zippered case, and she carries hers either in her purse or in her hand. Neither of these should be beyond what they were engineered for, and yet all of them developed cracks in the plastic. Now, if we were the only ones this had happened to, I might chalk it up to something specific to us, but anecdotally this has happened to a fairly significant number of people.
quote:
As for the connector, we've seen a definite problem with the Prism's coming loose (just ask Miradu ). I've not had any problems to date, but then I only use the Stowaway maybe 3 or 4 times a month.

Maybe you were accidentally shipped a prototype with a higher build quality.
quote:
While I agree the the Visor's connector can be at fault here, I'd double check the Stowaway's since it appears to be much more fragile. I did have one of the contacts on mine get stuck "down" where it wouldn't make any contact...

Except that another working Stowaway did the same thing, so it points much more strongly to a problem resident on that Visor.

Toby is offline Old Post 05-02-2002 01:13 PM
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MarkEagle
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quote:
Originally posted by Toby
I think you're either one of the lucky ones, or extremely delicate in caring for yours.
Definitely not delicate... it's even been dropped a few times without (thankfully) any damage.

quote:
Now, perhaps this was due to the cases in which they were carried, but those were Handspring's too. Mine were in the slim leather case and carried in a loose jeans front pocket. My wife's is a custom zippered case, and she carries hers either in her purse or in her hand. Neither of these should be beyond what they were engineered for, and yet all of them developed cracks in the plastic.
I use a FlipCover and carry it on my belt in a Handspring Sport Case. It's constantly getting banged and beaten as I wonder around the production floor.

quote:
Maybe you were accidentally shipped a prototype with a higher build quality.
Not with my luck...

quote:
Except that another working Stowaway did the same thing, so it points much more strongly to a problem resident on that Visor.
Ok, you got me there... I didn't catch that (or wasn't paying attention) when I first read the post.

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MarkEagle is offline Old Post 05-02-2002 10:58 PM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by MarkEagle
Definitely not delicate... it's even been dropped a few times without (thankfully) any damage.

I use a FlipCover and carry it on my belt in a Handspring Sport Case. It's constantly getting banged and beaten as I wonder around the production floor.

Not with my luck... [...]

I think you underestimate your luck then if your case hasn't had any cracking issues despite all that.

Toby is offline Old Post 05-03-2002 01:25 PM
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Toby
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quote:
Originally posted by Toby
You're welcome.[B]Yes, it makes sense. The reason why I suspected it is that my wife's Visor Deluxe seems to be exhibiting the same behavior over the past week or so. I suspect that the hotsync connectors just weren't made to withstand the stress required to snap it into and out of the Stowaways over an extended period of time (just like the translucent plastics don't hold up well either). Well, if you don't think that $15 is too much money, you could get a replacement button board from GetHighTech. Opening up the Visor is fairly easy. You just have to be careful not to mess up the ribbon cable to the screen.
Incidentally, the replacement button board fixed my wife's problem. I also replaced her case with a graphite one (was standard blue VDx before). Her impression was that the graphite plastic was better than what was on there before, but it still felt a bit 'cheap'. She couldn't understand why a $250 device (when new) couldn't be made with plastic at least of the same quality as the $20 (or less) scientific calculators that she uses in the classroom.

Toby is offline Old Post 05-04-2002 08:33 PM
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