Palm Zire 71 Resurrection

zire 71

Reader [steve diraddo]’s Zire 71 had given up the ghost long ago, but with a strong desire to annoy his friend, he decided to resurrect it. Unfortunately, like most things that rise from the earth to feast on the brains of the living, Steve’s Zire has limited capacities. When he had originally disassembled the device it was because the camera had stopped functioning, it couldn’t sync, and failed to charge. If he was going to do anything with the device, he would need to get it charging again. The dock connector no longer worked, so he grabbed the pinout for the internal connector from By following the traces, he was able to solder a USB cable directly to the board and start the device charging. There are also narrow USB data lines on the board, but Stave didn’t trust his hands to solder them. Programs can still be loaded via IrDA or the SD card. Plugging the screen back in and loading up NoviiRemote he had an ugly, but still very functional toy-to-annoy.

On a related note, [Radu Privantu] sent along his write up: How to use a Pocket PC with a broken screen. Even though it doesn’t have a screen you could still use it as a thin client for streaming music, as a skype phone, a WiFi camera, or a dedicated development platform.

14 thoughts on “Palm Zire 71 Resurrection

  1. I have to agree with ex-parrot on the execution, but the thing is alive again which is something!

    “It’s alive!!” -thank you mel brooks!

    As-is it would be an _excellent_ brain for a palm os-based robotics project. Go for it!

  2. “another piece to prevent shorts. This could potentially damage any connected laptop… like my relatively new $1700 Toshiba Satellite… ahem.”

    Actually, perusing the USB specs, I noticed the specs say the device and host are supposed to be able to deal with a short in the cable indefinately without damage (though data obviously can’t be transmitted). So, if the manufacturer implemented the specs properly, it wouldn’t hurt your laptop a bit. worst case you would have to re-initialize your usb device, which may require a reboot. Though, that is assuming the manufacturer implimented it properly…


  3. I still have my Zire 71 and it works and looks as good as it did when I bought it when it first came out.

    I use it often, but mostly for it’s camera function. PalmOS crashes so fucking much that I fear using anything other than the built-in apps when I’m away from home, since inevitably the fucking thing will lock up and I’ll require a paper-clip like shaft to reset it… (pissed me off that they got cheap on the stylus and made it full plastic, as opposed to what I’m hearing about the older styluses that had reset pins inside them… that thing was expensive, damn it…)

    Otherwise, physically it seemed like a very rugged (to me) device, but every now and then I’ll hear a story about how theirs died prematurely. I’m curious just how the hell people treat their electronics…

  4. curses on the person at college who broke the screen and didn’t tell me about it. I woke up to a bleeding lcd… anyways whether or not I use these hacks, I like the idea of using it as the core of a robotics project. assuming i had a system to build it into (i dont)

  5. I realise this is an old topic now, but having just bought a Zire 71 off ebay for £2 with a Shot battery it maybe usefull to know that the cell is the same size as used in old nokia 3210 phone batteries and other phones i guess, i replaced the Li-on cell and it charges and works fine now

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