Taking My Tungsten T3 Apart

What a mess!

My out of warranty [Palm Tungsten T3](http://www.palmone.com/us/products/handhelds/tungsten-t3/)’s digitizer has been drifting away since several weeks ago. Just like everybody else did, recalibrating didn’t work. I tried from hard resetting the unit and trying several third party digitizer recalibration program like [DigiE](http://www.freewarepalm.com/utilities/digie.shtml) but the drift is still there. Knowing a software solution won’t solve the problem, I gave up and let the drift there. I’d just make mental adjustment whenever I was using the stylus.

I’m always reluctant to take apart things like this. I’m not that good with hardware. For example, in theory I know the pinout of an [RJ-45](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RJ-45) jack. However, whenever need to crimp them, I always end up with more failures than success. However, I’m also getting tired of this digitizer problem and decided that enough is enough. In the Internet, I’ve found some people have taken apart their Tungsten T3s in order to eliminate their digitizer problem with varying degrees of success. There are several take apart instructions, I use ones from [gethightech.com](http://www.gethightech.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=GHT&Category_Code=_tungsten_takeapart) and [palmbattery.com](http://www.palmbattery.com/tungsteninstall.htm).

After taken my Palm apart, I reseated the connector from digitizer to the motherboard. Reseating that connector ought to solve the problem, they said. However it doesn’t work on my case :(. The drift is still there, it’s hopeless. So, I just put it back together and live with the drift, maybe if I got the money I’ll just get a new one, preferably not another with a slider. After taking apart the unit, I’ve managed to break and scratch several parts, in particular I lost one screw because the screwdrivers I was using are either too big or too small. But the good news is the unit is still functioning perfectly, except for the digitizer, that is.

After putting the unit back, I figured the solution could be some compensation when calibrating. I did just that, I hit a spot a little off the bottom right calibration point. Now the drift happens at the middle of the screen, not at the bottom as before. So at least now I can use the function buttons on the bottom of the screen and the drift is now not as severe as before. At least it is usable for gaming.

The other solution is to ‘downgrade’ my unit by never pulling the slider. The drift occurs only in areas covered by the slider. So by always covering the drift area, I pretend the drift is not there. This way my unit becomes a phone-less and thumbboard-less [Treo 650](http://www.palmone.com/us/products/smartphones/treo650/) some way or another. However, I have been accustomed to T3’s big screen, so I consider losing the big screen as a great loss.


  1. I used to have m130 with the same problems, can’t fix with digi… whatever… But akhirnya tried the Corrector, can download in palmgear, Harus calibrate 100point on the screen. If you want to try T3, or may be email the creator to do it on OS5.

  2. Hi there!

    I found your page while looking to repair my T3 from some dropping-damage it sustained that bent the bottom of the metal case near the Universal Connector out of shape. I really apreciate the time you took to post the links to the “how to open up your T3” sites, as it was just the ticket.

    I can understand your worries. My T3 has been amazing, and I constantly brag about the big screen with it’s ability to slide close and become more pocket-friendly. A T3 without that ability loses it’s best features. I wish you luck, and hopefully you won’t need to spend too much cash on parts if it ends up being necessary. If I hear anything about the ‘drift’ problem, I’ll post it here.

  3. I have exactly this drift problem with my T3. If you use the Notepad application to draw a fine grid of horizontal lines (being careful to draw straight across from side to side, regardless of what the display shows) I end up with a rather “curve-in-space-time”-style mesh in which there is a huge bump – a deviation of the lines from the true pen position – across most of the lower slide-out area.
    This is unfortunately the same area being used for Graffiti recognition, so a lot of my writing is being wrongly detected. Makes it very frustrating to use. I’d love to know of any solutions to this – or indeed, what Palm’s suggestion would be. Hmmm..

  4. #4: if your T3 is still in warranty, you should replace your T3 with palmone. please note, however, that the replacement T3 could be somewhat different than your current T3, some has better screen, some has worse screen, some has loose slider, some has tight slider. but in any case, it is better than one with hosed digitizer.

    btw. my T3 is officially dead now after doing my second ‘operation’ :(

    i would suggest to get slider-less palm in the future. my experience with slider is not that great. this digitizer problem, and a few injuries while attempting to close the slider :(. i’m really dying to see a T3/T5 in m515 form factor. but, with current palmone track records, i wouldn’t count on it :(.

  5. I just got off the line right now with Palm Canada. I have the digitizer drift AND SD card problems that so many T3 owners have. I complained about the $125 USD and the woman on the phone “Spoke to her supervisor” and got me a %25 percent discount on the fee. Whoopee.

    I tried taking the unit apart and ‘re-seating’ the connections but to no avail.

    I guess I’ll await the service email and send to my unit to palm.

  6. My T3 has the drift problem.. using Digie the drift only changes its location to the middle of the screen… note when hard reset the palm before initial calibration the drift isnt there… so can be a software problem but internal software no third party… as claimed by Palm “Technical” service… anyway i’ve to live with this problem because i cannot afford a new unit and the warranty expired… :-w

  7. YEs i have this same problem as well. i am a 13 yr old and luckily i got mine replaced while it was under warrenty. Unfortunetly the same thing has happened AGAIN with the new one. I know the frustration.
    And i CANNOT afford $125.
    i guess ill just have to wait. :)

    palm m105 -> palm IIIc –> T3

  8. I don’t know about the law at the Unites States, but in Brazil (where a live), if there is some ocult problem with any product (we call “vício oculto”), there isn’t any time to claim it (there is a time to do that after the problem occour), I mean, this kind of problem needs to be fix by the maker any time that it starts to occour, diferently of the other problems under warranty (this garatee is to protect against premature failure of a component, not to cover a project or material that is known to have a problem). If someone know about the law or have somehow to look for help in this area, could confirm this information and a process could to force palm to do some recall for everyone.

  9. Unfortunately having a Palm without a slider won’t help. This problem occurs because PalmOne do not provide a proper calibration application that can do the whole screen. There’s no excuse for this, just like there is no excuse for the Bluetooth not working with recent Nokia phones (when the T5 can). This sloppiness seems typical of them these days. The T3 is the last one I’ll ever buy and I now warn people not to buy their products.

  10. DigiE just worked for me, but I did have to rotate the screen, then extend horizontally, flip back to vertical and use DigiE in full screen mode. It failed when I tried it in 320×320 portrait mode.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *