Please Note: I only used the Visor for about 3 months at the start of 2001. For the (approximately) 3 months that I used it, I loved it. To my mind, it was better than the Palm Pilot that spawned it. It’s springboard module gave it expandibility, and that made it very powerful. However, late January / early February 2001, I started to get to know Apple’s Newton. Since then, my Visor has been shelved, and now it’s prime function is dust-gathering. I will keep this page posted, as I feel it still serves a useful function for people who own and wish to modify their Handspring Visors. I am also posting a FAQ to hopefully address most of your questions. I apologize if I am unable to respond to your emails in a reasonable amount of time, as my business is starting to take more and more of my time. Thanks again for your interest.
The Handspring Visor is a handheld PDA which uses the Palm operating system. The Deluxe model comes in 5 different colours, has 8Mb of RAM, and uses a USB docking cradle. It is Macintosh compatible right out of the box. See the reviews by The Gadgeteer
While I think it’s a super piece of equipment right out of the box, and at a very good price, there are still a few things that I felt would make it just that little bit better. The first thing I wanted, was to have a Tale-Light style device. Basicaly this is a blinking light, which some hacks and apps use instead of audible alarms, or to augment games and other apps. While a commercialy-made Tale-Device is available for the Visor (see review by The Gadgeteer), in my opinion it is over-priced, especially when taking into account that it does not conform to Handspring’s Springboard specifications: It requires you download and install software from a 3rd party.
So I set out to get me my blinking light on the cheap. While working on this project, I came across the idea of using rechargeable batteries in my Visor, and having the Visor charge the batteries while it was in the cradle. This was a much easier (and way more useful) ‘hack’, so I will describe it first.
Doing any of the following things to your Visor could kill it dead. Doing any of the following things to your Visor will void your warranty. The following things I have done require a steady hand with a soldering iron, tweezers, and sometimes a magnifying glass. If you drop a blob of solder in the wrong spot, your Visor will die. This is not my fault. By reading this sentence you have automatically agreed that I am in no way liable or responsible for anything you do with the information contained on this web page.
A Thought About Upgrades
Take a look at the above images of the Visor’s insides. Especially the memory board. Click here for a close-up view of this board. With the RAM and ROM both on the same daughter-board, it is conceivable that Handspring, or more likely, a third-party might one day offer upgrades, like ROM in Flash-memory or more RAM. However, it would probably not be something the end-user would install themselves. If I knew more about memory chips and things, I’d almost consider messing with it myself. There is ‘lots’ of clearance between the motherboard and daughter board for small circuit modifications. There are some websites out there describing D-I-Y memory upgrades for Palm Pilots. (See the hardware mods pages at The Gadgeteer’s Palm page) so maybe someone with some more know-how could ‘hack’ this. A 16Mb Visor sounds good…