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Enabling the CompactFlash Slot on the HP Jornada 680e Factory(?) Hack

The figure below contains a HP Jornada 680e. At first glance it look like a regular HP Jornada 680e handheld PC. Look closely and you will realize somethng is amiss.

Attached Image:

Handheld PC.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 17 Feb 2005 10:45:59 -0800

Notice the weird white symbol on the bottom left-hand side? It is a tip-off to either a factory hack or a very elaborate third-party hack. This is a refurbished HP Jornada 680e. When the manufacturer refurbishes a defective product, it usually fixes it so that the product still meets the original features and specifications. However, this refurbished product lost some functionalities, such as CompactFlash slot, modem, IrDA port, and external audio buttons. It also has some new cosmetics elements that resembled hacks.

At this point, I still can't determine whether it is a factory hack or a third-party hack. You would think if it was a third-party hack, the quantity would be limited. But I see them popping up everywhere. Even TigerDirect, a high-profile mail order company, has them in stock.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:46:14 -0700

When you turn it over, the base looks quite interesting . . . see picture below. It has a window to the model specification label. I have never seen anything like it before. Looks professionally done by the factory. Beside it is the battery back-up cover.

Attached Image:

Base.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:52:18 -0700

Removing the backup battery cover reveals something even more interesting . . . another cover fastened by a tiny screw (see picture below). Only after removing this second cover do you get to the backup battery.

This arouse some curiosity, such as why are there two covers? And how come there is some empty space surrounding the actual battery container. It looks multi-layered.

Attached Image:

Backup Battery Cover.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:00:12 -0700

Most of my questions were answered when I finally pulled out my star-shaped torx screwdriver and unscrewed the six torx screws holding down the base. It was easily removed to revealed . . . the real HP Jornada 680e base! The picture below shows the original base.

Note the volume button in front of the units are missing. The back-up battery, the speaker, and the CompactFlash compartment is loose.

Attached Image:

Internal Base.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:07:28 -0700

A new label (see picture) below has been affixed to the model specification label. Note that it has the same weird white symbol as seen earlier. The new label says:

"De vinder kan dit apparaat koseloos sturen naar

NS Klantenservice
Antwoordnummer 4470, 3500 VE Utrecht

NS is u daarvoor erg dankbaar."

I had thought it was German at first, but a quick check at Babel Fish Translation proved that I was wrong. The best translation it could do was Dutch to English:

"The vinder can send this apparatus koseloos to NS customer service freepost 4470.,3500 VE Utrecht NS is you for that very grateful."

What's NS?

Attached Image:

New Label.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:16:19 -0700

After doing some more digging, it turned out that Utrecht is a city in Holland. And the national language of Holland is Dutch. You can find more information about Utrecht and Holland at The official Utrecht city-site

For now . . . back to our normal program . . .

When you insert a PC Card (PCMCIA), the loose compartment is raised as shown in the picture below. I have no idea why this compartment is much higher than the original base after inserting a PC Card, because I don't have an unmodified HP Jornada 680e to compare with.

In this picture, you can see all of the missing button in the front panel more clearly.

Attached Image:

CF Card Slot When PCMCIA is Inserted.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:27:52 -0700

You can open up the CompactFlash slot by pulling the tab to the right, then lifting the compartment cover up. It turned out that the CF card clot is fully functional. It's just that you can't get to it when the new modified base is installed on the handheld computer. But you can install a CF memory card in there and use it as a permanent storage . . . like a hard drive.

I have one installed in mine now. And backup to it is a snap. It doesn't matter if I forget to charge the battery now as long as I constantly back-up the handheld PC. With permanent storage, the handheld PC also feels more like a real computer. And the instant power-on is great!

Be sure you put the modified base back on it. The compartment dangling loose is not a good thing and is very weak. Also, if you use a PC Card in the PCMCIA slot, the HP Jornada 680e will not sit right.

Attached Image:

CompactFlash Slot.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:32:59 -0700

These Jornadas are known as the "Dutch Railways" model. They were modified to be used by the employees of a train company in Holland. Apparently the company didn't want their workers using flash cards or making recordings. Mine came looking brand new, still in it's original box (with a dead backup battery). I don't know if the Dutch railways ever used them, but they appear to have been sitting on a shelf somewhere for the last 5 years.

Billy Bumbler
Tue, 12 Apr 2005 22:32:12 -0700

Thanks to all for the great postings. I have a TigerDirect sourced 680e and am surfing the web via a SMC EZConnect Wireless PCMCIA 16 bit card (Model SMC2632W). It was a spare that I had around the olde lab. After much playing, I loaded the PRISM driver and discovered the proper device name of PRISMNDS.DLL and away it went. Connected on 1st try to may 801.11B/G access point. The Intersil PRISM driver/software set works just fine. I also loaded the MS updates to the Pocket Office tools. Now if I can just get the PocketIE to let me get into Gmail, I will be a happy camper. I have yet to find a working alternative browser. Any tips? Thanks to all. KC5YAF

Dave Whiteis
Sat, 23 Apr 2005 22:00:23 -0700

I think you can get a browser called "ibrowser", but dont know muc more about it.

MiniMo- a mozilla based beastie, might be worth a look.

Tom
Tue, 3 May 2005 11:14:42 -0700

After looking for details on the Netherland rail plate (NS plate on the bottom of the 680s), I was wondering what would happen if they existed around the early 1990s, especially in the UK. I have to appologise for this, but I “photoshopped”(!) your image and added the BR logo (British Rail Double arrows, as used from 1966 to 1994, perhaps longer.).

The ironic fact however is that, even though I live in the UK, I have seen many companies uses PDAs to drive ticket machines. They generally tend to be a ruggerized(spelling? Word?) version of the Casio PDAs.

The first version was used by the National Express group, rolled out to all its Train Operating Companies (c2c, Silverlink, Midland Mainline, Central Trains, etc – try this article: National Express - A Microsoft Windows Powered solution was deployed to manage the delivery of both tickets and timetable information to train passengers.)

Since then, Stagecoach, who own Island Line and South West Trains, started using the same type on South West Trains, now GoVia have started replacing SPORTIS with PDAs.

HOWEVER, I have heard complaints from the SWT staff, as they moan that users often “misplace” the stylus, the idea then is that they use a ball-point pen, OR their nails, OR their fingers. THEN the screens get scratched and become unusable. This means a replacement has to be found. Oh, most trains here have 3+2 seats, SPORTIS was a VERY hard wearing design, that can go on forever, but is very limited. The keypad on most, if not all, have never torn or cracked during service. Most even get “slung” over the shoulder and bashed about inside the train, often damaging seats. The PDAs can’t cope!

GoVia have used a later version, which is more pleasing, brushed steel/aluminium, they have addressed one issue, which is the stylus, they permanently strapped theirs to the units printer! Still doesn’t fix the plastic cover, vice steel armour seat back cover collisions at 3mph! Often double.

Anyway. The interesting thing is that I asked about the use of the 680s with NS, apparently, they were designed to do a similar thing. They were preloaded with software, and station managers carried them around, they used them for looking up timetable information, rail enquiries, fare information, routing I think, not sure what else though. Someone did give me a rundown of their use, but then again, they put that stupid plate on the bottom. That limits them not doing one thing, PRINT!

If common sense prevailed, they wouldn’t use them for looking up information, but do what NEG did, strap the tiny little Jornadas to printers, to print out tickets. It wouldn’t make them more robust, but I have dropped my mobile pro, which I have had for a month, the only thing that is damaged, is the LCD catch, other than that, it works 100% well.

Still, if I ever owned a rail company, I think I would resurrect the Jornada (Handheld) line! J Maybe we will see an iPAQ 9100, with clamshell design (convertible), 1Ghz ARM processor, 512mb ram, 128mb rom and CE5! J

RWSB

P.s. I forgot to ask, before I went off topic, do you mind if I distribute the image? It should only be on HPC factor only.

Attached Image:

BR680e.jpg

Russell Burgess
Fri, 10 Feb 2006 17:33:44 -0800

Thankyou very much; We have had the Jornada 680e for a couple of years now and am enjoying it very much. We even got the Dos aplication and it works very well with the Dos programs we have. Thankyou very much for getting me to take the bottom off. We found the extra pcslot that the manuel mentioned. We put a 128 meg card in and it recognized it instantly. We now have a second backup as the regular slot has a 1 gig card. Thankyou again for your knowledge and time. Keep hacking.

Ross Cordes
Fri, 06 Jul 2007 15:01:48 -0700

hi, i have the exact same model 680e with the funny bottom case on it, on mine the modem port is blanked outt, is it the same on yours?

aidan hickling
Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:31:54 +0000

Yes, it's gone. There is no modem port.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 21 Mar 2011 17:54:50 +0000

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