Tungsten T Repair

Many Tungstens out there experience the “drift.” What’s the drift, you ask?

Along with so many other Palm Tungsten T owners, I began having problems with the digitizer on my unit. That’s the touch-screen sensor underneath the LCD that detects your stylus movements.

For some reason, Palm had assembly issues with this interface, and as a result many Tungstens out there experience the “drift.” What’s the drift, you ask? It’s an offset, anywhere from a few pixels to a few inches. Wildly unpredictable.

In my case, the drift was correctable with a good swift tap on the case (usually in the upper left or right side). That of course seems to indicate an electromechanical problem, i.e., some connector making intermittent contact.

So, what to do? Why, take it apart of course! But alas, even I was not daring enough to rip apart this rather expensive piece of hardware blindly. So I consulted the good people at PDAparts.com. They sell scrap PDA guts (LCD screens, memory chips, cases, etc.). So they have wonderful disassembly instructions on their website with pictures for the do-it-yourself enthusiast and hobbyist. Among them is a great Tungsten-T repaire guide.

With that reference, I took my Tungsten apart. Below is the SD slot board. It also contains the audio out jack and the voice recorder button on the right.

SD flash board

Below is the back portion of the case, the slider.

graffiti section

Below is the LCD touch-screen assembly. The offending connector and cable are here. To repair this, I cleaned all the contacts with alcohol and then re-mated them and glued them down with an industrial silicone-based adhesive.

LCD board

So far, so good. I’ve not noticed near as much problems. Occasionally, the digitizer will still drift (maybe once a month), but not nearly like it did. This may mean that the contacts inside the cable assembly have become loose. And since this is a flex circuit cable, there’s not much fixing that. The only thing I could insure better connection was the interface between cable and board.

Full Project Gallery:

3 Replies to “Tungsten T Repair”

  1. Thanks for that – i to have discovered, following reading this article, that a tap resolves it. Next on my agenda is to repeat your full fix

  2. Thanks for the post. I had fairly minor screen drift. Mainly the digitizer didn’t read properly on the right side. I took my TT apart according to the directions from gethightech.com and reseated all the connections. The actual digitizer and screen seemed loose in the case so I shimmed it with a piece of scrap paper to keep it from moving. So far after cold reset the digitizer seems rock solid even after multiple slider opens and closes. Thanks so much. I think I may have revived my beloved TT which I was about to sell.

Leave a Reply