At the Hadrian Hotel

At the Hadrian Hotel

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Palm Tungsten Case Mod

I have a Palm Tungsten E2, which comes with RealPlayer and an earphone jack. The jack works just fine until you put the Tungsten in a Palm hard case. An unmodified case will not close with a pair of earphones plugged into the Palm because there is no hole for the plug to pass through. This situation makes it a bit difficult to put the case in your pocket when your listening to tunes or a podcast.

Dremel to the rescue!

Looking at the case and the location of the jack on the Palm, I knew that it shouldn't be too difficult to modify the case for an earphone plug if I could get my hands on a Dremel. It turns out that my buddy Steve had one and was willing to lend it to me. Let the modding begin....

I started off by marking the location of the jack on the case with a Sharpie and then making an arc for the cut-out. I used the Sharpie cap to trace out the arc. Naturally, I did this without the benefit of a clamp of any kind, trying to hold the case and the cap with one hand without slipping. I removed the Palm from the case (!) and went to work with the Dremel.

Using a 7mm cutting bit, I roughed out the opening until the Sharpie lines were gone. I then switched to the 14mm sanding drum to gently smooth things out. On my case the base of the arc is roughly flush with the plastic of the case back. When I was using the drum, I angled it down slightly toward the outer edge to remove the lip. After the Dremel, I chipped off th melted plastic that had accumulated and used some 200 grit sandpaper to smooth things out. A little polishing with 000 steel wool and I was done! (mostly)

I cleaned all of the debris from the case and put in the Palm. I then attached some earphones and closed the case. It was almost perfect -- the top of the case hit the earphone plug. So I took out the Palm and grabbed the Dremel with the sanding drum. Very gently. I placed the spinning drum in the cut-out. Making sure to touch the bottom as little as possible and trying to keep the case from sliding side-to-side, I closed the lid slowly until the drum started cutting an arc. When I thought it was big enough, I opened the case, cleaned sanded and polished and tried fitting the Palm in the case again. This time it was perfect.

With a time investment of about 20 minutes, I now have a Palm Tungsten in a case that I can close while I listen to music. The case snaps shut so I don't have to worry about anything flopping around (try plugging earphones in with an unmodified case and you'll see exactly what I mean). All-in-all this was an easy project that will make my Palm a much better music player.

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Ted said...

Nothing that's perfect can't be improved with a Dremmel tool, hot glue, or some duct tape. Way to go ModMan!

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