HACKING THE NOKIA POWER ADAPTER CABLE

As my demand for internet connectivity increases, equipment that connects to the internet needs to keep up too. If and when my iPad 2 battery runs low I have the i.Sound 8000 mAh Power Max. When my Nokia E71-cum-Personal-Hotspot runs low, I have this single “AA” battery powered inverter. The trouble with third-party connectors that they’re very often unreliable. By that, I refer to  to the 2mm power connector contact isn’t as secure as the original Nokia part notably (in this example) the CA-44 power adapter pictured below. I’m not big on carrying additional items unnecessarily and seeing how the i.Sound power pack has extra USB ports (see third picture) and enough juice to also charge the E71 while it’s charging the iPad—perfect! This modification is unnecessary for owners of Nokia E72 — the USB data port is capable of charging the phone and Nokia includes a short cable for this purpose (too short in my opinion for practice use especially when you need to answer a call or send a text while the short cable is in use).

This is an original Nokia CA-44 power adapter cable with the female pin spliced open.

Nokia has a part number for the cable I want — Nokia Charger via USB CA 100 — short, neat and most of all, elegant. Trouble is this item is highly unpopular and most people I’d imagine have no need for such set-up other than the factory AC and maybe a car adapter. Another thing, the CA 100 is such an old part number I couldn’t locate a store in my town but I found a similar functioning cable that has an additional cable for data transfer. The part I wanted is the power charging piece and unfortunately but not unexpected the connection isn’t very secure and as a result intermittently disrupts charging due to poor contact. Here’s where my D-I-Y light bulb in my head went off difference this time, I got my dad to help as he’s much better at handling delicate electrical items than I have the patience or skills for. Now, is it a coincidence that I also enjoy Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House because I happen to like cutting things up? Likely not considering what we like and do are probably a result of years of visual influence.

A China made two-in-one USB power and data cable spliced at the Y junction to reveal the rather the soldered wires underneath.

Tada! The finished product, a fusion between original Nokia  CA-44 2mm adapter plug end and a China made USB port. iPhone owners need not worry about such things, the USB sync cable  doubles as charger so it’s all good. The sheer convenience and power of the iPad provided the motivation for this mod. Productivity is when you do more and carry less items in the bag.

The finished ensemble—two cables elegantly connected and sealed with heat-shrink tubing.

Another reminder in case you missed this. This modification is unnecessary for owners of Nokia E72 — the USB data port is capable of charging the phone and Nokia includes a short cable for this purpose (too short in my opinion for practice use especially when you need to answer a call or send a text while the short cable is in use). My design factored this in and is long enough to not have to interrupt the phone’s charging or hotspot-in-use status!

The new USB cable is particularly useful in the car too with this dual USB car power adapter especially on seriously long journeys such as a 4-5 hours drive across the borders to Kota Kinabalu.

Joikuspot Makes My Nokia E71 Relevant Again

Not too long ago I asked my Twitter friends for their thoughts on what makes a great MIFI seeing that I had decided then that I was going to get an iPad and I was so convinced that I didn’t need a 3G version. Then I went against my better judgement and picked a 3G 64GB model with absolutely no regrets—suddenly my spare 3G data-only SIM card became very useful. But that still left the question of internet access abroad unanswered however many recommended this gorgeous Huawei E585 MIFI Router.

My Nokia E71 which is 3 years old has served me really well over the years. At times when I would dread lugging my Dell Studio 17 laptop overseas for no better reason other than to check my emails, the E71 made a great substitute. When I joined the social media rat race, once again, the E71 proved a worthy partner to post the occasional Twitter and Facebook updates from. A recent addition of an iPad 2 to the mix changed the entire game plan for me. Because the iPad 2 has sufficient processing power to handle even Canon 5D Mark II’s high resolution JPEG images easily, it is now the preferred computer to travel with for obvious reasons. When I’m home in Brunei, I get to choose between home Wi-Fi or 3G network on the iPad but when I’m abroad, I switch to a local mobile plan to avoid hefty roaming charges.  Instead of the Huawei route, I prefer to have the SIM card on my phone for good reasons:

1. I retain use of my the phone to call or text my family and friends
2. I easily post Tweets or Facebook messages when running and gunning between schedules
3. Run Joikuspot when I need a personal hotspot to get some work done on the iPad.

This clever little inverter uses one 1.5v AA battery to supply power to charge my 3.7v Nokia E71 phone

Now, we all know that turning a Smartphone into a hotpot drastically reduces its battery performance. I found out that a dedicated MIFI such as the Huawei E585 fare no better in this regard and what steered me away from considering them is the lack of power backup other than the obvious 1. recharge and 2. buy additional proprietary battery packs, likely a costly exercise. This is where the JOIKUSPOT idea hits a high note considering it’s so very easy and convenient to have continuous power to the phone. By far the simplest item I carry with me if a single AA-battery powered inverter you see pictured above. Unlike proprietary batteries, you can easily find AA batteries at any airport/convenience store or bring your own rechargeable ones. When you’re back in the hotel room, put the phone on A/C and you’re good to go for as long as you like. Also, you have an added advantage of powering the phone with a car charger while connected in the car. As I understand, this power option does not exist with the Huawei models.

Joikuspot Premium v3.1 turns my Nokia E71 into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot effectively giving me the freedom and convenience of on-the-go internet connectivity on my iPad 2.

NEW NOKIA E71 FIRMWARE. A SUITE SUITE DEAL.

A friend of mine reported this when he bought the E71 with the factory firmware. He sets his wake-up alarm based on a 6 work day week and while the alarm works, his calendar fails to turn over midnight Sunday. What this means is once every week, his phone is slow by a day. The new firmware has not fixed this anomaly. Either Nokia had not considered that there are people who work 6 days maybe even 7 days a week or a bug has been overlooked. He’s had other Nokia models that did not exhibit such problem.

DON’T PANIC!” After a number of failed attempts trying to download the latest firmware for my Nokia E71, I finally had the entire 109.3MB of codes downloaded to my PC. Firmware updates are generally straightforward but they can go horribly wrong. I once rendered an entire PC useless when a firmware update got corrupted. It wasn’t so much the memory of a botched update that bothered me but the failed attempts had more to do with our poor broadband connection that timed out so much I lost count.

News of the E71 firmware had surfaced across blogs and mobile forums alike and I didn’t think I would jump onto the update bandwagon considering the new features do not actually contain ground breaking “stuff” to be excited about. Yet I succumbed to the temptation just as I would with my PC’s new fixes and the update proceeded smoothly. At time of this writing, the firmware is not yet available from Nokia Asia Pacific sites (I tried to check for updates via Singapore’s site and nothing) but it’s actually available from Nokia Europe. Follow the link to download and install the 22MB Nokia Software Updater, follow the instructions carefully (no step-by-step instructions here). The actual phone update is a two-part process, first of which is straightforward but the second part are the screen shots you see below.

nokia-dont-panic-1

BEFORE you actually attempt this update, please be sure you have made a backup of the entire phone’s content using NOKIA PC SUITE software. I actually experienced errors with the backup and had to repeat the procedure a few times and on separate days to make sure that gets done. You should also copy your contacts onto the flash card for peace of mind. Unlike a factory reset, FIRMWARE UPDATES wipes out everything you have installed or configured.

nokia-dont-panic-2

WHAT’S NEW IN FIRMWARE 110.07.127

- Nokia Email client for Nokia Email service in user disk
– Mail for Exchange 2.5.5
– New Maps 2.0 release
– New Voip release
– New Switch release
– New Download! Release
– Y-drive for WMDRM protected files

Changes/improvements made to MCU SW version 110.07.127:
– Email set-up improvements
– Maps 2.0 improvements
– Music library refresh function performance improvement
– Browser improvements
– Bluetooth improvements
– Camera improvements

What does all this mean? Probably not much if you’re me. I don’t use MAPS, hardly touch the web browser or bluetooth or its camera. I have, however, found the phone to be a lot more responsive. The lag between selecting items in the menu has virtually disappeared and the Address Book is quicker to launch. Even my Gmail launches quicker too as do most things you have to click for.

After upgrading to the above new firmware, I lost my WLAN connections, cannot even connect via my 3G connections. Lost my Nokia Email client too. Anyone who have yet to upgrade, DO NOT UPGRADE THIS NEW FIRMWARE!

If anyone who has and solved the problems above, kindly share your experience. Presently looking for a solution or else, reset phone back to original firmware. — Symbian World

I was originally concerned when I came across this comment by “Anti-Nokia User”. I suspect he (assuming it’s a he) failed to appreciate the risks of upgrading firmware (as opposed to a factory reset) and hadn’t  followed the Backup/Restore procedure using Nokia PC Suite.

If you’re visiting this blog for the first time and landed on this post, be sure to check out my NOKIA E71 review. Also if you have time to spare, feel free to review this blog and select a rating. Thank you.