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Old 01/16/2013, 11:42 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm sure HP had someone in china making them for them, and the molds still exist. How about trying to find out who it was and see if they would run a line of about 1000? Maybe even HP might run 1000 of them if they knew it was good customer service or could make a buck or two at it?
Might be easier than reinventing the wheel? After that, with enough spares we could try to convert one or more into a flash unit????
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Old 01/16/2013, 03:11 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tracks914 View Post
I'm sure HP had someone in china making them for them, and the molds still exist. How about trying to find out who it was and see if they would run a line of about 1000? Maybe even HP might run 1000 of them if they knew it was good customer service or could make a buck or two at it?
Might be easier than reinventing the wheel? After that, with enough spares we could try to convert one or more into a flash unit????
They do have a couple of boxes of these things at HP, but they are still sitting on them, customer service be damned... maybe it's even a thousand units, like you say..(but i've not seen them in person, so who knows... maybe they are rare like the Touchpad stands, and there's only three dozen of them left)

The problem with trying to track down the molds in China, for a two year old discontinued product and having to restart the production line, is that it'll cost more than it's worth. Someone will still have to pay for it. The advantage of silicone molds and epoxy resin is that we don't have to invest in a thousand units and then wait years for that to sell.

As for the flash units, there will be demand for at least 15 in the first few months, so cutting and drilling OEM housings for this purpose would be too much hassle. A dedicated mold with the correct hole and possibly room for an extra controller makes a lot more sense TBH...

But I do see what you mean. Each unit has about a dozen parts in it, and they all have to be either found or fabricated... However the same also applies to restarting production, because those custom-made magnets would be quite costly to reorder, now that they are no longer made. Having to use more generic magnets instead means having to modify the connector-side mold and in case of production, modify the mechanism of feeding magnets into the mold.

It might not be fun, having to hand-make every piece, but at least there's a whole lot less headache involved in adapting ill-fitting or non-OEM pieces to the finished product. And on the upside, controlling every step of production means we won't have to suddenly throw away a bad batch if something goes wrong


@Toadfrog,

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Old 01/16/2013, 05:27 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Toadfrogjr View Post
I am off Thursday and Friday so perhaps I will be able to make some calls and find some information
I'll try to do my part as well. I've been looking at the DAC chips already (since it looks like we are going that route), and it looks like the $20 pricetag on the magnetic adapters is in line with that of many other USB DACs. But there's a Texas Instruments chip that's adequate and goes for ~$5.50, but looks like it's without a microphone input, so i'll have to keep looking for something in that price range with the same specs but also mic-in.

Once you get a chance to open up an adapter we'll see what markings are on the OEM chip and will be able to look it up

Considering this, if we are lucky, we can produce an adapter in the $10 range with ~$2 going back towards covering things like materials shipping and initial mold costs.

To break even a little faster, it would make sense to also offer "premium" (more expensive) adapters, such as an option where the the housings are made with clear epoxy instead of black and a sheet of carbon fibre. Dry carbon fibre can be bought in narrow, duct-tape style rolls for very cheap and the width is just enough for an adapter housing. We'd have to ask around and see if anyone is willing to pay a bit more for a unique look, but you get the idea

I'll do my best to track down reasonably priced components so that this venture would make sense. If we can get the photo flash working as well, i'll be over the moon
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Old 01/16/2013, 07:26 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Me personally, I am looking for a path that is more reasonable at the beginning and then maybe expand on it. Proof of concept first.
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Old 01/16/2013, 07:41 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Me personally, I am looking for a path that is more reasonable at the beginning and then maybe expand on it. Proof of concept first.
Of course.

We'll look at the OEM innards, find comparable off-the-shelf components and then when the basics work, do creative stuff later. I'm just thinking about the financial side of the project, about making sure that the costs match the product...
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Old 01/16/2013, 07:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I've been looking into every little thing, to make sure that the homebrew adapter would be as simple as possible to make and be equivalent to the OEM version. That and keeping costs under control.

Off the shelf DAC chip, off-the shelf magnets, slim-line 4 pin audio jack. "Homemade" connector pins and molded epoxy shell. Still has to be soldered by hand, but the Ti DAC specsheet says it doesn't require proprietary drivers, so that sounds a lot like whatever mystery chip is inside the OEM unit.

Regarding the carbon fibre mod, the narrow rolls are $3.00 apiece (not sure how many feet) and since we are making epoxy housings, adding 10 cents worth of cf sheet to the mold would be pretty good ROI if we sell them for $3.00 more. But that's just hypotheticals. I want to be sure that we won't have to swallow the cost of anything. Simple enough
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Old 01/16/2013, 07:55 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Of course.

We'll look at the OEM innards, find comparable off-the-shelf components and then when the basics work, do creative stuff later. I'm just thinking about the financial side of the project, about making sure that the costs match the product...
Understandable.

If this can become a completed "product" I want to try and keep the price as reasonable as possible. Prefer less than $10. Honestly, a goal of $7 would be great. Way to soon to tell though until I start getting my hands dirty.
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Old 01/16/2013, 08:47 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Well, IMHO, considering today's DAC prices, $7 is a little too tight for 100 unit runs. It's a good price though.

We have to account for the cost of epoxy resin, connector "wire" strips, solder, the DAC chip, the audio jack, and the magnets. That's for the barebones audio adapter. You would also have overhead costs, like shipping, electricity and the initial mold impression cost.

And then personal time on this has to be paid also (R&D + build).

So for example, without the overhead costs, just purely materials:

$5.30 for the DAC
$.60 for both magnets
$.30-$1.00 for the audio jack
~$.20 for epoxy?
$.10 for wiring and solder...

Selling for ~$10 is more realistic, $15 for the hypothetical photo flash version +$3.00 for "premium" housings (any color other than black)

. . .

Here's a microSD card reader i was talking about, that can be converted straight into working with the Veer: Kingston FCR-MRG2 USB microSD Reader at TigerDirect.com

...just trim off the USB plug end and solder on the magnetic connector. Placed in a standard magnetic housing, this would also be a nice accessory for the Veer, maybe for the kind of people who'll buy the photo flash....
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Old 01/16/2013, 09:37 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Another idea. Since it looks like the Veer has a powered USB port, we could fabricate a "USB female to 'magsafe" adapter. This will allow the Veer to accept any standard USB drive. Sure, it's bulky and strange, but with the parts we will already have, this can be created as a "proof of concept" and who knows, there might be some demand for it.

The proof of concept USB adapter will allow us to test other USB peripherals and host machines. If anyone gets crazy enough and if Novacom drivers could be created for that architecture (not by us), then a Veer with a specialized adapter and a regular cable could be used to load Preware onto Touchpads, without the need for a computer. Useless, but definitely cool.
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Old 01/17/2013, 09:49 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Another idea. Since it looks like the Veer has a powered USB port, we could fabricate a "USB female to 'magsafe" adapter. This will allow the Veer to accept any standard USB drive. Sure, it's bulky and strange, but with the parts we will already have, this can be created as a "proof of concept" and who knows, there might be some demand for it.

The proof of concept USB adapter will allow us to test other USB peripherals and host machines. If anyone gets crazy enough and if Novacom drivers could be created for that architecture (not by us), then a Veer with a specialized adapter and a regular cable could be used to load Preware onto Touchpads, without the need for a computer. Useless, but definitely cool.
How about just transferring photos and other data to the TP? Not going to hold my breath on TTS for this.
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Old 01/21/2013, 12:13 AM   #31 (permalink)
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FWIW... I am pretty sure that the Veer, or Pre3, or other phones, do not have the capability to be a USB host. I would like to be wrong, though...

I tore (quite literally, it has a ton of glue) into a Veer headphone jack. It is just the headphone port with wires going to the pins. And a metal base holding the magnets. I am pretty certain that the pins in the Veer are dual purposed. Since this can either be a USB cable, or a headphone port with 4 conductors (TRRS), you probably have two pins shorted when in headphone mode. If pins x and y short, then route the signal to a sound chip. Otherwise, route to USB. I'll have to get a multimeter out to verify this (but not tonight).

If I am wrong, please let me know! (And I hope that I am. But somehow, I doubt it...)
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Old 01/21/2013, 12:35 AM   #32 (permalink)
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If that's how it is, then the adapters which are selling for $20 will cost less than $1.50 to manufacture. A circuit could be designed for the photo flash to charge a capacitor off of audio and have it respond to pre-defined control tones. The "phreaking photo flash"
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Old 01/22/2013, 05:17 PM   #33 (permalink)
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FWIW... I am pretty sure that the Veer, or Pre3, or other phones, do not have the capability to be a USB host. I would like to be wrong, though...

I tore (quite literally, it has a ton of glue) into a Veer headphone jack. It is just the headphone port with wires going to the pins. And a metal base holding the magnets. I am pretty certain that the pins in the Veer are dual purposed. Since this can either be a USB cable, or a headphone port with 4 conductors (TRRS), you probably have two pins shorted when in headphone mode. If pins x and y short, then route the signal to a sound chip. Otherwise, route to USB. I'll have to get a multimeter out to verify this (but not tonight).

If I am wrong, please let me know! (And I hope that I am. But somehow, I doubt it...)
I actually expected this to be how it was wired. Thanks for the confirmation.
Again, soon as I can get a spare one I will look more into taking the shell to a company to remold and recreate the device with possibility to add an LED to the backside to allow for a "flashlight or Flash for the camera"
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Old 01/22/2013, 08:04 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I actually expected this to be how it was wired. Thanks for the confirmation.
Again, soon as I can get a spare one I will look more into taking the shell to a company to remold and recreate the device with possibility to add an LED to the backside to allow for a "flashlight or Flash for the camera"


Depending on how much power the audio interface puts out on fulll volume, we might also have to either add a capactor or mini battery for the flash, and move the audio jack closer to one of the walls...

In any case, i'm really looking forward to hearing the details once you finally have an adapter on hand
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Old 01/23/2013, 06:03 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Woah... I would definitively buy some audio adapters. And if you really make a microUSB-magnetic connector I would definitively buy at least two of them, too. That's what I am missing most about my Veer.
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Old 01/28/2013, 08:48 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Just giving an update.
Still nothing has come in the mail yet. I have been given word they have been sent, however, my local USPS likes to randomly send mail back as "not deliverable". I have been fighting with them non stop over this issue.

They are one reason I go paperless as much as possible now days.
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Old 02/04/2013, 12:51 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Perhaps you guys are right but this doesn't sound at all easy to me. The adapter will have to be molded to the exact side profile of the Veer to fit tightly against it. The magnets will need to be exactly the size and shape to fit into the recessed areas on the Veer to prevent the adapter from moving around. True, you could use smaller magnets and build up the rest of the shape out of the molded material but will it then be held strongly enough to the side? You'll need to design and assemble some sort of internal structure to hold the five spring-loaded contact pins and ensure a pretty tight tolerance on the alignment of all these parts.

As an alternative, it looks like the USB cables are quite a bit easier to find. Maybe something could be done by cannibalizing the magnetic connectors off of those?
I have thought of this very much. Definitely puts me on a stand still regarding how precise this all would need to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkirker View Post
FWIW... I am pretty sure that the Veer, or Pre3, or other phones, do not have the capability to be a USB host. I would like to be wrong, though...

I tore (quite literally, it has a ton of glue) into a Veer headphone jack. It is just the headphone port with wires going to the pins. And a metal base holding the magnets. I am pretty certain that the pins in the Veer are dual purposed. Since this can either be a USB cable, or a headphone port with 4 conductors (TRRS), you probably have two pins shorted when in headphone mode. If pins x and y short, then route the signal to a sound chip. Otherwise, route to USB. I'll have to get a multimeter out to verify this (but not tonight).

If I am wrong, please let me know! (And I hope that I am. But somehow, I doubt it...)
Is yours still usable? or by tore meaning ripped to shreds to get it opened?

Side note. Would you mind posting some pics. I have 1 spare audio adapter that I want to take apart but want to to take it apart thinking I might be able to still use it in the future once I am done with it.
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Old 02/04/2013, 01:27 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Update:
I took apart my spare.
Has 2 clips and some glue. Not a ton of glue, but enough to make it feel like you are going to break something. Anywho. I did get to see the insides. Simple looking, however, for an individual to recreate this thing will take time especially considering I do not have anyone local that can mold and make the magnets. I will try and locate some local businesses that may be able to help.

Final note,
Turns out I got it apart without damaging anything and it still works.
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Old 04/11/2013, 03:54 AM   #39 (permalink)
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does anyone know the pinout for the magnetic usb cable?
i have lost mine :-)
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Old 08/09/2013, 06:10 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Anything ever come of all this? So much excitement, then radio silence for months. I would love to be a customer for this work!

-- Sent from my Palm Veer using Forums
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