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What is a Zaurus? Some kind of futuristic dinosaur?
© Copyright 2006 Hd Luc (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have questions about the Zaurus or need help with it, do not email me privately but use the forums on OESF instead. I am getting way too many emails. There is quite a large Zaurus community out there that is willing and able to help.
I got the Zaurus SL-C3000 and SL-C3100. These impressive little devices are almost perfect. They are made by Sharp, however, Sharp decided to only sell these models to the Japanese market.
Being in Australia this was a big disappointment. I tried to order one from Conics, but got no response from them for several weeks, which I think is unacceptable, so I asked a friend of mine who lives in Tokyo to send me one. It's so nice to have friends all over the world :)
I want to thank Sachiko for getting me my first Zaurus. Thank You very much Sachiko!!! You are the best!
The Zaurus is my replacement for my mini Laptop, the Toshiba Libretto 50 CT, which is now hosting this website running Redhat Linux.
The Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000 is the first step of my dream laptop becoming reality. I was sick of carrying a bulky and heavy laptop around and the other PDAs on the market did not appeal to me except for Sony's little Clie but that is another story. After the SL-C3000 died, I bought my second Zaurus, the SL-C3100 from PriceJapan. I ordered it Friday afternoon and it took 3 days to arrive in Sydney from Tokyo and clear customs. However, the local Post Office fucked up as usual and it took 2 more days to arrive. The Zaurus is an astounding technology gadget dreamt up by the Japanese and is the only PDA that really suits my needs. For instance, it runs Linux! Also the SL-C3000 was the first PDA with an internal HDD, and currently the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 are one of the very few PDAs with an internal HDD. The 4 GB micro drive offers sufficient storage (for a PDA) and opens up many possibilities, such as using the Zaurus as a portable video and audio player. The Zaurus' HDD is also recognized by Windows as a plug-n-play USB storage device (but sometimes it is a pain to detect properly). The display of the Zaurus SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 is 3.7" in size and the VGA (640x480) screen is truly awesome. It's bright and razor sharp. And there's a built-in zoom function that allows you to zoom the screen. The screen's orientation automatically adjusts when swivelled. The swivelling screen transforms the shape of the Zaurus from PDA-style to laptop-style. Once in laptop-style, you can utilize the QWERTY keyboard, with its great tactile feedback. The Zaurus features an advanced character recognision for Japanese (kanji, hiragana and katakana) and English which is entered directly onto the touchscreen via a stylus pen. It also has a fully featured bi-directional Japanese-English dictionary and translation software. The Zaurus measures 124x87x25mm, and weighs 298g.
And here is my Zaurus next to my new PC. It's tiny in comparison.
The SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 use the new USB OTG (On-The-Go) connector which allows both mini A and mini B plugs to be plugged in. When a mini B is plugged in, the Zaurus will act as a USB client, ie the Zaurus becomes a USB storage device to the connected host PC or Laptop. When the mini A is plugged in, the Zaurus will act as a USB host and you can attach USB devices such as keyboards, mouse, disks, etc. to it.
Here is how USB mini A and USB mini B look like side by side:
The standards for USB are defined by the USB-IF (USB - Implementers Forum). The OTG 1.0 is a new extension to the USB 2.0 specifications. USB 2.0 defines the following speeds:
In order to be USB 2.0 compliant, one or more of the above speeds has to be implemented. The Zaurus implements the USB 2.0 Full Speed data rate for file transfers and the USB 2.0 Low Speed data rate for peripherals such as mice and keyboards. It does not implement the USB 2.0 High Speed data rate.
C3000 vs. C3100:
The most noticable difference between the C3000 and the C3100 is their colour. The C3000 has a smooth white cover whereas the C3100 is mainly black with dark silver frame for the screen. The C3100 case also feels like it is made of granite while the C3000 feels more metallic and smooth.
Internally, the difference is the amount of flash memory. The C3000 only has 16MB whereas the C3100 has 128MB. This difference in flash memory does give the C3100 a small boost in speed over the C3000 (no spin-up time when loading applications).
The software works the same in both models, but there is some differences in management and maintenance when going down to the details level. There is also more software provided with the C3100, but the additional software is all in pure Japanese only. The C3000 comes with 2 CD-ROMs whereas the C3100 comes with 3 CD-ROMs, the additional CD contains data for the extra software.
The other difference is that the C3000 came with a tiny power adaptor which only worked with 100V input (Japan only). The C3100 comes with a slightly bigger power adaptor which works with 100-240V input.
Although the Zaurus SL-C3000 and Zaurus SL-C3100 are great little devices, there are a few essential things missing which I had to add in order to make them perfect. Since I live in Australia, the power adaptor was a little problem with the SL-C3000 since it only came with a 100V power adaptor and I needed to find a compatible adaptor. Both Dicksmith and Tandy have a relatively small adaptor (made by Digitor) which has the required 5V input at 1A for around AUD $40. Jaycar even has one for AUD $30 (another brand and slightly bigger). The SL-C3100 comes with a 100-240V power adaptor (5V input at 2A) so all that was needed was a cheap Australian plug adaptor.
In addition, I wanted to have wireless networking so I can surf the net, use Yahoo Messenger and IRC as well as share files with my other computers over my home network. This requires a wireless CF adaptor card, but getting one was not such an easy task since Australia is quite behind Asia in terms of the technology market. Most computer shops did not even know what a wireless CF card was and those who knew had to order it in (3-4 days) since there was no demand for them and hence none of them had any in stock. The Zaurus supports 802.11b wireless compact flash and generally in Australia this means the Netgear MA701 or the D-LINK DCF-660W Air. I got myself the Netgear MA701 which costs around AUD $100 because none of the shops had a D-Link in stock. I recently also found a SanDisk Connect Plus 128M for only AUD $79.
I also found a USB mini A host adaptor cable to enable the USB host capability of the Zaurus. Harris Technology has them (GoldX 5-in-1) for around AUD $40 and Office Works has them (Comsol 5-in-1) for only AUD $30. The cable comes with a little leather pouch which contains five different interchangable USB connectors: USB Male A, USB A Female, USB B Male, Mini USB A and Mini USB B. I also found some cheaper cables made by Avico. The Avico USB Digital Camera Cord comes in several models. The CC1542 is a USB A to USB mini A cable and the CC1522 is a USB mini A to USB mini B cable and costs AUD $9.95 each.
I also wanted to connect my Zaurus to different LANs via ethernet networks and got myself a tiny USB LAN adaptor. This cost me AUD $30. In addition to that, I have a small retractable CAT5 network cable made by Aidata (bought from Japan on my last trip there for approximately AUD $20).
Since a single USB connection is rather limiting, I also got a Blue Eye powered mini USB Hub so I can connect up multiple USB devices at the same time. I opted for a powered hub instead of a cheaper unpowered one which I had lying around. With a powered hub I can connect my BlueEye 40 GB 2.5" USB HDDs to the Zaurus. The 5V at 1A power required by the HDD had to come from the USB Hub. But be careful, most powered USB hubs only provide 5V at 500mA which is not sufficient for some harddisks. The Blue Eye hub costs around AUD $40 and is one of the few that supplies the necessary 1A. In fact, its AC adaptor supplies 2A, which means it can handle more than 1 harddisk. Most 2.5" disks only need 500mA to run, but 1A to power up. 3.5" harddisk enclosures normally come with an AC power so those can be used with an unpowered hub and I was able to use my BlueEye 200 GB 3.5" USB HDD which was NTFS formatted with the Z. I have also tried the BlueEye hub with four disks plugged in without problems. While shopping around I have found another place which sells the Blue Eye Hub for only AUD $25, so I got myself another spare. Also, the USB hub powers my USB desklight which costs around AUD $20. BlueEye devices are made/distributed by Noontech.
The hub also allowed me to simultaneously use my mini USB mouse and mini USB keyboard. The mouse is particular useful when running X windows on the Z. The keyboard I normally only use with my Zaurus when I need to type a lot. Almost any standard USB keyboard should work with the Zaurus. The keymapping needs some adjustments since the Zaurus keymapping layout is Japanese and not English by default but this can be easily changed since it is mainly QWERTY based.
I also got a pack of spare stylus so I can leave one at the office. In addition, I bought the Belkin 4-in-1 stylus for around AUD $39. It is the size of a normal pen so it feels quite natural to use. When you use it, you get the feeling that the stylus tip is very soft and won't damage your screen. The tip can also be retracted like most pen by a simple twist and it even has a pen built-in that can be used to write. On the other end there is a light and a laser pointer. The laser pointer is quite handy since I do quite a lot of presentations and the light is pretty cool and helps in the dark. An exact copy of the Belkin 4-in-1 can also be found at Jaycar for half the price, and for an even cheaper copy, try Vietnam where you can get it for around AUD $10 only. The copies also come in a wooden pen box with extra spare batteries as well.
Photos from my digital camera can be easily transferred to the Zaurus either via USB connection (using the Avico or GoldX cables) or by directly inserting the SD Memory Card from the camera into the Zaurus' SD slot. Some of my other cameras use CF Memory Cards, but the Zaurus has a slot for them as well. I also got myself a few additional SD and CF cards, in particular, the 4GB Kingston CF card and the 4GB pqi SD card. Now I got several SD and CF memory cards to swap in and out, and I also got a Kodak PCMCIA adaptor so I can use the CF cards in my Laptop too. The Zaurus made my All-in-One USB card reader redundant, however, I also bought a 4-in-1 CF adaptor which allows me to use additional memory cards in my Zaurus such as my 2GB memory stick duo. I also got the new 2GB SanDisk Ultra II plus USB which is a mini SD card with a USB adaptor stuck on it so you can use it as a normal SD as well as a USB stick.
Finding a Leather Carrying Case that fit the C3000/C3100 was another challenge. The normal PDA cases were not made for the C3000/C3100 but I eventually found a leather carrying bag for cameras that was perfect. It even had a little pouch on the front for my CF cards and could be attached to a belt or hung around the neck. The Tamrac Digital Camera Bag is made of ballistic nylon and genuine leather. It costs AUD $45
I also bought a Joytech PSP power extender and since it has the same plug and power requirements as the Zaurus, I can use it with either my Zaurus or PSP to extend the battery power on a long haul flight. In addition, I bought an AC to USB adaptor which has several uses, ie charging my Zaurus, my Mobile phone, or powering my USB hardisk via a USB y-cable.
And here is my Zaurus (C3000) in all its glory surrounded with gadgets for it.
Additionally, I had to get the following from Tokyo since I could not get them locally in Australia. Thanks again to Sachiko for going shopping for me.
The iRiver USB cable works with the Zaurus. This cable is quite small and has a USB mini A connector on one end and a USB A Female on the other. It will be a handy addition to supplement my GoldX cable. It is currently also the cheapest USB mini A host controller cable available that I could find.
I also found a small USB power cable, the Diatec P-Cord (P to Go). This little gem allows me to leave the bulky power adaptor at home. It can power the C3000/C3100 whilst plugged into a USB port of a PC or a Sun Ray (or even my spare USB hub). As a bonus this cable is also retractable. It is perfect for stuffing into a small pocket. In addition, this cable also has a little cousin which also includes a USB mini-b adaptor for synching as well so you can use it to charge and sync at the same time.
The screen on the Zaurus attracts quite a lot of dust. The OverLay Brilliant screen protector should protect my little Z's touchscreen. It will hopefully ensure my Z's screen will not be damaged and also reduces the glare when under direct sunlight, so now I can see what's on the screen even outside when the sun is shining on my Z. It can also be easily washed in warm water so cleaning is a breeze, but re-attaching it afterwards is a bit tricky. The inner side easily catches little dust particles which are very hard to remove and they cause bubbles on the screen. However, most importantly, it prevents scratches on the Z's screen.
Well, I already have a few spare styli, but one can never have enough spares, so I got the Pilot Pentopia stylus. This stylish replacement stylus looks and feels much better than Sharp's greyish plastic stylus that comes with the C3000 or the black stylus that comes with the C3100. The Pentopia stylus comes in a cool metallic colour with black ends and a red tip. And it is also extensible by a few centimeters to give it the length of a pencil. The extra metal weight also makes it feel like something with substance. It also has a pen under the black cap on the other end.
I have found a USB to VGA adaptor which can be used with the Zaurus. It is made by Kairen and contains a SiS 315E graphics chip and there is a custom driver for it ported to the Zaurus. With the driver and special application installed, you can use this adaptor to connect your Zaurus to a VGA monitor or projector. However, you will need a USB host cable (mini A) and a powered hub. You cannot plug this adaptor straight into the Zaurus. It requires additional power from the USB hub. The USB VGA adaptor was designed for USB high speed (480Mbps) in mind and runs very slow on the Zaurus which does not support this speed.
While in Thailand, I went to the Pantip IT Mall in Bangkok and found a few extra goodies.
The most useful item I believe was the Sony MDR-138 Super Bass Headphones (I don't think Sony really made it but who cares). This set of headphones has a retractable spindle for the cable and a clip for attaching it convenniently while it is retracted. It costs me only 280 Baht which is less than AUD $10 and of much better quality than the usual retractable headphones that are now swamping the computer stores here locally. I also got a few other headphones, some with built-in microphones similar to mobile phone headsets but with two earpieces and 3.5mm connectors, and some of them are also retractable.
I also bought a slim USB combo CDRW/DVD drive for only 3500 Baht which is around AUD $110. They also had battery powered USB harddisk enclosures for 1600 Baht which can be used to self power 2.5" USB harddisks without the need for an AC adaptor or powered hub.
Another bargain I picked up was the Kingston 4 GB Compact Flash memory card which cost me only 9500 Baht, around AUD $300. In addition, I picked up a spare battery for my Z quite cheaply too.
Also found some retractable USB mini B cables for only 100 Baht each (around AUD $3), so I could not resist and bought a few extra spare ones. Unfortunately, they did not have retractable USB mini A cables.
The Zaurus SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 are LINUX-based PDAs. They come bundled with the following software:
The C3100 also has the following software pre-installed by default which the C3000 does not have (These applications are only really useful if you are in Japan or know Japanese):
The C3000 requires that you update/add the following software wheras the C3100 already comes with the updated versions of these:
You should patch the SL-C3000 with the newer 1.11 ROM (card_update_3000111.exe) if it came with the older 1.01 ROM. Also, there are some new drivers and patches that you might need at http://support.ezaurus.com/sl-c3000/update/
The SL-C3100 should come with a 1.02 ROM. New drivers and patches for the SL-C3100 are located at http://support.ezaurus.com/sl-c3100/update/
The SD card driver shipped with the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 only supports SD cards of sizes up to 1GB. The SL-C3200 comes with an updated SD driver which supports larger SD cards. This driver also works for the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100, however, Sharp only released it pre-installed on the SL-C3200. It has been extracted and re-packaged by the Zaurus user community.
Even with all this software, there is still a lot of extra functionality that can be obtained by installing additional packages. The following is a list of applications and utilities that I have installed, most of which can be found on the ZUG feed (see Feeds section). I have provided the full filename of the packages which will make locating them with your favourite search engine much simpler. Also, I have archived up all my installed packages here.
Applications and Utilities
for Qtopia GUI
for Qtopia Console
Services and Runtimes
Libraries and Drivers
Well, Tux isn't really a game but it is funny. You will need to install [qpe-libqtopia_1.6.0-13_arm.ipk] for tux.
A lot of applications written for prior Z versions still work for the C3000 and C3100, however, the screen is rotated to portrait by default for those applications which can be changed easily. Most require no changes to work, but some need some tweaking in order to work properly on the C3000 and C3100. Look in the customisation section for details for those.
Generally, feeds for Cacko and older versions of pdaXrom as well as pdaXqtrom are also good sources for finding applications written for the older Sharp models. They will run on Qtopia and X/Qt respectively.
The Sharp ROM on the C3000 is not really a ROM image. It really is a misnomer carried on from previous models. The SL-C3000 doesn't really have a flashable ROM image with the full OS and applications on it. Those are stored on the MicroDrive (harddisk) instead on the C3000. It really is a Zaurus Linux distro packaged by Sharp. There are several other distros other than the Sharp one available for the Zaurus in various stages of development. I have created a dedicated section on alternate distros/ROMs for the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100. The customisaton section that follows is primarily for the stock Sharp distro but may also be applicable to Cacko since Cacko is an improved version of Sharp distro with various customisations and enhancements already applied. I have also created sub pages dedicated to customising pdaXrom and customising OpenZaurus for the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100.
In addition, you can also run Debian packages if you install Pocket Workstation. OpenOffice for example works under Pocket Workstation. See the X/Qt section for more details.
There are also lots of emulators available for the Zaurus with which you can run applications and games for Nintendo, GameBoy, AppleII, Palm and even DOS. You can even run Java applications and games from your mobile phone on the Zaurus with a MIDP enabled J2ME implementation.
I also build a few ipk packages to make it easier to customise the Zaurus. Here is a quick summary of them and what they do. The customisation section has further details. The packages are zipped (not for compression but to prevent them from getting corrupted) so you will have to unzip them before you can install them.
I have also made a section dedicated to X/Qt and Debian PocketWorkstation that is more generic and not just for the SL-C3000 and SL-C3100 models. It contains the following:
X/Qt Jumbo and Applications packages
DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is provided AS IS. No assurance is given to the accuracy of the information or instructions provided. You may use this as a guide but do not blame me if anything bad happens to your system or your data. Use anything described on this site at your own risk. I shall not be made responsible for anything you do.