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Please note: The Velo series has been discontinued, and in fact, Philips has pulled out of Windows CE all together (their mistake). I no longer own a Velo 1 or Velo 500, so I don't have the CD-ROM with the updated 2.0 software, I don't have a ROM chip to sell anyone (check ebay), and I can't provide support for the devices in any capacity. I'll leave this site up as a resource for everyone, but I am unable to answer support questions on specific Velo issues. Please check the Windows CE Newsgroup FAQ for more general Q&A's.

That darn hinge, screen, battery, infrared, etc.

This area is for Q&A relating to Velo hardware issues. Rather than trying to maintain a complicated list of inter-document bookmarks, please use the site search engine, or CONTROL+F to attempt to FIND a specific term on this page.



If you'd like to use your Velo 1 or Velo 500 with an Infrared connection to your PC, this should explain how:

Just thought some of you in the community would be interested in connecting your HPC's to your desktop via infrared.  I have always been intrigued by that little red port on the back of my HP620LX, but have been unable to use it for anything.

I bought a product from Belkin Components called Smart Beam, from CompUSA for $49.95 and it works great.  It comes with the Microsoft drivers for infrared transfer and puts a little icon on the icon tray that searches for a IR device and automatically sets up to work with it.  It instantly recognized my HP620LX, and reported it had found it.   To set up, set up mobile services by clicking on add port after I had set up the IR software, and it automatically added the virtual IR port on COM4 to the selection.   On the HPC, I ran Active Sync and selected infrared port and everything communicated and worked great.  Now I just walk up, click ActiveSync on the HPC and they work great together.

One thing to be aware of.  Belkin made an older product called RED EYE. This product is still being sold but DOES NOT WORK.  Get SMART BEAM only, must say version 1.4 on bottom of package, next to the UPC code.

Robert Newman


I’d like to know more about the technical stuff going on in the Velo 1 – how’s it built?
(written by Paul Nash)

The VELO is based on the 3.3V MIPS R3910 RISC processor, running at 36.864 Mhz. This is a rather mystical chip number, since MIPS doesn’t seem to recognize it. My thoughts are that it’s a customized version of the MIPS R4000, since that’s one of the only two chips Microsoft states as currently supported.

A nice size... Besides that, we know very little. Philips is apparently not very interested in sharing technical specifications with us, and Microsoft is likewise not forthcoming about low-level details. One route might be to try becoming a registered OEM developer and get the OAK (OEM Application Kit?) to get some information, but I’ll bet it’s closely guarded right now since the first wave of OEM consumer products has not shipped. If you find some technical information, please share it with us!

Where can I get more specifications on the VELO?

The following are links to very technical PDF files on the Philips site (the main company):




Have any more photos of the unit?

the docking station

The Velo docking station power & serial connection
the docking station

The Velo Docking Station

velo_in_hand3.jpg (7600 bytes)

Fits in the palm of your hand

Looks bigger than it really is....

This view is somewhat distorted - it's not as big as it looks here. Notice the various panels on the back - this is THE most upgradeable 1st gen HPC


What type of power options do I have for my VELO 1 or 500?

Since the standard VELO package comes with a NiMH battery pack, power management is quite simple. You can also get a travelling AC adapter.

Battery options consist of standard AA's or Lithium Ion AA's.

How are the power sources different?

Each power source has a different lasting power (these are rough estimates only, but are fairly accurate)

NiMH battery pack 8-10 hours
Normal AA batteries 8-12 hours
Lithium Ion AA batteries 30-40 hours

Update (8/15/98)

I'm in the midst of some testing with the Velo 500 and Powertime, and the battery life really does vary. The last test I ran, I used the Velo for as long as I could, until it began to shut off from lack of power. It was in standby mode for a total of 86 hours, and total runtime use was 4:18 hours. That seems very low doesn't it? But I used it heavily with backlighting on for more than 6 hours on a plane, far longer than a colour unit would last.

The NiMH stick usually stays on the GOOD power level for about 4 hours, then goes down to LOW and remains there for about 6 hours. Even at VERY LOW, I ran with the backlight on constantly for another 4 hours.

So it would appear that the NiMH has a similar power length to the AA's, but for the last 2-4 hours you'll have the VERY LOW POWER warning coming up every 5-8 minutes. This is quite irritating, so for all intents and purposes the NiMH has a battery life of about 10 hours. It's important to understand that the batter life meter is giving you a reading of what it's power is like currently, and also what it's battery life will be in a few minutes based on the current rate of drain. You can prove this by running down the battery rapidly (modem and backlight on for an hour), watch it drop to VERY LOW, turn it off for 30 minutes, and when you power up it will likely be at GOOD or LOW, but will stay there for normal operations of about 5-8 hours. The battery meter isn't all it seems...

AA's hold their power longer at the GOOD power level, but after that they decline quite quickly. In fact, with other HPCs it's quite risky to use a PCMCIA modem with AA's since you can have a battery drain occur very quickly, and the power drain roll over to the backup battery (thus nixing all your data).

If you want to measure your Velo's power more accurately, there is a unique and very well-written piece of software by Sixxac called POWERTIME. It measures sleep time and use time. On my own Velo, I ran the program for a few weeks (the trial), and on average, I had about 3 days of sleep time (72 hours), and about 6 hours of actual useage - this was without any modem use and little backlight use. This is "light" use for me.  A full battery charge usually lasts me about two days (no modem).

Which is the best one to use?

Since the NiMH comes with the normal VELO package, and it's quite handy to recharge, the NiMH is usually the best option. I personally use the NiMH daily, but carry a set of Lithium AA's in case the NiMH runs out. If you're traveling and don't want to carry the adapter, packing two sets of Lithium AA's is a good alternative.

Are there any other alternatives?

There is a new type of NiMH battery pack out by a comapany named "Kiwigreen" at http://www.kiwigreen.com. This product is supposed to last for weeks on a single charge, rather than days. Based on what I've read from users in the MS newsgroups, if you're a serious road warrior, this product will do wonders for you (8 days between a charge with modem use). It's also used by the US Marines for their HPCs, so by golley, it must be good!

I don't get nearly the battery life you do. What's wrong?

I've heard from some people that they are getting 1-4 hours from the NiMH battery. I've yet to find a solid reason for it, but here are some things to try:

1) Make sure you're using a Philips-approved charger and power supply (especially if you're an international user)
2) Try putting in AA's and check the power drain. If you get @ 10 hours of power, your NiMH stick is defective.

If anyone has any DEFINATIVE information as to why some units drain batteries faster than others, please let me know.

Why does my screen go black sometimes?

LCD screens have the fun trait that sometimes when exposed to heat, they become darker. The effect is not permanent, and all you have to do is wait until your Velo cools down. Don’t cook it in the oven to prove my point, but if you leave it in a hot car or something, your screen might be darker. Ask Alvin Chen - he did it once for a whole day, and the darn thing still worked!

More recently (2/24/98), my Velo (after it decided to do a hard reset on it's own) also decided to go "contrast screwy". Basically, even with the contrast turned up to it's lightest settings, it was too dark to see. The unit wasn't hot either. The next morning, it was fine. A miracle - a self-healing HPC! ;-)

Why does my stylus not work on the screen any more?

Good question. This was reported several times when the VELO 1 first came out, and the only "solution" I’m aware of was to return the VELO 1 and get another one. Several users had the touch screen calibrated very poorly (via the control panel), so this problem isn’t as widespread as first thought. I haven't heard of this in months, so I expect it might have been a problem with the first 5000 or so.

More recent note (2/28/98) - at least one of my five Velo's have had this problem, not including the current one (which only does it @ once per day). Velo techs have said to test the unit without Calligrapher installed, as they suspect a program conflict/error. I haven't confirmed or denied this.

The Final Scoop (5/17/98) - the dreaded "dead screen effect" that many users have (including myself) is due to the DRAM chip. No one can tell me why, but if you have to turn the Velo off and on or tap the screen for 15 seconds before it starts to respond, then you have this problem. No known fix, no known solution. You can try re-seating the DRAM chip, but I've done it six times so far, and nothing helps.

Why does it randomly reset sometimes when I turn it on?

This probably doesn't qualify as a FAQ question, but since it was an issue with my VELO, I'll quickly address it here. The first VELO I had was a bit wonky; 2-3 times per day, when it was turned on, it would do a reset (boot) rather than coming up from the suspend mode. This also made the voice recorder non-functional, since the VELO was actually OFF rather than suspended.

There was no real solution to this problem, and as far as I know I'm the only one that had this problem. VELO (#2) has done this "random reset" three times in three weeks, so it's not quite so bad. Philips, and their excellent tech support, was quite concerned that it was even happening at all with my second machine. They sent me a new NiMH battery pack and Lithium Ion backup battery, which fixed the problem.

When will I get the Executive Stylus for registering my Velo?

Good question. You actually have to MAIL in your Velo Registration to get this "Executive Stylus". I've called Philips on this, and as of 7/29/97, they we're having production problems, and they had no firm ETA on the ship date. I'll check again in a few weeks.

Update (2/28/98) - until a few weeks ago, I still didn't have my stylus. I assumed it was a case of Philips dropping the ball, and ignoring their Canadian customers (we still can't dial 1-888-ASK-VELO directly). A Velo tech read this in a post I made to the Velo Talkback page, and actually shipped me a stylus the next day! That was extremely impressive!

stylus1.jpg (2234 bytes)

stylus2.jpg (4991 bytes)
Turn left for the stylus, turn right for the pen

The stylus is midly impressive - it looks great, feels good, but the pen is so-so. Something you'd use in a pinch, not often. Still, it's free, which is more than any other HPC maker has done! Well done Philips!

If you haven't received your stylus, please contact Philips, not me. You can't buy them, which leads into the next question...

Help! I need a new stylus!

For some odd reason, Philips doesn't sell them. I've even searched through Mobile Planet, and they don't seem to have them either. Odd! If you're in the UK, you can get them here.

VELO Accessories

What sorts of accessories are available for my VELO?

The VELO ships with a VELO dock, AC adapter, and NiMH battery. However, there are other accessories you might be interested in, all found at Philips:

  • Carrying Cases – keeps your VELO warm and safe from the nasty scratches and other evils of real life. Feedback from users has been overwhealmingly negative - no one seems to like it. I was supposed to get one to review, but it never came. The case I use is an HPC 50 from E&B Cases, for about $50. It works quite well; I now use it as a wallet as well, holding cash, credit cards, a pen, and an extra set of Lithium AA's.
  • My secondary carrying case is the excellent POUCH found at http://microwest.com/thepouch/ - THE POUCH is very inexpensive ($18.95) and is great for travelling, hiking, etc. - it snaps to your belt, and I found it great when going on vacation. It's water/shock resistant, and well made - I highly reccomend it. Update (8/14/98) - they've also added a series of new colours: bright blue, bright red, bright turquoise, bright lime and purple. Same great quality, same great price, cool new colours.
  • VELO Dock – you can buy another one to attach to another computer. Though HPC Explorer only allows your HPC to "partner" with one machine, you should be able to connect with multiple machines.
  • VELO AC adapter – the VELO uses a really small connector that I haven’t seen anywhere else, so you have to buy another one from Philips if you want one. Because the dock uses the AC adapter for power (instead of a built-in source), you can’t leave the dock in one place and take the adapter elsewhere and still have power at both locations.
  • V Module – the VELO will not uses PC Cards unless you buy this attachment – it’s a rectangular device a bit smaller than the VELO itself and it connects to the bottom of the VELO. It's quite narrow, and when attached the whole thing still fits in my HPC 50 case.
  • Miniature cards – on the back of the VELO, there are two slots for these approximate 1.5" square cards that are a smaller alternative to the popular but outdated PC Card (formerly PCMCIA, which is too hard to say) standard. The Velo 500 works on a 3.3v card spec, so any card that fits that spec should work. Currently there are Flash and DRAM cards available, the differences of which are described here. In the future, ROM upgrades can also be added via this method. Below is the ROM upgrade slot (hard to make out, but the writing says "FLASH/ROM"):

the Velo FLASH/ROM upgrade slot

The FLASH/ROM upgrade slot. Flip the switch, and you're in!

dummy miniature card in hand

This is the dummy card, actual size

dummy miniature card and Velo slot

Another shot of the dummy card - make sure to replace this if you remove it!

Accessory Pricing (from Philips)

Instead of me trying to keep up, just jump there instead.