PowerDigi: Palm OS Utility


A while back, I posted an article about my beloved Palm T/X and how it was doing after a couple years of use. (See the article here.) One major finding was the loss of calibration that was driving me crazy- I had to literally tap the very bottom edge of the screen to access the lower row of buttons.

A few years ago, there were several calibration tools, but time and newer operating systems has whittled it down to… well… pretty much this one- PowerDigi by PalmPowerups. The $16.95 program is small (a tad over 200K), and runs well on any Palm OS 5.0 and higher device. Which is OK since I never had anywhere near this much problem with calibration loss on older Palms anyway!)

Running PowerDigi is really easy. Punch the big ‘Calibrate Now’ button…

PowerDigi Opening Screen

[PowerDigi- the ‘Big Button’]

… Then,choose how accurate you want the calibration (aka- how many taps can you do before you go bonkers?), and tap away.

PowerDigi Options

[The PowerDigi Tap Torture Selection, er, I mean, Accuracy Selection Screen]

Sadly, the actual calibration process did not screen-capture for me, but imagine an orderly game of ‘Whack a Mole’ if the moles would line up nicely across the screen. A spinning target marches across the screen, tap by tap by tap… I find that the Medium option is great, and I am frankly a bit afraid of the Accurate one!

Another interesting feature is the ‘Test Mode’, which shows the target and lets you try to tap it away at different places on the screen. Try it before and after a calibration to see the difference, or play it as a really boring, pointless game (but one that would be more fun than some of the games I have been trialing lately.)

I found that I was so used to tapping in the wrong place to accommodate my mis-calibrated unit that it feels funny to touch actual buttons on the screen! I also found that the Graffiti area became more accurate for me! (Small scratches in the area still make some characters ‘iffy’, but it is about 60-70% more accurate.)

The company offers good demos (14 days full function) to see if the thing will work for your dying device. It really helped me, and I think it will help you! This is one of those programs that just plain works!

I am still looking at other ways to upgrade and update my old T/X- a new digitizer screen, batteries, etc.- but for under $20, the biggest single annoyance I had has gone bye-bye.


Product Information

  • Palm OS 5.0 and higher
  • Small and stable
  • Simple interface
  • Works as described
  • None
{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kevin C. Dorff March 3, 2008, 7:06 pm

    We had to get this for my wife’s Palm T|X and I, for one, think it is a TRAVESTY that Palm’s T|X is such a universally faulty device that we NEED to buy software like PowerDigi. Palm should be using good enough screens and providing good enough calibration such that software like PowerDigi shouldn’t have to exist. If I was a lawyer I would certainly start a class action suit against palm for selling defect hardware and software such as this. At the very least when these problems started cropping up, Palm should have provided working calibration software, what they provide is completely ineffective for the T|X. I am just happy my Troe650 doesn’t have these same kind of problems.

  • B.A. March 3, 2008, 8:51 pm

    I am so glad you have the same fascination with Palm as I do. I did not know this program existed until I checked in today. I’ve been suffering from severe CD (Calibration Disorder) for a couple of years now, ever since I dropped my Palm T5 on the ground. After reading this review, I immediately installed the program and went to town on the accurate (70 taps) setting. It works GREAT now, thanks for the heads up. I look forward for more great Palm tune-ups in the future.

  • Gordon Whittaker March 4, 2008, 1:05 pm

    I have used Palm devices for over 10 years, starting with the original Pilot. I received my T/X last June for Father’s Day and immediately loved it! Within two months, however, I started to have similar touch screen problems, and the on-line “live” tech support at Palm was not helpful whatsoever.

    I finally called and after a couple layers of tech support, they agreed to send me a “new” one, which essentially is a used one that has been re-built/repaired to factory standards. Although they attempted to make me pay for their “Advance” replacement service, in which they would send me the replacement and then I would send mine back, I talked them into doing it free.

    My replacement, which I received in October, is now doing the same thing. After going through the same layered process, Palm is sending my second replacement.

    This is definitely a frustrating process, and I am glad that there is third party software out there that appears to fix this.

    Once I get my new replacement, I will also purchase Power Digi and let you know how things work out.

    I also have to vent about Palm. They are obviously either stuborn or stupid when it comes to correcting this serious problem. In addition to this, you have to go through layers of “tech support” people, with phony names like Bob or Brenda, who can barely speak clear English and appear to use scripted answers to questions.

    Unfortunately, Palm does not appear to have anything reasonable in the future other then PDA/Phone Combos.

    Is an iPod Touch in my future?

    [Edited at March 04, 2008 13:10:00 PM.]

  • Chrlie March 4, 2008, 2:20 pm

    I used Power-Digi to improve calibration performance on the T|X for about 6 months. About a year ago, I went for a glass digitzer replacement and I can tell you it’s worth it! While I’ve passed on to a Treo, my wife’s glass-digitizer T|X works quite well and no longer needs the Power-Digi correction.

    A test for all digitizers – Go to the drawing program and draw a series of horizontal lines across the screen. You’ll find the digitizer bias skews away from the graffitti input area and becomes a pressure-sensitive bias – press harder and there’s less bias.

    The plastic digitizer screen of the T|X is a fundamentally short-life mechanical design.


  • Caleb Runyon March 4, 2008, 3:31 pm

    My Palm E2 used to have the same kind of screen calibration problems. But I found that by opening it up and tightening the digitizer’s connection to the LCD and the LCD’s connection to the motherboard the problem was corrected. You just have to re-tighten it every few months or so…

  • Jeremie Lariviere March 4, 2008, 7:09 pm

    I also am a registered user of PowerDigi, and it has practically saved me from throwing my TX out of a window.
    PowerDigi is a program I’d recommend for any 320×480 device (that it supports).

  • Philip Chang March 5, 2008, 3:29 pm

    What I don’t like about this program is its need to reset after calibration (unless, of course, you are calibrating after a reset). Also, after I got my T|X back from digitizer replacement, the digitizer worked fine. When I accidentally launched PowerDigi, it completely messed up calibration and I didn’t want to do something I didn’t need to (calibrate endlessly). So don’t use PowerDigi after replacement. If you do, delete the PowerDigi DB file on your handheld. That will fix everything.

  • Mark Adkins March 6, 2008, 12:19 am

    Palm fascinates me. Their up-and-down responsiveness is fascinating- as long as it is happening to someone else.

    I have basically given up on their service department. The last two times I used them, the problems just popped back up within weeks and I basically wasted the time and money.

    I am planning to try the glass digitizer and a new battery- but for now, I am happy that we have SOME solution!

    A related fix- a freebie thankfully- is PowerBtn to take care of my non-functioning on/off switch.

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