Times2 Tech / PCE2000 256MB iPAQ Upgrade Review

Product Requirements:
Compaq iPAQ 31/36/37/3800 series Pocket PCs

I feel like singing "nanny nanny noo noo" while I wiggle my fingers and put my
thumbs in my ears! Why, you ask? Because I am the proud owner of the very
256MB Compaq 3835 iPAQ Pocket PC! Yes, you read that correctly, 256
wonderful megabytes that are mine, all mine!!!! Ok, I’ll try to contain
myself long enough to tell you more about this upgrade that you too can have…
for a price!

You may have read our earlier reviews of the
64MB upgrade and
128MB upgrades as performed
by Times2 Tech. Judie was the lucky one
to get the 128MB upgrade for her iPAQ, so after I purchased my 3835 unit, I
fired off an email to Mack at Times2 Tech to see if there was any way to upgrade
my Pocket PC to 256MB. Although they had already been doing 256MB upgrades on
the 36/3700 series iPAQs, they had yet to perform one on the new 3800 series. Of
course, I was more than happy to sacrifice mine to be the guinea pig! :o) Judie
was super jealous when I told her about it… Even though she doesn’t use an
iPAQ anymore, she wished she could have the upgrade on her Casio E200.

Before I go any further, here’s a little background about the team that makes
these Pocket PC memory upgrades possible. The ‘team’ is actually comprised of
two separated companies: Times2 Tech and
Portable Computer Enhancements (PCE2000
).  They joined forces and
talents to do memory (and other) upgrades for Pocket PCs. So, no matter which
company you go with for memory upgrades, you’ll see that they share the same
pricing structure and great service.

Typically, you ship your iPAQ to them, and about 4 days later, you’ll receive
your upgraded iPAQ back to your door! Super fast service! I also found that both
Mack from Times2 Tech and Leonard from PCE2000 were always very quick to respond
to my emails.

Although it usually only takes 4 days to get your unit back to you, it took
mine a few weeks. That’s because it was the very first 3800 that they had worked
with. This new model iPAQ has a different motherboard which required some
detective work to find the right trace that enabled the extra 128MB.

After this ‘problem’ was solved, they were able to use a new upgrade process
that they developed that enables the use of lower priced memory chips instead of
really expensive hi-capacity memory chips. They named this process the
Stacked Memory Upgrade
because that’s exactly what they do, stack chips!


As you can see from the images above, the leads of the chips are bent in a
special way so that they can be stacked and soldered together. Below you can see
an actual picture of two stacked and soldered chips.


By itself, the Compaq iPAQ is only capable of recognizing a maximum of 64MBs
of memory. To get around this restriction, a special software driver must be
installed to allow the rest of the memory to become available. The driver is
very small (37k). Once it is installed (Times2 Tech or PCE2000 do this for you
before sending back your unit), the Asset Manager and Memory Manager will still
only show 64MB, but the additional 192MB will show in File Explorer as "T2T
Disk". Think of it and use it just like you would SD or CF cards that show up as
"Storage Card" or "Storage Card2" in the file manager when you copy files, or
when you install software using ActiveSync.


If you ever have to do a hard reset on your PDA, you will need to install the
driver again before you can access the extra memory. Also, any data on the
T2TDISK will not be erased unless a hard-reset is performed.

Other than displaying the total memory and total memory free on the T2TDISK,
the driver is also a utility that allows you to format, rename the disk from
T2TDISK to something else, and perform memory tests.


I’ve had my upgraded iPAQ back for a little over a week now and I have to say
that I absolutely love all this extra memory. I find that I’m not using the CF
sleeve much at all now. I’ve been installing all my applications on the T2TDISK
and leaving the regular 64MB of RAM alone. If I want to listen to MP3’s or read
ebooks, I save them to my 128MB SD card. This practice has been working well for
me so far and I really like carrying the naked iPAQ!

Of course, you will probably be wondering if this upgrade will have any
effect on battery life… The guys at Times2 Tech and PCE2000 told me that based
on their 3600 series testing, power on usage would be reduced by about 5% or
less. However, suspend time will be shortened considerably. On the 3600/256,
suspend time on a full battery is 3 days max instead of 4 to 5 days on
unmodified units.

I’m in the process of doing some of my own tests with my upgraded 3835. This
review will be updated as more data is collected (I’m having Judie do some tests
with her unmodified 3835 as a comparison).

My first test was to totally charge the iPAQ (naked, without any sleeves) and
then to record the battery percentage as displayed in the Power Settings
application every 2 hrs. The only steps I performed were to turn the unit on,
navigate to the Power app, record the battery percentage and turn the unit off.
Here are my results:

Time Battery Percentage
12pm 100%
2pm 98%
4pm 96%
6pm 94%
8pm 92%
10pm 90%

Judie did the same test on her unmodified 3835, and here are the results:

Time Battery Percentage
8am 100%
10am 98%
12pm 98%
2pm 96%
4pm 96%
6pm 95%
8pm 94%

For my 2nd test, I decided to see how much life I could get out of one charge
with regular usage. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far on this charge (I’ll
update again tomorrow). The test was started with a full charge and with a CF
sleeve 256MB CF card installed the whole time.

Charge Time On Time Task
100% 9:15am (Day1) Power on after charging
88% 9:15 – 10:10am 55min MP3 listening with screen turned off
88% 10:10 – 11:00am Powered off
84% 11:00 – 11:15am 15min MP3 listening with screen turned off
83% 11:15 – 12:45pm Powered off
67% 12:45 – 2:00pm 75min MP3 listening with screen turned off
67% 2:00 – 2:30pm Powered off
61% 2:30 – 3:00pm 30min MP3 listening with screen turned off
59% 3:00 – 3:10pm 10min MP3 listening with screen turned off
54% 3:10 – 10:20pm Powered off
(not dead)
10:20pm (Day1) –
8:30am (Day2)
Powered off
Total "on time" for one charge was 3hrs, 5min

Three hours sure doesn’t sound like much, does it? But unfortunately, It’s
only about 25mins less than what I remember getting with my 3650.

Remember at the beginning of this review when I said that you too could have
this upgrade, for a price? Well, the price for this mod is quite hefty… at
$499, this isn’t going to be something that everyone will want or be able to
afford. Heck, it’s $100 less than the price of the 3835 itself! That said, this is another one of those mods that diehard iPAQ people drool over. 
Just like a car enthusiast is always looking for something that will make his
engine faster, the extreme PDA enthusiast is always looking for things that make
his or her PDA stand out and push the limits. So, if you have the cash and need
a memory fix, this is really the ultimate! On the other hand, if you don’t have
that much cash, you can always by the largest SD memory card that you can

(If you don’t have an iPAQ and are interested in memory upgrades for your
Pocket PC, be sure and check their respective sites to see the upgrades
available for your model)

Price: $499 (includes 2nd day return shipping)

Professional, quick and excellent workmanship
More memory for storing programs, applications, e-books, MP3s, etc.


Very expensive
Voids your Compaq warranty
Shortens idle battery time


Product Information

Manufacturer:Pocket PC Techs
  • Professional, quick and excellent workmanship
  • More memory for storing programs, applications, e-books, MP3s, etc.
  • Very expensive
  • Voids your Compaq warranty
  • Shortens idle battery time

23 thoughts on “Times2 Tech / PCE2000 256MB iPAQ Upgrade Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I’m considering this item as I already have their smaller iPod bag and LOVE it! Being in a rural area as I am, your reviews are very helpful to me.
    Thank you!

  3. If you’ve ever been on the 10 Freeway in So. Calif. where the Dinosaurs are in Cabazon, I live 5 miles from there. There’s not an electronics store for miles!

  4. As always, an excellent review!

    I have one suggestion to make when reviewing bags, which I have made a couple of times in the past. It would be very helpful to us readers if you could feature a complete picture of a human being carrying/wearing/toting the bag being reviewed. It’s really hard to get any sense of a bag’s size/style/look/etc. without one!

    Thanks for listening and keep up the great work!

  5. 🙂 Nice review, Judie. Being a bit of a geardo myself, I am always interested in new gear bags. I’m in Texas too (Fort Worth), and I would call myself a “manly man”- you can’t really get a lot more manly than Texas. I think you could get away with this one because of its “camera bag” looks. But it better be availble in camo! Seriously, how far are we from straight men carrying “purses” (sans the Seinfeldian “European carry-all”, “man-purse” stigma…) in the US? My wife says I just need to find a nice black leather messenger bag and just start carrying it, but I don’t know…

    A good gear bag is hard to find! Always a lot of trade-offs. I carry a (totally stuffed) New Sun Liberty Pouch for my small gear, but it usually goes inside a soft leather Cole Haan attache for work or a backpack on the weekend. I have been considering replacing it though. For more neat mini bags check out Triple Aught Design (not affiliated, just a VERY satisfied customer).


    I am looking at their Maxpedition bags and other stuff from New Sun. I would love to see a “mini gear bag shootout” with a whole bunch of this stuff, and a whole bunch of pics- with gear and normal sized people modeling. I have even considered writing it up myself because this stuff is so hard to shop for online. You can never tell how big it REALLY is, what it can REALLY hold, and so on…:wow:

  6. I like the organization of this bag, but for my own personal use…(call me shallow)…if it doesn’t have little “LV”s all over it, I probably won’t carry it every day.

    There are a couple of Louis Vuitton bags that I have that are pretty good for gear, but they haven’t got anywhere near the organizational capabilities of this bag.

    I sure wish Louis Vuitton would just go ahead and make a gear bag for me and while they are at it – custom cases for all my PDAs. 😉

    Judie :0)

  7. Judie- you’re so shallow!:wow:

    Nah, just kidding. I know what you mean. While LV may not be my style, I don’t want to be chained into Docker’s Mobile Pants and an eVest to carry all my good stuff. You gotta have style, and I personally don’t really want to come off looking like a photojournalist, club kid, suburban commando, european fancy boy, hobo, diaper bag daddy or whatever…

    There is no perfect gear bag/carrying system- even if you got one that held everthing it would be too casual for some situations, too formal for others. Too hot, too big, too small, too “tactical” looking… Being a gadgeteer is really more about collecting bags than anything else…

  8. How about a pic of someone using The Pod?

    Can you tell me if a Fuji Finepix S5000 will fit into the smaller bag?

    If one were to carry this almost daily and use it along with a purse, which would you suggest?


  9. Excellent! Great review.

    My sister bought me The Pod for my birthday, but it was too small. I sent it back to eBags and to get an exchange certificate. I am thinking seriously about the Podzilla — and here you are with a review of it. The picture of you and the Podzilla helps enormously.

    As far as shoulder straps go, I have yet to purchase a bag where the strap was sufficiently padded. I always swap them with my favorite strap. I can’t remember where I bought it from, but it was called the Ultimate Travel Strap, or something like that.

    I’m off to buy the Podzilla. Thanks again for the comprehensive review.

  10. I love my Podzilla! I carry it everywhere with me…

    It holds my Sony Clie UX50, Gameboy Advance, and Fuji Finepix S5000 and of course accessories.

    I don’t care for the strap, its not long enough to put over my head. Plus mine came all snagged and its very sharp on one edge.

    I’m hoping I can find one in a store that will be long enough. I don’t really need a padded strap. As I don’t want it looking like a camera bag.

  11. Hi, all! New here on the Gadgeteer boards, but I’m happy to have found a place with others who share my obsess… err, *interests*… ;).

    As part of my never-ending quest for the ultimate bag, I recently bought a bright yellow Podzilla, in part based on the review here. In general I like it–it carries more of my gear than anything else I’ve yet had (at least, in this small a package). Right now it’s stuffed with my Garmin iQue 3600 PDA/GPS, an Oregon Scientific NOAA weather radio (will probably someday be replaced with a shortwave/HAM scanner of some kind), a Kokak DC4800 digital camer, aSpeedtech Weatherwatch Pro, a Kestrel 4000 hand-held weather station, a GB-SP and some game cards, two USB drives, a Victorinox Cybertool knife, my clip-on sunglasses in case, and a whole slew of rechargers and USB cables. Sometimes I put my cell phone in one of the out-side net pockets, but I usually carry the phone in my pants pocket.

    With all this gear in there the case feels *very* stuffed–the velcro closure for the main lid won’t work at all (I have to use the main “clip” closure). I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t have any space left over for a book; I suspect I would if I didn’t have all the cables in the main compartment.

    When I first got it I was a bit sad that none of the pockets seemed specifically designed for most of my gear–at first blush they all seemed more oriented towards camera gear than anything else. But after a week or two of using it, it’s grown on me–the pockets I’ve found for the different items seem to be working out much better than I thought. I don’t know that I really *need* to be carrying all this gear–I should probably search out a smaller case for the things I use on a daily basis–but it sure is neat to have all this stuff in one bag, and one that’s very ruggedly constructed!

    Still and all, I’m still searching for my “ultimate bag”–right now I have my Podzilla and my big laptop backpack (in which I often don’t have my laptop, which is a 17″ monster). I guess I’m looking for a bag that could carry my gear (in specific pockets, not in one big jumble), one larger book (think computer books), one or two paper-back sized books (guide books or novels), and maybe a 81/2″x11″ notebook. Such a case would let me cut down to one daily bag.

  12. Oops, one more point to add: with my Podzilla stuffed as it is, when I carry it by its handle the main bag sags a bit below the cover/lid at the sides, leaving a gap where dust/rain/snow could blow in. It’s not a big gap, and it won’t necessary happen with you, but it may be an issue for some with sensitive equipment. Also (and this may have been mentioned in the review), the front “pod pocket” isn’t accessable when the lid is closed (the compression strap goes in front of the pocket, and the velcro closure is on front of it as well), so you wouldn’t want to use it for any quick-access items.

  13. OK, I could have spared myself years of anguish, torment and spending money on gadget bags that just were not quite right for the task at hand. I have bought and rejected about a dozen bags in the last 8 months, alone! As a storm chaser tour participant, I have some very definite needs when it comes to a gadget bag. It has to fit EVERYTHING and it has to make the items I need to get to fast immediately accessible. I should have just bought the Podzilla outright and saved myself a heap of aggravation.

    This little beauty is PERFECT, and I mean PERFECT. In the main compartment, I configured the divider to perfectly fit my Sony TRV-22 camcorder to take up two thirds of the space available, and there is room underneath the divider to store four DV tapes. I store another DV tape in the hide-and-go-home pocket in the lid, where I can get to it at a moment’s notice. Alongside the camcorder, stuffed side by side are my Garmin GPS60cs and my Kestrel 4000 weather device. I have put a small piece of padding over top of these to make a holding place for my Sony digital voice recorder. As the GPSr and the weather gauge will be accessed infrequently, they can stay tucked underneath.

    On the left side pocket is my digital camera, two extra CF cards, one extra Memory Stick Pro Duo card for the voice recorder and the spare battery for the digital camera.

    In the front pocket are 6 AA batteries, 8 AAA batteries, the spare camcorder battery, a pen and a Pro-83 scanner from Radio Shack with its antenna removed and sitting next to it in the mesh pocket.

    In the right pocket sits my Treo 650, bluetooth headset, retractable stereo earbuds and spare battery. I was going to bring a GB SP on this trip, but I think the Treo has everything I need to keep me entertained during down time, like the occasional 4-hour drive late at night from the chase location to the hotel we are going to stay at.

    I am using the amazing shoulder strap from my Roadwired Photo/Video Convertible bag, and I found a cheap 2″ wide nylon gun belt with clasps at the local sporting goods store that turns the Podzilla into a very comfy beltpack. It will sit at my right side as I photograph amazing storms, ready to divulge the gadget I need at a moment’s notice.

    In another bag in with my clothing will go the Jornada 720 and wifi card that I will use once I reach a place with a steady horizontal surface for typing. I decided to leave the laptop at home this year. If I had an OQO, I might bring it along, but anything bigger would just get in the way.


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