Using the Handspring Visor with

A Sound Card for the Visor

There is a new Springboard sound module called the Beat Plus that offers enhanced sound for the Visor. NotePad 1.1 now supports the Beat Plus and our other titles are being upgraded now. The Beat Plus is made by Hagiwara Sys-Com and you can see more details on our sound module page.

Connecting the Visor to MIDI hardware

All of our software will run on all of the Handspring Visor models, and you can use our conduits to export songs to your desktop computer. We have a MIDI interface available (part of our Mobile Software Pack) to convert a serial HotSync cable to MIDI, but when you buy a Visor, a serial cradle is NOT included (it has a USB cradle which is not appropriate for MIDI connections).

To use our Palm-to-MIDI interface with a Visor you will need to purchase a separate serial HotSync cable. BUT, there are a number of serial HotSync cables that WILL NOT WORK (we explain why below). There is a cable that we have tested and does work with a vast majority of MIDI hardware: the PLPH-F3W from Purple Data Cables. If you are a Visor owner this is the cable we recommend you use along with our interface.

The PLPH-F3W has been tested with MIDI hardware from every major manufacturer including:
Alesis QS7.1
Casio WK-1630
Korg N1
Korg Triton Pro
Nord Electro 61
Roland XP-10
Roland FP-3
Roland XV-88
Roland RD-150
Yamaha MU-15

Only the Roland RD-700 showed any errors (it was dropping some notes) so we cannot guarentee the cable will perform flawlessly with everything, BUT as it worked just fine with so many other Roland units there may have been a problem with that particular RD-700... we are trying to find another one to test. All devices were tested with a Visor Solo running all three of our applications. Direct serial connections (without our Palm-to-MIDI interface) were tested successfully with all hardware that allowed for it (having a "host" serial port in addition to MIDI-in and MIDI-out ports).

Why won't some cables work with the interface?
Handspring designed the connector on the Visor to use as little power as possible. They made sure it was still capable of serial communication, but the signal is not quite "up to spec". Instead the serial cradle or cable must convert the signal into the proper serial format. Most have been designed to look for a certain amount of electrical current coming from your desktop computer to convert the Visor signal to serial. If this current is not present the cradle tries to save your Visor's batteries by NOT converting the signal to serial. This electrical current is not present on a MIDI connection, so these serial cradles and cables will not work when connected to most MIDI hardware. The PLPH-F3W cable described above uses a low power circuit to use the current available from the Visor connector to make the necessary serial conversion. The serial cables and cradles from Handspring do not work for MIDI connections.

There are also special interfaces designed to connect the Visor to a MIDI device. We recommend the MIDI cradle from Widget Australia. This is a working USB HotSync Cradle with a MIDI out port added. It uses a DC power adapter to get the needed electric current to convert the Visor output to serial as described above. It also includes an indicator light to show when MIDI data is being sent. You can also try building your own Visor-MIDI interface but we cannot offer any support for such a project.

We are still hoping to find more MIDI solutions for the Visor and lower cost solutions. The new Beat Plus Springboard module is a big step to full MIDI support on the Visor!

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