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Zaurus Otaku Kurabu


- Zaurus PDA Dictionary Extension: The World in your Pocket -

Simple How-To

I have compiled some simple How-to instructions on a separate page because the FAQs have grown rather technical.

Frequently Asked Questions

Zaurus Models & Accessory

Does the Japanese power supply work overseas?
The Japanese power supply for all models I am aware of needs 100V input. If you plug it into an even slightly higher voltage jack, you may reduce the life time of the batteries by over-charging them, I suppose.
That means you either need a suitable step-down voltage transformer - you should be able to get a small one for less than 10 Euro - or you need to replace the power supply. The international models (SL-5500 series) come with 100-240 automatically switching power supplies, you can use that one on any Japanese Zaurus. Furthermore, there are third party switching power supplies available in Japan. The same power supply suits all models: P10, E1, E21, SL-A300, B500, C7XX. I have also heard of people using a power supply of their old Compaq Ipaq. Anything with the proper plug and 5V DC should in principle work.

Which spare parts can I buy in Europe/USA?
The easiest is the power supply because the same one fits all models (see above).
Some spare parts available for the SL-5500 series will fit Japanese Zauri:
Batteries are exchangable (part no. EA-BL06) for the E21, B500, SL-5500 series and SL-C7XX series. I am not sure which batteries the A300 uses, the E1 definitely uses a different battery, i.e. you most likely cannot purchase it abroad. EA-BL08K, the large battery for the SL-C760, can't be fitted readily into C750 or C700, but you can make it fit by drilling a little whole into Zaurus or battery in the right place, I heard. I havn't heard of anyone trying this on a B500 or E21 Zaurus.
Battery covers: I don't know whether they fit, chances are they mostly do.
In case you lose the plastic screen protector, pockets, often by third pary vendors, for the SL-5500 should mostly fit the E1 and E21. For example here or here.
Internal parts are very difficult to replace, even if you have spare parts. I once tried to disassemble my P10 to replace the display, but never got it back together. Some parts are glued rather than screwed.

Memory card reader
To be able to upload text and music files on your Zaurus via the memory card, I recommend you get a suitable memory card reader (CF and/or SD card, depending on the Zaurus model) for your PC. Such readers usually sell wherever digital cameras are sold. They exist for USB or notebook PCMCIA ports and should cost roughly 20 Euro (20 US$).

Can the Zaurus play MP3 files?
The E1 and E21 have a headphone jack which connects to a built-in MP3 player. An accessory MP3 player kit (product number CE-AP1)plugs into the extension port of the MI-P1, P2, P10, J1, C1, EX1 and 310. I hear that people who should know call the Zaurus MP3 player "top quality".
For more information on MP3 and other multimedia features, I recommend you to join the ZOK mailing list. That gives you access to the archive where the these topics have been discussed. Also check this page.

Is the PC connection craddle necessary/useful?
Not really
The craddle is most useful for people who want to transfer small amounts of data frequently. For example, you can synchronize your email on the Zaurus with MS Outlook. As it connects to the serial port, I imagine it would be quite slow to transfer large amounts of data such as a 50MB dictionary.
I don't have the craddle, so I my knowledge is unfounded, and I don't know what software it comes with, but it would surely be Japanese and you might have problems with an English Windows.
Without a craddle, you can transfer data between PC and Zaurus via compact flash (readers for PCMCIA or USB port are readily available) or via the infrared port. The craddle-less method also works for other PC operating systems (Macintosh, Linux).
The craddle does good service as a neat charging stand, though.
There also seems to exist a USB connection cable, which is even more expensive and I don't know which models it works with or which software it comes with. Check with Sharp.

Where can I download additional software/mangas for the Zaurus?
The keyword to look for is "MOREソフト" (MORE Soft). The official site is Sharp SpaceTown. Apparently, you need to join the club and enter your credit card number before you can download anything, so I have never tried. They should in fact have some Mangas.
MORE software is also downloadable from free sites, for example here. With very few exceptions, Enlish software is NOT available.

Can one connect a keyboard to the Zaurus?
For the Igeti models, Sharp sells an official one (picture | price). If you want something better, you can make your own adapter for the foldable PALM keyboard ( E-Zaurus | I-geti). Finally, here are two more links for hardware freaks. Good luck!

Can I install LINUX on my Zaurus?
Here is a comment from Uli E. on the E21 (the same is true from P10 up):
Linux on Zaurus: Hm. I'm far from understanding all of it, but the story on that seems to be two-fold. On one side, you have the ZXLINUX application-that-looks-like-a-kernel, on the other you have Trolltech's QT embedded Linux on a different hardware: Your E21 runs on the same old Hitachi RISC processor that all the Zaurus had, and all you can do for the time being is play around with the funny little Linux wannabe software at, while the SL-5000/5500 that looks exactly LIKE the E21 has a StrongARM 206 Mhz chip in it and runs the real thing. And isn't sold in Japan to begin with.
This is a hot and fast moving topic, discussed from time to time on the ZOK mailing list. You'll even find Uli's article on the topic in the file section. There is now a company in India that has ported a decent embedded Linux on a Hitachi SH-3 platform, but I don't know of anyone who has actually maltreated an E-21 with that.

Linux-Zaurus: Do your dictionaries / Kanji handwriting recogniton work on it?
No but Yes: You can trick it into it.
Since 2002, Sharp has switched the Zaurus' operating system from a proprietary OS to LINUX. The so-called SL series went on sale first internationally, without Japanese language support, and in August 2002 with a much slimmer "Japanese" machine. Users can install the complementary language support, i.e. English menues on the Japanese Zaurus or Japanese fonts on the international Zaurus. Sharp still holds on to the best Japanese handwriting recognition software around. Since Aug. 2003, the whole ROM source code has been made available for download under the GPL license. So, expect programmers to pick the rainsins out of the code and design new applications. Three big cheers to SHARP for giving away their software for free!

Use the following information with caution. I havn't tried it myself and you may seriously corrupt your system if anything goes wrong.
SL-A300, B500, C7X0 (Japanese models):
Dave Lowndes was so nice to contribute a page how he installed English menues on his SL-A300.
Laurent Lieben reported this works just fine on the SL-B500 too.
On the C7X0, it's even easier as the fonts are already installed. In fact, you can downlaod a script to automatically convert your C700-C760 to English right here!. Furthermore, Arne was so nice to sum up step-by-step instructions.

Here are some more links on the subject:
New models keep coming out, our my pages keep getting older... Check Honda's page about the SL-C3000 which comes with a built-in 4GB HDD. (Personally, I wonder how much that shortens battery life...)

SL-5500, 5600 (International models):
Several people have programmed a kanji handwriting recognition for Linux before. So it's a matter of installing that along with a dictionary search tool and proper language support.
Jerome Gotangco's page explains how to install Japnaese language support.
Mathis Rosenhauer was so nice to write a page how he installed the SL-A300 Japanese handwriting recognition on his SL-5500. Thanks a lot!
The new SL-5600, which is sold in the US only as far as I know, is the hardware equivalent of the Japanese SL-B500. You should be able to flash the ROM with the Japanese one to get language support and handwriting recognition. If you try, please let me know how it worked!
For an excellent FAQ on the international Zaurus model (SL-5500) see Bill Kendrick's page.
Finally, the ZOK mailing list has tons of scattered information on the topic.

Dictionary Data

How about other languages?
The Zaurus can only display Shift-JIS fonts - or at least I don't know how to teach it more fonts, be it Korean hangul, Russian cyrillic, French accents or Chinese-Chinese characters.
Usually, there is a way, however, to convert characters in a given dictionary file to either Roman script or Japanese kanji. An example is CEDICT, which I converted from traditional Chinese as described on the technical page. Once you got a dictionary file in plain Japanese text format, it is just a matter of reformatting it correctly, most likely with the help of a PERL program. Depending on the consistency of the dictionary format, the last step may be easy and straight-forward or tricky and bothersome.

Why does PDIC generate improper data format?
Perhaps you have not declared your input format properly. Here are the essential PDIC instructions from Kur't README file (the whole file comes with the download):
> Use dokuwa.txt for german-japanese
> and und wadoku.txt for japanese-german.
> The files are already ordered, so the sorting in will be fast.
> Start pdic and choose in the menu point
> Tools - 辞書の変換
> the following options:
> 転送元形式:
> 一行テキスト形式
> 転送先形式:
> PDIC 形式
> Load the files with 参照, e.g. wadoku.txt for the 一行 ,
> and choose wadoku.dic for the pdic file to be created.
> In the bottom menu choose   
> 付け加える(区切り文字付き)
> --------------------
> Then move on to 詳細 and choose
> 一行テキスト形式の区切:
>  ///
> i.e. with a space at the left and the right of the three slashes.
> In the left menu
> 訳 / 用列部について
> choose only the first point
> 訳 / 用列を区切りして取り込む
> and at the bottom choose
> 区切り文字
>  /
> i.e. a space to the left and the right of the slash.
> In the right menu
> 出力に関して
> choose the first
> 格納しきれない場合のみ圧縮
> and the third point
> 用列を圧縮
> --------------------------------------------
> In the submenu
> 登録項目           
> choose point 1,4 and 5.
> OK this menu as well as 詳細。
> --------------------------------------------
> OK once more.  

It Still doesn't work!
Martin Boehme reported problem in ZPDVIEW with very short dictionary files. In particular, the microdict sample included with does not seem to work correctly on the Zaurus. Solution: Make a longer dictionary file, or just use EDICT at once, not microdict. Thanks a lot, Martin!
... I applied for membership (to the mailing list) and noticed the source
code for ZPDVIEW is available here. Let's have a look at the source
code and see if that helps solve the problem, I thought. Well, looking
through the search code, I noticed the PDIC file is split into blocks
of entries. And, though I haven't yet understood how the search code
works exactly, it seemed to me that it might have a problem if there's
only one block in the file.

How can I add new entries to my Zaurus dictionaries?
You can do this on your PC with PDIC:
  1. Write the entries you want to add to a file in a file format that can be read by PDIC, for example CSV.
  2. Rename the dictionary you want to add to, for example call it target.dic.
  3. Convert the CSV file to PDIC format and call the new file target.dic. PDIC will prompt you whether you want to overwrite the old file or merge the dictionaries. (See also FAQ: Why does PDIC generate improper data format?)
  4. Rename the merged file according to Zaurus conventions.
Alternatively, you could use PDIC to convert a dictionary a format of your choice, edit the dictionary file and convert it back to PDIC format. Editing a dictionary in PDIC format is not feasible.

Why are Japanese entries wrong?
There was a problem with a previous version of the conversion script which confused the Japanese (2-byte) coding. I fixed the bug, so donwload the new version of the script.

Why do I get odd translations?
Ambiguities arise from using a dictionary the "wrong" way round, i.e. in the English-Japanese or German-Japanese direction for Edict and WadokuJT, respectively.

Why are some very easy words missing in the WadokuJT?
In my own script, I through out a lot of examples in order to save memory. It turns out some of the regular expressions in the script are too restrictive and throw out essential entries. Kurt's compilation does not have this problem (and the resulting dictionary file is more than twice as large). Consider my own compilation a slim version which you would want to supplement with other dictionaries, such as EDICT.

Does the Zaurus display exactly the same data as my PC?
Not always.
When you look at PDIC files using the PDIC program on your PC, it has 5 fields: Attibute, Engl, Pronunciation, Label, Translation.
ZPDVIEW will display only two of those fiels, Engl and Translation, and ignore the other ones. Therefore, we ususally lump the pronunciation into the translation field.
In the case of Eijiro, the original data as you can buy it on CD uses only these two fields. Therefore, Eijiro's data should be displayed by ZPDVIEW on the Zaurus exactly as by PDIC on the PC. (Note: Our own compilation of Eijiro slightly differs from the one on the original CD: We added pronunciation to some words, while the original generally is very spartanic with pronunciation. Moreover, our compilation is a bit outdated.)

How do I get the very latest version of each dictionary?
Do it yourself!
The internet dictionaries grow constantly, and all of our compilations are likely to be outdated - we won't bother compiling data very often. You must get the data from the source to have the latest version. In the case of Eijiro, just order their CD to get it precompiled and ready to use. For everything else, you must compile it yourself as explained.

Zaurus Operation

This applies to the P-10. Other models surely differ, but don't ask me how.
Locations assume you hold the Zaurus horizontally with the SHARP mark to the right and the finger push buttons to the left. Have a Japanese friend next to you if you can't read. Your computer needs to understand Shift-JIS to display the Japanese characters. If it doesn't, try this trick.
You might want to open the Screen shots in a new browser window for reference in case you don't have the machine handy.

How do I access my new dictionary?
touch the ホーム インデックス button (green oval left of screen, top). Pull down the menue on the top left and touch MOREインデックス. Click the MORE管理 icon, be sure カード rather than 本体 is active.
Touch "PDIC140.ZAC", then 展開 (top right button below 閉じる - close) to unpack. "ZPDVIEW v1.40" should show up. Toch it and then 実行 (same place as 展開).

How do I operate ZPDVIEW?
Important buttons in top bar, left to right: Keyboard buttons:

How do I customize the Zaurus menue?
Touch ホーム インデックス, then touch 操作目メニュー just below and click 設定 at the bottom of the menue that pops up. Remove all checkmarks, then checkmark and click on オリジナルインデックス. With the "up" button on the right, move "Original Index" up to the top position. Pull up the menue form the bar at the bottom and set it to オリジナルインデックス (or 電源を切る前の画面, if you prefer). Now touch the 設定 button at the top right, left of 中止, to save the settings.
Your "Original Index" window now shows up empty. To fill it, touch 編集, then pull down the index menue button center-left on the screen and set it to MOREインデックス. Mark the items you want to add click 追加. When you are done, set the index menue to 本体機能インデックス and repeat the procedure. I have added 辞典, 管理, 時計, メモリー管理, ユーザー設定, アドレス帳, フォトメモリー, スケジュール, though many of these function I havn't yet used. ユーザー設定 is the place where you would want to turn of the touch sound.

Can both the self-made dictionary and Sharp's dictionary be used together, possibly in one window?
No, you can only use one at a time. There is a copy-paste function, though: Mark a word, touch 操作メニュー left of the screen then "copy" (複写) in the pop-up window. Touch ホーム インデックス to switch to the other dictionary and paste the copied word by 操作メニュー - 貼込. Return to the previous dictionary by closing the current one with the small square in the upper right corner of the screen.

How do I use the TTV bookreader with the dictionary?
Download and installation as for ZPDVIEW. In the book reader, press 操作メニュー - ほかの設定 - なぞると - 外部辞典. Now mark any word in the text. You can use the book reader to display plain text files in ASCII (English) and Shift-JIS (Japanese) encoding which are saved in the _zaurus directory of the CF card. The instructions on how to use the book reader should be there already. Read it to find out how to adjust font setting, access other directories, control text motion, etc.

Is there a flashcard program to study kanjis/vocabulary on the Zaurus?
Sort of.
We have added to ZPDVIEW some functions to save entries to a text file. Access those functions through the "menue" or "control menue" button (メニュー/操作メニュー). You can load the text files thus generated into the book reader to review your vocabulary and edit the files in a regular text editor. Just download and install the latest version. (The "menue" button function is available on the MI-P10 and E-series but not on J1, P2 or older models.)

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Updated Feb. 1st, 2003 by Armin Rump