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LG 5450 Camera/Cell Phone

***Be sure to click here to read a new update***

The cell phone I have is a Qualcomm/LG 5450 unit with a built-in digital camera. The LG 5450 is a wonderful cell phone, easily the best one I've had to date. The battery life with the stock battery is great. The phone's performance is better than the Nokia 5400 series it replaced. The 5450 is very small and sleek. Just the phone's performance and sleek size itself makes it a great value. Throw in the digital camera capability, and it's a hard combination to beat.

In this article I'll include photos and instructions on hooking up the LG 5450 to a Windows XP-based computer to transfer the photos directly to the computer's hard drive via specialized USB cable. My service carrier is Alltel Mobile. When I purchased the phone from Alltel Mobile, they seemed to carefully omit the fact that the phone could be easily hooked directly to a computer. Obviously they want to sell their pricey photo messaging service to everyone that buys one of these phones. I had to do my own research on the Internet to find out exactly how to transfer the photos directly without going through their extra-cost photo messaging service.

The LG 5450 sports a fold-over clamshell design that easily fits in the palm of the hand.

Below is the sturdy plastic belt clip that came with the phone as part of the Alltel Mobile package.

Below is the optional USB cable that was NOT part of the Alltel Mobile package that I purchased separately off the Internet.

This is a specialized USB cable. To work properly it MUST include the integrated flat "box" in the middle of the cable.

This is the top back section of the phone when it's closed. The tiny camera lens is on the far right. The small silver spot is actually a built-in tiny domed mirror that one can use to take a self-portrait with the phone -- a really nice touch that's actually quite useful.

Below is the bottom of the folded phone, where the computer cable plugs in to the phone. This does double-duty as a power port for the 12-volt DC automotive adapter that came with the Alltel Mobile package.

Below is the back of the folded phone, which is actually made up of the very thin, light nickel-metal-hydride battery.

In the picture below, just above my thumb is where the port is for a headset.

Below is the DC automotive adapter that was included as part of the Alltel Mobile package.

Transferring Photos Directly

Transferring photos directly to a Windows XP computer from an LG 5450 is actually quite easy, provided you know what steps to follow. Here are the steps.

  • Step 1: Download a program called BitPim here Windows 98/ME/2000/XP from SourceForge. Save it to a place on your computer hard drive where you can easily find the downloaded file once it's completely downloaded to your hard drive, such as the Windows Desktop.
  • Step 2: Find the BitPim installation program and double-click it to install it. DO NOT plug the phone into the computer until you have installed the BitPim software first.
  • Step 3: Before connecting your phone to the computer via the special USB cable, go into your phone's "Settings" menu. Scroll down to the "1xData" menu and press the "OK" button. Scroll down to the "Select Port" item and press "OK" again. Scroll down to the RS-232C (COM Port) and select it.
  • Step 4: Plug in the phone to your computer. The first time you plug it in, the drivers should load. One thing to remember with USB devices is that you should always try to use the same USB port each time you plug a given device in. If you accidentally plug it in to an adjacent USB port, the drivers will try to load all over again. This is a weird feature of USB that I've never understood or even heard  anyone mention.
  • Step 5: Start the BitPim program. After it loads click on "View" then put a checkmark next to the "View filesystem menu option as below

  • Step 6: click on the "Filesystem" tab which can be seen above in the next-to-the-last position next to the "Log" tab. Then click on the little "+-/" that appears to the left directly under the "Name" sub-tab. WARNING: NEVER, EVER modify or delete ANY of the files in the camera's file directory system, or you risk damaging your phone to the point where it will no longer work!!!!!
  • Step 7: Once the file system of the phone is retrieved and displayed, find the "Cam" folder and click on it. The JPEG files stored in your phone's memory will display.
  • Step 8: To save the JPEG photos to your computer hard drive, simply right-click with your mouse on each file name one by one and save them to an appropriate place on your computer's hard drive. Sometimes an error message will appear with a big log file of the error -- to get around this problem, which seems to be a bug in the program, simply click the "OK" button at the bottom of the error dialog box and keep right-clicking and then "Save" until the file saves. Sometimes this error box will pop up multiple times on each JPEG file, and other times it will almost never pop up.
  • Step 9: After all the JPEG files are completely saved to your computer's hard drive, disconnect your phone from the computer and then go into the phone's camera menu and clear the photos from memory so you are ready to take more photos.

I really enjoy having a digital camera along with me at all times. One great side benefit of this phone is the fact that it does NOT look like a camera at all. It looks like it's a small, sleek cell phone. Cell phones are so ubiquitous in today's society it's possible to take photos all day long without ever looking like some geeky tourist.

The camera quality is severely limited by the tiny, fixed focus lens. The best photo results are obtained within around three feet of the phone. Photos can be enhanced greatly in a photo editing program. Numerous photos on this website have been taken with my camera phone. Photos at a distance will appear somewhat blurry when they are downloaded. The right photo editing software will sharpen these photos considerably. As long as you make yourself aware of the camera lens limitations, you can take decent photos that will tell the story. "A picture is worth a thousand words" is absolutely true!


***UPDATE***

greg@twoshea.net sent me the following clarification, so please take note:

Data Cable info for the LG VX6000 VX5450 LX5450

Provided by greg@twoshea.net (twosheaenterprises on eBay) 

These models of LG phones do not require a cable with a box in the middle.  This is a big misconception that gets passes on through forums.  In fact, you will read on the bitpim website that the VX4400 should use a cable with a box in the middle also.  This is sometimes true.  There is a bug that affects that model from time to time with the straight through USB Cable but never with the cable with the box.

What exactly is the box? 

Sometimes itís just that, a big empty box.  Many sellers on eBay currently sell a cable with a rectangular box on them that is totally empty.  If the ad doesnít specifically state the cable has the prolific chip, please email the seller and ask.  If you donít get an answer, look elsewhere.

What should be in the box?

The box should contain a small pcb with a prolific chip on it.  This cable actually is a USB to Serial converter.

How Can I tell the difference by looking at the ads?

Thatís the bad thing, you canít unless you ask.  TwoShea Enterprises has personally sold cables with an empty box and didnít know it until a buyer had trouble getting it to work and physically opened the box to see what was inside.  The box was empty.  In fact, the seller had sold so many of them he could hardly believe it himself.  How could so many people get them and be happy with them if they were empty?  The fact is, that particular phone does not require a prolific chip.

There are a couple other ways to tell aside from opening the box if your cable truly has a chip inside.

1. Which driver did you install?  If it wasnít called ďprolificĒ, you donít have the prolific chip in your cable.  No other driver will work with this cable. 

 2. Plug your cable into the USB port of your computer and do not connect the phone.  If you have a chip inside, you should hear a beep from Windows that it has detected a device. 

Windows detects the chip, not the phone.  It will install a device for the cable and chip.  If when you plug it in, Windows does nothing and does not detect a device, the box on your cable is empty.

If you already have a cable and have been using it and you perform this testÖ please make sure your sound is on.  J

The VX6000 cable does fit many other phones and not just the few listed here.  Many of the phones do not have USB capabilities and require the use of a USB to Serial conversion cable.  Please check the specifications of your phone prior to purchasing a cable for it.

Additional information:

If you have trouble using Bitpim, there is another option. Do a google search for QPST.  QPST was developed by Qualcomm and works on almost all Qualcomm phones.  Itís pretty easy to use and depending on who you talk to, better than Bitpim.


Email Feedback From Dan

Thanks for the info on BitPim, it works great for my LG LX5400. The imaging software that came with the cable says it is for the LX5450 but it only works with the VX6000.
 
I followed your directions for the 4400 and had to add one extra step, you must be viewing a picture on the phone in order to open the cam file and transfer pictures to the computer.
 
FYI, I bought my cable and software thru E-bay for $10 and that included shipping. Alltel wanted $69.95 + tax for 2 CDs and a wire with plugs on the ends. They give away the phones and get it back on accessories, features and batteries. 
 
IF you have a VX6000 The patch to fix the install Error:

Setup did not find LG PC Sync Installed on your computer. PC Sync must be installed on your computer... is

http://us.lge.com/download/product/file/1000000082/LG_Installer_Fix.reg

The links on the LGE site don't work.

 
Dan
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