Fun with the Nokia 6010

Alright, I’ve just had some major cellular issues, and resolved ‘em all.

First off, if you have a Nokia 6010 (Cingular Wireless seems to be giving these things out with new plan activation lately) and it likes to drop calls or just not place them at all, it may have a defective antenna connection. Either return it to the store, or open it up and check the connection. The connection to the antenna is a spring loaded metal tab that presses against the circuit board. The tab has a small spoon-shaped extension on the end. If that’s touching the circuit board as well as the little knuckle before it, it’ll short out the antenna altogether and keep the phone from working! The solution is simply to bend the spoon shaped bit back away from the board (while keeping the whole thing in the right shape so the ‘knuckle’ still lands against the appropriate pad).

Second, if you have a Nokia 6010, you can unlock it in MERE SECONDS to work with any US wireless provider! No cable’s required, and the code is free from a website or code generator software! Go to this site for the code. The procedure works like this: First, remove your phone’s battery and SIM card, enter your IMEI number and current provider, set the model to Nokia 3510 on the web form and ignore the “GEN” field (trust me on this… I randomly found it on a forum and it WORKED!), put the battery (but not the SIM card) back in the phone, and enter the *first* code given on that list. Supposedly, any of the 7 will work, but I had the first work… so why not?

The code is entered like this: #pw+123451234512345+1#. The p, w, and + characters are entered by repeatedly pressing the * key.
A couple of caveats on the process: First, if you enter an incorrect code, the phone will display “Code error” and turn off. You only have 5 chances to enter a correct code, or the phone will disable this method of unlocking it. (It can still be unlocked using a data cable and appropriate software, though that’s so much less fun!)
Second, if you pause for more than some unknown number of seconds (3?) between digits while entering the code, the phone will clear the entry. (This will not use any of those 5 attempts; the whole thing has to be entered up to the # to do that. It’s merely ANNOYING, not harmful!)

You should be greeted by a cheerful little check-mark icon and “Phone Restriction Off”, followed by the phone very lazily powering down. Reinsert your SIM card and you’re ready to go.

NOTE: This WILL NOT allow overseas use of your phone! The Nokia 6010’s a lousy custom job which only works for GSM 850 and 1900 networks, which are a lousy USA-only implementation of GSM. If you are looking for a phone for worldwide use, or just one that’s actually manufactured in a facility where they implement even the most basic of quality control, LOOK ELSEWHERE! (’Quad-band’ is the keyword you’re looking for.)

Also, if you’ve got a 6010, congratulations, you have the worst phone keypad I’ve ever had the misfortune to lay fingers upon. Fortunately, there should be a bunch of cheap ‘n’ nasty replacements available, most of which will have a better feel. You can greatly improve the factory keypad’s feel by removing the black plastic layer of the keypad, and I found, quite by accident, a great way to do this with the keypad overlay off of the phone: Non-acetone nail polish remover, applied to the black plastic layer while flexing the keypad, will cause it to almost instantly crack into a bunch of easily removed pieces.

And now, a warning about a feature I found in the 6010’s firmware: The keypad lock (Menu + *) has a bypass! It will allow any of the following key combinations to be entered without unlocking the keypad:
0 1 1 Talk [I'm calling it Talk, really it's just an unlabelled green key]
0 8 Talk
9 1 1 Talk
(Note: I haven’t tested the last one fully, as I didn’t want to place an unneeded call to said emergency number - 011 and 08 just do nothing on US phone systems. It will, however, at least allow “911″ to be entered.)
If any other key is pressed in sequence, the phone will treat the entry as garbage keystrokes and clear itself. However, should something in a pocket or otherwise press against those keys in the appropriate order, it WILL place a junk emergency call.

A few years back, Nextel had a serious problem with junk 911 calls being placed accidentally from their Motorola iDEN phones, some of which had the unfortunate combination of no hardware or software keypad lock and a feature that placed a 911 call automatically if the 9 key was held for a few seconds… I haven’t heard of this happening on Nokia phones with this… curious… bypass, but you may want to be a little more careful about how you carry around the non-flip varieties.

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