Bright-iQ 1.0

Intelligent Backlight Control for the
Garmin iQue 3600

New: Version 1.1 Beta

Bright-iQ is a freeware utility to manage backlight brightness for the Garmin iQue 3600.

Download it here.  (But I'd feel better if you read the limitations first.)

Problem: The iQue really needs two - no, three - backlight settings:

Solution: Bright-iQ.

Bright-iQ lets you set three independent brightness levels for these three situations.  It switches among them as needed.  

If you're driving during dawn or dusk, Bright-iQ will dim or brighten the backlight to suit the changing light conditions.  (No, it can't sense the light.  It uses the iQue's clock and GPS to compute the time of sunrise and sunset.)

Setting brightness levels:

You can change brightness levels using either the iQue's control or the ones in Bright-iQ.

If you make a change using the iQue's control, Bright-iQ will remember it as the new setting for whatever state you're in - handheld, day, or night.

If you make a change during the dusk period, while Bright-iQ is dimming the display, then that will become the new night setting (and the dimming period will be terminated).  This will not change Bright-iQ's dimming time settings, so the next time you drive through dusk it will dim to your new setting at the old time.

Similarly, changing the brightness during dawn will affect the stored day setting.

Bright-iQ only memorizes settings when "Automatic brightness control" is on (the default).  Unchecking "Automatic brightness control" is the same as turning Bright-iQ off.

When you are looking at Bright-iQ's sliders, tapping the Prev Settings button will restore the sliders to the way they were the last time you exited from Bright-iQ.   (Another tap puts them back.)  So if you don't like the iQue settings that Bright-iQ memorized, or if they were temporary, you can put it back the way it was.

Other Settings:

The Preferences screen lets you specify the dimming period after sunset (and the un-dimming period before sunrise).

You can also choose to dim the screen at night whenever it is in the cradle, or only when the GPS is on and it's in the cradle.  Use the latter choice if you want it bright at night in the home cradle but dim in the car cradle.

Normally, Bright-iQ re-enable on a soft restart.  If you don't trust the program, and would prefer to restart it manually, the Preferences screen lets you select this mode.


  1. It takes a couple of seconds to respond when put in or taken out of the cradle.  Due to a limitation (bug) in Garmin's version of Palm OS, the notification when this occurs is not available.  If this is restored in a future OS patch I will fix Bright-iQ accordingly.
  2. When either the GPS or audio recorder is running, and auto-off turns the display off, Bright-iQ turns it back on.  This also needs the OS patch mentioned above in order to be fixed.
  3. It'd be nice if it could also change the GPS settings (WAAS, battery saver) depending on whether it's in the cradle, but Garmin does not allow user apps to do that.  I have asked them to add that feature to their Software Developer's Kit.  You could ask them too, if you like.

Some people have asked how much load Bright-iQ puts on the CPU.  When the unit is on, Bright-iQ eats up about 1% of the available processing power.  When it goes to sleep, Bright-iQ does too.

Where to get it:

In Case of Difficulty:

Known and Reported Bugs:

Version 1.1 Beta 1:

For the adventurous only, I am, against my better judgment, posting Bright-iQ 1.1 Beta .

This is really an Alpha - I haven't tested it much, and the internal logic will probably be changed considerably once I have time to think about it.  But now that Revision 4 (R4) of the iQue 3600 operating system is available, Bright-iQ can finally try to be better behaved.  So I did want to put something into people's hands quickly, even if it's a preliminary version.

The changes in this Beta version are:

There are no guarantees on this version, but if you're willing to take a flyer, go ahead - download it.

If you run into any problems, please email me.  Also, I have no way of testing it under R3 any more, so if you are using it on R3 please let me know whether it works.


Bright-iQ is not public domain. It is copyrighted, licensed freeware. 

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. 

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. 

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.



Walt Bilofsky

Walt's other Palm app - Tide Tool
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2004, 2005 Walt Bilofsky 
Page last modified October 18, 2005