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PalmInfoCenter.com Bottom Line:

The Price:
  • $36
The Pros:
  • Inexpensive - "name brands" exist, but this is the same thing
  • HotSync Lights
  • No need to worry about lengthy HotSyncs anymore - no more "single Sync battery drain"

The Cons:
  • Software emulates a COM port - not true USB
  • Charging LED did not work

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*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



USB HotSync & Charger Cable Review
By Robert Zach
6/2/2001

Like the Joker says to Batman, "Where does he get those wonderful toys!" That's the same kind of response I have to the neat Palm accessories that Brando continues to bring to the market.

One of Brando's latest offerings is a USB HotSync cable that doubles as a Palm V series charger! This cable has a gold plated USB connector at one end and a clip on Palm V serial port connector on the other. In between is a small bulb containing three LEDs and a button. The green button launches a HotSync operation and houses a green LED that indicates the Palm is recharging. The two red LEDs indicate "TX" (transmit) and "RX" receive allowing the operator to visually see a HotSync is in progress (or help debug one that isn't!).

Installation was very simple. The included mini CD-ROM houses drivers for Win95/98/ME/W2K and Mac. Simply attach the Palm to the serial connector, then connect the USB port and Windows/Mac will auto-magically detect the device and search for the appropriate drivers on the CD-ROM.

Unfortunately, after reading the directions on the back of the package I realized that I wasn't going to have true USB HotSyncing. As it turns out the included driver software emulates a COM Port. While this works just fine, it leaves HotSyncs at 115K max (serial port speed). I suppose though, that this is a moot point since I don't believe the Palm serial port can run any faster.

Also, I usually Sync via IR. Since I am now running W2K and the latest (v4.01) of the Palm Desktop and Palm HotSync, IR is natively supported. This means that for me I have set the USB driver to emulate COM5, when HotSync starts up in my system tray, and the USB cable it not attached, it does not find COM5 but this does not impact my Hot Syncing and I do not have to manually change any COM ports to IR HotSync. Simply plugging in the USB cable then allows me to Sync via USB. Essentially I am "hot swappable" between USB and IR. Although this works just fine for me, I do wish I didn't get the annoying "COM 5 unavailable" warning every time HotSync starts without the cable present. Minor nit-pick.

About the only real problem I had with the cable is that the green charging indicator LED did not seem to work but the Palm was being recharged. I would suspect that the charging indicator would glow green when charging then turn off when complete - or indicate nothing then glow green when fully charged. Neither of these things happened for me. I hope that the former is how the LED is supposed to work not the latter.

All in all, I found this cable to be a very convenient, all-in-one, way to carry a HotSync cable and charger in a highly portable fashion. Now when I perform those long HotSyncs with all my AvantGo infomation I use this cable. No more do I have to worry about lengthy HotSyncs via IR killing my Palm's battery. Very nice Brando!

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Light off instead of on

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2001 1:37:29 PM #
Thanks for the nice review. Can you enlighten me why you would prefer to let the light go off when it's fully charged?

RE: Light off instead of on
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2001 2:55:08 PM #
because that way you know when it's done. my old IIIc was like that and I loved it, but the constant light on my m505 bothers me. it should go off when its done

Maybe....
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/2/2001 7:22:52 PM #
...you should just goto the home screen and take a look at that incredibly conspicuous battery indicator... I do that.

I think the green means "I'm connected to an external power source." And I've got no complaints on my m505.

RE: Light off instead of on
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/3/2001 3:31:05 PM #
Greeen means to me that the charging process is a "go"
As long as the light is green I know charging is working properly...and once it's OFF I know I have a full charge.

-Rob

HotSync & Charger for Visor Prism (AS WELL)

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/3/2001 12:16:49 AM #
Hi,

Just konw that brnado hs got a similar cable for my PRISM.

Take a look of his web site

Danny

Sounds great!

savage2k @ 6/3/2001 1:16:27 AM #
is there a model for pam3c?
Sounds Great
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/3/2001 5:58:37 PM #
I would imagine that you could get the V one and force it into a IIIc unit or at least make an adaptor for it.

palm_pilot_guy

Disclaimer: I am not held responsible if anybody uses this idea and their Palm fails due to any incompability issues.

RE: Sounds great!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 9:44:34 PM #
... If you felt like frying either your IIIc, the cable, or your USB port. Diffrent voltages, a radically diffrent pinout.

I don't know why I'm even bothering to respond to somebody's 'Just force it' comment - Anybody dense enough to try something like that should consider the $100 paid to Palm to fix their handheld to be an inexpensive education in judgement.

MacOS?

RoofusPennymore @ 6/3/2001 5:59:00 PM #
Can you try this on a Mac. I have heard there are problems with the USB drivers on MacOS 9.1.

RE: MacOS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 11:36:15 AM #
Where did you hear that? Don't trust them for tech info any more.

RE: MacOS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 2:55:25 PM #
He heard it from me on another post (I believe). And, I will give you the EXACT quote from the e-mail Brando sent me so you can cool down:

------------------------
Dear eTard,

We found on Mac has some problem, we checking with the
producer for the software drivers.. @_@
-----------------------------

so there....straight from the company itself.

RE: MacOS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 4:56:47 PM #
There is no Problem with the Mac OS - thats for sure.

Boris

RE: MacOS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 5:04:12 PM #
Boris,

Which OS: 8, 9, X? That is not a very clear statement; especially when the company sent me an e-mail saying there are problems....with OS 9.

eTard

RE: MacOS?
RoofusPennymore @ 6/4/2001 5:35:49 PM #
eTard. Yup, it's the same person from the MacNN fourms. I was hoping the people who did the review could also test it on a Mac. So we can see for sure what kind of problems there are with the drivers.

RE: MacOS?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/20/2001 1:07:14 PM #
hey, I just got an e-mail (6.20.01) that they posted a driver that now works with OS 9.1. get it here: http://shop.brando.com.hk/p5usbsynccharger.php


What is it with the mini-CD's???

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 11:34:23 AM #
This is the second product in a week previewed here with support software on a mini-CD. Yeah, they may be cute, but if I were to suffer a temporary bout of rampant stupidity and try it in either of my two computers that have slot-loading CD drives, the ejection tool would be a crowbar!

I just love it when media standards are ignored. :-/

RE: What is it with the mini-CD's???
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 1:24:36 PM #
Ignored by who ? It's the drive manufactures that piss me off. Every slot load drive I've ever seen has the little recess for the 80mm cd's. The work fine in the Alpine deck in my car. But you're right my Pioneere DVD drive won't take them. I don't mind it not likeing the Busnes card shaped ones, but it aught to take the round ones.

I here that the Mac's slot loaders will take the 80mm disks.

RE: What is it with the mini-CD's???
RoofusPennymore @ 6/4/2001 7:29:59 PM #
I belive you are right, the Mac slot loader will take these mini cds. It's the funky shaped ones that are the problem.

RE: What is it with the mini-CD's???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/18/2001 7:58:25 PM #
Yes the iMac slot loader will take in a Busniess card style mini CD but will NOT give it back :)

The 80mm ones should work fine in ANY cd loading system, cradle, or Slot. Stackers might have a bit of trouble with them...



Of COURSE it emulates a serial port.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/4/2001 9:40:01 PM #
What did you expect it to do, go inside your PalmV and rewire the device to be USB? The Palm V uses a serial port to hotsync.

PLEASE, it would be nice to have technical reviews from people who understand the technology they're dealing with.

RE: Of COURSE it emulates a serial port.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/6/2001 11:18:50 AM #
Well, duh.

I wasn't aware this *was* a technical review
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/27/2001 9:20:04 AM #
Surely the original review was to help buying decisions? I wouldn't call it a technical review, nor was it trying to be one.

Stop being so critical!

RE: Light on or off

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/6/2001 5:21:59 PM #
The true reason yhe light is 'always' on with the M505 is to indicate that the unit has a solid connection with the cradle as well, a great help in troubleshooting hotsync problems. Palm has been smarter than some think...
RE: RE: Light on or off
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/8/2001 4:50:54 PM #
this cable is for the palm V as you can see in the picture

obvious

rater @ 6/21/2001 8:28:29 AM #
stupid! it comes with your palm v

Universal Connector HELP!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/10/2001 11:57:42 AM #
I was wondering if maybe you knew of a place where I could purchase the Palm M505 Universal Connector piece only...I am working on making my own connector/cable for another use.

Thanks SO much
MIke CWRSNY@aol.com

m125 cable pinout

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/4/2002 6:10:51 PM #
I was wondering if anyone knows what the cable pinout is, so I can connect a serial cable at m125. the default cable is USB and i have a serial modem that i want to connect to my palm. i asked around but nobody seems to know anything about a serial cable for m125. Please help me.

Thanx in advance
John Stellas
istellas@hotmail.com

RE: m125 cable pinout
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2002 10:20:42 PM #
Get the HotSync Cable-Serial for Palm Handhelds with the Palm Universal Connector. It is made by Palm, costs $19.95, and I picked one up at the local staples. The Palm SKU is P10804U.

Problems under Mac OS 9.2

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2002 6:48:21 PM #
I'm currently trying to hotsync my Palm IIIc with a PalmDesktop 4.01 for Mac OS running on an iBook with mac os 9.2.2. I only managed to sync the PDA once. Every time I try the hotsync operation starts and suddely closes for two times then the pda stops for lack of response from the iBook. I tried several configurations for port speed on each device (maximum, 115k, 56k, etc) but it doesn't seem to matter. Any Idea?
Thanks in ad Avance

Marco

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