When Will Palm Fix the m505's USB Problem?

It's possible Palm is close to coming up with a fix for the long-standing USB problems that have affected many m505's. Palm's Customer Service people are giving out contradictory information about what the company is doing about this issue. It is not clear at this point whether this will be a replacement for the USB cradle or for the entire m505. Or if the company is close to doing anything about it besides replacing individual units.

Update: A possible fix for this problem is available here.

One reader wrote in that he was told by a Customer Service supervisor at Palm that the company will announce in a matter of days that they are recalling all m505's with their HotSync cradles and replacing them with a brand new re-designed m505 that addresses the defective internal USB components of the m500 series that has caused so many of the units to fail.

According to this supervisor, registered owners will be contacted by e-mail sometime within the next two weeks to arrange an advanced exchange.

Another reader was told that Palm would be mailing out replacement cradles to all registered m505 owners.

Many m505's have experienced USB problems since the handheld was first introduced. There is really only one symptom: the Palm suddenly fails to HotSync via USB. It can still HotSync with a serial cradle or infrared. This can happen even to a unit that has worked for months.

This is rapidly becoming a fairly widespread problem. There is an active thread about it on the PIC Forums and an m505 owned by a Palm Infocenter staff member recently stopped HotSyncing after working fine since May.

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I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 8:16:56 AM #
I think Palm should immediately release a new device and offer an extensive rebate to current owners of the defective Palms -- and I mean something like get a new high-res. Palm with a screen you can actually see for $100. The cost to Palm of return and repair would be prohibitive if the Palm units themselves are defective.

FYI, I bought my m505 about June 1 this year, and I use it extensively. I have two USB cradles -- one in the office and one at home. It hasn't died yet, but in light of Sony's release of the T415, I wish it would.

Just my 2 cents. JBH

RE: Rebates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 8:47:05 AM #
i have had mine since day one (literally, day one) and I have lost the screen due to a digitizer problem (the whole thing shifted to the left) but never had this problem. Palm, it was nice knowing you.

Interesting Twist
dmunz @ 11/6/2001 8:53:28 AM #
My m505 stopped syncing at work but continued to sync ok at home with the Inno Pocket cable. Since I only really care about charging at work I didn;t give it much thought.

I installed Windows XP at home and it comtinued to work ok for two days then started failing at random points in the sync process. The desktop program would just stop and the Palm would timeout.

First I thought it was an XP issue with Ultrasoft Money since that seemed to be the place in the sync that it failed. I down-loaded the latest version from Ultrasoft and that sync'd fine but the desktop still died at "Updating Handheld Databases".

I'm still not convinced that it isn't a problem with XP at home. I guess I'll bring te Inno Pocket cable to work and see if I can get a connection.


RE: Hotsync timeout
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 9:39:32 AM #
There is an unrelated hotsync problem with the USB driver on the desktop which causes timeouts, normally during a long sync process, like Avantgo or a database with a large amount of records.

Go here:

and see if it fixes your problem.

RE: Rebates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:15:51 AM #
> I think Palm should immediately release a new device and offer an extensive rebate to
> current owners of the defective Palms -- and I mean something like get a new high-res.
> Palm with a screen you can actually see for $100.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Planet Crackpipe. The screen on my m505 is fine. I use it for hours every day and don't have any complaints. Yours hasn't changed a bit from the day you bought it. If you didn't like it, why did you buy it? If it's so bad, why didn't you return it? If you bought and kept something you are unhappy with, it is time you accepted that it's your fault, not Palm's. They shouldn't have to pay for something you did.

The USB problem is a completely different issue. I'm glad to hear Palm is finally going to fix it. Or at least I hope they are.

RE: Rebates
Hotoru @ 11/6/2001 10:24:32 AM #
I love my m505. I hope I dont have to send it back in :(

RE: Defective Palm M500 Series
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/7/2002 2:29:27 PM #
To the person who posted the "Planet Crackpipe" remark, why don't you keep your ignorant comments to yourself? I think the original comment was right on the money. For all the time and inconvenience that Palm has put its customer through, they ought to do something for them. I have already been to Palm Support twice because my new M500 stopped hotsynching about 3 days after my wife bought it for me. First, they sent me a new hotsync cradle that failed to solve the problem. Now, after two weeks without the use of my Palm, they are going to send me a new unit. Judging from some of the comments I've been reading, it will probably be refurbished. To add insult to injury, Palm says I have to pay the cost to ship the defective unit back to them. This is a pretty bad way to treat customers who have spent three or four hundred dollars on your product. It's easy for someone who hasn't been plagued with a defective product to make smug, self-righteous remarks against those of us who think Palm owes its customers better treatment. I'd tell you to go kiss my ass, but I suspect you're already puckering up for all the other people you angered with your stupid remarks.

RE: Rebates
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2002 8:38:26 AM #
The "planet crack" pipe is right on. Hell just the other day I bought a car for around 13 grand and you know after spending all that money I thought that they would take care of anything that happened to it. Boy was I ever wrong.

I didn't realize this happened to others...

Smartmoose @ 11/6/2001 10:16:44 AM #
Ed, Thanks for posting this and bringing it forward. I had this very same issue occur with my m505 about a month ago. Since I had just been on a business trip with air travel involved, I thought some of the internals might have been damaged by the x-ray machines (you are now forced to send laptops, handhelds, cell phones, etc through the x-ray scanners - no exceptions). Trouble was, the USB sync was the only issue I was having. In the end, I essentially had to go through a whole mess of hoops (soft & hard resets, buying a new cradle, even *gulp* reformatting my hard drive) before Palm put me in line for a replacement unit. That was after I'd used email, chat, and phone support. Offtopic: Palm really needs to work on their tech support / customer service (and stop chewing out people for using third-party apps they include with the install CD!)

For those wondering about the USB Hotsync timeout this is a very different issue. Quite simply, when you press the HotSync button on your Palm, the handheld starts in to the Hotsync operation, but no information is sent to the computer (and therefore the computer does not start synchronization). Adding to the initial confusion is that the handheld will still work with peripherals that use the Universal Connector (like the Palm Portable Keyboard). They don't use the USB chip for data transmission, and therefore still work (which is also why serial sync works, but USB does not). It's a horribly frustrating issue that I wish on no one (especially since it ultimately means dealing with Palm's shoddy tech support).

I hope that the unit that was sent back to me (a refurbished version) has the fix put in place. If it hasn't, then I sure hope that the recall effort actually happens.

Thanks again, Ed.

ditto: RE: I didn't realize this happened to others...
drew @ 11/6/2001 2:09:38 PM #
I just turned one back in to BestBuy under their enhanced warranty thingie, saying "hey, yeah I know it turns on, but it won't hotsync through usb anymore...don't know why"
Isn't this bizarre??
Now, I have a replacement that's got a flickering screen. ARGH!!! Gotta replace it too. Sigh.

RE: I didn't realize this happened to others...
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 5:45:36 AM #
I work at LAX, my m505 and my cell phone have to go thru the x-ray everyday, no problem yet...

I love my Palm alot, hope this won't happen to me.

RE: I didn't realize this happened to others...
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 10:10:57 PM #
Why should we get Refurbished Palm M50x due to Palms problems with build quality. So I buy a brand new product, about a month or two into ownership ($450) and now I get a "repaired" replacement. Bull. I bought it new, and I expect it to be new. If they don't fix this I will go with a new model from another company like Sony.

RE: I didn't realize this happened to others...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/7/2002 2:38:40 PM #
I completely agree. Mine refused to hotsync a few days after I bought it (and too late to return it to the store). After spending over $350 I'll be damned if I'm going to accept a "refurbished" unit to replace my brand new factory defective unit. Since I work for the Attorney General's Office in my state, I will file a complaint if Palm tries to push off a "rebuilder" on me.

RE: I didn't realize this happened to others...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/14/2002 8:55:12 AM #
I'm pretty sure that you can have your choice in things. You can get a brand new one back, That will most likely have the same problem or you can get one back that has been fixed and will not have that problem. You make the the choice. But I am sure that you will still think that your he only one's with a problem. Deal with it princess.

I'll bet my ass on this

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:21:17 AM #
This is IMPOSSIBLE, it is not gonna happen in Palm Inc. No more words needed to support my opinion.

One reader wrote in that he was told by a Customer Service supervisor at Palm that the company will announce in a matter of days that they are recalling all m505's with their HotSync cradles and replacing them with a brand new re-designed m505 that addresses the defective internal USB components of the m500 series that has caused so many of the units to fail.
(end quote)

RE: I'll bet my ass on this
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:43:58 AM #
i second that,
i bet my left *#$%4cle on this, Palm just cannot/will not do this. I've been using palms for too long to know when a bs story when i see one.

RE: I'll bet my ass on this
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 11:18:52 AM #
did you guys read the forum topic on this????


RE: I'll bet my ass on this
Ed @ 11/7/2001 9:45:30 AM #
Hal from Palmstation has commented on this story, saying, "I've been well within the loop on matters like this with Palm, and if such a recall was in the works, I'm pretty sure I would have heard about it by now."


News Editor

similiar issue

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:40:12 AM #
I had a similiar issue with my 505 a bit ago. I would push sync and it would start and then immediately end. After trying to repeat the issue and going thru a number of steps on a number of test machines, I would that is was NOT an issue with my 505 or the cradle but an issue with the conduits. Specifically, it was an issue with the MIK install, Docs2Go and/or other third party conduits. Are any of you that are having this trouble using only the desktop and conduit software supplied with the 505 and no third party conduits and still having the issue?

Wasn't the conduits
Smartmoose @ 11/6/2001 11:06:12 AM #
Yea, I did a full hard reset of my m505 (so there was no third party apps on board), and even went so far as to fomat my hard drive and reinstall my computer from scratch (which obviously included a "clean" version of Palm Desktop and the Install utility - no more third-party conduits). It still didn't work. This USB chip issue is quite real... and unfortunately, a larger problem than I originally thought.

RE: No - I have the problem and only use the Palm Software
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 11:06:22 AM #
I have a Palm with the USB problem and I have only used the conduits and software supplied by Palm.

USB problem OS related?

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:52:41 AM #
I'm wondering if the problem is spread equally across the many Windows versions and MacOS? Microsoft has never fully embraced & implemented USB support in their products so is it possible that could be a contributing factor?
What are the numbers regarding Win98, WinME, Win2000, and MacOS 8.6 & 9.x? I'm leaving WinXP & MacOS 10.x out of this.

Smartmoose @ 11/6/2001 11:03:07 AM #
I don't think this is an OS related issue. In the end, the tech support guy at Palm said that my "USB chip was fried," and didn't go into any further explanation. Using Windows (ME, in this case) didn't seem to matter, and never was a part of our discussions.

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 12:28:16 PM #
Been having this problem as well lately in both Win 2000 and now XP... My Mac continues to sync with no issue - same cradle in both OS 9 and X. Think it is a win/usb issue...

RE: USB problem OS related?
Davy @ 11/6/2001 12:29:37 PM #
Hmm... Perhaps it's not a Macintosh Problem. I've heard of plenty of people complain of USB failure with Windows, but never with a Macinotosh. Apple really did embed USB into their system almost 3 years ago, so they've had a while to write drivers and the like. Who knows?

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 1:18:51 PM #
Sorry to report that my 505 has also quit hotsyncing via USB. I run a Mac G4, OS 9.2.1. I still hotsync via serial just fine at home.

I did the full desktop reinstall, did a hard-reset on my Palm, everything I could think of. Nada.

I hadn't realized this was a wide-spread problem. I guess misery loves company :-(

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 2:47:28 PM #
The problem is NOT OS related.

I have been heavily using Palm devices since early 1997. I have had a Palm Professional, Palm IIIx, Visor Deluxe(with USB), Palm IIIc, and now a Palm m505. Until the m505, never a problem syncing.

Palm tech support also told me that they knew of this issue, and are working on it. Sounds pretty 'well-known' to me.

1. It hotsynced well for 24 days on two seperate computers w/different operating systems with my m505. (Win 2k, Win ME) 2. It stopped hotsyncing on both OS's (I have a dual boot PC) at the same time. 3. Other USB devices work well in the same USB ports. 4. The device will also not hotsync on two other computers that I have installed the USB cradle and software onto since the problem arose. 5. Hard resets, uninstalling software and conduits, reinstalling software, and installing on clean computers all do not work. 6. A new USB cradle from Staples did not help, but when I got the serial cradle, it works well.

I have had two m505 do this,and each time only a new unit fixed the problem. The new m505 did solve my hotsync problem, for a while anyway. Mine also was solved by getting a serial cradle. What happens is, I think, that somehow the USB enumerator chip inside the 505, which allows the USB port on your computer to recognize the unit, gets fried out. (Static maybe?)That chip is not used for serial hotsync, so serial operations work normally.

Call Palm tech support, and ask for a level two or three technician. Most level ones were not familiar with the problem. Keep track of your call numbers, since you may have to call several times. Eventually, Palm shipped me new 505s (twice!) at no cost, they even paid the shipping. Everything is working well now, since i took the USB cradle towork and use a serial cradle on my home PC.

Mike Grayson

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 4:24:28 PM #
I had that exact problem with my m505, and I use MacOS X (10.1) and 9.2.1 -- I ended up testing my m505 with my home computer, my work computer, a friends work Mac, a work PC... the palm wouldn't sync on any of those. I tried other folks m505s (our entire office has them) and had no trouble syncing on my work computer.

So, Palm sent me a re-furbished one which wouldn't hold a charge (100% at 10pm, leave it sitting on the beside table and it's got just enough power to say "Out of Power!" first thing in the morning). So that one's gone back. A co-worker with little interest in her m505 let's me use hers... box was unopened, I pop it open, charge it for 5 hours... the digitizer is screwey, and the screen jiggles when I'm trying to read in iSilo. Can't always click icons, Grafitti stops and starts working sporadically. Sheesh! Once I get a working m505 I'll have to call this one in too! Man.

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 4:37:56 PM #

I bet you got my old one. My first m505 got its battery fried in a USB syncing incident where I didn't have the cable powered (just syncing with batery power) and it stoped holding a charge.

They probably gave you my old one without fixing it.

Those bastards!

RE: USB problem OS related...Mac too!
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 8:11:56 PM #
Well...I didn't realise everyone else was having this problem... :(

I've had my unit since June, which I bought in NYC and took back to London with me. I have hotsync problems 80-90% of the time.

I've used two different Mac G4's (both with OS 9.21) and both machines fail to let me sync up my m505 properly - Even after having OS9 re-installs...

I can usually just about install items on there, but syncing all the apps and DBs can take many attempts and I usually just give up...and use Backup Buddy VFS instead to get me by...

I'm gonna have to give Palm a call about this...It would be a luxury to hotsync properly...

Thanks for the heads up folks!!



RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 10:46:28 PM #

It is painful to know that so many m505 users have suffered the same problem. I too had the No USB Sync" problem occur with mine this past week.

I spent three extremely frustrating days of troubleshooting after which I contacted Palm Tech Support and they agreed I had a hardware problem.

A replacement should be on the way, hopefully this one works.

Mike - Your experience and mine are almost identical :-(


1. Have any m500 users experienced this problem?

2. Have any m125 users experienced the problem?

It seems interesteing to me that this is primarily a m505 issue. There does not seem to be as many complaints from m500 users, although the've been around longer. Like wise, the m125 uses the same universal connector but there have not been any reports of this problem with this model.

Does anyone have knowledge if there are hardware differences in the USB communication channels between these models?

Hope everyone sees happier days.


RE: USB problem OS related? --possible fix for Macs
jack @ 11/7/2001 1:45:16 PM #
I too, have seen this issue, and thought it was the USB cradle as well; and everytime I see a hang while HotSyncing, I've reinstalled the Palm Software, then the updater.

Here's what I figured out: The installer on the Mac only puts in what's missing. I removed the conduits, and reinstalled, with updates, and voila! syncing works fine again.

My guess is the conduits get corrupted; for me it was either the backup or install conduit (can't recall which). Try this and see if this works. I used to have repeated crashes on my system, because of outdated extensions and such, and consequently, I hypothesize that the conduits are sensitive to these crashes, and become corrupt.

The conduits are in your Palm folder. Give it a try.


Mac fic
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 4:08:59 PM #
The fix for timeouts on a Mac is to give the Hotsync software an absurd amount of memory on "Get info". This solved all issues for me.

Note that this is a different problem from the USB death problem.

RE: USB problem OS related?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/10/2001 11:29:17 AM #
Just a note on the question if this happens with M500's? Yes.

I'm currently awaiting my second replacement M500 from Palm. Both the original and the 1st replacement
they sent stopped working via USB after about 2 weeks. I've also had another M500 in my company stop
HotSyncing via USB the same way yet we have another M500 and M505 that have been running without
problems for better than 6 months.

I've had no problem getting RMA #'s but I sure hope Palm gets their act together on this.

BTW: Assembled in USA or Hungary .... doesn't matter. Both failed the same.

RE: USB problem OS related?
PalmSam @ 1/7/2002 3:11:56 PM #
Ditto. My M500 suddenly stopped hotsynching shortly after I bought it. I deleted and reinstalled the software and checked all me connections. Still no hotsync. Went to Palm Chat Support and the tech thought the cradle was the problem because on mine you had to jiggle the cable to get the battery charger to work. I received a new cradle yesterday and hooked it up...still no hotsync! I went back on Palm's Chat Support and got an SR for a new unit, which should be here in a few days. I was informed that the shipping cost to send the defective unit back is my responsibility despite the fact that it stopped working through no fault of my own. My conclusions are as follows: (1) The M500 has the same USB hotsync problem as the M505, but perhaps to a lesser degree (2) The problem is not OS related, but in fact a hardware issue (3) Palm's not doing going to win any PR contests or service awards for its response to the problem (4) If I can figure out how to get my purchase price refunded, as well as the shipping fee that Palm is unfairly gouging me for, I'll buy a Visor or a Clie (5) I'll be looking for a class action lawsuit or start one of my own if this problem is not resolved to my satisfaction (which does not include being given a refurbished unit).

Similar Problem

Ti2gr @ 11/6/2001 11:03:13 AM #
I've had my Palm m505 for almost 3 weeks now. On a few occaions the hot-sync times out. Usually pressing hotsync a second time will solve the problem and the hot sync works just fine. I'd say this has happened at least once every 2-3 days. Other than the days I haven't noticed any other pattern.


Fix for your problem
Smartmoose @ 11/6/2001 11:15:38 AM #

Sounds like you've got the known time-out issue (the sync probably stops during the AvantGo, JunglePort, or Vindigo stage of the synch, right?)

Palm released a fix to their website at http://www.palm.com/support/downloads/40update.html

Running a Hotsync a second time usually does solve the issue (for that one time), but makes sychronization more of a pain than you need (plus, it eliminates any speed benefit of USB since you need to Hotsync twice). The update on Palm's site will eliminate your issue.

Problem with ''USB chip''?

ssummer @ 11/6/2001 3:39:28 PM #
A couple replies mentioned that the problem is with the 505's USB chip (anyone have any info on this chip?). Are there any other handhelds that use this chip?

HW- or SW-Problem?

Christian @ 11/6/2001 4:29:26 PM #
Can anyone tell me, if this is a different problem from the one described here:


because I'm using a german palm-os and a german palm-desktop-version I'm already waiting for a long time that that hot-sync update will become available in other languages.

I do have the same problem and the serial-cradle is no solution, if you like to use avant-go for huge data.

I always thought the problem will be resolved by an software upgrade.

Palm-Europe (Ireland) told me 4 weeks ago, that this update should be available very soon.

Greetings from Switzerland
Christian Stocker

RE: HW- or SW-Problem?
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/6/2001 8:31:44 PM #
I dont think this is the same problem.
I was getting timeouts with the Avantgo conduit (who can resist 1.5Mb of Avantgo goodness?!) on my M500 before I installed this patch.
Now it works fine.

I have not (yet) experienced the problems that other users have posted in this forum (i.e. loss of USB altogether). It may be a software issue, but I doubt whether it would be fixed by this patch.



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