How To: Alternate Fix for m500 Series USB Problem
Some people are complaining that their m500 or m505 has suddenly stopped syncing with the USB cradle. This is caused by a static charge build-up in the m500 series devices. The first method for fixing this involves leaving the handheld on long enough to drain the battery. This is slow and a few people who have tried it say they have battery problems afterwards. This USB failure can also be fixed by opening the back of the handheld and disconnecting the battery. This process will also reset the USB chips which will eliminate the static charge that is not allowing the USB serialized ID to be sent to the PC for HotSyncing.
Warning: Opening the back of the handheld will totally and irrevocably void its warranty. Use at your own risk.
Back up the handheld NOW. Either with the Palm Backup SD card or with a serial cradle. The following process will delete all your data.
Remove the stylus and any SD/MMC cards in the slot, and any case you may have attached to the PDA. Put on a static cuff if you want to; I did not and everything worked out fine.
Remove the four Torx screws on the back casing using a T6x40mm Torx screw driver. Put the screws in a bowl or some sort of container. Do not lose these screws
Gently slip a fingernail under the corner of the backing near the SD card slot. Lift slightly and slip in a straight slotted Jeweler's screw driver. Do not permanently bend the backing
Gently rotate screw driver along side of backing to "lift" the clips holding the backing onto the middle frame. Work your way around the handheld in a clockwise direction. Be careful at the top of the handheld (SD card side); that clip may have to be rolled out like a hinge. There are three clips per side, two on the bottom and one on the top of the backing; try not to break any. I have done this twice and have not broken any, so they may be stronger than they look.
Place backing on table and don't lose it. The image above is what you will see when the backing comes off.
Gently disconnect the battery plug from the motherboard. Wait five minutes and gently slide the plug back in. You will hear the handheld start up. Let it complete the ROM load and boot cycle, then turn off the handheld when it has finished booting. Place the backing on the PDA and snap the clips into the middle frame. Put the Torx screws back in. Go to your PC and re-sync your data with the USB cradle.
If your m500 or m505 is suffering from USB failure, it isn't necessary to use either one of these methods for fixing it. Palm will replace any m500 series model that has this problem. Contact Palm's Support pages for more information.
Update: Palm has begun a program for replacing old m500 series cradles with new ones that offer better protection from static electricity. According to Palm, this electrostatic discharge (ESD) disrupts the handheld enough that it is no longer able to HotSync.
Thanks to Tom Denton from Denton Software Group from all his work. -Ed
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