Update on Palm's Cradle Replacement Program

Several weeks ago, Palm announced that it would begin replacing an early version of the cradle that shipped with the m500 series as it contained insufficient protection from static electricity. Palm has begun taking requests for replacements through its support site.

When Palm first made the announcement that it would replace these cradles, the program applied only to the U.S. Now, customers in many European countries can get replacements, including the U.K., France, Germany, and several others.

A week or so before Palm began taking requests, it created a page on its support site where users could request that they be notified when the program began. Though the company began taking these requests a while back, many users complain that they were not notified.

For several days, users of non-Microsoft web browsers were unable to use the online form to request a replacement. However, this problem appears to have been corrected.

Every owner is allowed up to two replacement cradles without question. This may be an effort to provide replacements for owners who purchased an extra cradle for home or business use.

No matter what country the program is in, it applies only to cradles that do not have a sticker on the bottom with an E or an H on it.

The original cradles meet CE standards (8KV) for protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD) but Palm's improved E and H cradles include enhanced static electricity buffers. According to Palm, this ESD disrupts the handheld enough that it is no longer able to HotSync.

The now-discontinued m505 was especially prone to experience the problem. According to Palm, neither the handheld nor the cradle is damaged by ESD, but the synchronization software needs to be reset by Palm.

Replacing the cradle won't help people who already have a handheld that won't HotSync, though it will prevent it from happening again. Palm will replace any handheld that has the problem. Contact Palm's support staff to find out how to get a replacement unit.

There are a couple of unauthorized fixes to get the handheld HotSyncing again, both of which involve forcing the handheld to reset by cutting off its power. The first method is done by leaving the handheld on until the battery is drained to the point where it shuts itself down. The second method involves taking the back of the handheld and disconnecting the battery for a few minutes.

Thanks to Douglas J. Boehme, Ian Davenport, and FredLL for the tips. -Ed

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thank you palm

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:09:46 AM #
i think it's cool that palm is going thru all that stuff.
RE: thank you palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:16:08 AM #
Is it cool that your high end palm cradle was sub-par? Its really nice of palm to provide support like this - would hate to get a product that actually had support - only took a year.
RE: thank you palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:20:54 AM #
> only took a year

Palm has been replacing any handheld which had USB problems from the very beginning. It's not good that the m505 has this problem but you can't fault Palm's handling of it.

RE: thank you palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 2:16:01 PM #
Dear Trolls: uBid is full of R E F U R B I S H E Ds iPaqs or Jornadas... -)
RE: thank you palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 4:36:07 PM #
> you can't fault Palm's handling of it.

You must work at Palm.

Palm issued defective hardware and is only now coming around to fixing the problem. That's a year, my friend.

Completely, utterly ridiculous. And Palm has the temerity to send me an email claiming I can get a great deal on a "new" m505 for $349. Gimme a break.

RE: thank you palm
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 9:29:14 PM #
At least the m505's backlight works, unlike Compaq's H3800. Sometimes the backlight doesn't come on and Compaq doesn't have a clue why. But don't send it in to be fixed. They can't fix it because they don't know what's wrong and they won't give you a new one. Now THERE is some bad customer service.

http://www.theregus.com/content/54/24627.html

Not unofficially !

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:33:53 AM #
It seems that Palm Inc. is advising customers to use the drain battery way to get their Palm back to work!!

So it doesn't seem to be "an unauthorize fix"


in France too

FredLL @ 4/11/2002 10:37:12 AM #
The replacement is available in France too http://www.palm.com/fr/support/m50xusbcradle.html

Fred

RE: in France too
Ed @ 4/11/2002 10:50:08 AM #
Thanks, Fred. I updated the article.

---
News Editor
in Asia as well
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 9:05:56 PM #
The replacement is available in Asia as well according to an email I was sent by Palm.

It is NOT the cradle!

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:38:52 AM #
I had an m505 with an enhanced cradle. It got SUDS less than a month after I got it.

I'm not sure why Palm thinks that the cradle replacement will help.

MLO

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
alanh @ 4/11/2002 10:48:15 AM #
I am currently on my fourth m505. The first one failed when using the original cradle (no markings). The next two failed while using the replacement cradle they supplied, which is marked with an E (not a sticker, it's printed). When I got my latest m505 (with new E cradle) this morning, I tried all the combinations of syncing:

  • Old m505 on old cradle: failure
  • old m505 on new cradle: failure
  • new m505 on old cradle: success
  • new m505 on new cradle: success

It seems to be correlated with the Palm, not the cradle.

-alan

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
Ed @ 4/11/2002 10:59:59 AM #
Alan, that's not how SUDS works. While the cradle may cause the problem, the problem isn't in the cradle. According to Palm, a static shock can jump from the cradle to the handheld. Though the handheld isn't permanently damaged, the ESD has scrambled its USB software. The new cradle is supposed to prevent that from happeing again but it doesn't help a handheld that already can't sync.

The first fix referenced in the article has apparently proved to be so successful, some Palm tech support people have begun suggesting to customers that they try it instead of replacing the handheld. If you are curious, you might try it on the non-syncing Palm before you send it back:
www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=2785

---
News Editor

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
nategall @ 4/11/2002 11:10:56 AM #
yeah, i'm on my 4th one. But i think that it might just be a function of my static-personality.


nategall says "blah!"

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
cykalan @ 4/11/2002 11:11:06 AM #
have you read thru the whole passage?

"Replacing the cradle won't help people who already have a handheld that won't HotSync, though it will prevent it from happening again. Palm will replace any handheld that has the problem. Contact Palm's support staff to find out how to get a replacement unit. "

Alan
----
Read your manuals before you ask!!

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
alanh @ 4/11/2002 3:24:52 PM #
I resuscitated my first m505 3 times using the battery drain trick. I decided to replace it because I was under the impression that the USB failure was limited to certain m505s. I suspect it's more likely that it's certain static-prone users instead.

If it's truely a software corruption issue, surely some brilliant palm programmer could be able to come up with a program that would force the internal USB controller to reset without having to drain the battery or disconnect it completely.

-alan (is it just me or are there too many "alan"s in this thread.... Maybe that's the key. -)

RE: It is NOT the cradle!
TDS @ 4/12/2002 1:41:55 AM #
I would suspect that the new cradle does not guarantee that ESD will never damage your M505. I would suspect that it will greatly reduce the chances of it happening for most people. It is true that some people are more "Charged" than others and may damage their handhelds even with the new cradle.
I zap my Visor at least twice a week when I put it in the cradle. Sometimes it actually resets (soft) when it get zapped. I have not had a sync problem after that, but I would suspect that it is because the Visor does not have Flash memory, so there is no way to scramble the ROM! I suppose that is one nice thing about a non-flashable ROM!


RE: It is NOT the cradle!
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/13/2002 11:47:28 AM #
Let me tell you a tale.... 3rd Palm M505 in a METAL housing (the slick one from Palm). Now this metal housing should act as a Farady cage and direct static around a sensitive object to ground , no? But that has not been my experience as I set my palm on the roof of my car and heard the deadly crack of static. Sure enough what was working on the walk out to the car was now in need of a soft reset AND would no longer sync via USB. Draining the batteries fixed it.

m515

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 11:26:15 AM #
I have gone through a view m500 units and had the cradle replaced with the "E" version. I have done the battery drain and the problems comes back. I am now using the m515 and using the cradle that came with it and the same problem *2. I don't think the problem is with the cradle.
RE: m515
Altema @ 4/11/2002 12:36:38 PM #
The problem results in a software problem on the Palm, but it is caused by ESD via the cradle. I also have seen one M515 which had the problem, but dropping the battery level fixed it.

Two replacement cradles?

Stefanos @ 4/11/2002 11:49:40 AM #
Where does Palm state you are allowed two replacement cradles without question? I found the following in the FAQs:

"The website order form will only allow one cradle replacement per device. If you have more than one cradle that does not have an E or H on the bottom, please call 1-866-632-7993 to speak with a representative for additional assistance."

RE: Two replacement cradles?
dboehme @ 4/11/2002 11:59:26 AM #
If you want more than one, you can contact the 866 number. The site used to allow more than 1 to be requested, but that was when is sorta worked only under IE. Don't know if it does now. Try it and see, regardless of the FAQ.

Shipping..

LC @ 4/11/2002 12:09:34 PM #
I filled out the form on monday and yesterday I recieved an email showing the cradles as shipped allong with the UPS tracking number. That's not bad service considering that I have yet to have the problem with SUDS..

= = =
LC =
= = =

Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.

bsquare @ 4/11/2002 1:54:46 PM #

I received my replacement cradle a couple of days ago, but I'm really surprized it made it to me because appartentnly according to Palm's on-line order form, Wisconisin is now "WS" rather than "WI" as I had always learned. Didn't check the other states, but really, that is just sad.


RE: Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.
Mike @ 4/11/2002 2:31:04 PM #
appartentnly

Apparently Palm is not the only one to suffer typos. Considering that they are managing an entire site and not just a message, and that 'WS' is just an masked entry for a real value in a web fronted DB I don't think it's to sad.

Mike
-DBA
SQL, VB, Access

RE: Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 2:32:31 PM #
who cares aboout Wisconson anyways? It should be part of Canada, and forgotten. Stupid Packers.
RE: Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.
big_raji @ 4/11/2002 4:49:03 PM #
Should be a part of Canada? Bah.

What's with all the Canada PDA related topics lately?

Canada sales for PalmOS reach 84%
Canada's Rogers AT&T first to offer GSM/GPRS Blackberry

I find it funny that Palm said they wouldn't release the i705 up here because the market didn't seem to want their wireless device.

Seems the US didn't either. :P

---
Dooobie Dooobie Dooooo....
http://raj.phangureh.com

RE: Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:05:40 AM #
Where is "Wisconisin" anyways? is it a new state that replaces Wisconsin?
RE: Their web designer failed 4th grade geography.
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 9:53:31 AM #
..."who cares aboout Wisconson anyways? It should be part of Canada, and forgotten. Stupid Packers."

We'll take Wisconsin on any given day. But where the heck is "Wisconson"??? Palm.com's web guy may have overlooked the proper abbreviation for Wisconsin, but what's your excuse for misspelling "aboout" and "Wisconson"? Lack of education, perhaps?


-Tet from CANADA

Have you gotten the exchange form to work?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 4:49:11 PM #
I have tried three times to execute the order form for the exchange and it has rejected the
serial number each time. I must be dong something wrong but I can't figure out what it is.

RE: Have you gotten the exchange form to work?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 6:07:18 PM #
you must be canadian. too bad.
RE: Have you gotten the exchange form to work?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 7:11:20 PM #
call the phone number mcfly!!!
RE: Have you gotten the exchange form to work?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 9:38:13 AM #
Maybe your're using Netscape. I had that problem with Netscape v4.78. However, the ordering page worked with IE, though I don't like M$ at all.

Too Little, Too Late

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 8:32:43 PM #
I guess for some owners of that SUDS DUD m505 must heave a sigh of relief that something is done at least, but, it took Palm 12 months to acknowledge it!!! That to me is incredulous.

It isn't unusual (though not wished for) that sometimes some manufacturing default can happen but to take them 12 months to admit it is sheer stupidity of Palm. IMHO, that 12 months caused them a lot of customers and more.

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 10:07:11 PM #
You can stop your incredulity. Palm publicly acknowledged the problem in November, five months ago.

p.s. Are you the same person who names *all* his comments "Too Little, Too Late"? Geez, what a lame-o.

RE: Too Little, Too Late
TDS @ 4/12/2002 1:50:35 AM #
Yah, I agree.
Seeing "Too Little, Too Late" in every article is getting a little tiring... Almost as bad as "Sony Rulez"
I think Palm really did have a hard time determining what exactley caused the problem. I have to give them credit for swapping out multiple M505's to the same people for so many months before they found a solution. That must have cost them a bundle!

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/12/2002 7:19:41 AM #
Whoa! 5 months ago? Palm acknowledged that 5 months ago and only NOW they are doing some serious soul searching and realized they should have been nicer to their customers?

And it cost Palm a bundle to swap their duds? What about customers that forked out $400 in the first place and the "productivity" cost when it needs to go back each time it fails?

Gee, luckily Palm have customers like you guys. Oh, wait a minute. You are into original headlines so here's another for you - lame-o?

RE: Too Little, Too Late
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/14/2002 9:32:33 PM #
At least the m505's backlight works, unlike Compaq's H3800's. Sometimes the backlight doesn't come on and Compaq doesn't have a clue why. But don't send it in to be fixed. They can't fix it because they don't know what's wrong and they won't give you a new one. Now THERE is some bad customer service. Better "too little" than "Nothing at all".

http://www.theregus.com/content/54/24627.html

How about Australia?

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 9:28:02 PM #
Any news about Australia USB replacement? Any e-mails sent? URL?
RE: How about Australia?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/11/2002 9:33:30 PM #
Okay, I got the URL

http://www.palm.com.au/ap/support/cradleexchange/index.html#

So Palm Australia is in as well.

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