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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