New m500 series USB Sync Problem Solution
Just last week, Palm Support introduced a new alternative for warranty repair of an m500 series model suffering from an inability to HotSync due to an electrostatic discharge (ESD). While a user can still choose to send the handheld back to Palm for repair, the user can also choose to have Palm send them a new Palm HotSync SD Reset Card which repairs the handhelds and restores USB hotsyncing.
According to Palm Support, an electrostatic discharge (ESD) can disrupt the m500's USB chip, making it impossible to Hot Sync the handheld via USB. Palm has been providing free replacements for the original cradles that shipped with the m500 series to provide better ESD immunity. (The replacement policy applies to orginal USB cradles that do not have a sticker on the bottom with an E or H on it.) While this provided better protection against ESD, it did not fix affected handhelds.
There are a couple of "unofficial" fixes to get the handheld HotSyncing again, both of which involve forcing the handheld to reset by cutting off its power. The first method involves 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. Palm chose the former approach for their new Palm HotSync Reset Card.
The card is a standard SD memory card with 15.2 Meg of flash memory. The card contains the standard Palm Backup utility, as well as a second program called HS Reset. The instructions accompanying the card are simple. Upon initial insert of the card the Backup program is automatically run, and the user is asked to backup all of their handheld data. On an m500 this only takes a couple of minutes.
Next the user must run the HS Reset program off the card. This program first asks the user to verify that everything has been backed up. It then provides several warning screens pointing out that a) the program erases all data from the handheld, b) the handlheld cannot be in its cradle while the program runs, and c) the program cannot be interrupted once it has started. If the user chooses to continue, the program enters into an infinite loop process that is designed to run until the batteries on the handheld are exhausted. The program must run undisturbed for at least 8 hours, even if the screen goes blank after the first few hours.
After at least 8 hours have passed, the user recharges the handheld for at least 2 hours, removes and reinserts the Palm HotSync Reset Card, and restores the handheld's data using the Backup program. The positive benefits include having a remedy on hand should my USB chip again get scrambled, plus I now have second backup card for my handheld.
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