Palm To Replace Faulty USB Cradles
Palm Inc. finally has a fix for the the static electricity problem that causes some of its models to suddenly stop HotSyncing. According Cnet, Palm plans to replace the USB cradles from the m500 series with a redesigned one that prevents static electricity from arcing between the handheld and the cradle. According to Palm, this static electricity disrupts the handheld enough that it is no longer able to HotSync.
The now-discontinued m505 was especially prone to experience the problem, which has been called SUDS, which stands for either Sudden USB Death Syndrome or SUddenly Doesn't Sync, depending on whom you ask.
SUDS doesn't happen to everyone. It depends on how much static electricity is in the area, which depends on climate, environment, and other factors.
Palm has been shipping a cradle that doesn't have the problem with static electricity with all its models since November. It has also been sending them to some users who have a handhelds with SUDS. The new cradles can be identified by a sticker on the bottom of an E.
Though Palm has sent many customers replacement cradles with their replacement handhelds, about 20% of the customers have been sending the replacement cradles back with their original handheld.
With this announcement, Palm is saying it intends to replace all the USB cradles that came with an m500 or m505 that don't have the E sticker.
A Palm spokesperson who spoke to Cnet wasn't willing to give an estimate of what this would cost Palm, though she did say it would not seriously affect Palm's bottom line.
Certainly Palm has been experiencing expenses related to replacing numerous handhelds that had SUDS. Replacing all the cradles should bring this to a halt.
She also said that Palm waited to make this announcement until it had produced enough of the replacement cradles to be able carry out the recall.
No exact details of the replacement program are available yet. It is not yet known if Palm will want the defective cradles sent in or if there will be any kind of a charge for customers. The company will be in contact with all registered Palm m500 and m505 users with more details.
Naturally, this won't help people who already have a handheld with SUDS, 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, both of which involve forcing the handheld to reset by cutting off its power. Thefirst 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 the many, many people who sent me a tip on this. -Ed
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