Palm Releases Info on m500 Cradle Exchange Program
On March 28, Palm will begin its 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. The original cradles meet CE standards (8KV) for protection against ESD but its improved E and H cradles include enhanced static electricity buffers. Palm will replace for free cradles that shipped with the m500 series that do not have a sticker on the bottom with an E or H on it.
People with the old cradles need to request a replacement. Palm is not yet exchanging cradles but it does have a sign-up sheet on its website where people can request that Palm notify them when the program begins so they can request one. Again, this will be on March 28, a week from today.
The Cradle Exchange Program is being offered March 28 -\through September 28, 2002 for United States customers. The company says details for other countries will be available shortly.
Palm has been shipping the enhanced cradles with all its models since November. It has also been sending them to some users who have handhelds with USB problems because of ESD. The new cradles can be identified by the sticker on the bottom.
Naturally, this 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.
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.
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 Sheldon Smith for the tip. -Ed
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