How To: Alternate Fix for m500 Series USB Problem

Some people are complaining that their m500 or m505 has suddenly stopped syncing with the USB cradle. This is caused by a static charge build-up in the m500 series devices. The first method for fixing this involves leaving the handheld on long enough to drain the battery. This is slow and a few people who have tried it say they have battery problems afterwards. This USB failure can also be fixed by opening the back of the handheld and disconnecting the battery. This process will also reset the USB chips which will eliminate the static charge that is not allowing the USB serialized ID to be sent to the PC for HotSyncing.

Warning: Opening the back of the handheld will totally and irrevocably void its warranty. Use at your own risk.

Step 1
Back up the handheld NOW. Either with the Palm Backup SD card or with a serial cradle. The following process will delete all your data.

Remove the stylus and any SD/MMC cards in the slot, and any case you may have attached to the PDA. Put on a static cuff if you want to; I did not and everything worked out fine.

Step 2
Remove the four Torx screws on the back casing using a T6x40mm Torx screw driver. Put the screws in a bowl or some sort of container. Do not lose these screws

Step 3
Gently slip a fingernail under the corner of the backing near the SD card slot. Lift slightly and slip in a straight slotted Jeweler's screw driver. Do not permanently bend the backing

Step 4
Gently rotate screw driver along side of backing to "lift" the clips holding the backing onto the middle frame. Work your way around the handheld in a clockwise direction. Be careful at the top of the handheld (SD card side); that clip may have to be rolled out like a hinge. There are three clips per side, two on the bottom and one on the top of the backing; try not to break any. I have done this twice and have not broken any, so they may be stronger than they look.

Step 5
Place backing on table and don't lose it. The image above is what you will see when the backing comes off.

Step 6
Gently disconnect the battery plug from the motherboard. Wait five minutes and gently slide the plug back in. You will hear the handheld start up. Let it complete the ROM load and boot cycle, then turn off the handheld when it has finished booting. Place the backing on the PDA and snap the clips into the middle frame. Put the Torx screws back in. Go to your PC and re-sync your data with the USB cradle.

If your m500 or m505 is suffering from USB failure, it isn't necessary to use either one of these methods for fixing it. Palm will replace any m500 series model that has this problem. Contact Palm's Support pages for more information.

Update: Palm has begun a 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.

Thanks to Tom Denton from Denton Software Group from all his work. -Ed

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Why would you risk it??

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 10:10:11 AM #
I am surprised that you would post this fix for what is a know problem with the M500 Series Palm models, since Palm is replacing the units on a case by case basis.
The Palm M500 series is less than a year old, so the warranty still applies. Why would you take the risk of opening it up yourself, voiding the warranty as opposed to calling Palm and getting them to do the right thing, honoring their warranty.

RE: Why would you risk it?? I WOULD
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 10:17:16 AM #
I would risk it! After all hassle I have had with Palm tech support, I would rather take matters into my own hands. The fix looks totally harmless, its not like you are removing chips or jumping pins. Although I would ground myself before doing this.

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 10:22:47 AM #
One reason: Palm tends to send shoddy replacements. That was my experience with my Vx. I received and returned 3 different refurbs before getting one with an acceptable screen. Just a thought. Although I'd still rather take my chances with the refurbs at this point.

RE: Why would you risk it??
c_blue @ 2/27/2002 11:07:17 AM #
I would... I got mine at the online store and had it ship to a friend's house who then sent it to me ( I don't live in the US) If I want Palm tech support to replace it I'll have to ship it back to the States. I'd rather spent 5 minutes than 3 weeks waiting... my 2 cents.


RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 11:09:35 AM #
I would do it as well. I'm using my 5th m505 after shoddy replacement units from Palm. Only after escalating to "executive support" did I get one that worked (it's supposed to be a new unit) and I had to wait 3 weeks for it because they were out of replacement units.

Try (Wiha) for Torx stuff and other jeweler size screwdrivers. Good stuff and I've used their products for years.

RE: Why would you risk it??
jayhawk88 @ 2/27/2002 11:12:59 AM #
Also, Palm now apparently has a new policy regarding replacements: you have to pay to ship it back to them. Gone are the days where they'd send you a box with a prepaid shipping label.

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 1:08:15 PM #
Not completely get the shipping label you have ask for it (they don't offer it automatically) and provide a credit card number in case you don't ship it back.

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 1:21:11 PM #
>"I'm using my 5th m505 after shoddy replacement units from Palm. "

Why - on gods green earth - are you still using an m505? 5 times!!!?? Are you insane? I have a Vx and a friend has an m505. Both have worked flawlessly. But if i went through what you did, i would give up after the second try. or at least the third. And certainly, the 4th...

I'd just go with a (please - don't freak out on me you Palm brand guys)Sony t615 or Visor Prism. These devices haven't had nearly the rate of problems that Palms troubled m5xx series has had. Of course (to be fair to Palm) you could also wait for the new m515 which has apparently solved these issues.

5 times!!?!! what the hell...

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 1:34:24 PM #
We have a Sony and M505 in the family. The Sony doesn't look as cool but synchs faster and the screen is 400% better.

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 4:04:43 PM #

>We have a Sony and M505 in the family. The Sony doesn't look as cool but synchs faster and the screen is 400% better.

I have a doctor and a fireman in my family. The doctor doesnt look as cool but he syncs much faster and makes about %400 more money then the other. What a coincidence...

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 4:37:44 PM #
>I'd just go with a (please - don't freak out on me >you Palm brand guys)Sony t615 or Visor Prism. These >devices haven't had nearly the rate of problems that >Palms troubled m5xx series has had. Of course (to be >fair to Palm) you could also wait for the new m515 >which has apparently solved these issues.

visors are a piece of ****

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 7:41:42 PM #
Palm has put out a product with significant problems.
The answers to the question "why would you risk it" seem to point to a replacement policy that has its own significant problems. Palm should not be let off the hook by users trying to fix the problems themselves.
I know it is frustrating, a friend went through three returns before getting a unit that works properly.
There is the prospect, for those who open the unit, that something else may go wrong.

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 7:59:17 PM #
Damage something else in the PDA, does this mean I should stop eating the extra cheesee Cheetos while ripping my palm apart?

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/28/2002 5:05:57 PM #
I just spend 20 days waiting for a replacement m505. Plus a week before that trying "everything" to figure out why I couldn't sync. Lotsa reloading and deleting programs.

Now, 2 hours with the new m505 reloading programs (despite using Backup Buddy VFS which did help a lot), and deleting flash and hard synching the old m505. Now I have got to mail it all back to Palm.

Oh yes, many dreary minutes on my phone bill while I was holding and listening to Palm's techf support recordings.

So I wish I had known about a five minute fix. Just happened to read about immediately after I got my new m505 (refurbished edition) and reinstalled everything!

RE: Why would you risk it??
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/5/2002 12:47:34 AM #
If you're going to open a U$400 toy, you'd better put on statc cuffs or at least ground yourself.
You've been warned...

RE: Why would you risk it??
torff @ 3/20/2003 10:34:25 PM #
Well, despite what Palm says about this problem being confined to the m500 and m505, it is not. I had the same problem with my m515, even with the "new model" cradle. I got a bunch of nonsense from their tech support. Install, uninstall, reinstall the Palm Desktop software only to have the same problem, on TWO different systems, one with a cradle and the other with a hotsync cable only. Draining the battery for a few days and re-initializing everything was the only way to fix the problem. I was able to re-synchronize my Palm with my desktop system, and all was well. So far no battery problems, but it's only been a few days.


RE: Why would you risk it??
emark @ 5/23/2004 3:09:55 PM #
Another sucker with an m515 that won't sync.

After a Vx where screen just died (and because I had security log-in activated I couldn't get back in), now this m515 not resyncing, spending tons of time searching Palm's site where they conspicuously avoid/minimize this issue, spending time waiting and waiting at my expense for a Palm support tech with no mention of these fixes....I'm $%#@%$#@$%#@%$#@ mad.

If this drain the battery/reset thing works (in process right now) I will do a better job with backups and make sure I never spend $1 more with Palm. Ever. This device has had an aluminum case, minimal use (quit my job about 8 mos. after purchase and only sees light student use)...Never abused, just all the sudden wouldn't sync...everything else, expansion slot etc. work as ususal.

as m515 not covered by eley vs. Palm lawsuit, and already have an "E" cradle...

will post back with followup of success of fix.

RE: Why would you risk it??
emark @ 5/24/2004 9:40:49 PM #
WELLLLLLLL suprise suprise, my m515, with a "E" sticker USB sync cradle had the exact same problem as that which was addressed in the Eley vs. Palm lawsuit....which for some reason addresses only m500 and m505 (if I'm not mistaken)....

I was able to do the "battery flattening" trick with the memo pad, totally deplete the battery, and sync again after letting it sit roughly 24 hours...

Coverage for the Eley class action lawsuit should be extended to the m515s....

But, Palm will just count on the majority of people NEVER finding the fix in their technical support, and in a panic opting to buy another unit....


RE: Why would you risk it??
emark @ 5/24/2004 9:44:24 PM #
And, for the record, I will be sending correspondence to the lawyers and Judge in the case to request inclusion for M515 users experiencing the same, as well as recommendation that the site clearly, and easily link to the known solution....since settlement agreement is in place, likely nothing will come of it, but SPREAD THE WORD of the FIX, and of the caliber people/company we are dealing with.

Cleaning the screen

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 10:53:23 AM #
Is there any way, when opening up the screen, you can clean the inside of the screen. I am asking this because somehow dust particles got inside the screen, and aren't coming out when I clean the screen. If i take off the screen, will directly be able to clean the screen?

RE: Cleaning the screen
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 11:05:02 AM #
The screen is sealed. you can only wipe the outside of the screen. I have the same problem with my m505, one pesky little lint mark between the glass and LCD. To minor to send back.

T. Denton

RE: Cleaning the screen
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 2:50:41 PM #
that really sucks.

RE: Cleaning the screen
palmuser_mp @ 2/18/2003 11:11:44 AM #
Hi, I had the same problem with some particles just
in the middle of the screen between the second and
the third screen sheet of my palm m500.

I opened the case and I was able with a lot of patience to separate the external tranparent plastic sheet very carefully partially. This first sheet is is the touch screen and it is very thin and it is adhesively attached to the lower one. Take care because it is connected to the main pcb (there is some elek. routing at the edges). This means really don't separate this totally away but only partially. Also because of the position.

It is also possible to separate the next tranparent sheet which is thicker and it is also adhesively attached to the lowest one. The real problemm after this action is to be sure that you could clean all and no more particles or grease are closed inside after the assembly.

About the realibity using the palm device in the specified environments after the described actions I didn't have any problems but I can imagine that the palm factory can seal the screens better than me.

Send me some feedback if you could experience the same, thanks !

Replacement m500's

jayhawk88 @ 2/27/2002 11:13:53 AM #
Here where I work, we bought about 60 m500's for a group of students this past fall. Maybe 25% of them have reported this USB sync error at some point. I've had most of them try the drain fix, which has worked, but some have seen the problem reappear again.

Does anyone know if this problem is limited to certain earlier m500's? Do the replacement m500's, or m500's currently being sold, not exhibit this issue? We have another group of students coming in very soon, and while the m500's are great for them when they work, I'm kind of nervous about recommending them again if this problem is just going to show up again with the new batch. Has Palm ever said for sure what's up with this?

RE: Replacement m500's
Denton @ 2/27/2002 11:26:47 AM #
I don't know if Palm has fixed the problem on the 500's. I do know palm has gone through three revisions of the device, so the most recent version may address the issue. Since I have performed the battery disconnect, I have not had to do it again and that was month ago.

Why are you using m500's for education? Why not m125's they have SD/MMC, a more durable casing, and a flip cover. Plus they are cheaper.

RE: Replacement m500's
Ou_Boet @ 2/27/2002 12:04:56 PM #
I agree with the previous reply. Surely a more cost effective and robust unit would be better for students. Either the m125 or maybe the HandEra 330 which has the added advantage of a CF slot.


Any device can have one more useful feature added.


RE: Replacement m500's
jayhawk88 @ 2/27/2002 12:19:39 PM #
Well, when we were purchasing, m50x's were the only choice if you wanted SD card capabilities (m125 wasn't out yet). We actually gave the students a choice: They could have an m500, a Kyocera 6035 (they'd have to pay for service), or a 5x with a 3-book subscription to HandHeldMed included. I think 1 person chose the 5x and books, everyone else chose the m500's. They liked the idea of 16 Meg on a card to keep medical reference books on (even if they had to pay for them).

RE: Replacement m500's
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/1/2002 9:45:05 AM #
I work for Palm and yes we have fixed the problem. All Palms made after October 1st no longer exhibit this issue. Also, as a side-note, you might purchase an m505 today (March 1st) that could still exhibit the problem and be thinking.. HMM THAT GUY SAID IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN ANYMORE. Well it still can happen, the Palm you just purchased was made before October 1st.

Best regards.


Question about replacements

PalmPowered @ 2/27/2002 1:02:09 PM #
Are the replacement units Palm sends out actually new or are they sending "refurbished" models? Seems if they are you might just be getting someone else's problems. Also, if I had to send one in today, would they send me back a 505 or replace it with a 515 since they are supposedly discontinuing the 505.

-If you only knew the power of the Palm side-
RE: Question about replacements
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 7:34:38 PM #
Based on my experience, I doubt you would receive anything other than a refurb of the same model.

RE: Question about replacements
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 11:48:20 PM #
I have experienced the USB hotsynch problem, on the 14th day of owning the device. After 5 days of running around to get a problem ticket into palm the sent me a replacement device (they did not send a new cradle) it was a refurb that appears to have a problem with battery. I recharge overnight and the power meter never goes further than half way! Wow, I feel like a real deal for my $400.00. A defective unit replaced with another defective unit.

Short answer, replacements are REFURBS!!!!

RE: Question about replacements
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/28/2002 10:21:15 AM #
You will get a m505. I just got mine 2 days ago. On the plus side, I did the battery drain trick on my original and it fixed the problem, and did an 'Advance' replace from Palm in which they send you a unit first and you send them back the defective one (you need to leave a CC# in case you don't send it back). I wasn't without a Palm at any point, which is good since I live in it.

I got back a made in USA model to replace the made in Hungary model I had. The screen does not seem any brighter, but the pixelization seems less so it appears 'clearer' somehow.

Kurt G.

Support link

gcastell @ 2/27/2002 1:14:05 PM #
I went to the palm support site and I didn't found any reference to the USB problem, anybody knows the exact link?



RE: Support link
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 2:52:02 PM #
You have to talk to a person about it. You can find the contact info on the support page.

The simple alternative

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 1:30:06 PM #
I posted this a few moons ago. This simple alternative is to do a full triple reset back to back. Keep the manual reset button pressed util everything dissapears from the screen each time. Worked for me and someone else.

Hopefully it will work for you.


RE: The simple alternative
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 3:18:45 PM #
Hard or soft?

RE: The simple alternative
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 4:28:16 PM #
I've tried another method but you have to do this everytime you turn on the PC or reboot. Normally there are 2 usb sockets on the PC. After PC startup process completed, I'll switch the m505 usb cable to the other usb socket & then it hotsyncs fine. You need to switch it back & forth everytime you reboot the PC or it will not Hotsync. Anyone tried this yet? Comments?

Edwin 02/28.

RE: The simple alternative
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/28/2002 12:55:35 PM #
Tried both (triple reset and switching usb ports).

Neither worked for me.

How do they know the device has been opened?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 4:39:46 PM #
Anyone know if they can positively tell that the case has been opened? I mean, is there some label that gets peeled off, some switch that is activated, or are they checking torque on the hex screwes or something?

Anyone send in an open device for a warranty fix and had them send it back saying the device had been opened?

Just curious.

RE: How do they know the device has been opened?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/27/2002 7:01:23 PM #
I opened two of my m505s before sending them back. No problem. I did put copper antisieze into the screw heads to reduce scratching. If the black paint is missing, it might tip them off.

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