Sony Japan Posts Fix for Memory Stick Problem with NR Series (Updated)

Sony Japan has posted on its support site a patch that seems to fix the problems some NR series handhelds have had with their Memory Stick slot. However, Sony has not officially acknowledged that the problem exists and the patch only says it is a bug fix for an unspecified read/write errors. Though Sony has only posted this fix on its Japanese site, it doesn't say anything about being only for Japanese versions of the handhelds.

Update: According to a third-party developer, this fix isn't for the Memory Stick disconnect problem at all.

Update (cont.): The developer says the patch on the Japanese site is most likely a fix for a data corruption bug that can happen when apps write data to the Memory Stick. This bug isn't well known because most people use external memory for reading data and few applications do much writing. It is also fairly rare and certain conditions have to occur for the bug to happen.


Sony also says that this fix is for the new T665C, so presumably some users are experiencing problems with the Memory Stick slot on that model, as well.

A Japanese user who was having almost daily problems with his NR70V losing contact with the Memory Stick in the slot reports that after installing the fix five days ago, it hasn't happened again.

Though Sony's Japanese support site doesn't explicitly state that this patch is only for Japanese versions of their handhelds, users of English versions should use caution before installing it. Though some impatience is understandable, the safest option is to wait for it to be posted on Sony U.S.A.'s support site. At the very least, be sure and backup the handheld before installing it, in case a hard reset is necessary.

About the Problem
Some readers report that after owning the NR70 or NR70V for a few weeks, it will occasionally lose contact with the Memory Stick on the slot.

When it first begins to happen, this will be be a momentary problem. This means that the user will be doing something unrelated to the Memory Stick when it will suddenly beep like it has been ejected, then beep again and the application launcher will open as if a Memory Stick had been reinserted .

Some users have reported that the problem became progressively worse until the unit would no longer read any Memory Stick or even acknowledge that one had been inserted.

Thanks to Rabs for the tip and Eugene for his help with this article. -Ed

Related Information:

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short term fixes

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 12:46:37 PM #
in the short term, use the "C" or "paper" method

Thats good

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 12:48:03 PM #
At least they fixed the problem unlike some companies that ignore it... Example: The IPAQ and Compaq!
RE: Thats good
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 2:30:32 PM #
Yeah the new Ipaq's ARE trouble free when it comes to hardware, always have been. Good job Sony, next time get it right. BTW--Compaq and Ipaq are one in the same incase you didn't know that....
RE: Thats good
msmasitti @ 8/1/2002 11:46:45 AM #
I don't find Compaqs hardware to be trouble-free at all. The 3835's contrast was horrible, and if you can call the ClearType good on the 38xx series... and yes, that is hardware related.

CLIE Moderator

It's a software fix?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 12:56:59 PM #
Since a workaround is the "paper trick", I'm surprise to see that the official solution is a software patch!
RE: It's a software fix?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 1:01:07 PM #
Why not? Probably a problem with their software!
RE: It's a software fix?
Ed @ 7/31/2002 1:08:56 PM #
This is only a guess, but I suspect the software fix lengthens the amount of time the Memory Stick can be out of contect with the slot before the handheld decided it has been ejected. That's the only way I can think of that software could fix what seems to be a hardware problem.

News Editor
RE: It's a software fix?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 2:17:03 PM #
Sounds like the patch either has a retry (when it thinks it doesn't see the card) or it might look longer (allowing small intermittent connection to be ignored).

If the Clie samples the MS port at a high rate, and the length of the momentary disconnection between the Clie and the memory stick is short enough, then lengthening the sample time could remedy some of the problems.

However, people that are having the problem where the card is not being recognized at all, will not get relief from this patch.

Same with N710C

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 1:27:18 PM #
I have a similar problem with my N710C but no help from Sony. I suppose I'm to blame for having such an antiquated device -- why it's almost a year old! -- how could I be so foolish as to expect support for it?!

RE: Same with N710C
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 5:07:12 PM #
There's such a thing as an unhappy Sony owner? I'm stunned.

Is it free?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 1:40:25 PM #
Where can I download the Japanese version?
RE: Is it free?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 1:51:06 PM #
Click the link "Patch" in the article.

Same Problem

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 3:02:20 PM #
I have the nr70v and have this problem. When It loses contact with the stick often it will still not recognize it by simply removing and reinserting it. Ive found that if you insert the memory stick very slowly until you see the light come on then insert it rest of the way it will often regain contact. Im afraid a true fix will involve a recall on this one. I doubt that will happen.
RE: Same Problem
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 3:36:16 PM #
Agreed. I did the paper trick inside 3 days ago and all has been well since. Who cares about the warranty - they new ones seem to have the problem too. Heard a rumor they were discontinuing the line in Japan? and soon US?

Hopefully the paper trick will last a while. While I had the problem, inserting the card slowly did help. Could ususally get it back running in about 15 secs.

Serial number?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 3:27:36 PM #
I've heard a rumour, that NRs are only affected by that problem until number 406xxxx. I have a NR whose serial number is starting with 501, and the problem didn't appear yet. (The serial number is located below the barcode on the right).
Does anyone have further information?
RE: Serial number?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2002 12:33:09 PM #
my nr-70's serial # starts w/289 and I am experiencing this problem too. I noticed that sometimes when I face the units topside towards the floor, it sometimes reads the memory stick. probably just a coincidence though. Sony should be ashamed to charge so much $$ for something that develops problems within months of purchase. R&D would go a long way!

Watch your data!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 4:57:14 PM #
It seems like a software fix to an intermittant connector might be asking for trouble. At the very best, it's going to lengthen MS's already slow load times with extra checks and retries - At worst, some of those checks will fail, and data will be corrupted by the connect/disconnect problems.
And, of course, once your MS slot fails completely, I doubt any amount of software hack is going to fix it. On top of which, by then, you should be well out of your warranty.
At least Palm finally made good on it's cradle death problems, and slap a band-aid on them untill the users were out of warranty.
If I owned one of these things, I'd open it, spread the connectors, and call about my warranty replacement, NOW, rather than playing russian roulette and seeing if SONY's rather apathetic tech support will bother to let me replace it when it DOES go bad.
Good luck, and here's hoping you don't need it.

Does this work on Palm V?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 11:09:46 PM #
I read some users in UK had the same problem with (upgraded) 8mb V's. Hopefully some brave soul will try the hardware upgrade and let us know.


RE: Does this work on Palm V?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 8:50:49 AM #
Wow, is your Palm V having trouble reading a memory stick?

Very odd.

I suggest you write a formal complaint to Palm and see what they say.

On the other hand you might want to engage your brain, read the article and then examine your Palm V, read the instructions and at that point realise it doesn't support MS... or SD or any other expansion system....

Sony's Apple Mentality

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 8:44:10 AM #
Why is it that Sony feels they must control every part of their product? Why can't they use SD or CF? I am disdainful of the proprietary approach that they employ like Apple. As for their PDA's, they are the best thing going for Palm and their overrated, underperforming OS. I like to refer to Palm's Os as the "dim side" of the market. After having played with a Clie, I still have to stick with the PPC as my main squeeze.
RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 8:54:04 AM #
bit like Palm's Universal Connector then? Least I can buy into MS if I want to use it... Can't say the same about Palm's UC
RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 9:23:28 AM #
> Least I can buy into MS if I want to use it... Can't say the same about Palm's UC

Huh? I don't understand what you mean. I certainly can't buy a Memory Stick for my m515. The only way for anyone to switch to Memory Sticks or to the UC is buy a new handheld.

RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 10:03:44 AM #
The original poster was whingeing about Sony's use of proprietry technology. i.e. MemoryStick in its products.

I merely pointed out that Palm also uses propritry technology i.e. the universal connector.

However if I as a potential PDA producers wish to use either of these two standards, Sony will allow me a licence for MS, while Palm will not let me use the UC.

So which is best? Proprietry technology which is easily and fairly cheaply licenced, or proprietry technology that no one else can use at all?

In this case, I think Sony wins on the basis that they are willing to share.

RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 11:34:20 AM #
Sony's willingness to share is wonderful if you're sony. Why should Palm's, Sony's, PPC's, mp3 players, and digital cameras use so many competing memory formats. I think SD and CF cover the bases pretty well and that the memory stick is a stab at greater profits not innovation. Of course, sony does have a knack for style. Personally, I am not happy with Palm or Microsoft's PDA OS's. Generally though, PPC's have been more powerful though Sony is doing a good job of playing catchup.
RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 12:49:24 PM #
"I am disdainful of the proprietary approach that they employ like Apple."
There is nothing proprietary about Apple, you rotten idiot.

"I still have to stick with the PPC as my main squeeze."

LOL, the PPC sucks. I hope it breaks on you soon.

RE: Sony's Apple Mentality
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2002 8:29:21 AM #
well, your calling me an idiot i guess is a good indication of your ignorance...of course, your defense of apple is also based in ignorance. Of course it's proprietary. Can you put a
Creative soundcard in your apple? No. They control the system from start to finish, thus they are relegated to use by dolts who like form over function. As for PPC's, I've been using one for 18 months and it has yet to break on me. Worse still,it is still more powerfult than the palms. So, I think you know where to stick your asinine comments.
FUD: Anybody can licence Memory Stick...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2002 9:05:59 PM #
You have to have your products licenced in order to use A memory stick interface in them. The whole point of having licencing over an interface is so that you can control who uses it. An example of the diffrence:
Sony is more than willing to licence the Memory Stick protocol to people who are making computer readers for Memory stick, or (Just lately) to people making the media itself. They are NOT willing to widely licence MemoryStick to portable device makers - Hence why you don't see third party MP3 players, video cameras or PDAs using Memory Stick. Even if they DO eventually allow use, it will be so they can just revoke/restrict/charge for that usage at a later date, after it has gained them a wider market share. See: Apple and the CHRP for an example of how that works.
Palm is using Secure Digital, which is an industry standard owned by a consortium, and not a corporate standard. As a result, you CAN buy third party MP3 players, Cameras and PDAs(Handera) that use the Secure Digital interface. Manufactuers are more willing to create hardware for a consortium-owned interface because they know that it isen't licenced at one company's whim. See: Any of the Springboard makers who are now basically without a platform to run on or a market to sell to since Handspring orphaned the interface and refuses to make PDAs that use it(*).
As far as the Universal Palm Connector - I guess I could see your point if there was such a thing as an industry-standard cradle connector before Palm created the UC standard. CF was around YEARS before Memory Stick.

Face it. Sony's trying the old BetaMax trick again, except that, unlike Beta vs. VHS, Memory Stick is actually WORSE than CF, or even SD.(**)

(*) - I realize that there's more to the orphaning of the Springboard plaftorm than just a desire to shank Springboard makers - If nothing else, the Springboard interface is so closely tied to the Dragonball hardware that designing an ARM unit with a Springboard would probably be a nightmare.

(**) - From VFSMark: Sorry if this misformats. Lower numbers are worse.

Device H330 H330 S-T415 M515 M515
Media-Size SD-64 CF-192 MS-32 MMC-16 SD-16
File create: 78 120 33 60 86
File delete: 51 95 20 74 76
File write: 115 238 10 39 44
File read: 34 92 77 40 118

H330 - Handera 330
S-T415 - Sony T415
M515 - Palm m515

Can the patch be used on Handspring?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 6:49:01 PM #
I have the same problem with modules. Maybe this could help. Here's wishing.............

This fix worked for me

who_the @ 8/2/2002 4:55:55 PM #
I put two pieces of clear scotch tape (perfect width) on the top of my Memory Stick and put it back in the NR70.

Before I put the tape on, I couldn't play more than 15 seconds of a song before I got an error. I've been playing continuously for hours with this fix.

I hope this does it.

RE: This fix worked for me
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/2/2002 5:07:30 PM #
Tape is an interesting idea, but it did not work for me. Maybe you got lucky?

This would appear to be a physical problem of bad contact, so I doubt a software patch is going to solve a bad connection. I guess I'm stuck :(


PIC mobile user @ 8/5/2002 4:44:59 PM #
I have the same problem with my N760V losing contact with the Memory Stick. Is this a known problem and is there a fix that you know of?


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