FAQ: SUDS - sudden failure of USB on M5xx

Discussion in 'Palm' started by biglig, May 1, 2002.

  1. biglig

    biglig Mobile Deity

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    SUDS stands for Sudden USB Death Syndrome and refers to a problem with M500 series handhelds where USB synchronisation stops working. It is usually found on the M505 model, althought there are some rare reports of it happening with M500 or M515 models. Serial and Infrafred communications are not affected.

    It is caused by static electricity entering the Palm through the universal connector while it is being placed in the cradle and confusing the USB circuitry onboard the Palm. The circuitry needs to be reset by cutting power to it to fix the problem. A hard reset does not do this ? the circuitry has to have all power removed.

    To repair SUDS, the best and official method, if it is under warranty, is to return it to Palm for repair and replacement. You should not pay any advance shipping fee for a SUDS replacement.

    Some unsupported home-grown repair methods have also been developed.

    Firstly, by using the ?dot-three? shortcut you can disable the palms auto-power off, and then leave it on until the battery is completely discharged. This will cut the power and reset the USB circuit. This may or may not invalidate your warranty (we have conflicting reports). Since the lifetime of the battery in an M500 series Palm is determinded by the number of complete power cycles, a deep discharge will slightly shorten the battery life of the handheld.

    To activate a ?dot-three? shortcut write a cursive L (the shortcut symbol mentioned in the user manual) then a dot, then the number three. A soft reset is needed to undo this. To see a picture of the shortcut symbol, go to MemoPad, open a new memo, and tap Menu > Edit > Graffiti Help. Scroll down once, and the Shortcut symbol is the last symbol on the display.

    Secondly, it is possible with the right tools (a Torq T5 is needed) to open the casing of the handheld and disconnect the battery from the motherboard for a few moments. This does void the warranty.

    Lastly, a few extremely confident/brave/foolhardy electrical engineers have wired the reset pin on the PDIUSB12 USB Controller chip to the reset button of the Palm, so that a soft reset also resets the USB controller. This absolutely does void the warranty, and might make your handheld explode for all we know.

    Apart from repairs, Palm also has a means of helping prevent SUDS in the first place. The Enhanced cradle has some extra wiring in it to reduce the chances of static entering the Palm. It can be identified by an ?E? or ?H? marked on the base. All recent palms have shipped with this cradle, including all M515 models. Palm will replace non-enhanced cradles in the US and Canada, and plans programs in other countries. Details are at http://www.palm.com/support/m50XUSBcradle.html.

    You can also follow standard anti-static procedures; for example touching a metal part of your computer before syncing to ground yourself.

    srich2699 suggests another protective method is to cover the edge connector when not in use, for example with electrical insulating tape or by using a case that covers the connector.

    Note that you should not immediately leap to the conclusion that your Palm has SUDS because it has stopped syncing; you should check for other things first, such as a mis-configuration in Palm Desktop. One sure way to test for SUDS is that an affected Palm can still sync using Infrared of a Serial cradle.

    Update: a new variant on SUDS, GLC (Green Light Crash) has been reported. This appears to be also related to static charge, but in this case is more serious as the memory in the Palm has also been confused. The symptom is that the Palm is unresponsive, and has the green charging light lit or flickering even outside the cradle.

    So far, most people suffering a GLC seem to have been able to clear it with one of the various resets (soft, hard, or warm - see the reset FAQ entry), often finding that the Palm suffers from SUDS afterwards.

    Update:
    We have some reports that Palm are now in some cases supplying a special SD card that on insertion backs the contents of your palm's memory up to the card, activates the dot-shortcut battery drain routine, and after draining the battery restores the data to memory.
     
  2. pstraus

    pstraus Mobile Evangelist

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  3. cdt5

    cdt5 Mobile Evangelist

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    EXPLODE??? Is this dry humor or serious? If serious, why would it explode?
     
  4. Jennifer S

    Jennifer S Mobile Deity

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    Fixed. :)
     
  5. biglig

    biglig Mobile Deity

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    The explode is mostly my dry humour - but also a warning that this is theoretically the worst that could happen if you begin re-wiring the innards of your palm. Don't do it unless you don't mind a broken palm if you make a mistake!
     
  6. gswarbrick

    gswarbrick Newbie

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    I just suffered SUDS with my Plam m515 (it's a long story, but if it makes current prospective m515 customers feel any better I was syncing with the old cradle that came with my m500).

    The Shortcut-dot-3 solution posted here didn't work. The battery never drained after 3 days and would start to auto-off after a couple of hours.

    What did work was a hard reset followed by a Shortcut-dot-1

    A blue line appears at the bottom of the screen and the battery was discharged within a couple of hours. Synced first time afterwards and recovered 99% of my original data from standard Palm backups...

    Guy
     
  7. nikolo98

    nikolo98 Mobile Enthusiast

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    The summary posted here is really helpful. Thanks. I have one question though. I believe I am a victim of SUDS too and I'm really reluctant to send my handhgeld back to palm. I tried doing the "dot-3" and "dot-1" method but my plam STILL goes off. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong but is there any indication that the palm will show when the method is done right? Where do I write in the shortcut? I wrote the symbol on the alphabet side together with the dot and the 3 on the number side. Can I get detailed info on how to go about doing this?
     
  8. nikolo98

    nikolo98 Mobile Enthusiast

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    Whoops, sorry about the last post. I just figured it out. :)
    I did the "dot-1" method and I have a blue line under my screen now. Thank a lot everyone. I hope after this my plam will recover from SUDS.

    P/S: synching with IR is a really slow process!! argghh!!!!
     
  9. MATTB911

    MATTB911 Newbie

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    10 days ago I tried the SUDS battery drain fix. It worked fine. Last night SUDS came back! My M500 is about 2 months old so I called palm, they are sending me a replacement w/cradle. Will the next one have this problem, or do they really fix something to prevent SUDS from happening? What % of M500's have this problem?
     
  10. Jennifer S

    Jennifer S Mobile Deity

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    My m505 didn't have SUDS, but it suddenly stopped charging more than halfway. A battery drain fixed it, but only for about two weeks, which is similar to what happened to you - and I'm definitely not in a high-static area in Florida in September! I got it replaced.

    I don't know whether your first cradle was an enhanced cradle (should have had an E or H sticker on the bottom), but that makes a big difference. There is no way to know what percentage of m500's have this problem. As far as I know, the only "fix" was to beef up the electronics in the cradle.
     

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