sync port damaged

Discussion in 'Other Device Manufacturers' started by danscott7, Jan 27, 2009.

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  1. danscott7

    danscott7 Mobile Enthusiast

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    I recently purchased a used dell axim x30. the port on the device where the plug for the charging/sync cable goes, has gold colored connectors, as these devices do. the ones on mine are bent and missing, and i believe this is the reason the plug will not stay in. This I believe must be directly related to the pc not recognizing the device is there.
    The odd thing is, as incredibly loose as the connection is, the battery will charge when it's plugged in, but it will not sync, when the sync cable, which is not plugged directly into the bottom of the device, and which is plugged in firmly to the bottom of the charger plug, doesn't work.
    Now, aside from that, I know this is a stupid question, but I would like some kind of outside opinion from someone more knowledgable with Dell axims than myself, before I attempt to return the device.
    Is this normal for Dell Axims, or did the seller sell me a device where he somehow damaged the charge/sync port so badly the device is now useless, except for the programs already on it?
  2. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    To answer your question first: you're describing a damaged sync/charge port, and no PDA (including your Dell Axim x30) is built with damaged ports.

    You have several options:
    • You might be able to exchange or return the device.
      Always confirm with the vendor before actually shipping the device, otherwise you could end up paying (two way) shipping charges for nothing. Depending on the terms of your purchase, this may not even be an option or the vendor might only honour it for a limited time - regardless of your choice it's still wise to contact the vendor and inform him of the problem immediately, to make the paperwork easier if nothing else.
      This particular sort of port could not have been damaged in shipping unless there was something plugged into it during transit (ie: poorly packed) *and* the whole package suffered some rough handling or abuse.
      It's quite doubtful that this older device will still have any sort of valid warranty coverage or support from Dell.
    • You might be able to easily do a "quick fix" on it yourself.
      Bent pins can happen all the time on all kinds of connectors, X30 sync ports included. (I'd personally be a little suspicious, since it usually means that somebody either tried to force an improper connection or disconnected one with sudden or excessive force. Maybe ask the vendor about it? If the Axim skittered across the room when somebody tripped on the cord or it fell off the table or something then there might be other damage which is not yet apparent.)
      Using very basic tools (needle-nose pliers, tweezers, or the like; bright light) anybody can carefully bend a misaligned pin back into shape. If yours tools are heated up a little (not hot enough to melt the plastics or solder connections) then you can bend/shape the metal a little easier with less risk of snapping it. It might be easier if you disassemble the entire device first (using a dull "blade" like a credit card edge or somesuch, and some precision screwdrivers: a Phillips #00 or #000 and a Torx T5 or T6), though this might void the vendor's warranty or return policy, if any. If you have some skill, you can even "install" an entirely new pin to replace one that cannot otherwise be salvaged.
      It's always a good idea to clean out any debris, particles, and such while you're at it. Using compressed air, q-tips and bits of cloth or paper. Obviously you don't want to leave any lint or particles in there once you're done.
      You can use an electrical contact cleaner to remove any oxidation or other grime that might be present on the pin surfaces. Pure ("anhydrous", not perfumed or diluted drugstore variety) isopropyl alcohol is quite effective; many products such as DeoxIT or Stabilant-22 are available and I firmly believe they make a great difference (especially on old electrical contacts), though not everyone will agree and these products can be a little expensive for a single small job. In any event you don't want to leave any residue, and be certain everything's thoroughly dry before applying power. Never use water, oils, WD-40, or other agents unless you're confident they're safe for use on electrical contacts.
      Don't rush the work, be patient. You're in no hurry to break the device.
      Don't forget to examine, test, and service (clean up) whatever adapter you plug into this port - it's quite possible the Axim is entirely undamaged but whatever cables or connectors you've been provided no longer function properly. If you can, I'd recommend using a meter to check for (+5V) power flow and continuity along the critical leads while moving or wiggling the wires around from one end to the other. Just as good (if it's an option): try using different cables in your device or using a different X30 with your cables.
    • You can have the port repaired or replaced.
      Damaged sync/charge ports are a somewhat common failure for all mobile devices. Many companies are able to repair or replace this component - check here. I would recommend PPCTechs, $60 for this repair (or $25 for this repair if you have them do anything else, such as an internal RAM upgrade). You may be lucky enough to live near (same city) as a PDA/phone repair company - if this is the case they'll probably be your best (least expensive) choice overall, since you can avoid all charges and delays involving (two-way) shipping/freight, duties, taxes, etc.
      Alternately, you can often simply purchase the sync/charge port part and attempt to do the repair yourself. I don't recommend this route unless you have good soldering skills - remember, you won't save any money at all if you wreck your device.
      You can even forego Dell's ideas about the sync port entirely and simply install a USB mini-B connector; pinouts are easy to find online, but - to be honest - if you have to ask for step-by-step instructions then it's probably best you don't attempt this sort of mod alone.
      You might find that costs of repairs or replacement parts for older devices such as this can add up to more than simply replacing the device with a newer model.
    It appears that you can still gain partial use of your device in any event, although it may suffer from some limitations or intermittent failure.

    I might be wrong, but I believe that all Axim X30 models (including the X30i and perhaps the X3) use the same connectors, thus have interchangable cables, adapters, and other hardware.
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