How to save PDA data on Battery Switch
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Thread: How to save PDA data on Battery Switch

  1. #1
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    Post How to save PDA data on Battery Switch

    Hey All,

    Everyone know's I'm a handheld addict, but recently my battery operated palm has decided to show some wear and tear. Now when I switch the batteries, the internal backup power source (the capacitor) doesn't hold a 60 second charge and all data is lost until the next hotsync. Here's a little guide to help this little headache.


    How to Secure PDA Data on Battery Switch
    (Palm OS only)

    It comes a time when battery (external) operated PDA devices lose their ability to contain a "safety charge" when switching batteries (usually up to 60 seconds). This is a combersome problem because some of us leave on long trips, wanting to keep whatever software and information we've retained on our handhelds. (ie: travel plans and maps, contact info, and more importantly, time killing games )

    What causes this?
    Most PDAs with external power sources have inside a little power chip called the capacitor. Usually, this little device will hold a charge of up to 60 seconds to allow you to change your batteries and keep your data. But, it seems that this little thing doesn't have a long life span. Some user's have even reported fault in a few months time (some lucky, within their warranty time) Either the capacitor becomes faulty, disconnected or abscent (has happened)

    (note: PDA's Don't have little hardrives inside. They have a RAM chip that works like a normal computers RAM sticks. Power is gone, data is too!)

    What to do?
    Well unlike what Palm.com or other sites will suggest, changing one battery at a time will not save your data. So are you at loss to have to re-sync everytime you change batteries?

    Well, you may not like the answer, but yes (unless you're lucky and have a smartcard slot and a free smartcard for backups.)

    So while this is really bothersome to have to hotsync everytime you change your batterie, reset your categories, reset your settings, you can, however, make it less painful.

    How?
    First thing is to do a hotsync before the battery switch. This will ensure you lose no information, changes, etc.

    (note: make sure the batteries have enough charge for the hotsync. Some data could become corrupt if hotsync is cancelled abruptly!)

    Next thing you want to do is download a program called SyncALL (by Sebastian Laiblin) This little program will run in the background of your PDA, ensuring that everything is backed-up in proper order.
    SyncAll sets the backup-bits of all databases every time
    you switch on your palm (needs <1 second). This causes the
    HotSync to really save all (!) your databases.
    Another thing is to purchase a cheap laptop and hotsync with it to save data (useful for long trips)

    Palm has been addressed this problem but has done nothing to rectify it, but simply dismissed it as a "wear and tear" of the PDA devices.

    Last Minute Info
    I've heard word of someone using "back-up batteries" which he connects two wire to the PDA contacts to continue the voltage while switching batteries. A little risky, but I guess anything is worth trying for data safety! (MacGyver!)

    Sources:
    Forum @ PalmBlvd.com
    Palm Apps @ Laiblin

  2. #2
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    For those wondering, this pertains only to PDAs with AAA batteries that must be replaced. Internal batteries are charged whenever placed in the cradle.

    The most common models of Palm for this is model m100 to m125 (or m130?)

    I'm not sure if the Zire falls in this category.

    (A couple of people were asking)

    Also, FlashRoms only begin to be used in the m500 & mIII/V series (I believe)

    (Which is why older palms cannot update their OS. ie: m100 PalmOS 3.5 to PalmOS 4 or 5)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    This is all to difficult, it is far more easy to do a sync with a linux box, I use pilot link and it completely backs up my entire system, every single application I install is backed up.
    I use a Visor Platinum that needs 2 AAA batteries, I just do a full backup at night, drop the batteries in a recharger and in the morning restore the system.

    Cost? 0$

    And it takes juest a few minutes.

  4. #4
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    It costs nothing for the program mentioned above.

    The problem with PalmOS is that it doesn't remember certain database entries like categories, default entries are replaced and whatnot.

    A Hotsync backs everything up, just not how you left it (order wise)

    This issue is only when the capacitor has lost it's ability to hold a (safety) charge when swapping batteries.

    It your case, I'll be doing similar now, now that I use this program to keep everything in tact

  5. #5
    The Lizard King SarinMage's Avatar
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    heres an trick i used to do

    use one of the programs (i forget which one) to copy the ENTIRE palm to a .ROM file, replace the batteries, then reflash the palm with the .ROM file... it always worked for me

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