Hack 54. Repair Worn Contacts
If you sync too much, you can wear out the contacts on your Palm device. This hack shows how to repair these contacts.
If you sync your Palm device via a cradle or USB cable, then it is possible to sync too much. The mechanical connections on your PDA can be worn away by repeatedly connecting and disconnecting from the cradle or cable.
Even if you have a wired connection, you should be fine unless you sync every day for several years. You don't need to sync that frequently, unless you are either updating data on your Palm device that often or you are getting daily downloads of information (such as web sites, music, or video).
If you do sync enough that you wear off the contacts, there may be something you can do. Note that opening up your Palm will probably void your warranty, but by the time this happens, your warranty will have most likely expired anyway.
The first step is to get access to the connectors. On some devices, such as the Handspring Visor, this is trivial because the connectors are easily accessible without removing the cover, as you can see in Figure 8-5.
On other devices you will have to remove the cover, as shown in Figure 8-6.
Figure 8-5. Comparing access to connectors
Figure 8-6. Removing the cover
This may require a special screwdriver (such as a mini Phillips or a Torx T5), again depending on which device you have. Specialty screwdrivers can usually be found at electronics stores. With the cover removed, you should see something like Figure 8-7.
Figure 8-7. Cover removed
Once you have access to the connectors, you need to inspect them for signs of wear, as you can see in Figure 8-8. If there are obvious signs of wear or holes in the connectors, then you might be able to fix them.
There are pens you can buy at your local electronics store that draw out conductive lines (e.g., the Circuit Writer Pen). Take one of these pens and fill in any worn spots on the connectors, as shown in Figure 8-9. Be careful using these pens because they contain lead and a solvent. Work in a well-ventilated area and clean up carefully afterwards.
When the conductive mixture has dried, reassemble your device and try syncing it. If everything worked, you should be able to sync. If not, maybe it's time for a replacement Palm [Hack #50].
Figure 8-8. Signs of wear on the contacts
Figure 8-9. Repairing the contacts