Archives » February 3rd, 2005

February 3, 2005

PalmConnect USB

I just had some trouble hooking up a Palm VIIx using the PalmConnect serial-to-USB converter, so I wanted to jot down my experiences with it so maybe they’ll help someone else.

The Palm VIIx comes with a cradle that can only plug into a serial port. But if you have a laptop or Macintosh or other computer with no serial port, you’ve got to find a way to plug it in via USB. That’s what this little device does, convert the serial to USB. And suck $30 out of your pocket while it’s at it. But that would be okay if it was simple to use. The problem is that this little bastard is extremely picky, and it will only work on its own very specific terms.

The first time I plugged it in, Windows XP recognized it and installed drivers for it with no problem. But it wouldn’t hotsync. I got nothing. So I went to the supplied CD, found some Windows 2000 drivers, and “updated” to the older drivers. This changed it from being called a “Palm Handheld” in Device Manager to a “PalmConnect USB Adapter”. So that seemed to be an improvement, now that it was being called what it really was. But already this was turning out to be more steps than it should.

And still it wouldn’t hotsync.

So, after much Googling I found this page, where at the bottom it suggests reinstalling the Palm Desktop software. But—here’s the key, apparently—when you upgrade from the version 3.x that came with the Palm to the version 4.x that’s available now, make sure to install the 4.x in a different directory than the 3.x. I did this by installing 3.x, running the 4.x setup, and then halfway through the 4.x setup using Windows Explorer to change the 3.x folder name to something else. Palm Desktop 4.x installed just fine, and, wonders of wonders, I finally got a hotsync.

Should it be this difficult? No. Should they charge you $30 for the privelege of jumping through this many hoops? No. While researching for this post I found the Amazon page for the PalmConnect. You can’t buy it new, but there are plenty of third-party new and used ones available. But the real eye-opener comes on the comments page, where there are 75 comments, each one mentioning how they had a problem setting it up or have had problems after installation. Sounds like a junky piece of crap to me, and it’s too bad there isn’t anything else you can buy to do the same function. It’s also too bad that I have one at my office now, and I’m going to be the one fixing it when it goes ass-up.


I read in the local paper that the Wendy’s burger joint in Minden has closed. Driven out of business by a lack of business. This fast food place, right next door to the high school, was where I had my first job, and it’s also where Viola and I met. So that’s a little bit of personal history that’s up for sale.

The Denny’s down the street was bought by some locals a couple of years ago and reopened as Danny’s. So maybe this means someone will buy the Wendy’s and open up Wanda’s Burgers.

Or maybe not.