Windows 95/98/2000, Mac
Do you know what I hate…? Running out of serial ports and AC outlets. Yeah,
I know, that’s a crazy thing to hate. But when you have as many PDAs, gadgets
and doohickeys as I do, it’s a major feat to find a free serial port and a free
for them. I’m constantly crawling under my computer desk to pull out the charger
for gadget A so that I can charge gadget B. So, when I found the Palm V USB
hotsync + charger cable in my mailbox from Brando,
I was happy as a clam.
This cable solves two of my main problems. Number one, I don’t need a serial
port to plug it into. It uses USB. And number two, it draws power from the USB
port thus not needing a AC outlet. Totally convenient.
The first thing that you have to do before using this cable is to install the
driver software which comes on a mini CD. Once the driver is installed, you can
go into the hotsync setup preferences on your desktop and switch the Serial port to the newly enabled COM3
port. So, if you haven’t already guessed, this cable won’t give you true USB
fast syncing… It gives you a new serial port that is accessed thru USB, but
doesn’t require a separate IRQ.
Installation was simple. I did run into a problem with my PC though. When I
have the cable connected, my PC won’t boot up. It gets stuck on the Windows 98
logo screen. If I unplug the cable, booting resumes. This is probably something
specific to my setup though as I have had other USB wackiness in the past.
The cable is about 5.4 feet (1.7 meters) long with a USB connector on one end
and a Palm V clip-on connector on the other end. A few inches below the Palm V
connector is an oval shaped module. This module has the hotsync button / charger
LED and separate TX and RX LEDs.
The hotsync button is green and has a green LED in the middle of it. It
remains on at all times regardless if a PDA is attached or not. I think it
would be better if it remained on only while charging and turned off once a full
charged was reached.
The TX and RX LEDs are red and blink during hotsync to indicate data
transfer. This is cute but I don’t think it is necessary or makes the product
What about syncing speed? Well, I did a few tests comparing the speed of
syncing with this USB cable as opposed to a regular serial cable and a Visor
Prism via USB. Here are my results:
|Palm V and
|Palm V and
|Visor Prism and
|Time to sync a
|~ 2.5 mins||~ 2.5 mins||~ 45 sec|
As you can see, the syncing times for serial and this USB cable were the
same. So, don’t buy this cable thinking it will speed up your hotsyncs. Buy this
cable if you want a easier way to connect to your PC and don’t have an extra AC
adapter. It is also a nice travel option for people that already have a notebook
PC with a USB port.
Sync and charge thru one USB connection
Charge LED doesn’t turn off when done charging