February 26, 2017

What to Do if Your Treo Smartphone Won’t Charge

If your Treo won’t charge, try these:

  • Check that there is nothing blocking the connection in the charger port.
  • Get a new battery, especially if your battery is more than a year old or is bulging.
  • Check your outlet and charger to make sure the problem isn’t in them.
  • If you need an operating charger port on the phone, you can see about getting it fixed, but…
  • If you simply need your battery charged, get a couple spare batteries and a battery charger designed specifically for Treo batteries and <em>not</em> one designed to be universally compatible with multiple battery types.

I own an ancient Palm Treo 650. I could upgrade, but I rather like my phone and it’s still working fine. The only problem is that the charger port doesn’t work, even with brand new batteries.

Your first step is to check that there is nothing in the little charger port hole on the phone that could be blocking the connection, such as lint from your pockets! Then, check your battery. If the battery is a year old or more or when you pull it out of the phone you notice it’s bulging, it’s time to order a new battery. If those aren’t the issue, then you should double-check that the outlet you have your charger plugged into isn’t bad. Try the charger in an outlet you know is good (check it first with a lamp or other device). If you have access to a couple of different chargers, check that it’s not just your charger. If none of those are the issue, it’s likely to be the charger port on the phone that’s the problem.

Looking around online, I’ve discovered this is a common problem for the Palm Treos. Apparently the port is just not as rugged as the rest of the phone. For a while, we had a couple of spares lying around, one of which still had a decent charger port, so I was using those and switching out batteries. Then my daughter had a phone stolen and reclaimed her old Treo– the one with the working charge port. A couple weeks into us trying to manage to keep two phones charged with only one phone charging while on very different schedules left me looking for other options.

Now, there are places you can get parts, but fixing this involves a lot more delicate work than most of us are prepared to do or paying someone else a lot more money and dealing with a lot more inconvenience than it’s worth. I decided instead, to get a battery charger that charged the battery directly rather than plugging into my phone.

Here’s what I bought first.

Universal Battery Charger for Li-Ion or Ni-MH Batteries

A spring clip holds two metal prongs against the battery's terminal contacts

There are several universal chargers like this one the market, all intended to recharge Li-Ion and Ni-MH batteries that are found in most cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, digital cameras, and handheld game systems. For most applications, these are great, based on the reviews I’ve seen.

The problem was, it didn’t work on my Treo batteries. They simply wouldn’t charge no matter what I tried.

My husband, mystified, got out his battery tester and ran a series of tests on four separate Treo batteries and discovered that the problem is that the batteries have more than one positive terminal that needs to be connected to, to charge. The universal chargers only have two prongs– one for positive and one for negative. So, it was back to the drawing boards– or, in this case, Google– to see if there were other options.

That’s when I found this on eBay:

Battery charger designed specifically for Treo batteries

This charger is designed to only charge Treo batteries

Showing the prongs that attach to the battery terminals

As you can see, it has multiple prongs that attach to the battery terminals

The box identifies it as a Yiboyuan Universal battery Charge with USB Output with a separate sticker that says it’s for Palm 650/680/690/750, though the brand name wasn’t in the listing. The listing I ordered from came with 2 new batteries for $10.95. This has been a lifesaver for me.

It does take some time to charge the battery and, of course, the battery isn’t in your phone while it’s charging, so you do want to be sure you have extra batteries! Also, be sure you turn your phone on after putting in a new battery. Some don’t automatically come on. With the Treo on, look up in the corner where it shows the number of bars you have. If there’s nothing there (not even the little antenna symbol), then, with the phone still on, press and hold your on-off key. This will turn your phone on and you’ll be ready to go with a fresh, fully-charged battery!

Moral of this story: If you’ve eliminated all the other possibilities and are looking for a battery charger for a Treo battery, get one specifically designed for Treo batteries rather than one that will supposedly charge almost any battery for an electronic device.

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