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FilmHelp: Dead battery in Alphasmart Dana crashes entire unit

Another hypertechnical FilmHelp article from Greg Pak
I recently acquired a used Alphasmart Dana (original AA series, 8 mb memory) that wouldn’t start up. Since these machines are all solid state and are built for abuse, I highly suspected that the problem was just a dead battery. But when I plugged the Dana in via USB or via an AC adaptor, the machine still wouldn’t start up. The closest I got was the Palm logo briefly flickering across the screen, even when I tried both soft and hard resetting the unit.
Finally I removed the battery and inserted a charged battery from my working Dana. And the new Dana started up immediately! I was able to reset the unit, and from that point on it was able to work with either the AC adapter or with three AA batteries.
But when I reinserted the dead battery (in hopes of charging it), the machine froze again and wouldn’t start up — even when plugged into the wall. It required a hard resetting to function properly again.
My final test was to try the dead battery out on my working Dana. The result was the same — the Dana froze up and had to be hard reset to function again.
Conclusion? A dead battery can cause an Alphasmart Dana to crash. Recovery may require a hard resetting, which wipes out any added data, returning the machine to its factory presets.

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