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You'll have to do a hard reset. Push the reset button, then hold the power button until the Palm Power appear and then release the power button. Next it will ask if you want to erase the data. I hate to said this but select yes. No will not work. Then after the inital set up run a HotSync.
I have a similar problem but I can't turn the GPS off at all, even when the antenna is down. As far as the power on/off cycle, I found another link on this site that said to turn off WAAS while the GPS is off then when you turn it on the unit will not power cycle continuously. You loose the WAAS feature but the GPS and unit still works.
I had losts of lock ups when flipping on the GPS - almost ready to get rid of the Garmin IQUE 3600 since it hasn't worked well for over a year. Sometimes it works a short time with the GPS; other times it was instant lock up when searching for satellites.
I took many steps to isolate the issue, and then added complexity to the equation: update to r6 (no change), hard reset, no user data on IQ3600 during testing, use only internal drive, only use basemap lite on internal drive, only use 1 local city on internal drive, load other maps on external card. Each time I went outside and flipped on the GPS to see if that was affecting the lock up.
Then I played with the GPS settings. The factor that seems to solve the issue: TURN OFF WAAS - it is intended to improve accuracy to 9 ft but it seems to have a bug.
Palm OS Release 5.2.1r6
GPS lock up crash bug
The first problem with it powering itself off is a battery problem. Your battery is not hold a charge.
The second problem with it powering itself on with the power cord attached is a power cord issue. The unit is suppose to automatically power itself on if a power cord is attached to it. This is Garmin way of turning the unit on when you start your car. Most auto cigarette lighter will cut power if the ignition is off, and restore power when the ignition is on.
Garmin uses this to turn the unit on and off. If the unit was being powered by the the cigarette lighter then it say unit is shutting down in 20 seconds after the power is cut.
May be a hardware issue. I had similar behavior when I replaced my IQue 3600's battery. If the circuitboard inside wasn't seated properly on the contacts coming from the battery, the iQue would keep rebooting.
Start by checking that all the external screws are snug (but not over-tight). If not, you can try to open the case to check the two screws inside holding the circuit board. But I'll leave that up to you, since I can't honestly guarantee that you're experiencing the same problem. (After all, you seem to be sure that it has something to do with the software...and you may be right.)