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How do I restore & maintain firm USB connection?

Last response: in Components
January 26, 2013 1:35:19 PM

I need to insert and remove USB plugs regularly on my new laptop computer. The USB ports fitted to the motherboard are on the sides of the computer - no USB ports at the back. The USB ports on my computer seem to be wearing out, i.e. they do not hold the plugs firmly any more. The fact that the ports are located on the sides of the laptop means that I tend to push against the USB cables while working the keyboard. This results in the connections made by means of the USB cables being intermittently broken. My external hard drive is constantly connected / disconnected due to the loose fitting, the wear on the USB ports. USB plugs are supposed to be inserted and removed as often as needed. I don't understand why a USB connecting device should be so sensitive to wear. Is the USB port+plug a bad idea after all? How do I RESTORE & then MAINTAIN firm USB connection?
January 26, 2013 9:13:25 PM

You can't, once they are enlarged the only way to get them back as they were is opening the notebook and bending them so they take their original form. or change them. (soldering new ones, not recommended)
I'd say you get a USB hub and plug it into "your best usb port" i mean the one that works best (more firm) and use the hub instead.

January 27, 2013 11:08:05 PM

When I bought the new laptop, I also bought a separate USB cable with a plug on the one end and a port on the other end. I inserted the plug of this separate cable into a USB port on the laptop. A USB cable running from a 7-port USB Hub was plugged into the port end of the separate USB cable. My idea was to attach the USB Hub to the computer (and remove it when necessary) without touching the USB port on the computer. I would attach & remove the USB Hub at the port end of the separate cable. The Hub would minimize the number of USB cables attached to my computer. However, these precautions did not protect the USB ports on my computer as I had hoped. The fact that the USB ports are located on the sides of the computer, means that any cable attached to them is the moved around or pressed down while you work the keyboard. Its really a crappy system, especially if you don't have USB ports at the back of the laptop. HOW DO I BEND A USB PORT FIXED TO A MOTHERBOARD TO RESTORE A FIRM GRIP? I would very much like to know.
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January 28, 2013 7:20:05 PM

well every internal usb port has 4 little pieces of metal that lock the usb plugs, 2 of these are below the port and you down have access to those, the other 2 however are on the top, if you can open the notebook you can probably bend those little "brackets" (dunno how to call them lol) a bit and recover some of the grip lost.

Look at this image:

Also if the port loss its rectangular shape bend it so it looks like a perfect rectangle again.

January 29, 2013 1:16:29 AM

Let me join you in thinking through this problem. If it is not bothering hundreds of millions of USB users, then it should be bothering them, because USB plugs and ports are supposed to go in-and-out all the time, and not become dysfunctional because they are used in the way they are supposed to be used.

The best thing to do, I think, is to experiment with a separate USB cable with a plug on the one end, and a port on the other end. Its a bit drastic to starting bending things on the motherboard of a new $1000 laptop computer.

Also, one should note the position of the four contact points (strips of copper) inside the plug and the port. You want these contact "strips" to be pressed together firmly, and at the same time you want to strengthen the overall grip, the male/female embrace, the marriage of plug and port. You don't want the love to end while your hand or wrist moves around on the keyboard and bumps or presses against an attached USB cable.

On both the plug and the port the metal is slit on one of the two broad sides of the rectangular protrusion/opening. There are two "halves" of that broad side (of the plug and port respectively) you can bend. To do so, has no effect. A split ("halved") broad side goes right back to the state it was in before you bent it -- once you insert a USB plug into its corresponding port again.

This means the solid (not-slit, non-halved) broad side must be bent, inward in the case of the port, and inward in the case of the plug as well, I think. This should firm the grip of the two sets of contact "strips" and of the plug and port as such.

Pressing and bending the solid broad side of a USB port fixed or welded to the motherboard is dodgy, to say the least. So the way to go, I think, is to bend the solid broad side of the plug inward. It's easy enough to do that, and to adjust the degree of bending afterwards. Motherboard and USB port left untouched.

Please try this, if you happen to have a USB cable with a plug on the one end and a port on the other end. Let me know what you think.
February 7, 2013 6:27:22 AM

The only way to prevent a USB plug from becoming unstuck or disconnected from a USB port on a laptop computer, in the long run, is to support it so it can't be moved around, especially pressed down, while your hands are moving about on the laptop's keyboard. This is especially important if all USB ports are located on the sides and towards the front of the keyboard, where your hands (and with them your wrists) are working the keys. I am assuming that the laptop is being used on a hard surface, like a desk or table top -- you would not normally connect a printer or an external hard drive while the laptop is actually lying in your lap or on something like a bed. You could push anything (e.g. some cardboard) about 10 mm high (or thick) under the USB plug, depending on the height of the plug when connected to a port. If the plug can't be push down, it won't disconnect.