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USB frying devices (!?)


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#1 Schubie

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:49 AM

Hello!

 

I believe my USB slots have destroyed some of my devices! It started with a flash memory stick malfunctioning, with most of the files becoming unusable. I was able to re-format it and I have used it for the last few days without a recurring problem. But I thought it weird.

 

Secondly, my trusty music player, which I've used for over 5 years without a problem, died. I assumed it was because of its age and heavy usage, and decided to buy a new one to replace it. It's absolutely dead.

 

I was a bit slow to put the pieces together, but after quick google searches, I see that other people have claimed that their USB itself is responsible. This would make sense, since I used the same front-of-desktop USB slot for all of these destroyed devices.

 

Why is this so, and what can I do to prevent it from happening? This isn't a new build. I've been using the computer for 5 years.

 

Thanks...


Edited by Schubie, 01 March 2014 - 11:09 PM.


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#2 bludshot

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 09:07 AM

You could try a powered usb hub. Then you don't have to worry about the PC frying your stuff.



#3 Schubie

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:56 PM

Thanks for the reply. I'll read up on the hubs.

 

Any idea why this is happening?



#4 bludshot

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 11:52 PM

At this point my best guess is that it's a coincidence. That the old music player died simply because it was old, and that the thumb drive had problems because for example you were unplugging it while it was still doing things.

 

You could check inside the computer. USB front jacks have a wire that go to them, and the other end of the wire has a plug that plugs into the motherboard. It looks similar to this:

 

2012-03-25_212254_figure14.jpg

 

You could check to make sure it's fully plugged in there and not loose. But, I almost wouldn't really bother. Because the only way to test if the front usb ports are really killing devices is to kill some more devices and that's expensive. Even if it was a coincidence I'd probably just stop trusting those ports, and get a powered usb hub to put up on my desk, ideally plugged into one of the rear usb ports.



#5 Schubie

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 12:41 AM

I would accept the idea that it's a coincidence if it wasn't for the fact that the 3rd, brand new device was fried soon after purchase. This makes me think that something is wrong, and, like you say, waiting for it to happen again is probably foolish. I did, by the way, check the wiring, and the connectors were pushed all the way in.

 

If I do go ahead and get the powered USB hub, would that be a guarantee against it happening again, or could the computer/USB conceivably damage the devices through the hub as well?

 

Thanks for your time.



#6 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 01:17 AM

is it just one USB port, or all of them? are they slots on the motherboard, or ones plugged into the motherboard header-and if so have you tried it on a different header? If the USB port is overvolting and frying things, a powered USB hub would not fix the problem-you would simply fry the hub instead of the device. Its better to locate exactly what is causing the overvoltage.

 

Also, all these devices that fried-when plugged in, were they all sitting at the same place? like on some carpet or another power source, something that could have fried them without the computers help?


Edited by the_patriot11, 02 March 2014 - 01:19 AM.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#7 bludshot

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:05 AM

Oh, yeah I didn't clearly understand that the 3rd device got fried. Yeah I'd say the usb port is frying stuff then, unless like patriot suggests, you are doing some other common thing with the devices, like sitting them all on a giant magnet :P

 

 

If the USB port is overvolting and frying things, a powered USB hub would not fix the problem-you would simply fry the hub instead of the device.

 

Well, yeah, but that's a huge improvement :P

 

Patriot's idea to plug the front usb's into a different header on the motherboard is decent, however you might not have any other headers, and the other header could have the same problem. I would recommend never using the front ports again, and, probably disconnecting them from the motherboard while you're at it, (to deactivate them so no one will use them again).

 

I can't guarantee that a powered usb hub would stop this from happening again, however, if it was me, I would feel fully confident plugging a powered usb into the *back* of the PC. Not down by the PCI slots if you have extra usb ports there, because those are attached to the motherboard the same way as the front ports;  but up by all the other ports for stuff like the keyboard and network etc - the USB ports that are directly on the motherboard.

 

You've never had any problems with those usb ports frying anything. Btw, a non-powered hub wouldn't be good enough in my opinion because then you may not get enough power to charge the things you plug into it. If the back ports also fry things, which I doubt, then I'd say 99% the worst case scenario is your hub gets fried. I can't see it going through the hub and still frying the devices.



#8 OldPhil

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:58 AM

Before doing anything else I would check the voltage on the ports, I have not run into a voltage condition but anything is possible.  High voltage could cause issues, you buy or make a tester.  If you want to make one you will need to sacrifice a cable, I would cut it about 10" from the mail end strip the wires back the securely separate them so you don't cause other problems.  Separating is very easy spread the ends on masking tape, then lay another piece on top.  The port supplies 5 volts + or - a faction a needles width on an analog meter, on a digital it should be no more that .025 + or - off from 5 volts any variation above will cause problems.


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#9 Schubie

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 12:57 PM

Thanks to you all for your responses to this issue. @OldPhil: I appreciate your detailed suggestion and keep in it mind.

 

@patriot / @bludshot

 

I can't be sure if it's all or just one/two of the USB ports that are problematic. I was only using the front ones for my portable devices. I have my mouse and keyboard plugged into 2 of the four rear USB slots, and I have had no problems with those, as far as I know.

 

The devices were sitting on top of the desktop, while they were plugged into the front USB slots. I have been keeping things here for years without any problem, so I doubt this is an issue. The front USB ports were apparently plugged into a header on the motherboard, because I unplugged two cables from the 2 (of 4) F_USB headers that were being used and the front USB switches (and the flash card reader, of which they are a part) stopped working. The back ones, however, are still working. There aren't wires/cables running from the tiny silver boxes where the back USB switches are located, so I am assuming that they are a physical part of the motherboard.

 

Some photos I took when the case was open:

 

2nrq1si.jpg

 

28ldv9i.jpg

 

 

The first pic shows the silver boxes housing the USB ports in the back of the machine. The second pic shows where the front USB stuff was apparently hooked up. The unplugged wire is a 1394 cord that I wasn't using, so I unplugged. After I took these pics, I also unplugged the black and the white wires, which were plugged into the "USB 1" and "USB 2" headers. Doing this effectively killed the functionality of the front panel. (Pardon me if I'm overexplaining--I don't usually open up computer cases and don't know much). 

 

So this is where I stand now. In your opinions, is this a safer way to move forward, by using the remaining back USB ports, perhaps with a powered USB hub? In other words, is a power problem I've experienced in the front likely to also occur in the back?

 

THANKS...hope to put this issue to rest soon.


Edited by Schubie, 02 March 2014 - 12:59 PM.


#10 mjd420nova

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 02:44 PM

The first thing I'd check was the voltage on the USB port.  It is possible that something has happened to the interface chip and is burning the devices.  What I suspect is a bad shorted USB port connector.  This would be the one you use the most.  A meter will reveal all.  Not a chance of overvoltage as it would affect the entire machine and not just the ports.



#11 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 04:38 PM

your rear ones run off their own hub, so if you have no issues with them, then leave them alone (you can get a USB hub with a USB extension, and hook to the rear ones and run the hub up front and solve your problem that way) but you can also test your voltages if you have a volt meter.

 

Some other things to try, I notice you have 3 USB hubs on your motherboard, plug the front USB port cable into one of the others. Also, follow the wiring between the motherboard to the front USB ports and make sure its not grounding out somewhere-no bare or loose wires, etc.


picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#12 Schubie

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:01 PM

Since I have unhooked the front USB connectors, and the back ones are still working, I'll just leave them disconnected: I'll just deal with the miniscule inconvenience until I get a powered hub up and running.

Thanks for your continued attention.



#13 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 08:26 PM

not a problem. You can also find front USB ports that fit in 5.25 and 3.5 inch bays that plug into your motherboard headers-I would imagine the problem is with the actual USB ports themselves and not the motherboard headers, theyre usually pretty cheap and they would give you front USB ports.


picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#14 Schubie

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:13 PM

Thanks, I'll keep that information in mind as well. Whether these actions act as an effective barrier will soon be tested.



#15 bludshot

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:28 PM

In your opinions, is this a safer way to move forward, by using the remaining back USB ports, perhaps with a powered USB hub?

 

Yes

 

is a power problem I've experienced in the front likely to also occur in the back?

 

No

 

Also, patriot's idea of a new front bay seems decent.






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