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My MAC laptop slipped off a hassock onto the floor while writing data to a thumb drive, and it hit the carpet thumb-drive-first. In fact, the thumb drive may have broken the fall and prevented damage to the laptop, which seems OK. The thumb drive's USB connection was bent and the plastic case was partly popped open on one side, but the impact wasn't all that severe. I snapped the thumb drive case back together, straightened the USB connector, and after cold-booting the computer I tried to re-mount the thumb drive to see if it was still alive. It draws power and the light blinks, but it does not mount.

I would appreciate possible answers to two questions.

1) Is there any risk of messing up the laptop by sticking a probably damaged thumb drive into a USB port?
2) Given that the thumb drive seems physically intact and draws power, does it sound as if it might be fairly easily salvaged? I don't solder and there is nobody I can ask for in-person technical help with this, so it would have to be a solution I could manage solo.

Many thanks for any comments or advice.

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The light that is blinking, did this light previously attempt to display activity? If Yes, then the light is probably from the controller. It would indicate that the controller is working still. Serial data uses 2 lines one specific for input, and one specific for output? So is the computer trying to communicate with the device, or is the device trying to communicate with the computer? On some flash stuff here I connected to JUST power they do not light the data light. Putting my guess right along with what Anthony Shaw guessed. it is possible that one serial line is broken. – Psycogeek Dec 30 '11 at 18:55

My guess is it broke a data connection from the usb to the internal board.

It shouldn't cause any damage to your laptop, unless it were to have shorted out something electrical that would cause a surge to go back through usb into your laptop. My guess is this didn't happen, I would expect a surge would cause the motherboard to immediately shut your laptop down.

You might try opening the thumb drive plastic shield and inspect for broken solder points. It wouldn't be that difficult to attempt to resolder the point if there were one broken, likely just have to melt the solder enough to "jump" it back over.

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If you do this, just make sure the solder doesn't short between two connectors (i.e. don't let the solder touch anything it wasn't already touching) – horatio Dec 30 '11 at 18:47

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