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My computer has a USB port that appears to be too loose, with attached devices exhibiting too much play where the USB plug is inserted into the port. The port still works, as devices continue to communicate correctly when attached to this port. The port itself is tightly attached to the computer chassis. Should I attempt to tighten the port? Is it at risk of eventually failing?

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I have a USB port where the plastic lip in the centre broke out, it still works, although connectors are a bit loose now of course. –  Baarn Sep 8 '12 at 21:50

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would say most likely no. if the phisical housing is still soundly attached to the case as your description sounds like. then the only thing I think of is that the center plastic tab that holds the metal connectors is missing/broken. If it is missing that ports effectivly dead you will need to either replace the part that the usb is attached to [daughter card or systemboard depending on model]

if you happen to still have the plastic tab or it hasen't fallen out yet it MIGHT be possible to glue it in place again but the chances of getting a perfect fit like is needed are low.

If you continue to use it with no plastic tab to keep the pins straight they will short out at some time which can cause any thing from the pc not booting to loss of just that port. If it starts causing reboots due to shorting even bumping the table could cause you to loose important data.

a picture of the broken port would help explain the situation better.

heres the best image I could find for the purpose.

Usb port Behind the white rim is a metal housing which is where the port acually begins. if that housing is attached to the pc and not bent out of shape it should hold the usb devices well. the White tab shown with the 5 pins is what actually makes contact electrically. which you said was intact. Since you say that is in place the only thing left would be the springs at the bottom of the image. They could have been bent out of shape or flattened. it might be possible to use a paper clip or a dental pick to slide under them and bring them back to tension. if they were flattened though it is likely they wont stay springy for long since they are so tiny you will be hard pressed to find a spongy/springy material to slide under them to keep the tension.

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The plastic tab is still intact and is not loose. –  DragonLord Sep 10 '12 at 14:37
    
Any other possible reasons? I tried to tighten the outside housing of the port, and while devices now snap and hold tighter in the port, the connector still wobbles excessively. –  DragonLord Sep 10 '12 at 17:41
    
I just checked the affected port against known good ports, and the metal springs both at the inside top and bottom of the port are indeed responsible. –  DragonLord Sep 11 '12 at 3:39
    
Just adjusted the springs, and it is no longer loose. –  DragonLord Sep 11 '12 at 4:04

Clean these ports with petrol. Sometimes edges gets covered by some black colored thing. Locally we call it that carbon has covered the contact points due to which ports are not working.

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Welcome muddsar, can you provide some more knowledge behind this? It would maybe helpful for others. –  nixda Dec 30 '12 at 18:20

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