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Hi so I think the USB ports on the front of my desktop PC are eating all the devices that are plugged in.

(I've found with a couple of USB disks I put at the start of the year, were then unusable on any device after wards).

  1. If this is the case, what's likely to be the problem, and how do I fix it?

  2. What would a good, simple way to diagnose the problem be? I'm a bit scared to put any of my USB devices in, because that sounds expensive. (I'm thinking I might look out for some cheap old disks).

Solved: Had plugged the USB connector in to the 1394 header, instead of the USB header.

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Shameless product promotion... passmark.com/products/usb2loopback.htm –  Aki Oct 30 '12 at 8:45
    
Your are right, there is no shame in that, lol –  Moab Oct 30 '12 at 17:41
    
@Moab - No sorry, that was a typo. Just the one PC. –  user1068446 Oct 30 '12 at 21:48
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It might be because someone plugged the internal USB connectors to the wrong pins on the motherboard (and that means the wrong voltage goes to the wrong place...). There should be written "USB" on the motherboard itself near those pins.

Helpful picture from google

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I did that once, it let smoke out from the motherboard when I connected a device. Most of the newer usb pin headers and connectors are aggie proof, they can only go on one way. –  Moab Oct 30 '12 at 17:41
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Yip, the trouble was plugged the USB connector into the 1394 header. –  user1068446 Nov 3 '12 at 0:43
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There's lots of possible causes, but if it was software related, it probably wouldn't happen over time.

Most probably, problems with the power, try getting ahold of something to measure the output voltage & current. It should be ~500-700 mA @ 5V, but given a bad enough PSU, both could fluctuate and wear out whatever you plug in.

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Use a bright flashlight and look into the usb ports, look for damaged contacts (gold strips in pictures below) or foreign objects. I would stop using them until you know for sure what is wrong.

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