In my article Damaged Laptop USB Port, I wrote about Raymond’s problem with a broken USB port in his laptop.
Several subscribers posted helpful comments in my Terry’s Computer Tips blog, so hopefully Raymond saw them. But, just in case, and so that others can learn from these reader’s sharing of ideas, let’s look at those comments.
First, B.A. McCullough wrote to say:
I would think your machine has more than one USB connection, and if it does just get a USB hub and you won’t have to worry about the one bad connection, and can infact increase the number of connectors available for use..
You’re absolutely correct — especially in today’s world, USB connectors are used so much that even the netbooks have multiple USB ports.
Thanks for catching that issue. I had addressed it earlier in my reponse to Raymond, but didn’t mention it in the article. It’s a good and valid point that I should have mentioned. The repair or replacement options are really only necessary if he did not have another USB port or if the USB control chip had been knocked out by the damage.
The latter is possible, but is seldomly a separate chip any more; it’s combined into one of the other control chips (the Southbridge chip) on the motherboard.
Then, Rohn wrote to say:
re broken usb:
There is a cheaper option than trying to DIY a fix or sending it to the shop. As you pointed out, fixing laptops isn’t cheap.
The other option to consider is a USB hub. Unless it is a relatively old “low powered” laptop, it is almost a certainty that the laptop has 2 or more USB ports. If he is down to only 1 now all he has to do is buy a USB hub for $10-20 and he will be back up to 4 or even 7 USB ports. More than enough.
USB devices can be chained together, up to 7 deep if I remember correctly. The main trick is to make sure that he buys a USB hub that includes an external power supply so that if any of the devices plugged into the hub draw their power from the USB port, like thumb drives, the power draw won’t exceed capacity of the single USB port on the laptop.