01-12-2016 08:20 AM
Hi there! My name is Todd. This is support for a desktop computer.
Computer Case with Built-in USB Ports on the front:
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
Yesterday, I noticed that one of my USB ports is not working. It doesn't matter what you plug into it, the computer does not recognize anything, whether it's a USB stick, a card reader, headphones, or a camera. The USB port next to it runs perfectly fine. So do the other USB ports on the back of the computer, which support the mouse, keyboard, and WiFi.
Interestingly, if you plug in a USB stick that lights up on connection, it lights up just fine. However, I don't hear the "Ding" sound effect that I always hear when connecting things into USB ports. Also, if you go to Windows Explorer, no device shows up for that port.
I'm lost and I don't know what to do. Recently, the port was cleaned using compressed air by a very knowledgeable computer user, who is also employed as some kind of computer support tech guy. The person also cleaned the inside of the desktop with compressed air, including the motherboard. No other problems have occurred since then, except for the USB port not working.
I called the person on the phone, and they believed that water in the air may have gathered inside it. He suggested taking a USB stick that I didn't care about and plugging it into the USB port 20-30 times to see if that would clean out any water. So I unplugged all of the electricity, and slowly and carefully did what he said. However, there was no change.
Replacing the computer is not an option. It was custom built, has high end parts, and cost me a pretty penny. The person that helped me suggested replacing the USB port if it continued not to work. Despite that I built my own desktop computer, I don't know how to replace this particular USB port, because it is built into the case.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
01-12-2016 11:55 AM
Interesting. Was is compressed air from an Air Compressor or from a Can? Compressed air from a compressor should never be used as your friend said it can/will contain water and it may contain oil.
This is a suggestion only. Doing so is on you.
use a good light source and look in the USB opening and see if there are any particals lodged in there.
Get a really small cue tip and try to clean the inside of the usb terminal with a little bit of isopropyl alchol. It seems to me the compressed air may have lodged a partical in the opening and it is causing your USB device to not make enough of a proper connection to transfer data, despite the fact it is getting power.
01-12-2016 02:36 PM
I’m in absolute agreement with bobberuchi. Definitely look into the port for any particles or heavy dust that may be obstructing any pin. Also be on the lookout for any green oxidation on the pins, as this is usually an indication of liquid contact. I doubt there is anything internally wrong with your system, as front-end USB ports on cases usually share a motherboard header. In your case since the other port is functioning normally, your board or header are likely not the problem
I did also check Antec’s parts page, and they do sell the front end module for the Nine Hundred, though it looks like it’s currently out of stock. Seeing as that is a single enclosed module, you would definitely need to pull out a soldering iron if you ended up needing to replace the port indvidually and couldn’t just replace the module. Another thing to remember is that custom cases allow for lots of options and customization. You definitely don’t have to replace the computer, and you can quite easily add additional USB ports in one of your front 5.25” bays with a combo reader like this one.
Let us know how it goes, and feel free to ask if you have any other questions.
01-17-2016 05:51 PM
01-19-2016 10:16 AM
Thank you for the suggestions.
Well, I looked into the USB port with a flash light. I didn't notice anything strange. I have yet to try the alcohol. I'm not sure if there's any in the house.
However, I do have another question. If, in the end, I can't fix this on my own, can I take my tower to Best Buy and have them fix it? I can't stand the idea of permanetly losing my USB port. And, if yes, how much would something like this cost? Say to replace the port?
01-19-2016 03:31 PM
how many other USB ports do you have? Certainly Geek Squad can take a look at if for you and I am not 100% on the prices but it may cost you a bit, even though it is something as simple as a USB drive.
Now this is a stretch, but it could be that the compressed air may have partially knocked the connector off the USB, just enough left to power up the drive but not enough to transfer data
01-22-2016 11:09 AM
I have 7 or 8 USB ports total: 2 on the front and 5 or 6 on the back.
I use the USB ports on the back for my mouse, keyboard, WiFi, and a storage device.
The 2 in front, I have always made heavy use of. I often have my drawing tablet plugged into the front with a USB stick that has artwork on it. Lately, I've been using the front ports for a USB headset and a card reader. However, with only one front USB port working, that seriously messes up my usual usage. So, yeah, I do make a lot of use of them. That's why it upsets me so much. It's so hard to get to the back, because I have a wall in my way.
Is Geek Squad some kind of tech people that work for Best Buy?
01-23-2016 10:05 AM
Geek Squad is the name of Best Buy's official tech service program offering diagnostics, in store repair, training and more. You can see all they have to offer at http://www.geeksquad.com/
Some thoughts I had. There are some models of USB hubs with an amplifier plug so it gets plenty of power. The bad news is that the included cords are often short and do not provide enough length to access them. The good news however is that these cables are replaceable and you can often get a longer cable for not too much, that way you can have something in the front to plug in without opening up your tower.
01-23-2016 10:21 AM
Another vote for a powered usb hub if you don't get answers and don't want to spend serious money fixing that port.
My laptop has a cooler and I have two USB powered fans to keep the air circulating in my cubicle on a hot day. I then have two external USB monitors. My usb hub has become like a docking station. One cable and everything comes alive.