How to Replace a Laptop USB

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A broken or outdated USB port in laptop computers is a common problem. However if your computer is out of warranty or if it is out of your budget to hire professional help to get it fixed, repairing it might be difficult because the computer has so many components working together. While trying to repair one thing, you may affect something else. Included are some tips to help you replace a broken USB port in a laptop, without being too specific to laptop make or model. These are generic steps to dismantle the laptop and replace the port.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Super Glue
  • Soldering gun

Detecting Failure

  • Test the USB port in your computer to make sure its the port and not the USB device that is faulty. Try plugging the device into another computer, or use your computer to plug in a device you have tested in another computer. Pay attention to any sound or signal that indicates whether your computer has recognized the device. If you have plugged in a device and you are not getting any response from the computer, the USB port is defective.

  • Diagnose your computer to detect whether it is a software problem. Sometimes Windows does not recognize USB drivers. If the USB port is defective, the cause may be a damaged port or a broken connector. In this case it will need to be replaced.

    If the problem seems to be it is software related, try reinstalling the drivers. Uninstall the drivers from the device manager, reinstalling them and rebooting the computer. Go to your manufacturer's website to download the latest drivers.

  • Dismantle carefully your computer if you decide the USB port needs replacement. In most computers the USB is on the motherboard. One option would be to replacing the motherboard which can be found at your manufacturer's site (check the site for model number and specifications) or you could use a generic one which can result cheaper.

    Power off your computer and flip the unit over. release the battery and take it out. Remove all the screws from the case. Remove the memory modules that are connected to the motherboard. Turn the laptop back over, open the lid, remove the keyboard and unplug the cable connected to the motherboard. Remove the screws attached to the processor. Turn off the wireless network. Pull off any remaining screws holding the motherboard to the case. Install the new motherboard and re-connect the rest of the components that were removed earlier. Finally put back all the screws and place the battery back into the case. Make sure the motherboard was installed correctly, test the USB port by plugging in a USB device.

    To replace only the USB port you will need Super Glue and a soldering gun. The port has four connectors on the plastic tab, you can glue the plastic tab back on and solder the four connectors, which can be difficult considering the dimensions of the working area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check you manufacturer's manual before attempting to take apart your computer specially if this is still under warranty. Most manufacturer's policies are clear about open computer cases and do not take responsibility when this happens. Opening your computer when the warranty is still available may cause your manufacturer to cancel the warranty.

References

  • Photo Credit usb port image by Steve Mann from Fotolia.com
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