Today I show how I fixed a flash drive with bent USB port in order to recover data. Someone bumped into this USB flash drive while it was plugged in. Right after the accident the flash drive stopped working and being detected by any computer.
That was a cheap drive but the data on it was priceless.
Tools and supplies I used for this repair:
- Hakko FX-951 soldering station with T15-J02 tip
- Kester .40mm (.015″) rosin core solder
- Amtech NC-559-V2-TF flux
- AmScope 10X-20X microscope
- Needle nose tweezers
- Thin wire
If you look at the drive from the side you can clearly see the USB port not being straight and bent upwards.
With naked eyes you cannot see what is wrong but if you look under microscope, you can see the problem right away.
One of the soldering pads got lifted off of the circuit board and the trace between the pad and the circuit board got cracked. Can you see the gap between the first USB pin and the circuit board? Thats’s the problem!
This is USB VCC pin which supplies +5 volts DC to the circuit board.
After I looked at the drive at a different angle, I noticed that the second pad (Data -) also got separated from the circuit board.
The third (Data +) and forth (Ground) pads looked normal but just in case I checked continuity with a multimeter. Both tested fine.
4 steps I took to fix the damaged USB drive
Using a soldering stating I unsoldered two damaged pads from the USB port pins.
With the pads removed I got a clear view on the circuit board and I was able to trace where these pads connected to the board.
- The first pad (+5V VCC) was connected to the resistor marked 1R5 (lower arrow).
- The second pad (Data -) was connected to the round pad just above the pin (upper arrow).
I scraped off the protective coating from the round pad using needle nose tweezers. After the copper surface got exposed, I applied fresh solder on the pad and two USB port pins.
Finally, using a very thin wire (look at the last picture) I connected both USB pins to the circuit board.
You definitely need a microscope, a good micro soldering station and steady hands for this kind of soldering.
After the repair I plugged the USB drive into my computer and… Bingo!!! The blue LED turned on and started flashing. The USB drive mounted as normal and I was able to recover all valuable data off the drive.
That was just a temporary repair but enough to get access to the files.
For linking USB port pins with the circuit board I used very thin stranded wires that I removed from a defective MacBook Pro battery cable.