Computers & Electronics

WTF? Laptop keeps killing USB peripherals

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  • Nov 3rd, 2005 9:05 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
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Jun 1, 2003
71 posts
Toronto, Ontario

WTF? Laptop keeps killing USB peripherals

This is quite possibly the weirdest thing I've ever seen. So I just moved this weekend, and I'm setting up my laptop on my desk with its USB docking station, trackball, and keyboard... and not one of them works! The docking station power light comes on when it's plugged in, but none of the hub lights do with any peripherals plugged in. I plug in the trackball directly and it gets power, but doesn't work. Keyboard... nothing. They had been packed away carefully in a box for about a week. Now they don't work at all on any computer.

I was almost ready to write that off as a really weird coincidence, but I've been using an optical mouse in lieu of my trackball for the past few days, and I unplug it to plug something else in, then plug the mouse back in and it has died too! Tried it on another PC and nope, nothing.

Wtf?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I'm almost afraid to plug anything else in, but I've had a webcam and PDA dock plugged in and working just fine this whole time too...
5 replies
Deal Addict
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Dec 28, 2002
1144 posts
1 upvote
that's an odd situation. did you have your docking station plugged into a surge protector? generally, plugging all your devices at once shouldn't cause your docking station to fail. and if it was your docking station then your peripherals should work in your laptop usb...

but it didn't so i would guess it's your laptop at fault. reboot, check the usb status under config/hardware. and while that's taking place try your peripherals on a nearby rig. hope things work out for you and congrats on your move.

EDIT: call in a friend to test all your usb items on his/her laptop/desktop then you can confirm their status without pulling out your hair. i recently loaned my scanner only to discover it short circuited. it lit up but didn't register on my desktop. i fiddle for 1/2 an hour before discovering it was a faulty scanner. when my friend plugged my webcam into his laptop it also stopped working *eureka* his usb port was shorting out my devices.
[OP]
Newbie
User avatar
Jun 1, 2003
71 posts
Toronto, Ontario
Thanks for the ideas...

Yes to the surge protector.

The peripherals don't work on any other computer I've tried (one other laptop and desktop).

Yet some devices (webcam, card reader, PDA dock) still work fine in the laptop's USB ports.
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4014 posts
31 upvotes
Is it a self powered dock or does it use an ac adapter? With the plethora of adapters I have I know it's a challenge to keep them all labelled. Are you sure you have the correct ac power adapter in the dock? This could kill peripherals. Just an idea.

edit - actually, the wrong power adapter on any of these USB peripherals could be feeding current through your hub/dock.

edit2 - last thing, is your wall-plug/surge-protector correctly grounded. If it's an older house, it may not be correctly wired.
[OP]
Newbie
User avatar
Jun 1, 2003
71 posts
Toronto, Ontario
Totally possible that it's not correctly grounded.

However, when the mouse died, it was plugged in directly to the USB port, not the docking station.
Deal Addict
Jan 23, 2002
4014 posts
31 upvotes
StephTheGeek wrote:Totally possible that it's not correctly grounded.

However, when the mouse died, it was plugged in directly to the USB port, not the docking station.
hmmm, I assumed it was a USB port on the dock... I think what itsmypostoffice said about the port being shorted then could be the problem. Anything stuck in the port or rattling in the case?
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