Introduction: USB Hub Quit Working

I have a Dynex add-on four port USB hub. After about a month, the ports stopped working one by one. This is a common complaint among those who have reviewed this hub at Amazon.com. But, all is not lost.

Step 1: What Happens

You insert your thumb drive and nothing happens. The thumb drive you see in the hub here has a blue LED inside its end that is supposed to flash when plugged into the hub. Sometimes it does not. No box appears on my computer screen asking me if I want to play or view files on the drive.

Step 2: Read the Manual

The brief manual Dynex included with the hub actually addresses the problem, giving both a reason for it and a solution. My finger is pointing to the power plug and the plug connecting to the USB port on the back of the computer. The third plug in the picture connects my MP3 player to the computer.

Step 3: The Solution

Static electricity causes ports in the hub to stop working. Disconnect the power plug and the plug connecting the hub to the USB port at the back of the computer. Wait a few seconds. I like to wait about 30 seconds, although that is more than what the manual requires. Put the power plug back into the hub. Then put the USB connection plug back into the hub and everything will work again until static electricity somehow builds up and incapacitates the ports again. This is not such a bad hub, after all and I was not ripped off. Other hubs may experience static electricity problems, too.

Comments

author
yobkits (author)2016-03-18

Worked for me - thank you!

author
Phil B (author)yobkits2016-03-18

I am glad it was useful.

author
TomL2 (author)2015-01-01

I followed your instructions and IT WORKED! Thank you, I thought I needed to purchase a new hub but your solution solved my problem. Happy New Year

author
Phil B (author)TomL22015-01-01

I am pleased to have been helpful. As I mentioned in my response to the comment below, the information is not original with me. Still, I struggled for a while before I actually read the instructions that came with my hub.

author
santhony7 (author)2012-01-17

Phil, thank you! All my coworkers thought I was crazy and I am on my third hub. It just happened again but found your advice and it worked like a charm! Although, your advice to discharge yourself on your desk was exactly my problem. In some way that is a mystery to me, the static electricity is traveling through the metal frame of my desk and finding its way to the hub. All of the four ports go dark.

However, I am also using a metal usb hub:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31rlEB1kIsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

There has to be an easy way to ground these things!

Thanks for posting though. Huge help!

author
Phil B (author)santhony72012-01-17

I am glad to have been of help. It is not that I am a genius. This solution was in the instructions that came with my hub. If you wear any man-made fabrics you generate static charges on your body by natural movements, especially in a dry winter climate. When you touch a hub, a static charge you may not see (by means of a spark) or feel as an electrical shock can jump to the hub and make the USB connection inoperative. Disconnecting the hub allows the charge to dissipate.

If you have a metal case on your hub, you can attach a light flexible bare wire to the metal and connect it to the metal frame of your computer tower. Touch the metal hub case and then add or remove your device.

Thanks for your comment. It is good to know someone was able to use this.

author
Scott_Tx (author)2009-01-31

Perhaps a high ohm'd resistor acrossed the data ports to discharge any build ups?

author
Phil B (author)Scott_Tx2009-01-31

That is an interesting possibility. Disconnecting the two cords for a few seconds before re-attaching them is not a problem, though. I think my hub is still under warranty, so I hesitate to open it. I also do not have extra USB cords and ends for experimentation. I did this Instructable with the hope owners of this hub who are frustrated with it for not working might see the Instructable and realize the hub really is not a product that just quits after a few weeks so it can be junked.

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Callum Snowden (author)Phil B2010-11-04

Just dice up an old USB cable and place a high value resistor across both the data lines and ground thus terminating the USB bus maybe?

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ScottMcLeod (author)Phil B2009-02-01

Warranty schmarranty. USB hub is what, 10$? 20$? The glory of writing a good instructable? Priceless.

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Phil B (author)ScottMcLeod2009-02-01

Actually, it is $30. Maybe after the warranty has expired I will go inside it to get my hands on its little guts.

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godofal (author)2009-10-03

does this also aply for laptops? i have a laptop that has one broken USB port, but that one is seperated from the other 3... so if it would, just unplug power, unplug battery wait for it, then plug it all in and it should work?

author
Phil B (author)godofal2009-10-03

I doubt that this Instructable will be of help for your problem. USB ports on a computer can stop working because of hardware problems or because of software problems. Start by checking the status of your USB hubs through Windows Device Manager (assuming it is a Windows machine). Then do a search of the Internet for pages on troubleshooting a USB port.

author
godofal (author)Phil B2009-10-03

k, its not that important, but a quick fix would be handy ;)

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theelobo (author)2009-04-04

Very cool! And answers the question why I find this hub in second hand stores all the time for $2-3 and they are working fine! Also noticed if you connect a USB fan to it like the kind for a laptop it stops working less often!

author
Azayles (author)theelobo2009-06-14

I wonder if the fan stirs up enough air turbulence to stop static charged "clouds" of air forming?

author
Phil B (author)theelobo2009-04-04

At a couple of dollars, this hub would be a very nice bargain. A few days after posting this Instructable I began making it a regular habit to touch a bare metal screw on the back of my computer tower before plugging in my thumb drive. This grounds me and removes any static electricity from my body. Since doing that this hub has always worked without interruption or a problem of any kind. You have an interesting observation about the USB fan. Thanks for your comment.

author
The Lightning Stalker (author)2009-04-15

This is due to improper grounding inside the hub. It's a poor design.

author

You are probably correct. But, I paid almost $30 for it and I get good use from it if I simply ground myself before plugging in my thumb drive.

author
theblasto (author)2009-04-06

Who would have thunk it? I have a *cheap* self-powered, 7-port usb hub. "Cheap" to the effect that it doesn't even carry a brand-name. Data devices (flash drives, blackberry, printer) pretty much stopped working. I had even tried unplugging just the power. But after reading this, I...

1. Unplugged power-supply
2. Unplugged usb-to-computer cable
3. Unplugged all usb devices from all ports
4. Plugged in power-supply
5. Plugged in usb-to-computer cable
6. Plugged in all usb devices as they were.

Bingo! So now I have to go clear out my shopping cart at newegg. :) THANKS!

author
Phil B (author)theblasto2009-04-06

Thanks. See also my response comment below in which I said I now routinely touch a screw on the back of my computer tower to discharge any static electricity on me. Then I plug in my thumb drive. It has never failed to work since. (I almost did not publish this Instructable because I wondered if it might be too lame. Oh, well.)

author
Phil B (author)2009-02-02

I think I will experiment with grounding myself to bare metal on the computer case before I insert my thumb drive into the USB hub.

author
Phil B (author)Phil B2009-03-15

During the last five weeks since posting to this I have made it a point to touch a piece of bare metal on the tower's case before inserting the flash drive into the hub. This equalizes any static electricity charges between my body and the computer. Since doing this, I have never had the flash drive fail to connect and work. Static electricity is the problem, and it accumulates on my body. Touching the computer case neutralizes it before it can create a problem.

author
Cartermarquis (author)2009-01-31

This is a good temporary solution, but perhaps theres a way to discharge the static electricity without having to unplug the hub?

author
Phil B (author)Cartermarquis2009-01-31

You could be right. I am not sure if the static comes from me when I walk across our carpet and reach down to plug in my thumb drive, or if it builds up somehow from the hub's power supply. Unplugging the hub is the manufacturer's suggested procedure for taking care of the problem. I find my hub has problems with static charges about every three weeks.

author
rimar2000 (author)Phil B2009-02-01

Maybe you could connect to ground the casing of the device. Perhaps using aluminum or brass foil you can build something aesthetically acceptable. The black paint helps.

author
Phil B (author)rimar20002009-02-01

It would help very much if I knew where and how the static electricity builds up. I am just grateful to know the problem is nothing more serious than a little static electricity and can be made good again so easily. Thanks.

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