Introduction: How to Repair a Moulded USB Plug

About: I enjoy working with electronics, computers, stage kit and generally a lot of other cool stuff. I currently work in a local secondary school as a graphics designer, in a local chip shop and occasionally as a f…
Ok, lets picture the problem, you've bought several USB mice over too small amount of time because the silly things keep breaking. Your latest mouse keeps cutting out and to get it working again you need to wiggle the cable around the USB plug. That is what I've been putting up with.

Because I have to wiggle the cable around the USB end to get it working it was pretty evident that the problem was one or more broken wires within the USB plug. Hence the solution was to strip the plug apart, cut out the dodgy cable and re-solder the cable onto the plug.

Needless to say I wrote this instructable with a nice working mouse! Oh and this is my first instructable, so enjoy!

Step 1: Cut Off & Cut Open

I know where the problem area is (if you don't know try wiggling the wires and see what happens) so the first thing is to chop off the USB plug ready to be worked with.

Next we stand the plug on its side, with the exposed metal part up in the air. The exposed metal is the bit you want to hold onto so you don't cut your fingers. Now using a stanley knife or similar to cut one side of the plug. (See the photos!) You want to use a fair amount of pressure whilst moving downwards with the knife, just please please please be careful not to cut yourself.

You want to cut until you can part the whole rubber/plastic casing and extract the metal innards. Hopefully you shouldn't have to cut the other side of the plug.

Step 2: Get to the Wires & Prepare

Even though we've battled past the outer casing, there's more moulded rubbish to get past. For me a bit of brute force is all that was needed your, mileage may vary. Once you've got the the wires out, cut them away from the white inside piece. The one thing I will suggest is the idea that the previous wires need to be visible or recorded so we know where to solder!

Now we've done that we need to strip and prepare the wire that's going to be soldered to the plug. I would suggest the sure of a proper tool here and a lot of patience. Else this step is just going to end up with a load of broken wires. See the photos for a target.

Step 3: Tin & Solder

I'm not going to teach you how to solder here, that is covered in excellent detail elsewhere. There's no point in doubling up that information.

The fist thing to do is to tin the wires, making them much much easier to work with later. For those who aren't aware tinning is applying a thin coating of solder on the outside of the wire. Next we need to strip out the gunk currently on the connector, I used de-soldering wick here but use whatever de-soldering method your happy with.

Next we take the wires and solder them to the connector/plug. Remember which wires go where!

Once soldered this is the prefect time to test the connections, plug it into your computer. If it works all good, if not go and find out why. Your most likely reason will be because of shorts. Check the joints where we've soldered then check again. Running a flat head screwdriver in-between the joints is also a effective way to make sure there are no shorts.

Step 4: Put It All Back Together Again

You stripped the plug apart, now you just need to put it back together again. Its exactly the same in reverse. Re-assemble the white insides and re-insert them into the metal container. Next we close up the metal container and tighten the cable grip at the end (a pair of pliers works really well here) I also highly suggest a glue gun is used to avoid the cable being ripped straight out the second its put back together.

Once you've got the metal part back together the last step is to put back the rubber/plastic outer mould. This is best done by placing it around the metal using, a fair amount of hot glue gun glue in-between the two sides of the cut. Then being pushed straight together. Let the glue dry then use the Stanley knife to cut off the excess (this is why I used a Hot glue gun.)

We have now repaired the USB cable, the last job to do is to put it to good use!