How to Fix a USB Flash Drive

This will show you how to fix the pins on the USB port of a flash drive.

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Step 1: Disassemble the Drive

You'll want to disassemble the flash drive with a small precision screwdriver. Gently prying at the seams of the casing until the circuit board is exposed. Then pull the plastic off and make sure that the USB leads are exposed.

Step 2: Tools

Most of the tools should be available almost within hands reach.

-Soldering Iron
-Small Precision Screwdriver (Flathead)
-Reading Glasses (these come in real handy when you need two free hands to solder but they are
-Electrical Tape
-Desoldering Tool of Choice

Step 3: Desoldering

Dedsolder the points that need to be replaced.

Step 4: Soldering

At this point, your leads should be desoldered and ready to be attached.

Take the soldering iron and solder away. Make sure that you have some way of magnifying the leads. This is where I used my reading glasses. I don't use them, they're my step-dad's. But they magnify the leads pretty well and make them a heck of a lot easier to see.

Step 5: Reassembly

Reattach the two halves of plastic that you pried off in step 2; making sure that you don't wiggle the circuit board during reassembly. Then wrap the plastic and circuit board in electrical tape until you can make a suitable housing for the board.

Step 6: Test & Relax

Make sure that you test the drive after reassembly. You want to check for any shorts. If there are any, disassemble the drive and find the shorts repeating steps 3-6 until fixed.

This was bugging me all day. If it has or happened to you, you know the feeling, and when you're done you can relax. At least until you have to make a new housing for it. Which is a different Instructable almost entirely.



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    31 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I have an afterglow headset and it connects with a USB connector, a family member tripped on the cord. I took the drive out, and it seems a little bit loose. when i try to use it, the USB connects but when the headset connects to the USB it loses coneection to the system

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Sounds like the wire may have been ripped off the PCB somewhat. These instructions are gonna be similar to what you need to do but when you finish soldering check the connections for continuity to make sure nothing is shorted. It should be obvious what came disconnected when you open the casing. I'd recommend filling the open space inside with hot to prevent any future disconnections.

    Repairing a thumb drive? Is that just to try to get the data off? or? Otherwise wouldn't it be easier to buy a new one... Frankly we have never had a call requesting thumb drive repair, so would be curious as to how many really go through all this?

    1 reply

    Wow. Haven't seen this one in a while.

    I had to do it to get the data off it. It had a cracked solder joint and I saw it as opportunity to show other people how to fix it. It isn't something that would be very common and I think I just had a bad drive.


    I work in schools, you would not believe the way some drives are treated.

    1. the washing machine.
    do not plug it in, for your own sanity and safety, do not plug it in.
    pop it in the airing cupboard for a few days until it is thoroughly dry. Now plug it into a hub. You may be surprised.

    2. The drier.

    See above, plug it into a cheap hub as that is expendable if it goes bang. It may well still work.

    You may be surprised at how tough they can be.

    The important thing is, make sure it is really dry before testing.

    By the way, I have an older machine with a blown usb header. The mobo ones still work, but the header (3 ports) won't. I have replaced it and it appears that a chip has been fried. Never plug a suspect usb device directly into a port, and remember, sometimes the rear ports are more powerful than the front ones.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I thought this would help me fix my USB drive that I dropped in some burning Napalm. I was trying out a new mix of "Therpalm", a mix of napalm and thermite, and the reaction got to hot and I ran, dropping my USB drive in the process.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I wouldn't recommend plugging in the flash drive to test for shorts. If there are any shorts, plugging it in could blow the USB port. Instead, use the ohm meter of your Multi-Meter to test the contacts.