In this post I explain how to temporarily repair a flash drive with damaged USB port in order to access and recover the data.
In my case the USB connector was bent because someone bumped into the drive while it was plugged in. After that the drive stopped working and couldn’t be recognized by any computer.
For this repair you will need an old USB cable, soldering gun and some soldering skills.
First off all, it’s necessary to disassemble the damaged drive and remove the logic board. Do it very carefully. Try not to stress the USB port and cause more damage.
I had to cut off some plastic surrounding the USB connector using a small side cutters. I couldn’t have removed the logic board without bending the port back in place otherwise.
When the logic board is removed, you can take a closer look at the connector and evaluate the damage.
I got lucky, all four USB pin terminals looked normal and traces on the logic board were not damaged.
Later, when I was preparing it for soldering, I figured out what was wrong with the connector and why it stopped working.
In order to access and recover the data I will be using a “special” jumper cable I made from an old USB printer cable.
It has a regular USB connector on one end and all internal wires exposed, cleaned up and solder coated on the other end.
There are for wires inside the USB cable: red, white, green and black.
Using a multimeter I figured out which contact inside the USB port represents which wire and wrote letters B, G, W, R with a sharpie marker.
Also, I marked up pins on the logic board connector.
Here’s where I figured out what was wrong the with USB port. While applying a fresh coat of solder to all four terminals on the logic board, one of the USB port contacts fell off.
As you see, there is no bridge between the port and logic board at terminal “G”.
Carefully solder the jumper cable to all four terminals on the logic board.
I don’t think it’s necessary to solder the cable shielding to the USB port but I did it just in case. I soldered it to one of the side mounting lets on the USB port.
Finally, double check that all cable are soldered correctly and not touching each other. Plug the USB jumper cable into a working computer.
If you’ve done everything correctly, the repaired drive should be recognized by the computer as a regular USB flash drive. Now you can access it and recover the data.