Why do my USB ports not work?

Hello everyone,

I have a Macbook Pro early 2011 edition running under Mavericks operating system. I have installed new RAM memory (16GB) and a 1 Terabyte hard drive I purchased through Crucial.com. I am also running Parallels 2.0.1 and everything works very nicely.

I recently began to notice that my USB ports were becoming more and more unreliable recognizing USB devices randomly. I am now to the point where the devices connected to USBs on the machine are not recognized at all. I did notice that the USBs are sending power out to the connected devices but it never shows an icon on the desktop for connected devices as usual.

Some of the recommended solutions I have tried are: Resetting the SMC and resetting the PRAM following the methods describe in different Mac forums. Note: these methods (resetting SMC and PRAM) seem to have help others and at some point they work for me, but at this point these methods do absolutely nothing. I even open the Macbook and disconnected the battery as a way to drain the power off the internal circuits (total power reset) but I had no luck at all. My USB ports still don’t work.

I have taken the machine to the “Genius Bar” at the Mac store and their only solution was to replace the Logic board all at once for $280. My past experiences with these “Geniuses” has been less that good and I really do not thrust them. I have fixed problems on my Mac myself that they render impossible to fix without making me pay for a new part and labor. In other words it seem to me that they only replace parts and never troubleshoot problems properly.

Does anyone here at iFixit. com has encounter a problem similar to mine? Has anyone been able to locate or replace bad components on logic board that can fix this problem? Please know that I have experience replacing integrated circuits and troubleshooting circuits elements down to individual parts such transistors, resistors, etc…

Thank you,

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What happens when you use a Powered USB hub to connect to a printer.

Does the printer show up under Printer & Scanners in your System Preference settings and can you print a test page?

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Hi Scott Dingle, thank you for your reply. I have not tried to connect a powered USB hub. I can run a test and see what happened next Wednesday when I have access to a powered USB hub. Just to be clear, I am assuming your suggestion involves connecting a powered USB hub directly into one of the USB ports on the Macbook Pro and then check whether or not a printer for example gets recognized by the Macbook Pro. I will try it and post my findings.

Thank you,

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Yes, you got it! The idea here is to make sure the system is able to 'see & print' the printer via the hub under OS-X.

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Hello there, I was able to test my Macbook Pro using a independently powered USB hub connected directly into the units USB ports. Unfortunately, the computer did not recognize any devices connected into the USB hub. So, no luck at all.

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All I can add that is this issue has ruined 2 external hard drives for me. Still looking for a fix.

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There are no software fixes for hardware issues. From your description you have torqued the USB ports lose from the logic board. They may be repaired by a competent repairman/shop. This is not a DIY project. Soldering computer logic boards requires special tools, solder and lots & lots of practice in order to not destroy the board.

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Thank you very much for your advice Machead3. I was hoping to run into someone who maybe has done such a repair in the past (meaning they located a bad component on the logic board). I spent some time yesterday troubleshooting the logic board looking for any components that may be malfunctioning. However, due to not having the logic board diagrams I could not check independent voltages through components. I will try to get me the diagram and hopefully I can troubleshoot components more in depth using an oscilloscope. Since everything else works fine on the computer it is really sad to think that the whole logic board needs to get trashed. One of the most important reasons I needed the USB ports to work is because the work I do in Solidworks. Although I can work with the Macbook track pad, I am use to having a mouse. I now have a Bluetooth enabled mouse and I am very happy. Thank you guys. I will post new updates if I make any progress.

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Due to EPA changes in solder type/construction/content cold solder cracking is a common issue with modern electronic parts. Construction of multi layer logic boards require low heat solders that do not last as long under physical stress as some of the older solders. The ports could be repaired... but the cost of repairing may meet or exceed simply replacing the logic board with a known good board from a machine that suffered some other damage (probably damaged display) that the owner did not choose to repair. Only you know how much you wish to sink into this project, if you can DIY, or, if you can find a competent repair shop.

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I have had problems with USB ports and you first need to remove all USB devices and for the ones that are having USB recognition issues try them one at a time to see if they are recongnized. If one isn't that device might be faulty which can make other USB Devices not operate properly. Check all USB devices one at a time until you have found all the USB Devices that do not work. Then re-connect all the working USB Devices and toss the Inoperative one's.

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I might add you'll need a externally powered USB hub to do the testing.

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First test you systems USB ports. Then test the Externally powered hub. Because I have had a Externally powered hub go bad and the only way to isolate it was to test all the USB ports and devices individually first.

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Diego will be eternally grateful.
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