Maker Pro
Maker Pro

I hate micro USB ports.

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
218
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
218
I'll start by saying that I understand that not all devices have room for a dull size USB port and that I am aware of how the micro's 5th pin works with OTG but there is really no excuse for how fragile and unreliable they are.

Among other projects I'm trying to resurrect my wife's Acer SW3-013 (Switch 10E) laptop/tablet. I think I have found the driver package that might, maybe help with the docking issues but the only way to charge it is via one of those hated micro USB plugs even though there is enough space that they could have easily included a proper charging port or even several full size USB ports if they wanted to (by contrast my SW1-011 has a proper charging port that is very reliable).
And of course the micro USB port is so loose that the plug almost falls out and you have to jiggle it while watching the charge indicator and then don't touch it until it has charged.

I've searched online for fixes for this and I find everything from so-called "pros" telling people to stick foreign objects (needles, toothpicks &c) in to pick out the dirt (haven't these people ever heard of contact cleaner and compressed air?) to putting dabs of super glue in the ends of the socket to fill up the space (sounds like a recipe for disaster to me).

I'm sure this must have come up here before: Is there any really good & proper way to tighten up a loose micro USB socket?
 

dave9

Mar 5, 2017
1,188
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,188
I hate them too, for all the same reasons. I'd even go as far as to state I'd rather have my phone be a couple mm thicker and even longer, to fit a larger port or a next generation redesign, new USB port standard that's more robust. USB-C isn't that, or at least not enough. I see it as a stop-gap measure until inductive charging and wireless USB become standard features.

The only sure-fire fix that I'm aware of is desolder it and put a new port on, unless it has also ripped traces off the PCB (not uncommon) then the microsurgery begins, adding jumper leads/repairing traces, if you can even figure out where they go on some of the high density boards these days.

Then, there is the delicate, potential fix if you want to never have to do that again or at least, choose not to ever do it again and have it last longer. On the new port (not the old one, too late for it), put a bead of epoxy around the perimeter, space allowing, and making sure none gets into any slits in the port shell. When there are slits, I either avoid that area or cut tiny slivers of transparent tape, just large enough to cover the slit. If I'm still in doubt, I'll lightly grease a plug and insert in the socket so epoxy can't fill the area needed for the plug to fit, grease to prevent adhesion once the epoxy sets, then the grease can be flushed out later with contact cleaner.
 
Last edited:

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
218
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
218
This one is, amazingly, still attached to the board securely.I managed to tighten it a bit by squeezing the metal part but I can still make it lose contact by pushing the plug back & forth.

I'd really like to add a dedicated charging port but I've looked inside and that wouldn't be easy.
 

dave9

Mar 5, 2017
1,188
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,188
Often, stamped out of same metal as the shell, there are two or more springy metal tabs you can bend inwards a bit but it is much easier to do with external access to the port rather than going in through the inside of it. If the inner plastic is deformed this may not make enough difference, may still need a new USB port.

It might not be too bad to add a dedicated charge port if you think outside the box. Don't use a panel mount or any other socket, instead get some nickel plated rare earth magnets, tiny ones as thin as you can find. Round would be easier, drill a matching size hole in the device casing, solder enameled wire to the magnets, ran to the USB +/- pins, then epoxy the magnets in place. Mount them so that they are reverse polarity to each other (one flipped 180 degrees to the other) and this serves as a keying to determine polarity for the next part, a matching charger cord.

Solder two more rare earth magnets to the +/- of the charger cord, on the side of the magnet with the opposite being the appropriate polarity to be attracted to the correct magnet epoxied to the casing rather than repelled by it. Secure the solder joint with epoxy, and a little heatshrink tubing over it for strain relief would be nice too. These could also be embedded into a piece of plastic to form a single module instead of two dangling wires to separately attach. Just be aware that now, *most* random ferrous metal objects will be attracted to the device and/or charger leads and potentially create a short across the magnets in some hypothetical "what if" scenario.
 
Last edited:

Sidecar Bob

Dec 19, 2021
218
Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
218
I was thinking about trying to re bend the metal part a but more. The plug moves from side to side in the port longways so maybe I can deform it enough to keep it in place.

It might not be too bad to add a dedicated charge port if you think outside the box. Don't use a panel mount or any other socket, instead get some nickel plated rare earth magnets, tiny ones as thin as you can find. Round would be easier, drill a matching size hole in the device casing, solder enameled wire to the magnets, ran to the USB +/- pins, then epoxy the magnets in place. Mount them so that they are reverse polarity to each other (one flipped 180 degrees to the other) and this serves as a keying to determine polarity for the next part, a matching charger cord.

Solder two more rare earth magnets to the +/- of the charger cord, on the side of the magnet with the opposite being the appropriate polarity to be attracted to the correct magnet epoxied to the casing rather than repelled by it. Secure the solder joint with epoxy, and a little heatshrink tubing over it for strain relief would be nice too. These could also be embedded into a piece of plastic to form a single module instead of two dangling wires to separately attach. Just be aware that now, *most* random ferrous metal objects will be attracted to the device and/or charger leads and potentially create a short across the magnets in some hypothetical "what if" scenario.
Wow, that would be even more work than what I was thinking of doing. The biggest problem with adding a regular socket would finding a place for it.
 
Top