Lesson learned: USB cables and ports are very fragile

It has been a while since I have posted, as I have been quite busy. This will be a short post.

One of the lessons that I learned today was that USB cables are extremely fragile. I managed to break 2 ports moving my computer with the USB cables plugged in. The rest of the port is lodged into the cables themselves, rendering the cables unusable. Luckily for me, the ports were the case ports and the cables are not very expensive. Even more fortunate, I did not break any monitor connection, such as a Display Port nor any memory stick with sensitive information on it. With new cables, my microphone and DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) should be operational again. It is one of those moments that makes me think, how could I have done that? In retrospect, one lesson is – look don’t rush everything.

A broken USB cable. In my case, I broke my USB port in the cable, and not the cable itself.

Image credit of: Smashicons from Flaticon

Among the different variants, I have found micro-USB cables to be extremely vulnerable. Fortunately, no mobile phone of mine has ever died, but I have gone through many cables. Some of the more durable cables do seem to last longer, but even then, the connector itself seems to be quite fragile. Mini-USB is quite a bit less fragile than micro-USB, but even so, such cables can still break. I usually keep a few spare cables around in case my cable ever dies, so that I can charge my phone.

The lesson here is to be very careful when moving your computer. Always remove the cables inside the computer plugged in, because there is the risk that you can break the cables, the ports, or worse, something important such as whatever they were connected to!

Key lessons

In any situation where you make a “dumb” mistake, you want to avoid repeating it again:

  1. Always look before moving items and disconnect cables  that you think could be affected by moving before moving.
  2. Keep spare USB cables around because they will die.
  3. I recommend using cables with a bit more length. It does cost more, but it can provide some margin for error. The only other drawback that I find is at times, they don’t charge as fast for USB powered devices, such as your phone.

I would hope that future standards of connectors are built with not just transfer speeds, but also durability in mind.

Another consideration is that whenever you make a mistake that makes you think, “how could I have done that?”, think about what you learned from that experience. On that note, we have all had our embarrassing moments. Do not be afraid to admit when you have made a mistake and learn from it!

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