Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I destroyed a friend's thumb drive tonight.

In class a friend gave me a thumb drive so I could edit a file, because the email system hadn't sent an email to me after 20 minutes despite us sitting 5 feet from each other.  The huge cases are mounted flush with the front of the desks and the place where you plug the thumb drive in is right at the front center, middle of the case.  I was in editing and he asked me to look at something and I rolled my chair over about a foot and broke the thumb drive connector about 90% off, just thin bit of metal on one side was holding it and ground, d+, d-, and power pins were all ripped right off the board.

Since there is just 2 days before finals begins, of course he has projects due and his only copy is on the thumb drive.  I felt so horrible, like a total clumsy oaf.  But I am good with electronics and the board wasn't cracked, so I thought I had a good shot at recovering the information.

I took all the parts home. Put together my solder station, scrapped that tough green stuff they put on the mother board traces in 4 spots.  The power connection was the weak one, it came up through the board from underneath and only had a tiny little spot left to connect to.  It ended up looking like this:

Thumb drive with connector mostly ripped off
and 4 wires soldered in place.

I checked for continuity a dozen times, using 2 different meters, paranoid that I was going to short out something and blow the whole thing up. Just what I needed to do.  Not bad enough to destroy the drive, but I had to fry it as well.  I would have felt really bad if that happened.

But when I plugged it in the LED turned on, started flashing and the folder popped up.  I quickly made a copy of the drive to the hard drive.  And an hour after that the power wire popped loose when I handled the drive just a little bit. :D

Emailing my friend the files he needs tonight, and will hand him another thumb drive with everything saved in the morning.  I feel better now, even though I am a clumsy oaf, at least I am good with fixing electronic things, at least long enough to save the data.

I found a better point on the back to solder the power connector.  I think if I had some more hacker putty I could encase this whole thing and keep it working for good.

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