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Tag Archives: LaserJet

Bad USB cable knocks out other USB devices

July 3rd, 2008. Published under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Here’s a lesson learned that took a few hours.  Just last week, someone asked me to help them with their iPhone suddenly not synching their Outlook info.  I confirmed this was actually working previously.  When plugging in the iPhone, Windows XP gives the standard “USB Device not recognized” error message balloon.  Hmm, ok, let’s begin troubleshooting.

I install iTunes and restart.  No go.  I uninstall iTunes, restart, reinstall iTunes, restart.  No go.

Someone else has an iPhone in the office, so let’s see if the first iPhone works with the other computer.  Yes, it does, so the iPhone is OK.  Let’s try this other person’s iPhone USB cable on the computer giving the error.  No, it doesn’t work either, so the USB cable is OK.

Its starting to look like a USB issue, so I pull out my Cruzer Titanium USB thumb drive.  Ah ha!  The thumb drive fails, so there is definitely a USB issue here.  I try the thumb drive and the iPhone in different USB ports.  No go.  I download the latest Intel chipset drivers, pull out all USB connections (there was also an HP LaserJet 3050 All-in-one plugged in), and restart.  After logging in, I plug in the iPhone.  It’s recognized – bingo!  I plug in my thumb drive and it is also recognized.  OK, at this point I’m thinking there was a corrupted USB driver and the issue is gone.  I plug in the USB cable for the HP LaserJet 3050 again and send a test print.  Test print works.

OK, let’s restart one more time to make sure everything is going to work after I walk away.  Unplug the iPhone and put my thumb drive back in my pocket.  Restart.  Plug in iPhone.  USB device not recognized.  What?  But it all just worked fine?!??!

Try my thumb drive again.  No go.  Send a test print.  Test print comes out fine, so the printer is still working.  What the heck is going on here?  I’m two hours into this by now (iTunes installs were slow and restart and logging in isn’t the fastest thing either), and I’m still scratching my head.  I unplug the printer again, and the iPhone and thumb drive work!  I plug in the printer again and the test print works, but the iPhone and thumb drive do not.

Then I notice the USB cable for the LaserJet was rather stretched, since the printer was somewhat far from the comptuer.  The cable didn’t touch the floor anywhere, so coming out of the computer the cable was bent about 90 degrees.  Could it be a bad cable?  I grab another USB cable and swap.  Test page prints fine AND the iPhone and thumb drive work as well!  Bingo.  This is the first time I have ever seen a bad USB cable actually work for the perhiperal it is plugged into but make all other USB devices on the computer fail.

I just hope this post saves someone else from 2.5 hours of frustration.