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Author Topic: USB 'flickers'?  (Read 831 times)

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Offline OniyaTopic starter

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USB 'flickers'?
« on: August 24, 2009, 10:55:10 AM »
I've had some unusual occurrences with my computer recently, and I've only now realized how they are connected.  First was my mouse occasionally shutting off - sometimes it comes back on by itself, but on other instances I've had to unplug and replug the cord (USB connection), which works without fail.  The other is random printer noises, as if it is getting ready to print or eject paper. 

Yesterday, I unplugged my headphones for the first time in a while (I only put them on when I want to listen to something, but they stay plugged in).  Just now, my printer hiccuped, and I also heard the 'alert' sound that a device has been unplugged or replugged, and I made the connection - the printer is also a USB device.

Anyone know what might be causing the ports to flicker like that?  It's an off-the-shelf 'eMachine' that otherwise works just fine.

Online Karma

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2009, 11:03:06 AM »
eMachine is your first problem. >.> Otherwise, it's hard to say. USB just seems to be finicky from the start - I've often had USB flash drives not get recognized properly on the first insertion, some things not recognizing on one computer but working fine on another... all I can offer is sympathy. :P

Offline Kip

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 11:04:51 AM »
Do you have USB sockets in two places on your computer (eg some laptops have them on two sides or desktop pcs have them at the front and back)?  If so, does it happen regardless of where you plug things in?

The first thing that jumps to my mind is a cabling issue to the USB sockets themselves inside the computer - cables are loose, experiencing some sort of interference, etc.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 11:08:05 AM »
Eh - it was the right price, the right OS, and I no longer see the BSOD from overheating like my FrankenTower was giving me.  I moved the mouse to one of the front ports so it's not terribly inconvenient to fix, and now that I know what the printer behavior is, it's merely a curiosity.

If I can find a fix, it would be nice, but I'm not going to swap machines again over it.

@Kip:  The mouse has malfunctioned both in the front ports and the back ports - I used to have to crawl under the desk to fix it.  The printer has only ever been plugged into the back.

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2009, 11:19:18 AM »
Is there any port that always works? If so, you could get a hub, and just run them all off the good one.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2009, 11:25:02 AM »
I actually haven't experimented.  I'm not even very careful about whether I'm plugging the mouse back into the same port (two in front, two in back).  I think I'll start paying attention to that.

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2009, 11:27:01 AM »
Yeah, I've had issues with plugging things into same/different ports... but it's never consistent.

Offline Paradox

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2009, 01:04:46 PM »
This has been happening to me a lot with my keyboard and my internet connection. The internet returns after a moment, but I usually have to restart for the keyboard to reconnect.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2009, 01:21:13 PM »
Have you tried hot-plugging the keyboard?  Because that works with my mouse.  Now that you mention it, my keyboard is also USB, which means I do have one port that is functioning consistently.

Offline Paradox

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2009, 01:23:14 PM »
Oo, hot plugging. Sounds kinky.

No; I'll look into that, thanks!

Offline Indigo

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2009, 01:52:37 PM »
I've had some unusual occurrences with my computer recently, and I've only now realized how they are connected.  First was my mouse occasionally shutting off - sometimes it comes back on by itself, but on other instances I've had to unplug and replug the cord (USB connection), which works without fail.  The other is random printer noises, as if it is getting ready to print or eject paper. 

Yesterday, I unplugged my headphones for the first time in a while (I only put them on when I want to listen to something, but they stay plugged in).  Just now, my printer hiccuped, and I also heard the 'alert' sound that a device has been unplugged or replugged, and I made the connection - the printer is also a USB device.

Anyone know what might be causing the ports to flicker like that?  It's an off-the-shelf 'eMachine' that otherwise works just fine.

I am having this exact issue.  No matter where I plug the mouse in, it does this...maybe it's just the mouse...?  I cannot say I've tried using another mouse to see if I can recreate the issue.  Also though, I recently purchased new headset and it plugs into the front USB port, and I have had issues with the sound suddenly very low, even though I have not touched the volume.  I can fix it, but it's odd, that.

I've got an off the shelf HP (ya, I know) that's fairly ancient as far as computers go, six years now, upgraded a few times. 

This post completely caught my eye though, as I experience this issue with my mouse almost daily.  Flicker, the sound like a device is unplugged, then replugged, or the light goes out on it (laser mouse, not ball) and I have to get up and unplug it and replug it, problem solved...until next time.

Offline Caeli

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2009, 01:55:17 PM »
The problem might be the USB port, and not your headset or your mouse. You could try taking it into a local repair shop or Best Buy and ask them to take a look, if it's more inconvenient than it is convenient.

Offline Haibane

Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 03:07:18 PM »
We have a slightly similar issue on our second PC. It has six USB ports, four on the rear of the case and two on the front. Usually the wireless mouse/keyboard router plus webcam plus iPod cable sit in three of the rear ones and the two front ones are used for gamepads. However one of the two front ones has never worked, so if we use two gamepads, one goes in the back.

We also have a forcefeedback steering wheel and using this was pretty weird. It would plug into the working front port OK and work fine with FF switched off, but if we switched it on both racing games we have would stutter and the sound would loop and lock. I thought it was a conflict between two devices, the FF wheel and the soundcard, because the wheel works fine on our other machine.

However plugging the wheel into the spare rear port - it works fine.

So it doesn't look like a device conflict, more like a wiring issue with the front ports. Annoying though.

Anyone else had a FF wheel get angry with a sound card?

Offline Neroon

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2009, 03:53:54 AM »
USB port wiring can be very temperamental.  I remember discussing an issue with the principal where I work, when smoke started issuing from the desktop computer behind him.  Within seconds the whole thing had burst into flames.

The cause of this was bad wiring in the USB socket; the thing shorted out and that was enough to start the fire.  It's an extreme example I know, but it serves to show that USB wiring is often a bit dodgy.

Offline OniyaTopic starter

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2009, 07:22:58 AM »
They run on smoke, you know.  When the smoke gets out, they don't work any more.  ;)

Offline Neroon

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Re: USB 'flickers'?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2009, 04:28:29 AM »
The IT staff at work certainly do.  I feel like I've been kippered whenever I visit the network room.  How the nicotine levels in there don't reach lethal levels, I don't know.