Weak (broken?) fem micro USB receptacle?

Howdy Blinkinlabs!

I love my BLINKYTAPE - I use it all the time. I wear it around my neck, wrap it to my bike, embed it in my costumes. It gets a lot of uses, and compliments. But all that use has lead to a very weak USB receptacle on the tape itself.

I made a video to demonstrate: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4fNTUYL6CmdOEVlYmoxbkk4MGs

The slightest amount of tension pushing against the top of the receptacle (where the connector pins are) does the trick to allow power through the tape; but I can't find where the actual weak spot is. I'm not sure if desoldering the receptacle and resoldering it will do the trick or not. Another thought is to hold the USB cable in place where it definitely works and to try and use something like Sugru or Shapelock to secure it in place; but this runs the risk of becoming just as weak and then no longer being able to get to the actual root of the problem.

Have you seen this before? Do you advise on how to fix? Again, I'm pretty abusive with my wearables, so this thing has definitely lived up to my expectations! I'd love to fix this soon to wear it out again, possibly for Halloween *wink*



  • Hi Nick!!!

    Yikes, that does look pretty worn out! First thought- have you tried other USB cables with it? Sometimes the connector on the cable itself wears out, so swapping in a different one would be my first suggestion.

    Next, you can try re-soldering the connections on the microusb connector, in case the solder joints disconnected - they're pretty tiny though. A second, hackier option here would be to skip the USB connector completely, cut the end off the USB cable, and solder the power and ground wires to the board at the same place that the LED strip is connected. This of course would only work if you don't plan on changing the strip pattern any time soon.

    If none of that works out, we probably have an extra controller that we can get to you to replace the brains.

  • Why I ... I swear I tried that before posting. No really I did, weeks ago.
    And just to entertain the thought, I tried it again - and this time the replacement cable performed optimally.
    Swapped in a few other USB cables for kicks, and sure enough my really really short 3-4" cables are all bogus; my long cables perform perfectly. I was using shorter cables so there'd be less tangle, but clearly my short cables just aren't working anymore.

    Now I feel silly for posting. And to think I was ready to de-solder everything!
  • Glad it was that simple! Bummer about the short cables, though.
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