Quick Fix: Data Cable Failure

Here is a good lesson for all you weekend warriors out there.  We had a client that requested we purchase them a new scanner because their existing scanner was getting power but wouldn’t work.  So we did as per their request. 

Bad Cable
Here is the offending USB cable!!!   From what I can tell, it is a USB 1.1 cable even… circa about 10 years ago minimum!   Gotta love it!

When the QC Technician arrived and went to install the new scanner today, it didn’t work!  So with some fast troubleshooting, he was able to figure out quickly that the old scanner was GOOD and it was the CABLE that was bad.   Cable worked for years so you just wouldn’t expect that.   The good news is that we were able to box up the new scanner and we will return for them.

How to Avoid Data Cable Failure

In this case, the cable was under a desk and it wasn’t pinched but it had been around awhile so it was probably just old.  There are some things you can do to avoid unnecessary wear to your data cables.

  • Stow them Properly: Data Cables for computers, phone charger, even headphones can break or corrode if you don’t take care of them.  Shoving your cables in the bottom drawer of your desk can cause damage to the wire.  Instead wrap it carefully before storing them.  We suggest wrapping in a circle, like a rope and put in a ziplock bag.  This can also allow you to label it.
  • Avoid Sharp Bends:  Bending a cable to sharply can cause damage the internal wires.  Over time this can cause failure.
  • Be Kind to Your Cords: Don’t just yank it out of its port or plug.  Remove it gently, by pulling on the connector, not the cord.
  • Protect Them From the Elements:  If you leave your cables in direct sunlight, UV rays can cause degradation of the plastic or rubber coating, shrinkage over time, or chemical reaction with the conductors can cause the cable to fail.  Moisture can also be a cable killer too!   Changes caused by oxidation or corrosion can impact the resistance of the connection which may cause the circuit to operate slightly differently – eventually leading to cable failure.