3

I am using a Macbook Pro running Sierra 10.12.6. All of sudden when I went to the studio to record an artist, I found that one of the USB ports (one next to the SD card slot) won't recognize any of the devices that I plug-in. While recording I need to use both the USB ports as I need one for the iLok and another one for my audio interface (Roland Quad Capture).

As my studio is in a basement, it get's really humid there. Initially I thought that the port has died because of the humid conditions as I have faced a similar issue with my MSI dragon series gaming laptop (which again I use for recording and music production) where some of the keys on the builtin keyboard won't respond after I accidentally left my laptop in the studio for a couple days.

I still wanted to be sure so I researched online and a lot of people had exactly the same issue and resetting NVRAM or SMC fixed it for them. I was really excited to try these solutions. When I did, unfortunately, none of them worked for me. Though, I noticed something weird.

Weirdness

The iLok dongle has a tiny blue led light that is turned on when you insert it into a USB port. When I try to use the iLok in the other USB port it works absolutely fine, but when I insert it into the USB port in question, the light never turns on.

After resetting the SMC, when I plug the iLok dongle into the faulty port, The light comes on but it keeps blinking. It is not a continuous light like when you insert it into a working port.

when I take out the dongle and insert it back again, the light is gone.

Yet another weird thing is that when I use the port in question to charge my iPhone, the charging part works but the phone does not show up in iTunes.

NOTE: Also, I would like to bring to your notice that for some reason I feel that resetting the NVRAM has caused this issue. I tried resetting the NVRAM before this issue as my screen saver/login screen had recently started hanging real bad. I read at the Apple forums that resetting the NVRAM was the solution so I did it. It did not solve the screen saver issue. After this, I drove to my studio where I had to record with an artist, and this is when I came to know about the faulty port. I recorded with the same artist last week and both the ports were working fine. Since the last recording, I haven't really used the USB port, so I am not sure whether this happened within this week (I have not installed anything within this week though) or after resetting the NVRAM.

Devices I tested

I tried testing the port with multiple devices. Please note: all of these devices work absolutely fine with the other port.

  • USB Flash Drive
  • Audio Interface (External Sound Card)
  • Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
  • iLok Dongle
  • iPhone charging cable

What I have already done

I have already tried the following solutions, multiple times.

  • Shutting down the machine (+ unplug everything) and let it rest for about 30 minutes
  • Resetting NVRAM (using CommandOptionPR)
  • Resetting SMC (using ControlShiftOption + Power Button)

Information about the Mac

Following is some information about the machine that may help you experts guide me in the right direction.

About this mac

enter image description here

Output of /usr/sbin/system_profiler SPUSBDataType

USB:

    USB 2.0 Bus:

      Host Controller Driver: AppleUSBEHCIPCI
      PCI Device ID: 0x1e2d
      PCI Revision ID: 0x0004
      PCI Vendor ID: 0x8086

        Hub:

          Product ID: 0x0024
          Vendor ID: 0x8087  (Intel Corporation)
          Version: 0.00
          Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
          Location ID: 0x1a100000 / 1
          Current Available (mA): 500
          Current Required (mA): 0
          Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
          Built-In: Yes

            FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in):

              Product ID: 0x8509
              Vendor ID: 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.)
              Version: 5.16
              Serial Number: DJHF1906YTDH7FL0
              Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
              Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
              Location ID: 0x1a110000 / 2
              Current Available (mA): 500
              Current Required (mA): 500
              Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
              Built-In: Yes

    USB 2.0 Bus:

      Host Controller Driver: AppleUSBEHCIPCI
      PCI Device ID: 0x1e26
      PCI Revision ID: 0x0004
      PCI Vendor ID: 0x8086

        Hub:

          Product ID: 0x0024
          Vendor ID: 0x8087  (Intel Corporation)
          Version: 0.00
          Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
          Location ID: 0x1d100000 / 1
          Current Available (mA): 500
          Current Required (mA): 0
          Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
          Built-In: Yes

            Hub:

              Product ID: 0x2513
              Vendor ID: 0x0424  (SMSC)
              Version: b.b3
              Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
              Location ID: 0x1d180000 / 2
              Current Available (mA): 500
              Current Required (mA): 2
              Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
              Built-In: Yes

                Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad:

                  Product ID: 0x0252
                  Vendor ID: 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.)
                  Version: 2.19
                  Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec
                  Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
                  Location ID: 0x1d183000 / 4
                  Current Available (mA): 500
                  Current Required (mA): 40
                  Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
                  Built-In: Yes

                IR Receiver:

                  Product ID: 0x8242
                  Vendor ID: 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.)
                  Version: 0.16
                  Speed: Up to 1.5 Mb/sec
                  Manufacturer: Apple Computer, Inc.
                  Location ID: 0x1d182000 / 3
                  Current Available (mA): 500
                  Current Required (mA): 100
                  Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
                  Built-In: Yes

                BRCM20702 Hub:

                  Product ID: 0x4500
                  Vendor ID: 0x0a5c  (Broadcom Corp.)
                  Version: 1.00
                  Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec
                  Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
                  Location ID: 0x1d181000 / 5
                  Current Available (mA): 500
                  Current Required (mA): 94
                  Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
                  Built-In: Yes

                    Bluetooth USB Host Controller:

                      Product ID: 0x821d
                      Vendor ID: 0x05ac  (Apple Inc.)
                      Version: 1.54
                      Speed: Up to 12 Mb/sec
                      Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
                      Location ID: 0x1d181300 / 7
                      Current Available (mA): 500
                      Current Required (mA): 0
                      Extra Operating Current (mA): 0
                      Built-In: Yes

    USB 3.0 Bus:

      Host Controller Driver: AppleUSBXHCIPPT
      PCI Device ID: 0x1e31
      PCI Revision ID: 0x0004
      PCI Vendor ID: 0x8086

I am really hoping that this can be fixed on my own. Any help regarding this will be really helpful. In case, you need more information about the machine, please let me know and I will update my question with the required information.

4

Unfortunately, your USB port has died

You've done more than enough tests to diagnose the problem and unfortunately this one is hardware related, not software or firmware. There's no NVRAM setting or SMC control that handles power to the USB (directly).

The "light" that you are seeing on your USB device doesn't mean it's connected and recognized by the computer. It simply means it is receiving power on the +5V pin of the USB port.

enter image description here

Looking at the pinouts of a USB 2.0 Port, we can see that there is a dedicated +5V for power (why your phone charges) and two pins for Data (Data+/- for positive/negative voltage signals) and a ground. Data isn't being transmitted (which is why your iTunes doesn't recognize your phone).

What could the problem be?

  • It could be a failed USB controller (SMSC USB25138)
  • Broken or corroded solder pads/joints on the USB ports or related components
  • Physically broken USB port

Any/all of these would contribute to the weird behavior you are seeing.


From iFixit.com, we can see that the board layout as follows:

enter image description here

The good news is that this can be fixed. It's not a DIY type of repair, but there are shops that specialize in component level repairs. Just do a search for "MacBook Logic board repair" (Rossman in NYC is really good - not affiliated, just a happy happy client)

Since you indicated it was only one USB port, the chances are good it's just a bad connection with the physical port itself. An immediate fix would be to purchase a USB Hub (powered preferably) so you can get your connectivity back.

  • Hi Allan, Thank you for your quick response and detailed answer. Really appreciate it. I will be taking my macbook to an apple authorized service center tomorrow and will update. :) – Amyth Aug 31 '17 at 12:04
  • Hi Allan, I did take my macbook to an authorized apple center today and they said they'll need to replace the motherboard. Thanks. – Amyth Sep 1 '17 at 7:22

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