How to recover data from damaged USB drive?

215 pts.
Tags:
Data Recovery
USB Flash drives
USB hard drives
I just accidentally sat on my USB storage stick whilst it was still in the port of my PC. It is now bent and the connections may have been damaged. My PC does not detect the USB drive. How can I recover the data on the drive?

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So, what to do? Of course we had important data stored inside this memory that we didn’t have backup (Murphy’s Law, of course), so we are more worried about recovering the data than calling Corsair to check if their warranty covers this (by the way, your USB drive’s warranty doesn’t cover this, since it is physical damage).

Since it was the USB plug that broke, we decided to open the drive and solder a regular USB cable to it. We used a pair of scissors to cut off its rubber cover.

Opening it we could understand why it broke. We put the connector back on its original position and we think that there is a huge gap between the printed circuit board (PCB) and the connector, which allows the connector to bend and break. Maybe by removing this gap or by fastening the PCB to the two sides of the connector could solve this issue.

We decided to get an USB extension cable (the one that usually comes with USB flash drives), cut off one of its ends, and solder the wires to place where the original connector was soldered.

So, we cut the plug that we didn’t need (we kept the plug that was identical to the one originally attached to the USB drive). We cut off the plug located on the left hand side and kept the plug located on the right hand side.

We peeled off the wires and with a multitester we checked how the wires were connected to the plug, i.e. to which pin each wire was connected. You should do this by yourself, since the wires on your cable can be connected differently from ours.

After that we soldered each wire to the corresponding pin on the flash drive PCB. This should be done observing where each pin on the flash USB drive PCB was connected on its original plug.

After soldering all wires and checking to ensure that there was no connection between them, we connected the cable to our desktop and transferred all data to our hard drive. We could keep using our USB drive that way for ages, but we thought it was too risky. We wanted a better product to carry our data around. So after this procedure our disassembled Corsair Flash Voyager went to our trash bin.

I did a similar thing a few years ago, luckily the USB connection broke off of the board cleanly (no damage to the board. I’ve got electronics experience, so it was a simple matter to take an extra USB cable, cut off one end and solder the wires to the appropriate pads(I still have and use the drive). If there is damage to the PC Board, you might have more of a challange on your hands. You might be able to find an electronic shop that will be able to do the same for you. If you want to do it yourself, be SURE that you have the correct wire to the correct pad. Use a DVM to match wire color to the correct USB pins.
Good Luck!
-Flame

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