This is a story I shared with a few friends a couple of months ago. I didn’t have a blog at the time, but I thought it was amusing enough to share on here. Enjoy!
“Over the past couple of days, I’ve been having a really strange problem with the Windows Media Center box I have hooked up to my TV. Everything with the machine itself works great – it records the correct shows, movie playback is fine…but the remote intermittently stops working. The light on the actual remote lights up nice and bright when buttons are pushed, but the USB IR receiver’s signal light never lights up. Hmm. After unplugging and plugging in various USB devices, it starts working again.
This goes on for a couple of days, until the unplug/plug method stops working. But then it gets even stranger.
I have a keyboard and mouse hooked up to the machine as well that hide behind the TV console. That way, if I need to do configuration on the box, or want to jump on a web browser to kick off some torrents, I can do so. Now my USB mouse isn’t working. No optical light, indicating no power. I try removing and reinstalling the USB Root Hub devices to see if I can reset the USB port power. Nothing seems to make it work. While I’m checking the connections, I randomly unplug the IR receiver and hear the “Ba-DUH” sound that Windows makes when it detects a new USB device. Sure enough, the mouse is lit up. I plug the receiver back in. “BA-duh.” Device removed. No mouse light. Unplug the receiver. “Ba-DUH.” Mouse light.
Seems like there must be something in the IR receiver that is shorting out the power over all the USB ports or something like that. I turn over the USB port and am looking inside. The connections all look secure inside the connector – nothing appears wrong. As I’m staring inside it, however, I realize something. I’ve fixed something like this before. A long time ago, I used to be an expert at fixing things just like this on a daily basis, with a very delicate yet powerful technique. So I did what anyone who grew up with an NES would do.
I blew inside the USB connector, and plugged it back in.