Solved laptop PCB blown from plugging 1 amp HDD into 500ma USB port

March 1, 2015 at 10:17:50
Specs: Windows 8.1 32bit, pentium 4gb
Can plugging a USB 3 external hard drive that has a power consumption of 5v 1amp into a USB 2 port that delivers 500ma blow your laptop's power board PCB. It seems like this is exactly what happened to me. Both the laptop and the hdd were Toshiba. The hdd was not supplied with a dual connector where it could have received the correct amount of power via two USB ports simultaneously.
The laptop is a Toshiba satellite l305-s5970 4gb ram Intel centrino running win8.1 32 bit. The hdd is a 2.5 story.e canvio 1tb USB 3 5v 1amp.

message edited by andy22

See More: laptop PCB blown from plugging 1 amp HDD into 500ma USB port

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 10:23:54
It seems unlikely as the USB wouldn't acquire power from the drive. The drive is powered from the USB. It seems to me if there was an overcharge comming in the USB the over power failsafe would shut off the USB connector and give a critical error on the computer first.

Most likely it would fail to power the drive at all.


Report •

March 1, 2015 at 10:48:23
If your Canvio required power from two USB ports it would have been supplied with the required cable to enable you to do that so it's obvious it should work from one USB port.

Indeed, if you read the buyer reviews on Amazon I don't see any of them having had that problem:

I've got a WD My Passport 1 TB USB 3.0 portable drive same physical size as the Canvio and it works perfectly well from a single USB 2.0 port, and thats on a 5-year old Toshiba Satellite laptop

I believe your laptop problem is therefore a coincidence, not caused by the Canvio.

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 11:01:59
✔ Best Answer
You plugged a device demanding 1amp into a socket/source that can only deliver .5amp.

It might well do so. I recall some min-tft screens/monitors delivered with psu mains adapters that were rated "well" below the current demands of the actual mini screens/displays. The adapters died in a very short time.

Does the laptop work otherwise?

Whenever I buy an external usb drive (HD/DVD) I get a dual usb/y-cable to allow me to power it from either two usb ports; or even better via an external mains adapter...; even if the usb device is allegedly OK with a single usb port or dual usb ports. Avoids the risk of your experience...

Is there per chance a replaceable fuse for the power board; or can that board be easily removed and replaced?

A phone call to a Toshiba might be worth a try - or at least an email - requesting advice re' changing the power board?

Report •

Related Solutions

March 1, 2015 at 11:27:06
Thanks for your reply. No the laptop is not working at all now. Soon after plugging in the hdd the laptop suddenly powered off and has never come back. The laptop's PSU is fine as I've tried it on another identical laptop which powers up fine.
Thanks for the advice on contacting Toshiba they may know if there's a fuse or something that can be replaced.
Both the laptop and the hdd were bought from Costco only 5 years apart. Do you think Costco could help?

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 12:09:18
Costco is worth a try; although some pholks seem to feel their tech support is not all it might be. (Im presuming you're in USA/Canada.)

There is possibly a fuse onboard for the usb ports etc.; and possibly one for the main board. Equally possible is one fuse for both; or no fuse at all. Toshiba would be likely to clarify that at least - and nature and, type and rating of "any" fuses, and possibly where to find them of course...?

I would first call Toshiba and/or email them asking fro their view on the situation ; and if possible to clarify the above re' fuse(s), and also perhaps try get a proper service manual for the laptop. The proper service manual (not the less detailed user manual) will show how to strip down the laptop; and also ought to show what is inside in terms of possible fuses, removable boards etc.?

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 12:19:29
Thanks again. No I'm actually in the United Kingdom. I bought the laptop in Hawaii Costco and the hdd in a UK Costco. I'll try Toshiba first. As you say they should be able to tell me if its a fuse and maybe send me a service manual.

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 13:03:05
Ah - I'm also in UK and a member of Costco here.

A five year olde laptop - I doubt that Costco would be of much help on reflection.

Toshiba would be port of call, as "a starter for ten" as they say on University Challenge...

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 13:18:56
Thanks again. I'll try your suggestions.

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 13:44:05
Were you running the laptop on battery power or the AC adapter when this happened?

I believe these are your HDD specs:
Here's another spec sheet:

They both list USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible) with the power requirement as USB bus power (max. 900 mA). It seems to me a single USB cord is all that's necessary.

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 13:57:49
The ac adapter. Thanks for reply.

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 14:22:40
Does thee laptop show any signs of life at all? Fans starting/running; screen showing any activity? Does the keyboard respond at all during boot up - e.g. F8 and/or F2 etc?

Report •

March 1, 2015 at 21:28:31
No none of that. No combination of key presses works, no BIOS screen to be able to do f2, f12 etc. Nothing. Thanks.

Report •

Ask Question