To add a USB port to your notebook, all you need is a USB port…

Recently, the USB ports on my ThinkPad stopped working. My suspicion is that I probably zapped them with static electricity, as we’d had some dry and bitterly cold weather, and I’m usually running around in a couple layers of fleece this time of year.

At Best Buy, I picked up a Dynex 2-port USB 2.0 card so that I could plug in mice, keyboards, and the essential USB data drives. Imagine my surprise when I unpacked the box and found a funny little power cord, with a T-connector of male and female USB connectors on one end, and a small round power plug on the other. I guess that the PCMCIA bus doesn’t supply enough power for USB peripherals, as they would not work without the cord plugged in. Much to my relief, it appears that the dead USB connectors in my laptop can still supply power, even though USB devices aren’t recognized. Just a warning , though: if you need to add USB ports to your notebook, you’ll need to already have USB ports on your notebook to power the new ones. Go figure.

Despite the fact that the card is listed as supporting only Windows operating systems (the blister pack also listed Max OS X 10.1 or later), the card came right up and was detected properly in Linux Fedora Core 3, too.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.