Help! my Android USB Connection is dropping out

After updating Android on a phone that I use for testing, I started having problems when I connected it up to my PC. The USB connection would be there when I connected the cable, but then would seem to drop out after a short time. Sometimes it would disappear after 10 seconds, sometimes a couple of minutes, sometimes when I started up DDMS or Eclipse.

Very frustrating, but I hoped it would be a quick fix. But an hour later …

I guess I’m writing this as a cautionary tale for myself about going through proper procedures for problem solving instead of just guessing.

Firstly I tried to isolate the problem:

  • use a different USB port
  • use a different USB cable
  • try another Android device

From this I determined that the problem was with the phone, an old Nexus S that I use for testing older hardware and Android versions. Since I had just updated the Android version on the phone, I just jumped to the conclusion that it must have been a USB driver problem.

So next I made sure my Android SDK installation was up-to-date, and then updated the Android USB driver from it. Made no difference.

Then I tried uninstalling and re-installing the USB driver. Still not working.

At this point I was out of ideas and just went away for a bit.

Tip: When you hit a brick wall when trying to fix a problem, sometimes it can be helpful just to go away from it for a bit. Work on something else, go for a walk, have a coffee break, whatever. Let your subconscious do the work.

When I came back later, I remembered that I’ve had other intermittent issues with the phone since it was quite old. So I did what I should have done in the first place, the golden rule about fixing tech equipment.

Turn it off, wait, then turn it on again. Working now!

Guess this shows that it is easy sometimes to forget the basics.

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