Knowledge Base and Forums/Livescribe Forums/Echo and Pulse Smartpens

Has anyone had any experience repairing the USB connection on the Echo?

Janet Catanese
posted this on February 23, 2012 16:41

I have a month's worth of notes to upload to my computer and the USB port on the Echo has stopped functioning. I have tried other cables and other computers with it. It is not recharging or connecting to my computer. It doesn't "feel right" when plugging in the cable. It is definitely something with the port.

 

I would like to find a third party repair center to try to bend the pins or otherwise fix it so I can get the data off it. Has anyone had any success with an issue like this?

 

Thank you.

 

Comments

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Jeff
Livescribe

Hi,

Please contact cs@livescribe.com.  They should be able to assist with that.

Thank you,

Jeff

February 24, 2012 11:22
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Janet Catanese

Thank you Jeff, but creating a support ticket was the first thing I did. Unfortunately Livescribe only offered me a "discount " on a new pen. I was really hoping for better. There has to be some way to straighten out the pins or otherewise fix the pen so I can get my data off it. The USB port appears to recessed further into the pen than before. No connection is being made at all.

February 24, 2012 12:26
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Sara Bernardi

I also had this happen. Did you ever get this resolved?

April 16, 2012 11:42
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Janet Catanese

no. I tried a lot of places locally and looked online but couldn't find anyone to repair the pen. I took it apart after determining that all was lost, to see what happebed. The soldering of the tiny wires had become detached and the connecter fell into the pen. Very delicate .

 

I bought a new pen becasue I am dependednt on it, but it is really a fragile piece of equipment.

April 16, 2012 12:15
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Sara,

If your USB connector is pushed in, please contact Customer Support so that we can verify if you are still within warranty.  If you are, we can go ahead and replace your smartpen.

Please submit a request so that we can assist you in a timely manner:

http://support.livescribe.com/anonymous_requests/new

Thank you!

Priscilla

April 16, 2012 14:44
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Dante Nicolello

I have the same problem. Is there anyway to get this data off the pen? I submitted a ticket.

November 28, 2012 11:50
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Dante,

Please contact cs@livescribe.com for assistance.

Best,

Priscilla

November 28, 2012 19:23
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Dante Nicolello

I did, they said it was out of warranty and instructed me to purchase a refurbished pen at a discount. Since this USB connector failure seems to be a common problem, I was wondering if this will be addressed by the company's quality control. It is a good product, but since this connector is being used heavily, it should be made more durable. My advise to all is to sync often because you never know when your USB connector will fail. When this happens, you will not be able to sync or charge the battery.

 

Dante

December 08, 2012 13:14
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Dante,

I tried searching for your support ticket under your current profile and found no tickets - open or solved.  Please send me your ticket # so that I may look into it.

Thanks,

Priscilla

December 10, 2012 13:20
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Dante Nicolello

Ok, They were unable to help because the pen was out of warranty. They recommended I buy a refurbished pen, which I did. I am now afraid that the same thing will happen and I again will not have access to my data. The problem is with the design of the USB connector. It is only secured to the main board by 4 tiny drops of solder. See pics. I am going to try and repair this myself, but my solder skills aren't that good. The pen easily comes apart by sliding the lower black portion down which exposes two tiny torx screws. these come off and there are two more that secure the main board. Once these are removed and the two tabs are pulled out, the board easily comes out. This exposes the design defect. Notice how there is nothing of substance to hold the USB port to the board. Under normal use, with a cable, there is too much stress for just the solder joints to hold the port to the board. I like this product a lot and hope the company addresses this flaw.

December 14, 2012 20:29
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Justin Alexander

It will absolutely happen again and they will do absolutely nothing to help you. Shameful, really. As much as I've loved the use of my pen, I find it almost impossible to countenance the idea of paying them for another one that will be just as flawed.

December 16, 2012 00:41
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Dante and Justin - I will contact you directly and further discuss your issue.

December 17, 2012 11:36
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Sean Dillon

The same thing has just happened to me.  I've had the pen for long enough that it's out of warranty, but it has been treated extremely gently.  I now have a lot of recordings and notes that I fear will be irretrievable.

February 20, 2013 13:52
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Jeff
Livescribe

Hi,

Please contact cs@livescribe.com.  They should be able to assist with that.

Thank you,

Jeff

February 20, 2013 14:38
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Richelle Vawter

The same thing has happened to me; the usb port is pushed in. As I review the forum, this seems to be a common problem.  I have talked to local repair shops and none are willing to fix because "they have never dealt with the pen before."  One guy suggested game workshop plastics (not sure what he really meant). I have a ticket with cs and I am hoping that they will be able to offer other suggestions, rather than just purchasing a new pen (I do not think that I am on warranty).  It would be ashame to have to keep purchasing a new pen everytime something happens to the mini usb.

February 26, 2013 21:37
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Justin Alexander

@Sean: I was lucky because I have a friend who's a professional engineer. She was able to literally disassemble the pen, hotwire a USB connector to it, and jury-rig it to a state where I could sync it one last time and retrieve my data off it.

Unfortunately, the pen is not designed for any servicing and it's impossible to "repair" without completely destroying the case. So the good news is that it is possible to retrieve the data: But your pen will be completely destroyed.

Posting in a thread like this will get a Livescribe service rep to say things like "I'll contact you directly", but, based on my experience, absolutely nothing will come from it. The pens are, unfortunately, badly flawed. And since it appears that the Sky model has the exact same design flaws I've gone from recommending the pen to everyone I meet to warning people away from them.

It's sad, really.

March 04, 2013 01:54
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Justin,

I tried to follow-up with you directly in your previous support ticket but I never received a response.  In case you were interested, I sent you another follow-up email.

Best,

Priscilla

March 04, 2013 17:01
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Dante Nicolello
The pen can be disassembled without destroying it. You have to pull the bottom half off of it. It slides off revealing tiny screws. The problem is the USB connector that broke off is soldered directly to a tiny pc board. Very hard to fix unless u r good at surface mount repair.
March 05, 2013 20:47
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Jason H
Livescribe

All, please understand this problem generally happens when the user tries to insert the cable improperly, i.e. upside down (generally, but not all the time).  So it's important to make sure the cable is facing the proper direction and aligned properly when attaching it to the smartpen.  If damage occurs though, please contact us at cs@livescribe.com and arrangements can be made to send you a new pen.  The pens cannot be repaired when the USB connector breaks.  Any attempt to open the pen yourself and repair it will void your warranty - we do not recommend that at all. Thanks!

March 06, 2013 11:29
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Julia Olsen

Here's another related issue:  I too purchased an echo  pen and had it go bad shortly out of warranty. In their defense, Livescribe support tried to help but they really didn't understand the problem,  Now the red light stays on all the time in the pen and it won't sync with anything.  It's one of the clearcase versions and I really like it.  Is it possible to take the 'guts' from a regular (used/refurb) echo and put them into the clear case?

March 07, 2013 15:06
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marlowwilson

I just had this happen to my pen.  I too had recommended the pen to others.  This same defect is common with several micro-usb ports.  Lenovo Thinkpad Tablets and other everyday use devices have had the same problem (with the USB port as well as the volume rocker and on/off switch).  These solder points just aren't durable enough for constant use attached to a heavy device like a tablet or heavy smartphone, but I'm surprised it's been an issue on such a light pen.  Obviously if one was very gentle with the connector it would be less likely to fail, though long term it will always be a weakness.  The stress/fatigue is cumulative.

In retrospect I wasn't as gentle with the port as I could have been, but I wasn't exactly hard on it either.  I always inserted the cable in the right way - probably 4 times a week during the past three semesters of school over the last year and a half.

I have some electronics soldering experience so I am going to see what I can come up with.  I suspect my current pen is trashed (i.e. even if I can fix it I won't be relying on it).  I've found an 8gb one for sale locally for a good price and will probably buy it and reinforce the USB port with insulating epoxy or similar.  See pics for details - I will post back with whatever I come up with including whether or not I can actually open the pen up without destroying it.  Livescribe of course won't countenance this approach but hopefully they don't delete my post either.

March 21, 2013 11:20
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marlowwilson

Taking the pen apart was really easy.  After pulling the bottom off (just pull hard enough!) two tiny torx screws (T5 I think) are exposed.  After undoing them you can pull half of the plastic off, remove two more screws on the lower PCB, and take everything apart from the bottom.  It took all of 2 minutes to figure out, though it will probably take an extra minute to put it all back together :)

 

After doing all this I realized that some of the proper flux and hot air rework tools were left in a tool case at a friends house.  I will update with pics and progress when I get a chance.  Overall it should be a very simple 10 minute fix (once I have all my tools!!!).

Any TV/Electronics repair place should be able to do this for $20 or so.  Don't bring it to a computer repair shop - they are all about replacing parts - you need a real soldering rework place.

March 21, 2013 20:24
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marlowwilson

I picked up the other 8gb pen locally.  It was $70 - brand new in box and included the headset, two packs of notebooks and and ink cartridges.  Hard to pass up on that! 

Despite being brand new it obviously has no warranty, so I've reinforced the port as I described above.  Pics are attached and I've even made a quick & dirty video of reassembly for those who are curious about what the guts are all about.  I used a quick setting gel epoxy so that it wouldn't run into parts I didn't want it to.  I put a nice blob of epoxy between the headphone jack and USB port.  A very thin layer went on the bottom (second pic) and on the side opposite the the headphone jack.  Finally I did two little dots on the back outside edges.   These create a little bumper that oppose the force of the cable being inserted.  On the topic of the cable - I've also ordered a retractable micro usb cable.  I have a retractable mouse and the cable is VERY light and pliable.  The cable may die from steady use, but it will put much less strain on the connector.  In all I don't anticipate have to fix the USB port ever again!

 

About the fixing...  When I get my soldering kit back together I will try and post a video of the repair process, time permitting.  With my new (reinforced) pen it's not really urgent so it might be a rainy day task.


Here's the reassembly video:  http://vimeo.com/62401766

March 21, 2013 22:12
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Ravi Thaker

Hi Pricilla, this same issue happenned to me, please can you help me. my ticket number is 264322. I have left my phone number and more contact details there. Thank you so much for any assistance you can afford me. I have only had the pen for a year as I bought it in late Summer/Fall last year. and I rely on it so much...every day

July 04, 2013 13:00
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Ravi,

I looked at your support ticket and it looks like your issue has been resolved.

Thanks,

Priscilla

July 08, 2013 16:28
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Ravi Thaker

Yes Priscilla, Victor told me he's sending me a new one :) But please could you expedite delivery, I have major meetings ahead of me..please please please ;) thank you soooo much for being so responsive LiveScribe!

July 08, 2013 18:01
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Susan Jones

My pen broke -- but it was past warranty *and* had been dropped down into a (dry) sewer... but I had put my files onto my computer.  

   However, now that I've got a new one, I cannot figure out how to register it.   

July 08, 2013 18:09
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Ravi - I see that you are an international customer and unfortunately, we cannot expedite delivery to international addresses.  Your replacement will ship out Wednesday afternoon.

Susan - For step-by-step instructions on registering your smartpen, please reference article 80303: 

https://support.livescribe.com/entries/20354737-80303-ECHO-PULSE-Registering-a-smartpen-using-Livescribe-Desktop

July 08, 2013 18:13
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Ravi Thaker

Hi Pricilla

You pen arrived in the mail recently and the same issue has occurred again! On only my second time charging, then connector failed and sank into the pen. Only this time I was consciously being careful not to insert the wrong way, nor with too much pressure. To my dismay the same thing happened again! Please can you advise, it really urgent this time, I have 3 huge stakeholder meeting next  week and I'm panicking as I rely so heavily on it. 

Can I pay extra and get the SKY one so that there is less USB interaction?

July 23, 2013 10:13
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Ravi,

I just responded to you privately.  We'll be able to hash this out soon.

Best,

Priscilla

July 23, 2013 17:38
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Susan Poovey Johnson

The same happened to my port...it fell into the pen and I cannot get my data!!!!

I have already been thru a Pulse model pen that died...screen no longer lights up...

and bought the 8GB Echo...only to have this port break!!!  Is there a competitor who can make a similar device that will last????

August 29, 2013 10:45
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Susan,

This issue is something we provide replacements for.  Please contact cs@livescribe.com so we can obtain the information needed in order for you to receive a replacement Echo pen.

Thanks,

Priscilla

August 30, 2013 22:02
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Hazel Ann Gapasin

Hi Priscilla, 

I have the same issue also. I was wondering if you can help me with my situation. Can you please look at my ticket number? It is 275833. Thank you, hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely, 

Hazel Gapasin

September 16, 2013 21:39
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Susan Poovey Johnson
This sounds like a class action suit. This is a shoddy product that has known flaws and no recall???
September 17, 2013 02:58
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Denise Fletcher
I have just reported the same fault USB connector broken and I have important recordings on the pen. With so many issues on this subject I am hoping for a replacement pen, especially S 8 have been such a good advocator of the pen for Livescribe !
September 17, 2013 15:04
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Jean Vernet

I have the same problem, ths seems to be a pattern with the reliability (or lack thereof) of the product

September 18, 2013 07:07
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hazel - I see that you are already being assisted.

All - please email cs@livescribe.com in order to remedy the situation.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Priscilla

September 20, 2013 17:13
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Danielle Murphy

The same thing happened to me :( the mini use in pushed in and therefore my data will not transfer, but other than that the pen is working fine. I called livescribe support and they said the only thing they will do is send out a new pen, all of my data currently on this pen will be lost, and they will not attempt to rescue or repair this pen in any way because they don't do that.

I am always extremely careful with my pen, and never inset the cable "rough" or "upsidedown", etc. I don't know if my pen is within warranty or not, but that's not my concern at all right now.

I don't care about receiving a new pen from them that will just have the same problems, I just want to save the data I have on THIS pen. I can hear the recordings fine from notebook playback mode, but need to find another way to get the data onto my computer even if it destroys the pen-that's fine, I just want to save my data.

Can anyone recommend a place I can send the pen to, not affiliated with livescribe (I realize this will void my warranty but I am not concerned with that at all), who can rescue the data? I would really appreciate it! Thank you!

October 14, 2013 13:35
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Sean Dillon

If all else fails, and you plan on buying a new pen, there is a cumbersome work-around. It may not be the best idea, but it would work.  you could record the audio to your computer or other device using the 3.5 mm audio jack.  

With a working pen in hand, you could then replay the audio while recording and transcribing the notes into a new notebook, or even tracing your old notes in the old book.

Of course, if the USB jack is not working at all, you won't be able to charge the pen either, and when the battery is dead, you're done.

C'mon Livescribe.  Get it together.

October 14, 2013 16:32
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Danielle,

Just a heads up that I responded to you within your support ticket.  I'm going to see what we can do for you.

Best,

Priscilla

October 14, 2013 18:45
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Amanda Bowlin

The USB port on my echo pushed into the pen when I tried to upload the notes on to my computer. I have only used the pen a handful of times, I am reluctant to replace the pen because I worry it will happen again, I would rather have this pen repaired. 

November 03, 2013 15:58
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Brock Bascue

I have repaired jawbone jambox's that had pushed in usb connectors, and even broken of completely, I had to add new traces.  If you want you can send the device to me and I can try to recover the data.  If I cant recover the data I will ship it back to you. go to ebay and search viper 7752 replacement battery service, in the notes to seller tell me its a livescribe pen.  my ebay user name is redstalun.  This should be very easy to do.  If I get enough requests I will post a data recovery service on ebay as well.  Hope this helps.

November 05, 2013 12:34
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Brock Bascue
November 05, 2013 13:02
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Paul Green
Same problem here. USB port dropped into the casing. I've been very careful with it so it seems this is a real design flaw. Mine is out of warranty too but despite them being useful I won't get another til this design flaw is rectified.
December 07, 2013 08:34
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Priscilla
Livescribe

Hi Paul,

Livescribe offers replacements for pens that have a pushed-in USB.  Please contact cs@livescribe.com for further assistance.

Best,

Priscilla

December 17, 2013 16:54
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Skylarcohen30

Unfortunately, I just had the "pushed in" issue and now my Echo is broken and can't be connected. I am a journalist for my college paper and the pen is extremely needed on an ongoing basis; how should I work to resolve it? Thanks.

 

January 30, 2014 21:50
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Priscilla
Livescribe

@Skylarcohen30: I see that you opened a support ticket with cs@livescribe.com.  You're on the right path!

January 31, 2014 17:25
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Monique Kelley

I teach online, and I use my echo pen occaisionally, and this has just happened to my port on my echo.  I know I am out of warranty but I really like how my echo pen works.  I will try the above cs@livescribe.com 

February 23, 2014 07:58
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Opeyemi Ojo

Hello, i also have the same problem to my port, the usb of my pen has been pushed in. My Ticket #307011!

Please i just want to know if any repairs can be done?

March 04, 2014 21:53