My YUN blew out my USB ports

I bought a mini USB cable at Radio Shack and hooked my new YUN to my laptop. It would not fully boot. I expected the WIFI setup screen but never got that far. I tried pushing the reset buttons, it kept stopping about the same place. I can't remember what was the last thing loading. After about the third time unplugging the USB and plugging it back in, my laptop shut down. I know what that means, my last 2 USB ports fried. I fried the other one by accidently crossing different voltages on a UNO.

It seems that it might not be a good idea to unplug and then plug in the USB while the computer is turned on? I am used to doing it with every other USB device. I am more than apprehensive about plugging the YUN into the new replacement laptop. Is there some kind of USB surge/power protector out there. I
really want to play with my YUN, but hate to use my new $500 laptop as a fuse. Any suggestions?

Use self powered USB Hub between computer and Yun, per-port power switching. switch Yun on/off by command line.


./hub-ctrl -h 2 -P 1 -p 1


./hub-ctrl -h 2 -P 1 -p 0

It seems that it might not be a good idea to unplug and then plug in the USB while the computer is turned on?

I have never had your issues. I doubt it has anything to do with hot plugging/unplugging the USB and more to do with improper circuitry on your experiments that you're plugging into the USB ports (as you alluded to with your Uno experiences.) If you have problems in your circuits that are back-feeding improper voltages, I don't think it will matter if you hot plug, or power up the computer with the device plugged in - it's likely to cause damage either way. Perhaps you need to take more care with the circuits you build?

That being said, I have had issues where the computer stops responding to a USB device being plugged in. This seems to happen most often when I have a terminal emulator open and it's talking to the USB device that is being disconnected. But this seems to be an operating system issue, not a hardware issue, as the port has always come back when the computer was restarted.

If you are having so much trouble, I might suggest taking sonnyyu's suggestion a step further and going with an optically isolated USB hub. They not only use an independent power supply from the computer, but the data connections are optically isolated so there is no electrical connection at all between the computer and devices plugged into the hub. A good quality isolated hub is pricey (they are sold for industrial applications) but it's cheaper than replacing a computer.

IC ADuM4160 from Analog Devices, Full/Low Speed 5 kV USB Digital Isolator


  • USB peripheral isolation
  • Isolated USB hub
  • Medical applications

Thank You sonnyyu and ShapeShifter. I did not have any circuit on my YUN. All I did was to plug it into my laptop. The ports are fried, I hear a very faint POP sound before it shut down. The laptop works with the touch pad only, no USB ports. I am familiar with opto isolators, I use them on my shop CNC machines RS232 ports. Two ligntning stikes took out boards on the controls. $7,000 a pop for the boards.

I will find an old working tower at my shop and try the YUN and hub on that. I am curiouse to try the smoke test. Will post the outcome. Thanks again.