Lexar thumb drives incompatible w/ Dell?

Can Lexar brand thumb drives work on Dell computers? It doesn’t look to me like they can.

I bought a Lexar 128 MB thumb drive at Best Buy on Saturday and tried to use it with my Dell Dimension 4600 (new late last year). It doesn’t fit all the way into the front panel USB port, because it has a plastic collar around the rectangular metal shell. It works in the rear ports, and if I push pretty hard (maybe 20 lbs) and hold it very straight it works in the front ports, but fails if I relax any.

I have a thumb drive I bought from Jameco electronics at least a year ago, and it worked fine until recently. Now that one doesn’t work anywhere. I compared the two and found the metal shell extends perhaps 4 mm further on the old Jameco than it does on the new Lexar. Best Buy said that’s just how they’re designed, and refunded my money.

What’s the deal? Whose fault is it that these things aren’t compatible?

I use 3"-6" male-female USB extensions with all my thumb drives. Safer for the PC USB chassis connector ports and no “collar” problems. Some TDs actually come with this very useful little accessory.


USB 2.0 Hi-speed Flash drive review

I have a Dell laptop and a Lexar thumb drive and I have never had the problem you describe.

Another solution would be to plug in a USB hub and run your drive through that.

Both parts should conform to the USB norms. They can be found at Document Library | USB-IF although at a quick glanceI can’t find anything about the physical dimensions. It has to be in there somewhere though.

Lexar tech support says I should use a USB extension cord. I wonder how that’s going to make my keychain fit into my jeans…

I also poked at the usb spec docs a little bit, but not enough to figure out whose fault it is. Best Buy refunded my money and I ordered one that I know fits. Oh, well…

Chapter 6 of the usb_20.pdf is what you are interested in. There are extensive mechanical drawings. It can be found in popup’s link.

Lexar has reputation for going their own way re design. If the case sizing is off by even a half millimeter this can effect proper connection. It’s just sloppy design.

Having said that, I try never to plug a thumb drive directly into a USB port without an extension if I can help it. Some drives exposed to things accidently hitting them can easily destroy the USB port’s attached PC boards. The leverage of the thumb drive casing, if hit, will crack out the surrounding board and can take the whole PC with it. This is especially dangerous on notebooks.