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USB Mouse Intermittently stops working on lot of IBM/Lenovo Desktops

We have roughly 60 IBM/Lenovo ThinkCentre Desktop PCs all within A51/A52 Series with Machine Type 8171-8215 running the latest service pack of Windows XP with BIOS updates that are all experiencing significant USB issues.

Symptoms
1.)  During normal use of PC, the USB optical mouse will simply turn off.  At this point, you must either reboot or unplug/replug the mouse back in and then it resumes normal operation.

2.)  Plug and Play with USB seems to not work as well.  A station could be rebooted and when Windows starts, it may not be aware that it has a particular USB device plugged in until you unplug/replug it in or Scan for Hardware Changes.

3.)  Each of these stations are imaged using Clonezilla.  While a station was idling for several days in a dummy network boot linux shell, linux did post to screen hardware messages it was receiving.  Below are the lower-level messages that registered:

     - hub 2-0:1.0: port 1 disabled by hub (EMI?), re-enabling...  (repeated several times)
     - hub 2-0:1.0: unable to enumerate USB device on port 1
     - hub 2-0:1.0: port 1 disabled by hub (EMI?), re-enabling...  (repeated several times)
     - generic-usb 0003:1C4F:0016.003A: usb_submit_urb(ctrl) failed.

4.) IBM's BIOS release notes have indicated there has been USB related issues surrounding pins not delivering enough power and devices not coming back from hibernation, etc.  Recently, there was a large amount of USB headsets that began experiencing static and interference uniformly that did not clear up until the station was rebooting.  Testing with earbuds showed sound crystal clear.

5.) Often, upon replugging or rebooting a station, we have to re-run through the New Hardware process for a "HID-Compliant Mouse".

WHAT WE'VE TRIED
1.) We've installed multiple images and copies of Windows across different samples of stations.
2.) We've updated to various versions of BIOS across a sample of stations.
3.) We've swapped mice and USB devices, attempting to isolate any sort of commonality.
4.)  We've tried a different sample set of USB drivers.
5.)  We've researched the chipset and manufacturer's website and knowledgebases extensively.
6.)  We've intentionally selected to disable power management settings for all USB devices in Device Manager such that power cannot be controlled for these devices.
7.)  We've changed from S3 to S1 power management at the bios level in attempt to prevent the hardware from disabling the device.
8.)  We've made sure a slew of services ranging from Plug in Plug to Human Input Devices were started and running.
9.)  Calling IBM tech support.  It was contracted to another company who told us after waiting an hour that they don't have internet to see what IBM posts for hardware updates and that they pretty much cant help us.

GOAL
1.)  Prevent USB Optical Mice and devices from losing power and shutting off at random across our lot of 60 stations.

Any ideas !?!?
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cchighman
Asked:
cchighman
2 Solutions
 
n2fcCommented:
Three things to try come to mind...

1) If the ports are loose or dirty, you can try cleaning them or CAREFULLY (with power off) pinch with small pliers to tighten up...  

2) Add additional USB ports via an add-in card to avoid motherboard USB issues

2) If power is the issue, you can try adding a POWERED USB hub to the connection to see if that alleviates the situation.
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web_trackerCommented:
Sound like a manufacturers flaw to me. Especially when it is happening on so many workstations. I would try to get your sales rep who sold these workstations to find a higher level of support to resolve the issues. Sound like faulty mobos.
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CallandorCommented:
I think the power configuration for USB ports is not working as advertised.  The mice work elsewhere, and other machines don't have this problem, so it's probably a manufacturing defect.
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cchighmanAuthor Commented:
It was very odd that we were getting static in our Digital Headsets (only affecting USB) and that Linux was suggesting EMI could be causing the various port disconnects from the hub.

My research has led me to believes its possible that the power levels for these stations are outside of specs and because they are already low-level USB devices, its seems possible EMI may be involved.  

Interestingly enough, a few BIOS updates ago they had a problem where not all PINs were providing enough power or something to that affect and it was causing a ton of USB problems.  Devices were being under-powered and operating out of spec for the signaling USB uses for standardized communications...

Then again, someone out there may know a way to definitively prove this theory or just an answer altogether...Thanks for your help!  This one has been quite daunting...
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CallandorCommented:
USB ports are supposed to be spec'ed for 5v and up to 500mA per port; it's the current that is usually out of spec and causes problems.  A multimeter might help prove this is happening (voltages are measured in parallel, and current in series with the device plugged in).
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cchighmanAuthor Commented:
When this current is out of spec, could it possibly create enough EMI to cause static to occur in a USB headset?  We all all digitial/voip on our network and static is typically the least of our worries.  We know for sure the USB device alone was receiving static because earbuds were crystal clear and each touch-point away from stations could not hear static.  It was only being heard from the perspective of a digital USB headset.

Would we need to be inside the PC to test the voltage or could we do it with a USB cord given we have the right wires and setup?
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Michael DyerCommented:
As a test, you could put a powered USB hub between the computer and the mouse.  If the mouse works fine with this in place you can pretty much assume the usb port is not putting out enough juice for the mouse.  If that is the case, powered hubs for everyone may turn out to be the cost effective solution.
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CallandorCommented:
You can test both voltage and current at the USB port.
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choywaikinCommented:
simple USB pci addon card might solve the problem, isn't it? (if you have budget)
Also why not test with other USB optical mouse from Lenovo, since most of them were OEM, and different lot of mouse might have different spec, ask them to replace mouse is more simpler in terms of warranty contract. (Usually an optical mouse use around 5V, 100mA)
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cchighmanAuthor Commented:
We worked with the vendor and they agreed to replace all sixty (60) PCs with HP dc7600s.  The outfit was MetroPC out of Connecticut.  They were technically under warranty, I did discover.  But they didn't give me any of the sort of problems you might expect a vendor to give you for replacing a significant number of PCs.  So, with that, we are pleased.  Thanks everyone for replying to this question!
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