Can A USB, HDMI Or Card Reader Port Rust?

hdmi-port-type-aOrdinarily when one hears the term rust applied to an electronic of any kind, a vision pops into your head of something old. Unfortunately, rust can actually happen on USB, HDMI or card reader ports for electronics even under a year old, given the right set of circumstances.

Can A USB, HDMI Or Card Reader Port Rust?

The difference between rusting and tarnishing

Tarnishing is the discoloration of a metal due to oxidation and almost always happens first. All metal components on a computer eventually tarnish and it’s unavoidable. Rust happens next unless the metal is the non-rusting type like stainless steel.

Rust is very obvious, easily visible and usually begins its appearance as little dark red dots.

Which is most susceptible to rust? USB port, HDMI port or card reader slot?

The HDMI port. Why? Because it has the most metal exposed. After that the USB port comes next, then the card reader slot.

Don’t be surprised if the HDMI port on your Xbox 360 has rust on it if it’s over 2 years old.

Why do some ports rust so early in life?

Cheap steel and corners cut in production processes.

What accelerates rust on ports?

Any room where the humidity gets too high or if the electronic is sitting close to an open window.

“Uh-oh! I spotted rust on a port! What do I do?”

It can be cleaned, but you have to be extra-careful about it.

If the port is tarnished, the best thing to do is just leave it alone. While it might be ugly, it still functions the same as it always did.

If you see actual rust, this is how to clean it:

(Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk)

1. Buy a small box of emery boards, as in the things people use to file their fingernails with. Alternatively you can buy a sheet or two super-fine-grit sandpaper.

2. Buy a can of compressed air if you don’t already have one.

3. Buy a small can of clear Rust-Oleum.

4. Buy a set of small paintbrushes used for model cars and things of that sort.

5. Take the emery board or sandpaper and gently scrub off the rust. It should come off easily.

6. Spray a few spurts of compressed air to get rid of any metal filings that got inside the port.

7. Take your can of Rust-Oleum and then spray the tip of the paint brush. DO NOT spray it directly on the port itself.

8. “Paint” the Rust-Oleum wherever you took rust off. Do not touch the small board in the middle of the port with the brush, and solely concentrate on the metal portions.

9. Let dry for about 10 minutes.

10. (This is optional.) After drying, apply another coat of Rust-Oleum and let dry again.

Will the Rust-Oleum prevent proper contact?

No, because it’s most likely true the rust is only on the outside of the port and nowhere near where the connection is actually made.

You have to put a light coat of Rust-Oleum in the places where you scrubbed off the rust or the rust will come back, and very quickly.

No, this is not a solution “for life”. Eventually the Rust-Oleum coat will wear off at some point. But at least it slows the rusting process down a good deal.

On a final note, some of you may be compelled to check the HDMI port on your expensive televisions after reading this. If you see tarnishing or rust, I’m sorry if I just ruined your day, but those ports weren’t exactly built with high quality in mind.

7 thoughts on “Can A USB, HDMI Or Card Reader Port Rust?”

rahul says:
My kingston flash drive got some rust on its corner portions and it’s not working right now, might be because of the rust.
Service centre said rusty flash drives did not get any warranty claims, told me a solution that first clear the rust and than you’ll get the warranty claim.

Hope it’ll be useful for persons like me.

Boachie Pius Ryan says:
wonderful never read anything as enlightening as this.
Turizm says: ile en güncel turizm bilgilerine, en trend tatil bilgilerine ula?abilirsiniz. Türkiye`nin en profesyonel turizm ekibinin haz?rlad??? içeriklerimiz ile turizm sektörüne yeni bir soluk kataca??z. Turizm Trend – Turizmin Yeni Trendi – Erken Rezervasyon Tatil


Boffin says:
Dielectric grease would be the best option to avoid crosion. Once the terminals were clean. apply a dab of the dielectric grease.
Rich says:
Bad idea. That grease is *way* too thick for use on an HDMI port. Even a dab could ruin it.
David M says:
DO NOT pack it with Vaseline or any other type of grease.
Rich says:
You definitely cannot use the petroleum jelly because that stuff is way too thick, won’t apply correctly (it’ll wear right off easily) and it really won’t do that good of a job. Silicone grease is fine (and waterproof) as long as it’s a light coat and you give it extra dry time before plugging a cable back into the port. The only downside is that it may rub off quicker than Rust-Oleum would, but that’s not that big of a deal since it can be reapplied easily.
David M says:
Silicon grease does not dry, which makes it a good thing to use.
Rich says:
Yes it can dry out after several thermal cycles. If you want the kind of grease that doesn’t separate and eventually fail, you use Blue Ice 411.
David M says:
I have never seen it dry out.  I have had it onboard on all kinds of electronic connectors for many years as a way to displace oxygen to stop corrosion.  The other nice thing about it is that it does not affect rubber like petroleum based grease does.
David M says:
Just pack it with silicon grease if you want it to be rust proof. The grease does not affect the electrical contacts and it stops oxidation very well. I know this through first hand experience in a corrosive environment.
Ve7lgt says:
Yes I agree with silicone grease if you are going to apply anything . its not going to do any harm actualy I once went to blow out my computer case and accidently grabed a can of silicone contact cleaner . Before I discovered the mistake I had totaly covered the circuit board with silicone spray . I let the propelents evaporate booted it up and it worked fine untill I upgraded about a year later.
David M says:
For something partially made out of iron, they are relatively rust resistand inside a boat which has plenty of salt water air exposure.

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