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Released June 2012 / Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost / Up to 1 GB GDDR5 Video RAM

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Can I Use Thunderbolt to convert to USB for data?

I have done several upgrades to this workhorse machine, all using iFixit manuals and this forum. Last night there was a `wine incident' which I was able to contain and my system was OK until this morning I went to plug in a USB mouse and got a power related error message that told me to disconnect ASAP etc. After that, the (last remaining) USB port is now dead, so now I basically want to see if I can get a Thunderbolt adapter that provides me a USB 2.0 port to do a final Carbon Copy backup before I go and buy a replacement machine! If I am completely out to lunch on this, let me know. Replacing the logic board or replacing the ports are too expensive and out of my comfort zone respectively.

Thanks in advance!

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I’m not sure if you can get a adapter but I do know that thunderbolt drives do exist ( for getting your data)

It’s basically a hdd or a ssd with a thunderbolt cable connected

You should be able to use one of them but have you tried cleaning the wine inside?

If it’s still turning on and working minus the USB ports you might be able to save it before it’s too late!

If you need any help or advice with the liquid damage please let me know

Hopefully this helps

Any questions please ask


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Thanks for the info. I think I'm just going to call it a day and acknowledge the fact that it's time to replace the best laptop I ever had. I will feel that I have finally crossed over into the non-DIY world that Apple and others have created to minimize cost of ownership for buyers and maximize profits for themselves...

FYI, I did blow out both ports and also used a blow dryer on medium heat



Entirely up to you:-)


@jdanham - Read what I posted in Alisha C post I have one of these adapters and I can tell you it won't do what you are thinking!


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Sorry, there is no means to connect a mouse via a Thunderbolt-1 or 2 port as these don't offer a USB connection. A Thunderbolt-3 connection is different!

Fixing the port may not be that expensive. This is still good work horse! I'm still banging on mine right now answering Q's.

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I think I read that somewhere also about the mid-2012 models' version of Thunderbolt. With 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, I think I could get a few more miles out of it. When you say it might not be that expensive are you talking like a couple of hundred bucks or....?


@jdanham - I can't tell you that as I would need to see the system and do some diagnostics. I'm sure someone local could help you.


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I believe you can, although Thunderbolt 2 to USB adapters may be hard to come by since the need for them would have been considerably less than other adapters. More than likely a device with Thunderbolt would have also had USB.

EDIT: Even though I have seen these adapters, further research has revealed them to be mostly junk, or need some level of software meddling to get them to work since thunderbolt is based on the PCI spec, which does not natively support USB. If you cannot get your ports to work though, and you want the data, you can still get an adapter for the removable SSD and clone or migrate it that way.

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The first generations of Thunderbolt don't offer the USB data lines so it's just not possible. Only Thunderbolt-3 (USB-C) offers the needed connections the TB1/2 ports don't. And NO the TB1/2 adapter to TB3 is a data conversion of the TB signals not the USB signals. Remember these adapters are designed so you can use an older TB1/2 drive (or system via Target Disk Mode) with your new TB3 system (USB-C connector).

Now to confuse you! USB-C so far in this context is a connector not how the port is wired!

As an example the iPad USB-C port only offers USB-C signals! Basically a faster USB-A port nothing more! So if you tried using the Apple TB1/2 to TB3 adapter it won't let you access the TB1/2 data on the drive or TB1/2 system or even let you access the iPad's data from a TB1/2 Mac system.

Here's more on the newest generation of Thunderbolt! What’s the Difference Between Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4, and USB4


@danj That will teach me to believe the first source I read when I’m in a hurry. I honestly tried to verify this, but for some reason the official documentation for Thunderbolt 2 seems to be hidden in the underground of Google Search (no one looks for official specs sheets, or documentation, right)?

I have seen adapters around. But I have also seen adapters for tons of other things I know better than to believe are actually functional. Sounds like the adapters I have seen require a bunch of software hoops for the USB function to work (if they even do)


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Dan zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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