(FIXED) The micro-USB port on our v5 brain is dead in less than 3 months of use

Title.

This is ridiculous, we are (and have been) aware that the micro-USB port does not stand up well to wear and tear, but its been less than 3 months. Yes, we’ve tried over 10 different micro-USB to USB - cables. Yes, we have indeed tried downloading with the latest versions of PROS, Robotmesh Studio, VCS, and have even tried updating the firmware through the v5 utility. Yes, we have been using a micro-USB to USB-A adapter to prevent our port from wearing out (and tried both different adapters and different USB-A to A cables).

We are sitting here with a new robot and less than 2 weeks until the Florida Signature Event and our State Championship with no way to program our robot.

We have sent an email to vex sales and would appreciate any ideas to solve this problem.

(Wireless programming isn’t supported and we also haven’t received everything in our JULY order as icing on the cake)

Edit: Called VEX sales/tech support and got disconnected after a 20 minute wait.

Edit 2: We solved the problem, see the answer to this post to see how. I’m leaving the thread up because there are some good troubleshooting suggestions for any teams that experience this in the future.

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For mitigating the problem in the future, there have been a few suggestions that seem promising.

A magnetic connection adapter which would plug in to the Micro USB slot and attach to the end of the cable, and then the magnetic connector terminals would be the connection point. Cut down the number of plug cycles on the micro usb port. I want to get a few of these to test, they sound pretty cool. Google “Magsafe Micro USB”

A cheaper alternative was just to keep your cable on the robot most of the time, unplug from the computer and wrap the cable around a couple of standoffs on the robot for storage. This works for as long as you are not in a competition, and honestly, if it was non functional in a match, i would allow you to keep it at a competition, but other EPs may not. Still, it would cut down plug cycles.

For correcting the problem, the options are less happy.

Have VEX replace it. Shipping times may vary.

If you have access to a good electrical wizard, have them illegally repair it. It can be done, but i would not recommend it for anyone who doesn’t do a lot of very precise soldering, because i imagine that will write off any chance of VEX replacing the unit, and odds are it is going to need replaced when one of the myriad other common failures occur.

Sacrifice a goat to a volcano in hopes that VEX will release functional, well engineered hardware.

Switch to a robotics program which allows you to provide and use your own functional and well engineered hardware.

We do this as of tuesday. they’re pretty Slick.

Another option is to buy a really short micro USB connector like these: and secure it on the robot. and use a USB extension cable like this: as your programing cable.

bottom line is I wouldn’t cycle that micro USB port more than a couple times a year. Now that we’ve switched to the magnetic connectors I don’t know if it will ever be cycled again.

We’re going to need an assist from the teams in Hawaii on this one.

I would rule that the cable left on the robot is the same as USB extensions that were ruled legal to keep on during a match.
https://www.robotevents.com/VRC/2018-2019/QA/161

Excellent, glad to see that.

When you attempt to download, is it saying that it failed and couldn’t connect to the Brain, even though it’s obvious the wire is plugged into both the computer and brain? I’ve been having some similar problems, and I absolutely dislike the micro USB port. I really hope wireless downloading will exist soon so this wouldn’t happen or wear the micro USB port on the brain so easily. For the meantime, I’ve been having some better luck by putting my volume on my computer on full, constantly plug and unplug until I hear the system recognize the brain. If this still doesn’t work after waiting 10 seconds, I found hope by lightly pushing the plug to the side while it is plugged in. If necessary, I would suggest try downloading on another computer and see if that could make a difference.

My friend from 99402 had the same issue. He hasn’t even had V5 for a month.

In the short term, I’d call into sales and ask them to expedite the shipping. Be sure to call in the morning when they first open so you won’t get disconnected.

In the long term, the adapter cables recommended above are probably the best bet. The ports are designed pretty sloppily and constantly plugging and unplugging the cable will damage the brain.

And in the longer term, this is absurd. There were teams with v5 in October and there are teams that still haven’t received it. Combined with motors blowing out, motor ports dying, white screening, and now this, AND with BO1 on top of everything, this year is a mess. Can’t say I’m sorry it’s my last.

I plan on heading back to Hawaii. Someone provide me a goat and I’ll do it.

Side note - Who decided micro-usb was the way to go? The direct USB was perfectly fine, getting it to USB 3.0 would’ve sufficed.

Or go with USB-C, anything but Micro-usb.

Can you post a link to the cord you use, I’ve seen a lot of these cords out there but I don’t know which one to get.

The deciding factor was probably green and had a dead president on it.

I was floored they took the this route with how many failures IQ hardware has related to the Micro USB.

I didn’t buy them, but I am asking and will let you know.

We’ve used a magnetic coupled cable similar to this one with decent reviews. We had some trouble after a while, maybe some metal dust or small shavings accumulated in the connector.

We use this short extension for at least 10 teams and I haven’t heard any complaints. We use the orange A-A Cortex programming cable we had laying around along with this short extension.

These are what we are using.

full disclosure: We have only had them for a couple days.

You know, I’m surprised I haven’t broken any of my IQ brains micro-usb connectors.

This probably would take a lot, but I want a Rev 2 of the V5 brain that fixes the issues.

I know I’ve had one or both of ours re-soldered

OOF. Wanna borrow my brain for Florida?

Thanks for all the ideas, we found were able to re-establish a connection after resetting the brain and using a different cable on a different conputer. We currently have a micro USB to USB A connector plugged into the brain and we were able to download a program onto the brain with a USB A male to female.

Based on this we think it is some sort of driver issue, but we greatly appreciate the help and will be looking into getting one of the magnetic connectors @TheColdedge recommended :slight_smile:

And thanks for the offer @Duke4221c

resetting the brain? @Mystical Pie

So I am also outraged by this. Our first 3 month old V5 died today and 3 others have issues with the USB connection. VEX KNOWS THIS.! It was an issue with IQ Brains that have a surface mount micro usb connection that breaks off after being used for a while. Knowing this they design a new system with the same connection and same issue. I can only see this as greed and a way to pay for their new corporate jet. Not hopefully of any positive response from them. Thanks for the USB and other potential solutions.