Micro USB Port Broke

Hello VEX Forum.

 My team is in a bit of trouble.  When we were unplugging our micro usb cable from the V5 brain, the port was bent.  We opened up the brain, and tried to straighten it out.  We did this pretty easily, and then put the brain back together.  We plugged the micro usb back in, but the computer was not detecting any brain connection, and the brain was not detecting anything either.  Is there any way we could fix this, or is there another way to upload programs?  Thank you.

You should contact VEX support for next steps. It sounds like the connection between the port and circuit board is damaged.

does the computer connect to the brain without the cover on when connected to the micro-usb connector? If it does, it would indicate that the connector works fine, but needs to be position so the usb cable can be properly seated - as @John TYler suggests, the prudent route is to contact VEX support.

Is vex support still sending out V5 brains? I thought that after November 13th they would stop sending them out.

The suspension of taking new V5 orders is just that - new V5 orders. VEX is still shipping out orders prior to the announcement and equipment as part of warrantee replacement.

My advice would be to dump the V5 system and go with cortex, and also to write a three-paragraph essay about why vex should bring the best of three system back, and how the new system is unfair to competitors

@Chris_A ,

USB is the only way to upload programs and install updates to V5 brain at this time. Wireless upload capability was promised in the future version, but no time estimates were given.

Without working USB there is hardly anything you could do. As others have suggested - call VEX support to send V5 brain back for repair or replacement. Fixing tiny micro USB connector is very delicate process and requires special tools.

For everybody else, I would highly recommend to use Magnetic MicroUSB adapters - they have the best chance to survive the use case for programming VRC robots. Frequent insertions by young students in the hard to reach places and angles and the possibility of robot driving away while connected is not going to work well for long.

We have one on our robot - it works great and saved both the robot and the computer (from falling off the table) at least a couple of times when students tried to drive without disconnecting cable first.



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Why only 3 paragraph? How about a 12- novel anthology detailing the pitfalls of the new system, and comparing its advantages to the BO3 advantages.

But let’s try to keep this thread on topic to assist the OP and whoever else has the same issue.

Thanks for this suggestion, I thought this was a great idea and purchased some for the V5 units I use in my classroom. It works really nice. Unfortunately the ones I purchased (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DHFR62G) where slightly too wide to connect reliably every time - they would run into the latch catches on the side of the power connector. I don’t know if you ran into this @technik3k. I got around it by sanding off those portions of the housing (which have no bearing on the function of the cable, as there is no place those parts interact with on the brain or battery).

Not sure if I’ll make the same modification on competition bots as it may be considered an illegal modification.

Also I found that some of the magnetic USB cables you can buy do not support data transfer, only charging, so read carefully. The ones I purchased will connect in either direction, but only one direction provides data transfer. It is easy to do right - there is an LED that lights up on the top, but it is something to be aware of.

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@nnolte, yes that’s a good observation, I forgot to mention that. In the last year I’ve bought about 25 of the slightly cheaper model from several different sellers (usually in the batches of 5). That model fits V5 spacing perfectly and does data transfer, if connected the right side up. I’ve used them for all micro usb devices in my household and gave some out to a few local VRC teams.

So far only 3 of 25 had stopped working due to the worn out cable (where it enters plastic plug). However, I am still very happy, because if there is a high chance of it being constantly yanked by students or chewed by the gears, I would rather use (and throw away) $2 extension, than risking damage to $250 V5 brain or $500 computer that could be accidentally pulled off the table.

If anyone considers buying such cables, just order a few extras both for the controllers and V5 brain. I’ve bought in the past from these sellers and orders usually arrive within 10 days:

I wouldn’t worry about that. There is an official Q&A for USB extension cables: https://www.robotevents.com/VRC/2018-2019/QA/161

While VEX Coding Studio has no wireless upload support, the only reason for GDC to disallow third-party extensions that would make any sense, would be if they secretly enjoy having VEX to do RMAs for V5 with non-working USB ports. If anybody comes to our competitions with such an extension, I would have no problem letting it through the inspection, regardless of what Q&A says.

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Maybe others have thought of this already, but my programmers started leaving the USB plugged in during the entire programming session. They just tuck it out if the way when it’s not in use.

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That’s a clever trick! They could also put a couple of standoffs on the robot to wrap the wire around them when not in use as a more permanent solution. And they should definitely document their idea in their notebook as an example of the “no additional resources - just configuration change” solution to the real life problem (of wearing down V5’s USB port).

Also, you could use USB extension cable like this one to avoid over wearing out computer’s USB port as well.

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@DRow some useless comments at the end of an otherwise productive thread. Please lock and possibly delete useless posts.

Hold on, I don’t think those comments were useless. They were pretty on topic and (possibly) helpful.
Oh well. Guess it happens.

Innocent-sounding recommendations that violate cardinal rules of electronics handling are not worth keeping.

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That was why I was intrigued. It was counterintuitive, so I was curious. Oh well. Probably really easy to screw up and break something, anyway.

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There are people who come here for real answers, like the one @technik3k gave us. Telling someone, or at least inferring to someone, to do something that has a high chance of breaking something in the brain, especially when those people might not know better, is a bad idea.

It made it worse that the post had no information about how it was done, what amount was used, and how it was applied.

VEX might repair these products, or at least offer support for them. They don’t need things like that posted on their forums.

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Okay, agreed. That was why I was asking for clarification. Y’all win.

Now, can we get back on topic?

Really, the only option is to replace the cable(if the cable is the issues) or open the brain and replace/reflow the connector(which is illegal). The best method to fix this is to prevent it. I suppose you could try to use a needle to bend the internal connectors (while its off, and unplugged, and discharged, naturally) it might work better than it did.