Mini USB port on brain

I have 2 brains that the Mini USB port is no longer working? We have tried different cords to no avail… They seem a little loose or pushed in a little… anyone else experienced this… We have several different types of cords usb–> mini usb … anyone else using “non-vex” cords to program the bots?

The VEX IQ Brain has a micro-USB port, not a mini. I assume that you are using the correct cable. I use a non-VEX USB A-USB Micro cable on my computer all the time, and it works great. This is a standard cable.

Do your other brains work with these cables?

Well, I would say the original VEX cable has a little longer metal protrusion, as if to compensate for the plastic brain enclosure thickness. Certainly at least some of the USB micro-B cables I have at home have a shorter protrusion (they vary 5-7mm) and the shortest don’t work with the brain well. So I prefer to keep the original VEX cables around.
Besides that, the brain’s USB connector might be quite fragile, given that it is purely surface-mounted part (as opposed to having through-hole flanges). Just last week, I had to fix one brain which stopped connecting over USB. Interestingly enough, the circuit board have had signs of rework around the USB connector area already and the pin 5 (GND of all the pins!) had a cold joint. Works like new now…

(Edit: fixed typos)

I have a brain with a broken USB port too. The problem I found is that students have a tenancy to go with the “if it doesn’t fit, push harder” mentality and the port simply can’t handle the stress. Now I put stickers on the USB cables so it’s clearly marked which way goes up when plugging them into the brain.