V5 Brain White Screen

Hello, I was just testing a PID Program on my robot with 2 motors connected, along with an ultrasonic sensor in 2 of the 3-wire ports. The surface the robot was tested on was concrete. About 30 seconds after i started running the program, the brain white screened, and became frozen. After this, there was a smell of smoke so we unplugged the brain from the battery quickly. After this, the brain would not turn on again, and would not show up in software. The smoke was coming from the 3-wire port (or at least smelled the strongest there). Is there any advice that anyone has?

It sounds like your brain is fried. Any attempts at fixing it, on the [very] off chance that they were successful, would be illegal because you’d be modifying the electronics. Your best bet would probably be buying a new brain.

Best of luck finding one!

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So a legality question (I know, I know, the only way to find out for sure is the Official Q&A…):

Because finding a brain is a non-starter to begin with (order has been on hold since mid-2021; and if you have multiple teams relying on self-funding and volunteers it becomes a financial burden; please don’t let this become another activity that favors the rich / organizations with big budgets) our teams did this:

We had a brain with the majority of ports fried; really not our fault - about 10 left, not enough for a useful competition bot. We also had a brain with a cracked screen; 100% our fault - did not have screen cover on, corner of game element landed straight in the middle of the LCD. We took the 2 brains apart and moved the board of the cracked screen one to the housing of the fried ports one and made one whole brain with a good amount of non-fried ports. We did not modify anything but yes we did open the cases and swapped parts inside.

Is this brain competition legal?

I would say that this is legal because you still have all the same vex components that came with the brain but you just replaced the parts that are not working with working parts that are also from vex.

This brain would likely be used only for projects, so whether or not it would be competition legal is not that much of a concern. Has anyone with a fried brain returned it to vex for repair with the $80 fee and have it come back working? Kinda sucks that a brain that was perfectly working (no dead ports) fried itself, especially when it is impossible to purchase a new one.

@jpearman Any advice on this? Looking around the forum it seems like you’d be the guy to ask for V5 hardware stuff.

technically, no.

whether or not it should be illegal is a different question. I can understand why vex would want to avoid people tinkering around with the internal electronics, but if you managed to take two broken brains and make them into a single working one, albeit illegally, whether or not you use this in competition is really a matter of whether or not you have moral qualms against breaking part of a rule that you think shouldn’t be there, giving you no competitive advantage, but only saving you resources.


VEX ROBOTICS Community calls when the brain turns to a white screen. The White Screen of Death.

But when that happens I’ve never experience it smoke?

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It sounds pretty terminal, and is certainly unusual. All ports have over current protection and I don’t remember ever hearing of a brain that released the magic smoke. Any chance you are in the Los Angeles area ?


No, not anywhere near L.A. I can send some pics if you want. Got any idea of what fried? The smell seems to be coming from specifically the A and B of the 3-wire ports, which is where we had our sensor plugged in. There were no previous indicators of a short, as the sensor was reading perfectly. Something else to note, the team was in the process of uploading a program to the brain through the controller, hope that helps.

Three wire ports can supply 2A. More than that should shutdown the 5V regulator, but even if that chip died the brain should still turn on. So idk what went wrong, I’ll ask support next week if they have had instances of this before when we all get back from worlds.


Thank you so much for your help. In the meantime, i’ll probably avoid the battery and cable from that robot. May even switch out the 3-wire ultrasonic sensor.