V5 Ports Dying

Here is a short list of questions in an effort to figure out why v5 ports stop working.

Which ports are dying on your brain?

  • All ports equally dying
  • Ports with long wires (intakes, lifts, etc.)
  • I do not have this problem
0 voters

How is your brain mounted on your robot

  • Mounted on metal
  • Mounted on rubber links
  • Mounted on zipties
0 voters

Do you spray antistatic on your field(s)?

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters
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This is because of Static build up. If anyone was wondering

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Electrostatic discharge is likely part of the problem, but no conclusive evidence exists to this end.

(And no amount of highly informal polling will change that.)


Uh I have a ton of evidence. Not on me but I had this problem before. It is Electrostatic discharge. I have tested it with my bot once I finally found out what it is. I now spray anti static. But you believe what you want.

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of course we haven’t entirely proven that it is esd, but in all likelyhood it is. my incident occurred on a day with lots of static, I was getting shocked everywhere.
I had my robot stationary on the field, with the intakes spinning and nothing else moving. I touched one of the intakes and got a massive shock. right when I got the shock the port connected to that intake blew.
while this isn’t conclusive evidence, its certainly good enough to convince me that esd is the culprit. vex seems to think so as well, judging by their anti-static tiles.

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@The_To @Xenon27 Anecdotal evidence is never conclusive. That is an objective fact. It doesn’t matter how strongly the anecdotal evidence appears to support a conclusion.

Slight (but relevant) tangent:
Always be very careful about how you draw conclusions.

Anecdotal evidence has played a large part in propagating anti-vaccination movements around the world, even though science tells us vaccinations do far more good than harm.
Read more about it here if you want.


of course not. Just saying that static is definitely the most likely culprit, so when discussing how to fix port burnouts, eliminating static is going to be the most likely solution. So no, we don’t know for sure that it is static causing this, but that also means we don’t know for sure what will fix these issues. but since static is probably what is causing it, then eliminating static will probably solve your issue.

also comparing jumping to conclusions about the cause of v5 port burnouts is a bit different than antivaccine movements, because you have nothing to lose by trying to eliminate static, taking measures against esd will only cause good to your robot, while not taking vaccines is stupid and will like have very negative consequences.

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While I believe static can cause a problem, I do not think it is the sole culprit. Last year, I worked in a carpeted engineering lab on the second floor of my school. The static buildup was so bad, I was shocked every time I touched our field–without fail. We never used anti-static spray. Even though my school was running 2 V5 robots, we did not burn out any ports all year. My team spent 15+ hours a week working on our robot, so we had no shortage of opportunities to blow a port.

This year, I have already burnt two ports. My field is no longer on carpet and does not have a static problem.

I wonder if burning ports comes down grounding. On my robot from last year, the brain was directly mounted to the steel robot frame. In several places, our frame came very close to touching the ground. My robot this year is made of VEX’s alluminum alloy. (I have not tested this, but its qualities seem like less of a conductor.) Could grounding our brains be the solution to burning ports?

Also, I have confirmed that poorly crimped cables is another port killer. The Purdue VEXU team has mentioned this, and I know from my experience with Ethernet and networking. If you cut your own cable, be warned.

Interesting perspective. Blown ports is probably caused by multiple issues. The only way we’ll ever really know is if there are experiments performed in a controlled environment. Until then it is conjecture, at best.

However, I’m confused about your paragraph about grounding. Do you understand the process of grounding and what is it means to be grounded? The way you describe it above I can’t really tell. It doesn’t really seem that your robot is grounded in the scenario you describe.


You are definitely right. It does not completely meet the definition of grounding. There was not direct metal contact with the ground. Because it was so close, I have inferred that the steel parts on my robot did touch the ground with relative frequency. This would loosely meet the definition of bonding, where the objects in question are not grounded but connected for electron equalization. (I intend to do more research on this front)

My theory is that a copper wire from the screw holes (located on the back of the brain) to the ground would alleviate static issues. If you could make the grounding wire fit with VEX’s robot requirements.

Yes, a little more research may be warranted. Look into the differences between electrostatic discharge and grounding.


Take a look at this thread: Dissipating static - legal?

Links to a description of ESD. I think of ESD as a more violent way to ground something.

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It’s not a comparison. I’m just trying to make the point that arriving at conclusions should be a very carefully executed process — a process that should not rely on anecdotal evidence.

In this case, the consequences of a flawed conclusion may be minimal, but that does not justify using a flawed process to arrive at a premature conclusion.

Is it reasonable to take precautions against ESD in the hopes of preventing port malfunctions? Sure.

Is it valid to conclude ESD is the sole cause of port malfunctions? Absolutely not.


Of course. But when people ask for a solution to their ports blowing its a lot more helpful to say that it is probably static (not certainly, but I think we can agree that static is likely the problem) and give them advise on how to reduce static than it is to tell them that we don’t know why the ports are blowing.

I guess we’ll know if static was the cause once we all switch to the anti-static tiles. (Assuming the tiles actually work)


@Xenon27 You are right that, based on all the evidence available currently (anecdotal as it may be), ESD mitigation is one of the best advice to give to hopefully prevent port malfunctions.

However, keep in mind what I was responding to:

Emphasis added by me.

The core methods of science and engineering — the methods that VEX and VRC are designed to help teach — outline how conclusions should be drawn. In no case can anecdote independently justify a conclusion; if a phenomenon cannot be explained purely by established science, then at minimum a controlled experiment must be run to find a statistically significant result that is supported by established science.

Neither of those scenarios happened here. The quotes above are merely hypotheses, yet they are disguised and presented as proven conclusions.

TL;DR: There’s a reason hypothesis and conclusion are not synonyms.