Vex Pro Firmware Update

Like many others, I have a number of brains that have failed USB ports (what a terrible design). The logical way to use them is to upload program via the controller. However, VexCode V5 won’t let you do that if the brain is not up to date with firmware.

I read that you can update the firmware via VexCode Pro. But when I connect that way, the brain is simply green and says “firmware unavailable”.


  1. Can I prevent VexCode V5 from requiring the most up to date firmware?

  2. Workaround for updating via VexCode Pro?

  3. Does Vex have a program to get these fixed?

Pros is an option :)) but this has happened to our brains and if you send them to Vex they will give you a new one. This happened at the US Open once and they gave us a new one right then and there.

1 Like

Vex,… three possible workarounds:

  1. I could use Pro to update but it seems Pro and V5 are not on the same firmware version, so Pro doesn’t want to update the brain. What gives?

  2. Allow V5 blocks to update wirelessly (like Pro apparently)

  3. NOT force the brain to be updated to use V5 Blocks. I can run the program when connected via the controller, but can’t download it because the download requires an update. So silly.

HELP please. I have $14,000 worth of Vex robots falling apart daily because of this.

All VEX created software tools share the same firmware versions. There are no firmware mismatches within each application.


If you have multiple V5 brains with broken USB ports, you can still try to upgrade their firmware to the latest version if the ports themselves are broken, but PCB traces are still intact. You can see USB port on the right side of the original image:

Pictures of Internals of V5 components - #13 by technik3k

If soldering wires for an external USB connection is not an option, you can try to use a custom PCB probe fixture, similar to this one:


The hope is that once VEX releases new version of firmware that allows future updates wirelessly or via SDCards, you will no longer depend on broken USB connectors.


The helper tool included with the VEX Visual studio code extension has some capability to do this. I’m traveling for the next couple of weeks, when I’m back in the office in November I’ll put together some instructions on how to update via a tethered V5 controller as that’s more practical than trying to do it wirelessly.

Pro only allows firmware update via direct USB connection, there’s no difference from VEXcode in that regards, but I think it allows program download if firmware is not up to date.


Thanks. The Pro allowing download with firmware not up to date is the likely answer for why Pro shows the brain as green and Blocks does not (and just complains about firmware needing to be updated).

If Pro does not allow a download of firmware via tethered controller, than what I read is wrong or out of date. The class I teach does not use Pro, so downloading programs via the tethered option, despite being out of date is not an option for us (though I appreciate the clarification).

Thanks for the images and suggestions. This will be a last resort for us. It’s unfortunate that it may come to this (hey Vex, do better).

1 Like

Put a more durable connector on the brain please vex. Do us all a favor and switch to USB-C.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.