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Brain Jr start-up and firmware update problem

Hey all,

I'm using a Brain Jr in a DAW PC with an ASUS Z170 WS motherboard and Win 10 Pro 64Bit. The Brain Jr has version 1.0.3 written on the PCB and the firmware version is 2.08. I have built in the Brain into the PC and connected it to an internal USB port of the motherboard.

Problem: when I power-up the PC, the Brain does not always start-up correctly, which results in non-function of the device:
  1. no communication with the PC via USB possible anymore
  2. no transmission of MIDI data when applying input signals
  3. sometimes, the blue LED goes off after start-up, then the device never works
  4. sometimes the blue LED stays on, but the device is still not working
The same problem occurs, when I connect the USB cable to the Brain Jr after power-up of the PC. The problem seems to happen randomly but unfortunately quite often, means in approx. 30% of all cases.

I also tried to update the firmware, but this does not work either. I short-circuited the two first pins of header JP5 (as requested in the wiki) and powered up, but Brain does not go into firmware update mode. I also read about this update problem in this forum and it seems that I have the same issue.

I figured out that on the JP5 / pin 5 there is the master clear reset (MCLR) of the PIC18F66J50 controller. The MCLR provides a method for triggering a hard external Reset. The blue LED goes off when tying pin 5 to ground, but the Brain does not start-up properly afterwards. It seems to be more complex and maybe it's even a timing problem. This would explain that sometimes start-up works and sometimes not.

Any help is much appreciated! I really worry about building up my whole equipment with another MIDI controller again...

Many thanks & best regards


  • Hi Moon,

    Many thanks for your prompt service! 

    Yes, I can organize a PicKit 3 programmer / debugger, type PG164130. As I couldn't find a detailed guideline in the zip-file you provided, what are the steps for the firmware update? I assume that I need to connect the 6 pin-connector of the PicKit 3 with the JP5 of Brain Jr. The question is which pin of the PicKit will be left unconnected? Pin-out of the Kit:
    1 = MCLR/VPP 
    2 = VDD Target
    3 = VSS (ground)
    4 = PGD (ICSPDAT)
    5 = PGC (ICSPCLK)
    6 = PGM (LVP)

    After having the correct cable pin-out, I assume to connect the PicKit via USB to a PC and load the firmware.
    Could you please provide the details for the cable and the steps to be performed to get the firmware update done?

    Besides of this issue I'm very happy with the Brain Jr. The programming software worked very well and I could get everything up and running in the first place. Therefore, I'd really love to keep the Brain Jr and get this issue solved.

    Thanks a lot again!
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