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Old 02-28-2012, 12:07 PM   #1
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LV Serial Cable

As a supplement to the things on this subject already posted...

This thread will cover how I am hooking up my own cable.

First, the cable doc sheet (FTDI Chip adapter cable):
http://drpbox.knetconnect.com/serial...2RG_CABLES.pdf
The Kindle uses the 1.8 volt (1V8) model cable.

Second, the chip doc sheet for the chip inside the cable:
http://drpbox.knetconnect.com/serial/DS_FT232R.pdf
Gives a full description of the tricks the USB-serial chip can do.

Windows, Linux, Mac OSx all have drivers for this cable.
Some may also support the "bit banging" interface to the chip.

For those who want to read ahead...
This is how I did it for one of my media players:
http://minimodding.com/tiki-view_blo....php?postId=81

Only the physical details (and voltage of the cable) will differ on the Kindle.

The prior thread on this subject here seems to have died off a couple of years ago:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...60&postcount=1

Which gives me a chance to re-invent a way of my own.

The information available on Linux about the adapter cable and its drivers is down here:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...80&postcount=5

The cover light connector and pads reported in the original thread as the serial port connections on the Kindle3 (here, a 3g, Keyboard model) is down here:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...6&postcount=17

The pad signal assignments are found in this post:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=23

The internal details of the J14 socket here:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...1&postcount=24

A dimensioned sketch of the internal contacts here (as a png image):
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...9&postcount=30

The cad file of the sketch (as dxf):
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...5&postcount=31

Last edited by knc1; 10-20-2012 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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Something odd about the kindle touch (and k4nt). It seems that the third pin that we have been calling "GND" (ground) does not make a good ground. The kindle serial i/o seems to work better when another ground is used, like a metal shield. Or, you can leave off the ground connection and keep the kindle USB connected to the same computer as the serial adapter, so it uses the USB cable ground as the serial ground.

Perhaps that third pin is CTS or DTR (hardware handshake)???
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekmaster View Post
Something odd about the kindle touch (and k4nt). It seems that the third pin that we have been calling "GND" (ground) does not make a good ground. The kindle serial i/o seems to work better when another ground is used, like a metal shield. Or, you can leave off the ground connection and keep the kindle USB connected to the same computer as the serial adapter, so it uses the USB cable ground as the serial ground.

Perhaps that third pin is CTS or DTR (hardware handshake)???
Might be. I think these serial ports wil do 400K+ speed serial lines.
Flow control is nice to have at those speeds.

Anything that is a "driven ground" (signal output in low state, this is CMOS) might act like a not-so-good ground point.

Do you have access to an O'Scope to check it with?

Hmm...
Maybe we should get someone with a lot of "Google Credits" to look up how to use the PC Audio Mic-In (or Line-in, in this case) jack as a quick-and-dirty O'Scope.
Hello, Volunteers????

Last edited by knc1; 02-28-2012 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knc1 View Post
Might be. I think these serial ports wil do 400K+ speed serial lines.
Flow control is nice to have at those speeds.

Anything that is a "driven ground" (signal output in low state, this is CMOS) might act like a not-so-good ground point.

Do you have access to an O'Scope to check it with?

Hmm...
Maybe we should get someone with a lot of "Google Credits" to look up how to use the PC Audio Mic-In (or Line-in, in this case) jack as a quick-and-dirty O'Scope.
Hello, Volunteers????
I planned to do that "someday". It is probably AC coupled though. The XO/OLPC (one laptop per child) pc lets you select DC mode for the microphone input, and it has a scope program built-in.

But even AC coupled has its uses for changing signals, but not good for measuring static DC voltage levels.

I have Rigol (hacked, of course)... and a somewhat bulkier analog scope for when a DSO is not the right tool for the job. I think I was maybe 12 when I bought my first scope (AC coupled vacuum tube, back in the day)... ;-)

Last edited by geekmaster; 02-28-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:30 AM   #5
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Kernel Serial Modules

Since this serial i/o adapter interfaces to the host computer as a USB device, a quick HowTo find out about a USB device that was just connected.

While written about the USB-serial adapter cable to be used, the details of learning information about a kernel module here is general in nature.

Note: Shown while logged in as 'root' (su -l) but only this first command requires root privledge level (dmesg -c). You can do these commands as a regular user, using the form: 'sudo dmesg -c' for this first command.

Clear the kernel message buffer:
Code:
core2quad ~ # dmesg -c
- - - big snip - - -
Hot plug a device. Here the USB-serial converter:
Code:
core2quad ~ # dmesg
[ 7087.268150] usb 2-3.5: new full speed USB device number 5 using ehci_hcd
[ 7087.843883] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
[ 7087.843895] USB Serial support registered for generic
[ 7087.843930] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
[ 7087.843932] usbserial: USB Serial Driver core
[ 7087.850645] USB Serial support registered for FTDI USB Serial Device
[ 7087.850758] ftdi_sio 2-3.5:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[ 7087.850789] usb 2-3.5: Detected FT232RL
[ 7087.850791] usb 2-3.5: Number of endpoints 2
[ 7087.850793] usb 2-3.5: Endpoint 1 MaxPacketSize 64
[ 7087.850795] usb 2-3.5: Endpoint 2 MaxPacketSize 64
[ 7087.850797] usb 2-3.5: Setting MaxPacketSize 64
[ 7087.851096] usb 2-3.5: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[ 7087.851111] usbcore: registered new interface driver ftdi_sio
[ 7087.851112] ftdi_sio: v1.6.0:USB FTDI Serial Converters Driver
The information of primary importance to the user is this line:
Quote:
FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0
Which says that software can now access the adapter cable as /dev/ttyUSB0

This device name was assigned (or could have been assigned) by either the kernel's module autoloader or a udev event rule.

In this specific case, that looks like the kernel's default name, not been re-named by the udev event rules, although you could do that if desired.

Additional information in the kernel message buffer above is the announcement of two new driver modules that where autoloaded.
Code:
core2quad ~ # lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
ftdi_sio               35827  0
usbserial              37203  1 ftdi_sio
- - - snip - - -
Additional information about those modules is available, including parameters that the module recognizes.
These parameter values can be passed to the module from the kernel command line or on the command line of the manual module loader command.

Code:
core2quad ~ # modinfo ftdi_sio
filename:       /lib/modules/3.0.0-16-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/serial/ftdi_sio.ko
license:        GPL
description:    USB FTDI Serial Converters Driver
author:         Greg Kroah-Hartman <greg@kroah.com>, Bill Ryder <bryder@sgi.com>, Kuba Ober <kuba@mareimbrium.org>, Andreas Mohr, Johan Hovold <jhovold@gmail.com>
srcversion:     1719192F096E98EA81E5982
alias:          usb:v0483p3747d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
- - - snip about 640 devices - - -
alias:          usb:v0403pF7C0d*dc*dsc*dp*ic*isc*ip*
depends:        usbserial
vermagic:       3.0.0-16-generic SMP mod_unload modversions 686
parm:           debug:Debug enabled or not (bool)
parm:           vendor:User specified vendor ID (default=0x0403) (ushort)
parm:           product:User specified product ID (ushort)
parm:           ndi_latency_timer:NDI device latency timer override (int)
Of possible interest is the ability to control the latency timer in this driver.
The values and their effect should be in the Documentation tree of the kernel source.
Although just asking your favorite web-search engine sometimes works also.

Notice in the above that this driver depends on (requires) the usbserial driver.
Learning a bit about that driver:
Code:
core2quad ~ # modinfo usbserial
filename:       /lib/modules/3.0.0-16-generic/kernel/drivers/usb/serial/usbserial.ko
license:        GPL
description:    USB Serial Driver core
author:         Greg Kroah-Hartman, greg@kroah.com, http://www.kroah.com/linux/
srcversion:     8451423FD3B5DEEE801B6DB
depends:
vermagic:       3.0.0-16-generic SMP mod_unload modversions 686
parm:           vendor:User specified USB idVendor (ushort)
parm:           product:User specified USB idProduct (ushort)
parm:           debug:Debug enabled or not (bool)
Which does not list any dependencies.
Although from the dmesg you can see that it depends on the usbcore system, which is usually built-in to the kernel rather than being a module.

Note also that this kernel was built with the module unloader enabled.

You can unload these modules (rmmod, remove module) and then re-load them manually, perhaps with different parameters.
Such as with debug enabled or changed latency timer values.

Consider these drivers as a "stack" (they are) and use the dependency information to get the manual un-load and load command order correct.

Unload top-down:
rmmod ftdi_sio
rmmod usbserial (if changing something about it)

Load bottom-up:
insmod usbserial
insmod ftdi_sio ndi_latency_timer=some.number

There is both summary and detail information available about devices on the USB bus, the quick summary:
Code:
core2quad ~ # lsusb
- - - snip - - -
Bus 002 Device 005: ID 0403:6001 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC
And the more than anyone wants to know, detail listing command:
Code:
core2quad ~ # lsusb -vvv -d 0403:6001

Bus 002 Device 005: ID 0403:6001 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0 
  bDeviceProtocol         0 
  bMaxPacketSize0         8
  idVendor           0x0403 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd
  idProduct          0x6001 FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC
  bcdDevice            6.00
  iManufacturer           1 FTDI
  iProduct                2 TTL232RG-VREG1V8
  iSerial                 3 FTUU8UJ7
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength           32
    bNumInterfaces          1
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0 
    bmAttributes         0x80
      (Bus Powered)
    MaxPower              500mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           2
      bInterfaceClass       255 Vendor Specific Class
      bInterfaceSubClass    255 Vendor Specific Subclass
      bInterfaceProtocol    255 Vendor Specific Protocol
      iInterface              2 TTL232RG-VREG1V8
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x81  EP 1 IN
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0040  1x 64 bytes
        bInterval               0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x02  EP 2 OUT
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0040  1x 64 bytes
        bInterval               0
Device Status:     0x0000
  (Bus Powered)
The vendor and device information is being translated to strings using the usb.ids file, located at:
Code:
/var/lib/usbutils/usb.ids
Which you can view for more information about the vendors and devices.
Or query it using grep:
Code:
core2quad ~ # grep -B1 'Amazon' /var/lib/usbutils/usb.ids
1949  Lab126
	0002  Amazon Kindle
	0004  Amazon Kindle 3
You (as admin user: 'root') can also edit this database to translate ids that are not included. Directions are in the top of the file.

Of possible interest in the above, the comment about the udev rules and the info shown in the detailed listing.
From reading the chip documentation manual, you know there is a unique serial number burned into each chip and it could be seen here:
Code:
iSerial                 3 FTUU8UJ7
That value __should__ be available to the udev rules, if you want to write a udev rule that always assigns the same device name to this cable.
Handy if you have more than one adapter cable plugged into your machine.
FTDI Chip has a version of this cable with all leads on a bit-banging interface, for use as interesting things like an eJTAG adapter cable. Uses this same driver, so assigning distinctive names to the cables can become a very usefull feature.

Last edited by knc1; 02-29-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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More than you ever wanted to know about that driver:
http://lxr.free-electrons.com/source...ial/ftdi_sio.c

@GeekMaster: Yes, it does support 460800 (directions, lines: 1080++)

And it looks to me as if that latency timer is set in units of milliseconds, but I did not study, only scaned the driver code.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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@GeekMaster: If you insmod usb_mon, then you can attach Wireshark to it and Wireshark will capture/decode USB packets, just like it does network packets.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:12 PM   #8
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I am already grabbing USB packets in my windows VM (MfgTool and sb_loader are windows apps), and I have software to replay them (as USB macros). I used wireshark a lot when it was still Ethereal. I actually paid big $ for a commercial ethernet packet sniffer back in the 90's. It came on a floppy disk... wireshark is "more better".

In my linux proggies, I just use printf() to display the USB traffic that I am interested in. Thanks for the tip. It will be easier than writing built-in debugging instrumentation.

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knc1 View Post
More than you ever wanted to know about that driver:
http://lxr.free-electrons.com/source...ial/ftdi_sio.c

@GeekMaster: Yes, it does support 460800 (directions, lines: 1080++)

And it looks to me as if that latency timer is set in units of milliseconds, but I did not study, only scaned the driver code.
So perhaps we can use that "ground" wire to tell it to stop sending. It needs pacing. In u-boot, there are periodic chunks of missing data in large output spurts. I wonder if that wire is implemented in u-boot though, but it is worth testing.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:40 PM   #10
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So perhaps we can use that "ground" wire to tell it to stop sending. It needs pacing. In u-boot, there are periodic chunks of missing data in large output spurts. I wonder if that wire is implemented in u-boot though, but it is worth testing.
My one ARMed Chatty Katie is getting a photo session of the pads around the lamp power connector today.
And a bit of probing with my $10 O'Scope (if it works, it was only $10).

Having a higher speed than 115,200 would be nice when re-writing a 4G flash drive.
But I agree with you, that is going to take some flow-control signals. If I can find them....
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knc1 View Post
My one ARMed Chatty Katie is getting a photo session of the pads around the lamp power connector today.
And a bit of probing with my $10 O'Scope (if it works, it was only $10).

Having a higher speed than 115,200 would be nice when re-writing a 4G flash drive.
But I agree with you, that is going to take some flow-control signals. If I can find them....
Writing flash images over serial is aided by the fact the YMODEM protocol checksums the packets and retries if missing or damaged bytes. u-boot also has kermit support, but yifanlu says that this is broken, so we should use YMODEM.

One time, on a tiny device, I had to suck a firmware image out over a blinking LED, because that was all that I could control. It took many days.

Last edited by geekmaster; 02-29-2012 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekmaster View Post
Writing flash images over serial is aided by the fact the YMODEM protocol checksums the packets and retries if missing or damaged bytes. u-boot also has kermit support, but yifanlu says that this is broken, so we should use YMODEM.

One time, on a tiny device, I had to suck a firmware image out over a blinking LED, because that was all that I could control. It took many days.
I just re-thought what I wrote...
People pay "per hour of bench time" when restoring their Kindles, so let us reflash these devices at 9,600.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
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When I started hacking computers, 300bps was a huge luxury. You needed a "glass teletype" to support those awesome speeds. I could read ASCII directly off the punched paper tape. Teachers would not give you the login password -- you had to borrow their short punched paper tape "login key" to login, so being able to read paper tape was one of my "leet hacker skillz". Of course, it took an entire hour to download a tiny low-res picture of a naked lady at 300bps off a BBS back in the day. Kidz these days don't know how good they have it. We couldn't just google "naughty words" back when I was a kid. You had to have real determination and dedication just to get a little taste of what is a "torrent" of media content these days.

9600bps is WAY too fast. When I want to see IF there is data traffic (with no other tools than a blinking LED), I set the interface to 110bps so I can see the bits.

Last edited by geekmaster; 02-29-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:14 PM   #14
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9600bps is WAY too fast. When I want to see IF there is data traffic (with no other tools than a blinking LED), I set the interface to 110bps so I can see the bits.
I still type at 35wpm - because I learned to type on a teletype machine.

And everything just went better when the fingers stayed in sync with the clutches.
So my hands have only one fixed speed, they never learned a different one.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:31 PM   #15
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I still type at 35wpm - because I learned to type on a teletype machine.

And everything just went better when the fingers stayed in sync with the clutches.
So my hands have only one fixed speed, they never learned a different one.
I remember pressing the keys ahead of time waiting impatiently for the clutches to let them slide down into place. I was considered to be a very fast typist at the peak of my career (and much more accurate when I was younger and my fingers still did what I commanded them to do). When "speaking with my fingers" while typing like I do now makes me feel all "tongue-tied"...

And those ASR-33s were much faster than the old 5-bit Murray-code (Baudot) teletypes popular in Ham radio back then -- remember those? (Yes, I have an FCC radio license... and SCUBA diving certificate, certified life-guard, first-aid, CPR, airpane pilot training, motorcycle license, firearms safety certificate, and training and certification in electronics, computer science, human relations, and human-restraint training, including some martial arts training as well!). And while talking about experience, I was "Director of Software Development", "Senior Technical Support Analyst", "Senior Systems Software Engineer", and other things, and I owned my own corporation at one time, and I studied Constitutional Law too (I even represented myself in court several times -- and won my cases!). Now I just sit at home in front of my "wall of video" and telecommute all the time...

P.S. Much too easy to reminisce about old things, when new things are much more powerful and fun! I love my tech toys and tools.

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