Pogo Plug Pink Serial Connection

Posted on 30.10.11 in the category Plug Computers

The PogoPlug pink is a low powered linux based computer that is based around the SheevaPlug.  It is is originally designed to allow sharing of USB flash drives and devices over the internet,  but as with most gadgets these days, the true power of the device comes when you start to hack the unit. 

PogoPlug Pink

You may have noticed that there is no video ouput on the unit, when you start installing new bootloaders and operating systems, this lack of video output can leave you in the dark.  The solution?  Open the unit up and install a serial cable.

Opening the unit

Opening the PogoPlug itself couldn't be easier, first off you are going to need to slip the transparent cover from around the main body of the unit…

Remove the transparent cover from around the PogoPlug Pink

With this cover removed, take a small flat headed screwdriver and insert it in between the two halfs.  With a bit of effort they should seperate easily and with no damage.

Insert a screwdriver to seperate the two halves of the PogoPlug Pink

Revealing the motherboard and power supply PCB of the PogoPlug..

The two halves seperate exposing the motherboard and power supply PCB of the PogoPlug Pink

Constructing The Cable

With the PogoPlug opened we can see that we won't have to make any modifications to the motherboard itself, there is a handy serial connection socket already soldered in place.  The socket itself is a 0.079" (2.00mm)4 pin connection which can be found at Digikey with a part number of H2013-ND.  Alternativley, if you have an old analog CD-ROM audio cable lying around, you will find that the white connecter is a perfect match.  Your also going to need a Nokia CA-42 Data Cable for the other end, these cables contain a USB to serial converter built into the USB plug, compatible cables will work but you will have to decode the pinout yourself.  Below is the pinout for the genuine Nokia CA42 cable  (BM07083821)

Nokia CA-42 Data Cable Pinout for PogoPlu Pink

Once you have worked out which pin relates to which color for you wiring scheme you are going to need to match those up to the connector on the PogoPlug motherboard.  The image below shows the pinout for the PogoPlug Pink E-02 UK version.  I can't guarantee that all versions will be the same so it might be worth checking before you go ahead and wire your cable up.

Image showing the serial port connector on a PogoPlug E-02 UK motherboard

I noticed that if you are using a 6 wire CA-42 cable then you will need to wire up the 3.3v connection, there are some 4 wire cables available which don't require this but if your using the 6 wire original Nokia cable then it will not be recognised by your PC until you connect the 3.3v.  Other versions of the cable appear to get their power directly from the USB port.

Using PuTTY for serial access

Once your cable is completed then you are ready to move onto the next stage, first you are going to need some sort of serial program.  You can use the HyperTerminal which is built into Windows XP but a better option is to use PuTTY.  It can be downloaded from this link.

Before you launch PuTTY you are going to need to connect your newly created cable to both the Serial socket on the PogoPlug motherboard and to the USB socket on your PC.  Make sure the cable is detected and shows up in your device manager as a virtual COM port, you will need to turn your PogoPlug on for this to happen.  Make a note of this port as we are going to need it later.

Now load up PuTTy and select 'Serial' from the left hand side menu, you can now configure the connection.  Match the settings from the image below, 115200 Baud (Speed), 8 Data Bits, 1 Stop Bits, No Parity and No Flow Control.  Chance the 'Serial line to connect to' to match the COM port you made a note of earlier.

Configuration settings for PuTTY to allow serial connection to a PogoPlug Pink

Once you have done this select 'Open' and press the push button on your PogoPlug motherboard, this will reset the PogoPlug.  If all has gone correctly you should now see the serial output from your PogoPlug scrolling down your PuTTY window. 

Output of PuTTY after connection to a PogoPlug Pink E-02 Serial Port

If not then check your wiring, check your PogoPlug has power and lastly check that your PC is picking up the cable as a virtual COM Port.  You should now be able to recover a bricked PogoPlug or gain much needed information while installing alternative Operating Systems.

16 Responses to “Pogo Plug Pink Serial Connection”

  1. Brilliant! Just what I needed as I’m about to flash my Pogoplug. For the avoidance of doubt, in the first photo in the ‘Constructing the Cable’ section you showed the wire colours of the CA42 socket you cut off and threw away, right? For a moment I couldn’t work out the role of that short length of cable with its non-standard connector…

  2. Yes your right, that end was thrown away. I only used it to work out the pinout of the cable. From reading up there seem to be several different variations of the CA-42 cable available as well as ‘compatible’ cables so its always best to check.

  3. OK, I had to await delivery of USB-TTL module(£1.83)from Singapore
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PL2303HX-USB-TTL-Converter-Module-/180734359719?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a149b78a7#ht_2940wt_1398
    Now have communication via an old three-wire CDRom cable (once I remembered to connect Rx to Tx 🙂 I just had to peel plastic carefully off larger connector to reveal metal push-fit tips. Easy! I can provide photos if interested {[myname] at gmail dot com} Using PuTTY on Linux works fine, too. Thanks so much for all your advice on this. Now the fun starts in earnest!

  4. Hi slimjb,
    I am trying to do the same as you did via an USB-TTL module, but so far I cannot get it working. Can you provide photos what you did?

    Regards,
    Rene

  5. You say to push the button on the motherboard, but for the life of me, I can’t find one on my Pogoplug B01 board. I don’t have the exact same model as you (I have a serial head and the esata head, but not the six pin head show in your pictures) so I assume I should just powercycle the device at that point?

  6. I have included a photo of the board itself, the push button is mid right. If yours hasn’t got one then you could always just connect PuTTY quickly after applying power to the pogoplug which should achieve the same thing.

    Pogoplug Push Button

  7. I have the cable and I am trying to connect and putty just shows yyy and other weird characters I tried different baud rates and changed various settings but nothing worked. I think it might be the soldering which is not very pro. What is the connector called ? so I can insert the wire in the connector and pulg it on the pogo.

    Thanks

  8. Hi
    Any information on JTAG connector . I was able to get the sequence
    GND
    TDI
    SRST
    TDO
    CLK
    TMS
    RES
    3.3
    but 3.3 is from which side ? Side facing serial port or the other power port

  9. I haven’t been back to this site in a while, so apologies for not responding to the enquiry in February. My project is described at https://sites.google.com/site/slimjb Here you’ll find a few photos that show how I connected up the serial converter. Pogoplug has been reliably monitoring the output of my solar panel inverter since December. Site for that and software [badly] written in Python is at http://stonezafu.dyndns.org/ That site, too, has some further explanation on the linked project page

  10. kuduku,
    i measured 3.3v on the pin closest to the serial port. (the farthest from the power port.)

  11. I should also mention, I got jtag to work with the guruplug jtag, but i had to leave the 3.3v wires disconnected on the E02. You just use 7 instead of 8.

    and the garbage in the terminal program is either a bad connection, OR tty issues. Im not exactly sure the stty commands, but.. I switched to kermit since it has been dead reliable for years for me. It works only with these settings:
    [so@daffodil ~]$ cat .mykermrc
    set line /dev/ttyUSB0
    set speed 115200
    set flow /direct-serial
    set flow none
    set carrier-watch off
    connect

  12. I don’t undestand how you can make it with this sort of cable. This cable doesn’t have COM emulation, when i plug it in, it says modem interface only. You definitly need another one. Wihtout COM you just cannot proceed.

  13. The photos are no longer visible.

    I ended taking some photos and writing my own tutorial using a CD ROM audio cable and cheap USB TTL converter (<$10):

    http://blog.qnology.com/2013/10/pogoplug-e02-v2-serial-connection.html

  14. Pictures are gone? 🙁 I get a 404 error
    I bricked my pink and need a fix please restore the pictures if you can. Thanks very much

  15. Hello
    Thanks for very details description, but somehow I do not see any images. Please publish images.

  16. Where did you buy the genuine Nokia CA-42? Please help me to buy because I had bought two fake Nokia (inside the thick cable it has 3 conductors or wires).

    Thank you.

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