Add console serial port on external 3.5 mm jack

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lenger
Posts: 2
Joined: 05 Nov 2010, 09:15

Add console serial port on external 3.5 mm jack

Post by lenger » 10 Sep 2012, 09:16

There are connections on the B2/B3 boards for 3.3V serial console access. There are also mount points for 5V level conversion and DSUB connector. I would guess these are for development use, and for cost reasons not mounted on production units.

Console access is absolutely crucial for troubleshooting various boot problems. I recently had an issue with a faulty file system (due to some unclean shutdown probably) which was solved by running fsck from console. There was (obviously) no network, and the only indication of the nature of the problem was the blue led which kept on flashing.

I had to solder the serial lines myself, from information and cad images found here and there on this forum. I managed to make a mistake the first time, and had to re-solder to make it work. Which made me wonder; as this is such an invaluable feature, why isn't this already provided?

To save cost and space from the 5V-DSUB approach, my suggestion is to update the hardware design, and add an external 3.5 mm phono jack with just the 3.3 V RX, TX and GND lines. The console port can then be accessed using the commercially available FTDI USB conversion cable TTL-232R-3V3-AJ. (Google it -- That's USB, cable, 3.3 V conversion and phono plug all in one.)

This way you can enable console access at a minimum cost without making it necessary to open the box or soldering on the board. Just add the 3.5 mm hole on the back and label it "console".

Otherwise it's a great product etc etc. Keep it up!

johannes
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Joined: 31 Dec 2006, 07:12
Location: Sweden
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Re: Add console serial port on external 3.5 mm jack

Post by johannes » 12 Sep 2012, 02:39

Hi, yes, we will probably add a console port to our future products (however, not externally), that is easy to use for the tech people who find this valuable. Thanks for your input!
/Johannes (Excito co-founder a long time ago, but now I'm just Johannes)

theWebalyst
Posts: 96
Joined: 27 May 2010, 14:53

Re: Add console serial port on external 3.5 mm jack

Post by theWebalyst » 19 Jan 2013, 16:44

I need to do this on a Bubba|TWO but can't find the PCB layout plus serial connection details that correspond to this unit (only for Bubba Server and B3). Please can you tell me what to connect where or point me to the relevant post/wiki.

My Bubba|TWO PCB has RD1 / 2008 screen printed on it, but a white label with YT-RD2 / 10-14 printed on a small white label.

SOLVED:
Immediately I posted I re-read a post and found it - I didn't realise I needed to "view image" to see it.
Here's the post link: http://forum.excito.net/viewtopic.php?f ... t=0#p12777
Here's the view image link: http://forum.excito.net/download/file.php?id=81

Thanks,

Mark

elsbernd
Posts: 19
Joined: 18 Jul 2012, 17:40

Re: Add console serial port on external 3.5 mm jack

Post by elsbernd » 22 Jan 2013, 11:25

johannes wrote:Hi, yes, we will probably add a console port to our future products (however, not externally), that is easy to use for the tech people who find this valuable. Thanks for your input!
I think, I'm one of those "tech people", who can solve problems with a console/serial line. But my expert knowledge in soldering is nearly zero.
So having an external interface to the console would help me a lot.

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