Use a Nokia Serial Cable on an ARM9 Linkstation

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Intro

At the time of writing, clones of the Nokia DKU-5 and CA-42 data cables for mobile phones are cheaply and widely available (I purchased mine from ebay). Both should be electrically compatible with the Linkstation Pro (and the Linksys NSLU2 as well, for that matter) - they incorporate a USB to RS232-3V tranceiver (usually built-into a longer-than-usual USB A plug).


You Will Need:

Some soldering skills Some means of determining continuity (e.g. a multimeter + hand-held probe leads) Some means of stripping insulated wires A willingness to invalidate your warranty A CA-42, or DKU-5 (some later Nokia phone cables FIXME - insert model numbers here - which look similar are actually pure USB cables with no tranceiver - DON'T use these - you can tell because the USB plug is shorter, they are also a bit cheaper).


1. Cut the data cable about 60mm from the Nokia connector end, strip away approx 20mm of the outer sheath, and remove approx 7mm of insulation from each inner core.

The cables I bought were of two different designs, this may well vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

a. The RS232 tranceiver is powered from the USB port, you only need to connect ground, data transmit, and data receive to the linkstation (this was my CA-42 cable, and had 3 wires). b. The RS232 tranceiver is powered from the phone/linkstation, as well as txd, rxd, and gnd, you also need to connect power (3.3v) to the linkstation board (this was my DKU-5 cable, and had 5 wires - an additional wire was used to signal what sort of cable was plugged into the phone (I think), and can be safely left disconnected).


2. Establish which core is connected to which pin on the Nokia connector end (Nokia "pop port"). The part of the "pin-out" which we care about are:


pin 1 On both of the cables I used, pin 1 is actually missing (not needed with this design, so they didn't include it). pin 2 (normal length) connected to one of the wires on my DKU5, but not needed for the linkstation (isolate this wire) pin 3 (sticks out a bit further)+3.3v this is used to power the xceiver on the DKU-5 cable I have (red), but not the CA-42 pin 4 (not connected) pin 5 (normal length) Data phone/linkstation green on DKU5 blue pin 6 (normal length) Data phone/linkstation white on dku5 red pin 7 (sticks out a bit further) black on dku5, orange on ca-42 pin 8 to ? not connected, and missing on both my connectors

3. Check signal voltage levels for USB-powered designs (this won't work yet for device-powered designs, as you need to provide power to them for them to work).

If your cable does not connect to pin 3 (power from device), then at this point, it's probably wise to check the voltage generated by the adaptor:

a. Make sure none of the bared wires are touching, and plug the adaptor into your PC b. Fire up a terminal emulator, and connect it to the correct port (e.g. /dev/ttyUSB0 on Linux, you'll need to use the driver that came with the adaptor on Windows) c. Use a volt meter to verify the voltages between i. txd and gnd and ii. rxd and gnd. Neither voltages should exceed about 3.4v. d. Set your terminal emulator to use no hardware, or software flow control e. Type some stuff into your terminal emulator (nothing should happen, but the voltage on the phone rxd pin should sag slightly as the bits are transmitted). f. Connect together rxd and txd (just twisting them together is fine), and type some more. The characters which you see should appear back in the terminal window... Congratulations, you have just made a "loop back cable", and you have got the pin assignments correct.

4. Open up the linkstation pro - I have the v2 hardware undo the two screws at the back, and slide the side panel off.

CAUTION - high voltages are present in the power supply, and may be present even after the device is disconnected from the mains. Don't touch anything in the power supply area!