Adding a Serial Header to the Dockstar

This post will describe how to add a SuperDroid serial cable compatible header to the Dockstar. First, the Dockstar must be opened up. The case pops off relatively easy by inserting a screwdriver in the bottom seam that is below the LED that flashes in the front. Pry the bottom out slightly and then work your way around the perimeter of the bottom seam. Eventually all the tabs will be free and you’re now inside the Dockstar.

The connector that has the TTL level serial port on it is J1. Either remove J1 or solder wires directly to the pins. Only 4 wires are needed, and a small ribbon cable is helpful here, especially if the serial header is mounted so that you can access it without having to open up the Dockstar. The following is the pinout of J1:

For the SuperDroid header, any 0.1″ spacing header with four pins will do the trick. Pin 1 is GND, pin 2 is +3.3V, pin 3 is RX, and pin 4 is TX on the SuperDroid header.

Dockstar J1 should be connected to the SuperDroid header as shown:

Once those connections are made, find a way to attach it to the case of the Dockstar so that you can use the header while the Dockstar is snapped back together. Connect up the SuperDroid cable, set HyperTerminal (or better yet, teraterm) to 115200 and the serial port you’re connected to, and turn on the Dockstar. After a second or two you should see a bunch of text from the Dockstar’s U-Boot booting the image from NAND flash.

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2 Responses to Adding a Serial Header to the Dockstar

  1. neoselen says:

    Does the Altera Usb-Blaster works for it, too ?

    • Andy says:

      Possibly, you’d need something like OpenOCD that would support the byte blaster and know how to talk to the kirkwood line of CPUs from Marvell. You may be better off w/ a JTAG adapter that’s known to work well w/ OpenOCD (maybe the byte blaster does? I dunno) as I’d imagine the byteblaster would be pretty slow for JTAG work w/ a CPU. As always, it depends on what you want to do. If you’re looking to do debugging, a fast JTAG would be good. If you’re just trying to dump firmware or something like that, a slow JTAG is probably ok.


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