Help -- Console cable apparently not working
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Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:20 pm

The statute of limitations is probably past on this, but I ordered the RasPi Starter Kit (PID 955) back in September (invoice 177898) and it came with the USB to TTL Serial Cable - Debug / Console Cable for Raspberry Pi (PID 954). I tried it out a little bit back then, but had no luck. Not long ago, I caught the announcement of your serial console tutorial, so I bookmarked that and finally got around to some more serious testing this weekend, and I still can't get it to work. I've tried:

2 different terminal emulators;
2 different SD cards (one just burned with Occidentalis 0.2)
2 different RasPi's (including a newer, 512 MB version)

I am using Windows 7 x64, but the driver installed fine, and when I plug in the cable, I get a COM14 port, so that would *seem* to be working.

Is there another way I can test the cable, like with an Arduino?
Can I use an FTDI-style cable to do the same thing?
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:15 am

Is there another way I can test the cable, like with an Arduino?

You should be able to hook up the Rx & Tx to a software serial port on the Arduino and see if it talks. It is not well suited for doing Arduino uploads because it doesn't have the DTR/RTS lines for the automatic reset.

Can I use an FTDI-style cable to do the same thing?

You mean as a console cable for the Pi? That will work. All the signals are there, just not as conveniently broken out.
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:25 pm

OK, some further investigation. Running the SoftwareSerial sample, it would appear that I can transmit through the console cable, but not receive. Also, I was able to use my FTDI cable to connect serially to the RPi console.

Is there anything else I can do to try to fix the cable? Is it worth trying to open it up at the USB end?
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:05 pm

It could be as simple as a bad solder connection. I don't know how practical it is to open one up though. I don't have one here, but if it is like the FTDI cables, the housing is molded around the circuit board.
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:52 pm

It looks molded. So is it too late to exchange it?
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:30 am

It is past our usual warranty period, but if you contact support@adafruit.com with a link to this thread they can work out a deal on a replacement.
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:23 am

Well, if it's past the warranty period, perhaps I will double void my warranty by breaking it open to see if I can fix it. I have some sugru handy...

BTW, what is the usual warranty period?
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:06 am

Due to the variety and nature of our products and how they are used, it's hard to have a one-size-fits all warranty. We look at these case-by-case and do our best to be fair with our customers.
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:25 pm

I will post back when I get around to actually breaking the seal. Might not be right away...
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Re: Help -- Console cable apparently not working

by tastewar on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:25 am

OK, it was not molded, and very easy to disassemble. I have some pics on flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tastewar/sets/72157632466799667/

I checked connectivity on each of the four wires, which seemed good. I checked connectivity from each USB contact to its connection on the board, and all of those seemed good. Looking at the rest of the soldering, it all looked OK to me, so I am at a loss now. I thought perhaps one of the wires might have been shorted to ground while scrunched up inside the connector, but testing the cable without the shell, and clearly no shorts, showed the same failure.

I guess I don't really need a replacement -- the cable was just part of the larger kit, and I didn't buy the kit to get the cable, it just would have been a nice addition. And I can use an FTDI cable (actually, a Modern Devices USB BUB II) in its stead. I was really just trying to test the serial port of the RPi for potential other use anyway. Just took a lot longer to prove that the serial port was OK with a bad cable :-)
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