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Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gasoline
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Tommy Tyler
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 405
Location: Denver mountains

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:00 pm    Post subject: Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gasoline Reply with quote

Warning: this thread is obsolete - it remains just for historical purposes.
Please see the following thread for updated info:
http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13928


In the early years of JP1 it was common for many members to make their own interface cables. The designs were simple, parts were inexpensive, and you could find almost everything needed at your local Radio Shack store. As remotes evolved from EEPROM memory to flash memory, interface complexity increased. Special parts were needed that were sometimes impractical to order in small quantity. Obtaining printed circuit boards presented another stumbling block. The growing demand for interfaces that used a USB port was probably the last straw. Members, particularly those with minimal technical skills, began to rely on vendors to supply interface cables. I imagine to many of them the thought of spending $35 to $40 for an interface to program a $10 to $15 remote must have seemed like the tail wagging the dog. And they were right !

All that may be about to change. Recently Dave Johnson (mdavej) brought to my attention that he had purchased a cell phone data cable for about $4, added a couple of buck's worth of wire and a connector, and with a little re-soldering had converted it into a working interface. That rivals the cost and simplicity of the popular "simple" interface design we used nine years ago. Dave's unit programs JP1.2 and JP1.3 remotes, and also (with a special 5-pin connector) the new JP2 type remotes we are just learning how to support. I built one and confirmed that it also works with the JP1 EEPROM Programming Adapter.

The idea is not entirely new. As early as 2007, member cerulean described his plan for using a Nokia cell phone data cable to program an RS 15-100 remote (See this post). He showed that it had all four outputs needed for a flash interface, TXD, RXD, RTS, and GND. On Dec 7, 2007 cerulean posted: "I can now read and write to the remote." Oddly enough, four years passed without further comment in the forum on the significance of cerulean's achievement, or any further investigation until Dave built his interface early this year. The interest has been rekindled because the internet is flooded with Nokia data cables selling for $3 to $4, including shipping.

I have published an article HERE that provides all the information needed to build what I'll call the Nokia Flash Interface Cable, including where to obtain the parts, suggested options for cable and remote connector, etc. Those with electronics skills and experience don't even need the detailed instructions, just the wiring diagram and schematic. But the article is written with the technically challenged in mind, to give them the confidence needed to try doing it themselves. The investment in time and material is miniscule compared to the potential reward.

If you build one of these interfaces please share your experience in this thread, including suggestions for improving or simplifying the project, problems with drivers, etc.

Stealing any ideas I could from eferz and mdavej, I have published an article HERE on how to build a 5-pin adapter for using a flash interface with a URC-8820 remote.

Tommy
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Mark Pierson
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Joined: 03 Aug 2003
Posts: 3006
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gaso Reply with quote

Tommy Tyler wrote:
I have published an article HERE
As usual, this is another Tyler masterpiece! I never get tired reading any of your excellent documents.

This entire JP1 community owes you a huge debt of gratitude for all your hard work over the years!
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18539
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gaso Reply with quote

Mark Pierson wrote:
This entire JP1 community owes you a huge debt of gratitude for all your hard work over the years!

Without a doubt!
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Rob
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Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
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Dilligaf



Joined: 05 Aug 2003
Posts: 79
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just put one together about 2 weeks ago. The only problem I had was drivers. Apparently the cables have unofficial pl2303 chips and the driver manufacturer put a check in their drivers causing them not to work with these chips. The solution is to use older drivers. I found the drivers on the supplied disk didn't work on Windows 7 x64. After downloading what seemed like 50 different drivers I found working ones that I posted http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/dload.php?action=file&file_id=10675 I hope this helps someone out. This is a VERY simple mod as long as you can solder somewhat proficiently.

Mike


Last edited by Dilligaf on Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6966
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gaso Reply with quote

Tommy Tyler wrote:
I imagine to many of them the thought of spending $35 to $40 for an interface to program a $10 to $15 remote must have seemed like the tail wagging the dog. And they were right !

I think that has been a show stopper for many newbies. It must seem odd to a non-jp1-addict that we would spend more on an interface than a remote.

Nice write up as always.
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Remember to provide feedback to let us know how the problem was solved and share your upgrades.

Tip: When creating an upgrade, always include ALL functions from the oem remote, even if you never plan on assigning them to a button. Complete function lists makes an upgrade more helpful to others.
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pH7_jp1



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 456
Location: Sterling Heights, MI

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again Tommy Tyler has demonstrated his devotion to and support for the JP1 "hobby" (life style?). I started with his simple interface and modded a Cinema 7 - first for myself and then others for relatives. His products are superb, his explanations unbelievably clear.

I already have a few of these cables on the way to me and now will not be blundering around figuring it out for myself.

Thanks Tommy!
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pH7_jp1



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 456
Location: Sterling Heights, MI

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:52 am    Post subject: US source for cheap USB cable Reply with quote

To get the USB cable from a source in this country with very fast/inexpensive shipping, I went to MonoPrice.com

Last edited by pH7_jp1 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18539
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CA-42 Data Cable
It turns out searching at dealextreme.com is not as easy as you would think because searches for CA-42 brought up nothing, but I was able to find the cables using Google instead.

SKU 45715:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ca-42-compatible-usb-2-0-data-cable-for-nokia-2110-2112-2115-more-45715

SKU 446:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/data-cable-compatible-with-nokia-ca-42-446

Avoid the cables on ebay and the one on Amazon until we can determine which ones are suitable for this task (most are NOT).

USB Extension Cable
Here's an example of one on ebay for $0.99 with free shipping
http://www.ebay.com/itm/160627621615

JP1 connector
Here's a direct link to the Digi-Key part:
http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?x=15&y=15&lang=en&site=us&KeyWords=A32934-ND

If you have one of the new 5-pin JP2.1 remotes, you might want to get some pins too, I think this is the right part:
http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/XJ8B-0211/XJ8B-0211-ND/2627577

Heat shrink tubing
Here's a direct link to the Dealextreme part:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1m-black-heat-shrink-tubing-five-size-pack-6-7-8-9-10mm-23452

Here's an ebay listing for 3 meters of 9mm heat shrink tubing for just under $4:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/280817916400
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Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!


Last edited by The Robman on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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eferz
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Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 1078
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had actually purchased the Nokia CA-42 cable after discussing building a JP2.1 cable with mdavej. This was prior to Tommy posting this handy how-to guide. However, I didn't have any time to play with it until today. This cable was sourced through Amazon and bought it from ccmaccessories. Now I'm wondering whether or not the cables from DealExtreme are legitimate "Original Norkia Enhancements". According to Nokia's website, "For Nok or 'For Nokia XXXX' should not be listed on the product." but that's what is shown on Tommy's pictures.

For the genuine part, its USB's PCB is encased within multiple layers. The top layer is a single piece plastic boot. This is much more flexible plastic that Tommy's photos suggest. So when I tried to pry the sides open the boot, it just flexed and laughed at me... for about fifteen minutes. So, I actually had to slice it in half along the seam on one side to get it out from the first layer. This was done with a prison style shank to teach not to laugh at me ever again.

The next layer seems to be covered in a copper foil with a sort of shrinkable black tape wrapped around it. While I have gotten the black tape off of the copper foil, the foil itself appears to be impossible to remove with shredding into it. I do see signs of an opaque plastic which I suspect is suspending the PCB inside of it. Looks like because I have a genuine "Original Nokia Enhancement", I'm going to need extra time to delicately get to its innards.

At this point, I wished my original purchase was for the knock-offs instead. Sad *sigh*



P.s., in case anyone is interested in making a JP2.1 cable, here's a link to a USB 2.0, IDC 5 Male (single row) to USB A Male. It fits perfectly into the holes on the bottom of the Cox URC-8820-Moto remote. Though, it still needs to be Frankenstein-ed to a proper USB-serial PCB like in Tommy's instructions.

Interesting side-note in case anyone is wondering, plugging this particular USB cable directly into the remote and computer will light the remote's back lighting with the red pin orientated to the right but nothing while its on the left. However, the remote's Cable led will blink twice upon extraction regardless of orientation. The computer on the other hand does not try to identify it, nor go through the Plug-n-Play process to find and load drivers.
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Remotes; JP1.2: Comcast URC-1067, JP1.3: Insignia NS-RC02U-10A, JP1.4 OARI06G, JP2.1: Cox URC-8820-MOTO (still trying to figure out how to make them self-aware.)
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eferz
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Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 1078
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: So, I got the copper foil off of the "Original Nokia Enhancement" but instead of being able to see the soft gooey center inside there's just hard plastic. It looks like it was partially injection molded with the edges melted together. So it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to get to the PCB without breaking it. The good news is that there are five conductors in the cable but the bad news is I have no clue as to which one is connected to what.


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Remotes; JP1.2: Comcast URC-1067, JP1.3: Insignia NS-RC02U-10A, JP1.4 OARI06G, JP2.1: Cox URC-8820-MOTO (still trying to figure out how to make them self-aware.)
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eferz wrote:
Update: So, I got the copper foil off of the "Original Nokia Enhancement" but instead of being able to see the soft gooey center inside there's just hard plastic. It looks like it was partially injection molded with the edges melted together. So it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to get to the PCB without breaking it. The good news is that there are five conductors in the cable but the bad news is I have no clue as to which one is connected to what.

Maybe you need to sacrifice this cable for the better good, because if you are able to determine which conductor is connected to which spot on the PCB and if they are connected to the spots that we need them to be connected to, these might turn out to be good candidates for our needs.

Could you use a heat gun or something to melt away the injected plastic?
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Rob
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Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
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eferz
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Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 1078
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
Maybe you need to sacrifice this cable for the better good, because if you are able to determine which conductor is connected to which spot on the PCB and if they are connected to the spots that we need them to be connected to, these might turn out to be good candidates for our needs.

Could you use a heat gun or something to melt away the injected plastic?

I'll tell you what. Since I don't want to ruin the cable more than I already have. I will donate it to the first senior expert that sends me a PM with their address. Provided of course they try to discriminate the conductors' orientation for future reference.
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Remotes; JP1.2: Comcast URC-1067, JP1.3: Insignia NS-RC02U-10A, JP1.4 OARI06G, JP2.1: Cox URC-8820-MOTO (still trying to figure out how to make them self-aware.)
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jetstar52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 153
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Build a Flash Interface for the Cost of a Gallon of Gaso Reply with quote

Tommy Tyler wrote:
I imagine to many of them the thought of spending $35 to $40 for an interface to program a $10 to $15 remote must have seemed like the tail wagging the dog. And they were right !
Tommy


To me, the real equation was $40 interface + $15 remote = remote better than anything available anywhere, at any price + FUN.
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binky123
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Joined: 14 Feb 2004
Posts: 1292

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eferz,
google nokia ca-42 pinout. I found a pic that had the cable colors matched to RS232 signals and it doesn't seem to have DTS or RTS. RX,TX,GND,+3.3v are there along with 2 N/C.
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mdavej
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Posts: 3785

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tommy,

Just wanted to say the doc you put together is fantastic. And thanks for all the detective work you did on the error/retry behavior. This once again opens up JP1 to the masses like the original simple parallel cable did years ago.
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