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  1.    #1  
    Do any other network admins like me wish they could connect their Treo (90 to 600), running a serial terminal client program (the only one I've found is Online by Mark/Space, which is a shame because it's old and unmaintained), to the serial RJ45 console port of Cisco routers/switches to troubleshoot and reconfigure them?

    I have figured out how to do it reliably. Is there any demand for this sort of thing? If so, PLEASE let me know.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by alexburke; 02/17/2005 at 04:31 PM.
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  2. iomatic's Avatar
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    #2  
    There are a lot of ssh and other term emu's. Find some at Handango. I've seen the serial adapter on Amazon. I think you'll need a gender changer, though.

    Here is a link from a great Astronomy developer:
    http://aho.ch/pilotplanets/
    drill down into downloads--> beta versions --> telescope control
    and you'll see he's figured out how to add an AirCable Bluetooth to device and control it that way via serial. Nifty!

    I'm no engineer type, in fact, more of a right-brainer type, so YMMV.
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by iomatic
    There are a lot of ssh and other term emu's. Find some at Handango. I've seen the serial adapter on Amazon. I think you'll need a gender changer, though.
    Actually, the Cisco's RJ45 serial port is not a "standard" RJ45 serial port (only one implementation of which is EIA/TIA-561; everyone seems to do it differently, which is a pain in the ***!). That's why Cisco's annoying "rollover" cable is required.

    I've figured out how to wire a male DB9 to female RJ45 adapter (which is hard to find -- most places only carry the female DB9 version that will plug right into a PC's serial port) so that you can plug the standard Treo serial cable into the Treo, plug this specially-wired adapter into the other end of it, and plug a normal piece of straight-through Cat5 between it and the Cisco box's console port.

    The important thing is that only the adapter is the special bit -- the other two wires are both absolutely standard. (That's important because it seems as though whenever I need to interface with a Cisco box when I'm out and about, I can't seem to find a rollover cable.)
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  4. alee's Avatar
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    #4  
    I have been toying with the idea of using one of the Bluetooth serial adapters from AirCable and finding a way to utilize a terminal application that way. The big problem is Cisco does not power their serial ports so you would need a battery or an AC source, which dampens the elegance a bit.
  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by alee
    The big problem is Cisco does not power their serial ports so you would need a battery or an AC source, which dampens the elegance a bit.
    Actually, power is available at the right pins on the Cisco console port, just not enough to do anything useful with. However, the MAX211 TTL-to-RS232 level converter that's inside the Treo connector on the Treo serial HotSync cable doesn't seem to need power from the DB9 connector to work, indicating that it's powered by the Treo.

    The Treo has at least three power pins available at its multi-connector: ground, charging input, and raw battery. I didn't bother tracing them on the tiny board that's inside the connector on the Treo end (the one with the HotSync button), but the MAX211 behaves as though it's powered by the Treo itself. So all you *SHOULD* need is to get the ground, TX, and RX lines over to the correct pins in the Cisco console port.

    However, it's not that easy: one other signal must be asserted at the DB9 connector, and I was able to find a reliable signal at the Cisco side to pipe into the right pin on the serial HotSync cable that makes it work. It shouldn't be necessary, though; maybe it's something to do with Online (even though I have hardware handshaking disabled).

    So the male DB9 to female RJ45 adapter has four pins in it (I removed the other 4 pins which do nothing in this implementation), which makes the whole thing work with nothing but this special adapter, a normal serial HotSync cable, and a piece of straight-through Cat5 (no stupid rollover cable needed). That's about as elegant as you can get without hacking anything apart.

    If you never wanted to use the serial HotSync cable for anything other than a Cisco console cable, you could chop the DB9 off the end of it and crimp an RJ45 onto the end -- you'd just need to wire it properly. However, you'd lose the female Treo multi-connector in the process (which hangs off the back of the serial cable's DB9), which means you couldn't charge the Treo at the same time.
    Last edited by alexburke; 02/17/2005 at 04:39 PM.
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  6. #6  
    I am certainly interested. Are you proposing plans or completed adapters.
    Adam West
  7. iomatic's Avatar
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    #7  
    Though I wonder if you could piggy-back duct tape a 9V battery and the requisite resistors (?) and provide proper current that way? No idea, sorry to be the source of confusion on this thread. Yeah, you could grab a serial cable and hack it up into their proprietary RJ-45. I bet someone already makes one.

    Also on the Planetarium site:
    http://www.pcables.com/
    http://www.syncablesolutions.com/
    (in the downloads section, scroll)
    I bet there's a Cisco-RJ-45-to-DB9 somewhere on the 'net.


    Quote Originally Posted by alee
    I have been toying with the idea of using one of the Bluetooth serial adapters from AirCable and finding a way to utilize a terminal application that way. The big problem is Cisco does not power their serial ports so you would need a battery or an AC source, which dampens the elegance a bit.
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by adamwest
    I am certainly interested. Are you proposing plans or completed adapters.
    I have eight such adapters, hand-built by me (they come unwired, allowing any custom configuration), sitting on my desk right now. Each one was individually tested with my T600, a stock serial HotSync cable, and my Cisco 1721 router.

    I'm trying to figure out if there's enough of a niche market for these things to warrant making any substantial number of them, or if I should just offer the serial HotSync cable with the DB9 chopped off and an RJ45 connector crimped on...
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  9. ion++'s Avatar
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    #9  
    computer and network equipment is often located at strange places. I would prefer a little device that had a serial connection and could connect to a 650 with bluetooth.
  10. iomatic's Avatar
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    #10  
    Ah, more info:
    http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/701/14.html#topic9
    (like you said, you still need the rollover rj-45)

    But you may also need to get a null modem adapter for your serial cable. I think that's it... I've done this for a telescope before (palm--> serial --> nullmodem--> gender changer --> telescope control), so it should work??

    Gender changer+null modem adapter:
    https://www.bisque.com/Secure/TheSky/Ordering.asp
    $10
  11.    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by iomatic
    Ah, more info:
    http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/701/14.html#topic9
    (like you said, you still need the rollover rj-45)

    But you may also need to get a null modem adapter for your serial cable. I think that's it... I've done this for a telescope before (palm--> serial --> nullmodem--> gender changer --> telescope control), so it should work??

    Gender changer+null modem adapter:
    https://www.bisque.com/Secure/TheSky/Ordering.asp
    $10
    I have no idea whether or not it would work -- but regardless, it would look awful, since you would have several adapters hanging off the cable, and you'd STILL need Cisco's proprietary rollover cable to boot.

    My solution involves a STANDARD serial HotSync cable, one small DB9 to RJ45 adapter, and a standard piece of straight-through Cat5. No null-modem adapters, no gender benders. Simple and reliable (and cheaper, actually -- the adapters cost me $5 each, but it was the several hours of head-banging that was worth much more, since IT WON'T WORK if you just connect the GND, TX, and RX lines [which is all that SHOULD need to be connected, but I digress]).

    Basically, I've done the research and the prototyping, and I've come up with something that is SOLID and that WORKS. I was figuring $15-$20 for the adapter would be about right to save someone from several hours of pissing around trying to get it working (which is what I had to do, since nobody seems to have done this before).

    That's my thinking, anyway.
    Last edited by alexburke; 02/17/2005 at 05:44 PM.
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  12.    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by ion++
    computer and network equipment is often located at strange places. I would prefer a little device that had a serial connection and could connect to a 650 with bluetooth.
    The idea for this isn't something you'd probably leave connected to one unit; it's something you'd hook up to the unit that's giving you trouble, then you'd remove it and take it with you when you're done (if you're a consultant like me), or that you'd leave hanging next to the equipment for next time (in a wiring closet full of routers, switches, etc).
    Last edited by alexburke; 02/17/2005 at 05:14 PM.
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  13. #13  
    Years ago Clairvoyant Software had GoFigure! Router Configurator software for the Palm Pilot for configuring Cisco routers from the Palm. Go Figure! was a Palm based router configuration application, not just a terminal emulator.

    Go Figure! used to work great. Don't know if it still works or if there is a version that works with current Palm platforms.

    http://www.eurocool.com/author/?author=6879


  14.    #14  
    Mods, please move this thread to the T600 hardware forum. Thanks!
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  15. #15  
    I'd be interested if it worked on a 650
  16.    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by shanta
    I'd be interested if it worked on a 650
    I don't see why it shouldn't work with a T650 -- but does a serial HotSync cable exist for the T650?
    Alexander Burke
    Hardware hacker and all-around technogeek
  17. #17  
    Will this cable works for Treo 650??

    http://web.palmone.com/products/Prod...4641&cat=20018

    Do I simply add a gender changer then connects to my Cisco's console port with the rest of the adapters and cable just like how I would hookup with my laptop?

    What terminal apps I need to use on Treo 650? Thanks.

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