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SBS-1 Ethernet modification for PCB's using FT2232 chip (s/n <5000)

Last change: June 09, 2007



This page refers to the modification of an additional Ethernet interface for the SBS-1 for units that carry a FT2232 chip on the PC board and NOT a FT232R chip. Either chip is found directly south of the USB plug.

If you do NOT have a FT2232 chip on your PCB (i.e. your SBS-1 serial number is greater or equal 5,000) then there is no additional information for you on this page.

Hardware requirements:
Lantronix Xport 03
Schottky diode BAT 43 or similar
Capacitor 100 to 2200 nF for decoupling (optional)
Ethernet cable

Be sure you read the entire page before you decide to proceed on your own!

For this modification you need professional experience in miniature soldering. If you don't dare to modify your SBS-1 on your own watch out for the development of a complete plug-in module.

If you DO HAVE a FT2232 chip on your PCB and by reading this page you accept the following:

- opening the SBS-1 will void any warranty
- the information on this page may be erronous or incomplete or misleading or all of this
- any modification is at your own risk and you are holding harmless the author of this page from any liabilities arising from the use of the information on this page
- in the worst case your SBS may get destroyed
- if you do not agree to the disclaimer, please close this page now and forget about modifying your SBS-1 on your own

For more reference information please refer to:

Original thread on Kinetics SBS-1 forum

Skyscrapers SBS-1/Ethernet modification page


General scheme of modification

To save the scheme drawing in its original size use this link: http://i16.tinypic.com/67p3ytu.jpg

TXA Pin 24 to the diode is not required.

The FTDI FT232R is present on units s/n > 5000 only.


Connecting to FT2232 pin 40 ...

To capture this pin 40 signal from the FT2232 you need to access a very tiny pin or a connection hole or access a copper lane. Here are two photos from the situation on the PCB. The possible access sites are marked red (on the Spartan it is pin 50). Be aware that the pictures are scaled and the real size of the holes is much much smaller.

Front view

Back view


Preparation:

3 wires shall be soldered to the old Digiconnect provision on the PCB. I have selected red for 3.3V, orange for Data IN (RX) and brown for GND. GND is optional as this can also be connected by the case of the Xport. Soldering can be either done from top or bottom. Skyscraper used the bottom side, but I used the top side to keep the wires as short as possible. The Data IN line runs at about 1 MBit/s. Be sure wires do not connect between two soldering pads and anything that hangs around shortens the pads. I used some Tesa transparent tape to provide for isolation and fix the cable southbound.

The difficult task is to attach a wire to the Data OUT (TX) line. I failed to solder a wire to either of the two connection holes marked in the above picture, so I had to use a sharp cutter to rip off some lacquer from the PCB's lane until I could see some copper shining through. From the cable I cut off any wires except for exactly one wire, that was soldered to the copper strip. Much transparent tape was used to fix the cable and provide for isolation. That's why the picture looks a bit weird (it is not so bad as it looks like).

Once that task is completed, power up the SBS and check for it working ok. The TX cable should now deliver 3.3V against ground (that you find where the brown cable is). This is a cerain sign that it is attached properly. Now power down your SBS again.

My attempts to place a wire at the output pin of the FT2232 chip failed and I cannot recommend to pursue this variant. You can still see some solder connecting the outer left two pins, that was left after my trials and that's not how it should be. By the way I was not able to see this with my own eyes, only after I made this picture with a quite ordinary 3 Mega-Pixel camera I became aware. The SBS-1 works despite the interconnection (these are the RTS/CTS pins, no factor). The macro resolution of digital cameras I find quite amazing, though.


Finally, hardware connect:

The Xport module was soldered to a standard PCB that has a 1.27 x 2.54 mm spacing. You see the cables applied as per the drawing. The heat sink is not yet applied, it should go to the metal pins. Also missing is a decoupling capacitor of approx. 1µF/35V that goes between the red and brown cable, with the + pole to the red cable. The diode is a Schottky type BAT43 (any BAT type will do, non critical), the yellow cable is soldered to the top end (not visible).

Once you power up your SBS-1 (without the ethernet cable plugged-in) everything should work as before. One LED on the Xport will be blinking five times in red, that is ok.


Software configuration:

You need to setup the Xport now. If you have a DHCP server running on your network router, this is the easiest way. Otherwise refer to skyscrapers webpage for detailed instructions of how to download a setup and run software. You do not need this software here, just an Internet Browser.

If you have a DHCP server running on your network router:

Plug-in the ethernet cable to the Xport AND the USB cable AND power up the SBS-1 through USB (or PCU). You will see a red LED blinking a few times on the Xport.

Now, with your Internet Browser, open the configuration page of your router with e.g. http://192.168.1.1 (this is only an example IP, your own IP may be different, usually noted on the router or its documentation) and login.

Most probably somewhere you will find something like a "DHCP" entry, which should be enabled. Also accessible should be something like a "DHCP client list". Open this menu item and look into the entries. You will find MAC addresses and assigned network IPs there. The MAC address of your Xport  is something like 00-20-4A... (the complete address is printed on the Xport label). If you can't find this entry right away, refresh the list from time to time. It took 5 minutes in my network for the router to assign the IP. Then note down the IP - if your network is in the 192.168.1... range, then it is something like 192.168.1.xx.

Now, open your internet browser and enter http://192.168.1.xx exactly as per the IP you had noted. There will be a password request, ignore it by OK. Then search through the menus according to skyscrapers instructions and set the following:

SERVER | CPU PERFORMANCE MODE  = HIGH

SERIAL SETTINGS | BAUDRATE=921600

Press OK at the end of each screen (important) and APPLY SETTINGS (left menu) after the two are done. Please verify that both settings are present after the upload was completed by opening the two screens again.

Now, shutdown Basestation, if it was open.

A step that is missing in skyscrapers instructions is to edit settings in basestation.ini. Go to your Basestation folder and make a backup copy of basestation.ini. Open basestation.ini with a text editor like notepad.exe (do not use WORD!).

Search and alter the following entries (do not enter the comments after ;)

[DataInterface]
DataSourceType=1                ;is 4 for USB
SocketIntfIPAddress=192.168.1.x ;enter the complete IP you had noted down here
IsConfigured=1
MapModeSSetToUse=0
SocketIntfPort=10001            ;this may be 20060 or missing in your file

Now restart Basestation and the device should start up as usual and after a short time it should say "Connected to SBS-1". You can now verify that  the power selector switch is set towards the PCU and then remove the USB cable, if you like.

You can hot unplug and replug the ethernet cable, Basestation will restore a missing link within 30 seconds. Be aware that Basestation does write system messages to your SQL database around every 5 seconds, if there is no connection present. This quickly fills up the database with garbage.

However, after any complete power down you always need to have the USB cable in place to get the SBS up and running again. This can be removed once the orange LED is on.

If you have problems go to the debug log of Basestation and watch out for the messages. For Xport IP 192.168.2.201 a successful login looks like this (note the advanced technique of a screenshot here - with a digital camera):

Once you got all up and running I suggest you go back to the Xport Configuration Page NETWORK and assign the temporary IP as a permanent one. The DHCP client inside the Xport is slow on start-up.

IP = 192.168.1.xxxx            ; the one you noted above

Network mask = 255.255.255.0

Gateway = 192.168.1.1          ; your router's IP

Here is the complete setup as it runs.

I confirm a parallel USB/Ethernet connection is working, if the USB connection is re-established after the Ethernet is up.

I also cannot confirm that the radio interface would be working after this modification. I got none.

Hardware finish and assembly

You may want to solder the Xport board to the SBS PCB through pins connected to the four holes present at the original device. Or/and double-side tape the unit to the PCB. Always be sure that the XPort is free of any connection to any adjacent parts as its case is GROUNDED.

Also provide for a heat sink. The Xport dissipates an considerable amount of power and it is recommended to solder a minimum of 1 square inch of copper pertinax to the metal pins. Here is how the complete unit looks like as it is finally assembled and mounted (also note the consequent use of the advanced longhole technology ;-) )

The unit is fixed to the SBS PCB by stiff copperwires and a bit of tape.

Complete the case again, there is enough space for the Ethernet plug once the Kinetic label is removed

And with the PCU supply only...

Important information about the power supply:

If you are doing your own ethernet modification please be aware that, if solely powered through the USB line, the total current consumption exceeds the USB specification. In my case the total setup draws 600 MA. The spec limit is 500 mA.

Users of old units (<5000) should use the USB power only for power-up and then switch to the external PCU.

Users of new units (>5000) should provide for an external power source, details about which can be taken from the Kinetic community forum.