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Console Access via RS232

Page history last edited by Wesha 14 years, 3 months ago

COM Port


The motherboard has a 9 pin RS232 header located near the eSATA ports. There's a blanking plate on the outside of the chassis where you can attach an externally accessible DE-9 connector (commonly misnamed DB-9). The BIOS redirects console I/O to the serial port, defaulting to 115200 baud. No cable is supplied. If you add one, you will be able to view the bootup process, manage the BIOS settings, boot the OS into single-user mode, etc.


Cable Pinout


The motherboard header is laid out according to the Intel/DTK style rather than the more common AT/Everex style. If a suitable cable is not available, you may be able to adapt or construct one. To avoid confusion, this line diagram uses the customary pin numbering for each type of adapter (on some DE-9 connectors this numbering is embossed onto the connector itself).

The wire coloured red on the ribbon cable goes to pin 1.

The blue lines represent connections that must be made.

Use a null modem cable to connect to a PC.






Once you've got the serial cable installed and connected to another PC, fire up a terminal program set to 115200 baud, 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.

For Windows users, PuTTY(0.59 and newer) can connect to a serial port and works well, see PuTTY Settings. Alternatively you could use Hyperterminal, teraterm, etc.

For users of Linux/MacOS X/other UNIX-like OS, you have a few possibilities, including these (adapt the port name as necessary):

$ tip -115200 si0
$ cu -l /dev/tty00 -s 115200           # common on BSD-like OS
$ screen /dev/tty.usbserial0 115200    # useful on MacOS with USB serial
$ minicom

Start the unit up. You should see text scroll. Pressing DEL should get you into the BIOS Setttings. If you see text but cannot enter BIOS settings, try a couple of times in case you didn't press it at the right time, but if this continues you most likely have incorrect cabling. (As a temporary workaround if this is the case, you may be able to use a USB keyboard to enter the BIOS screens, but it is advisable to fix the cabling).

Comments (48)

Gizmo said

at 12:38 am on Jun 7, 2009

This is importend !!!!!

A Normal RS 232 Connectorl dont works !! You need a spezial Pin Layout.

You need a DTK/INTEL Layout.

Here is a plan of this Layout:


Wesha said

at 1:25 am on Jun 7, 2009

The pinout in the article is exactly the one that you're proposing. And it works, that's what I have.

Gizmo said

at 1:29 am on Jun 7, 2009

Sorry, but your configuration dont works for me. I have tested that 10 Minutes ago !!! Your RS232 Connector DONT works on my Intel SS4200 E Server.
I cannot connect via RS232. But when i configure the RS 232 Adapter like the pins in my link than it works.

Wesha said

at 12:06 am on Jun 10, 2009

If you look at your link, you will see that your pins are numbered differently but if you compare how they are connected (1 is connected to 1, 2 to 2, etc.) they're exactly the same :-b

Gizmo said

at 12:12 am on Jun 10, 2009

Sorry but this is NOT a 1:1 connection. In my Link the connection between DB9 and the IDC-10 Connector is diffrent:

DB-9 IDC-10
Pin 1 Pin 1
Pin 2 Pin 3
Pin 3 Pin 5
Pin 4 Pin 7
Pin 5 Pin 9
Pin 6 Pin 2
Pin 7 Pin 4
Pin 8 Pin 6
Pin 9 Pin 8

Gizmo said

at 12:13 am on Jun 10, 2009

In your Picture the connection is 1:1 but this DONT works for me.

Wesha said

at 12:30 am on Jun 10, 2009

Well mr. smart guy, I have JUST pulled the dongle from my SS4200 and tested it JUST FOR YOU and the layout on the picture is how it is patched, no mistakes. Again, REMEMBER: NUMBERS ON THE PICTURE ARE NOT DB-9 OR IDC-10 NUMBERS!!! They only mean "connect this lead to this lead".

Wesha said

at 12:36 am on Jun 10, 2009

And if you remember that on IDC10 numbers go
10 8 6 4 2
9 7 5 3 1
you might finally realize that you keep touting exactly the same layout as pictured! I expect the apology.

Wesha said

at 12:49 am on Jun 10, 2009

OK JUST FOR YOU I re-uploaded the picture. Yellow numbers are IDC10 numbers. Red numbers are DB9 numbers. Hope it's MORE obvious now?

Gizmo said

at 1:17 am on Jun 10, 2009

Ok, THX :D

Meetriks said

at 4:10 pm on Aug 12, 2009


I adapted a cable and it works, i can see it boot en using a usb keyboard i can type.

But i can't use the serial connectie to enter anything, not in the bios but also not in the booted emc or de openfiler in serial connection.

Can you use the serial as input with your cable?

Reading this forum, he says you don't need the usb keyboard.


Meetriks said

at 5:12 pm on Aug 12, 2009

Just made a new cable and use a null modem cable in between and everthing works.
I don't need a usb keyboard to acces bios, can be done form serieel.


Frank de Lange said

at 7:56 am on Aug 23, 2009

Without stirring up any new debates I'd suggest to change the picture of the cable layout to something like the one on http://www.logicsupply.com/products/db9_idc10dtk as that leaves no room for confusion or error. The number game played in the current picture can be interpreted in many different ways. If all similarly purple-numbered pins are connected you're left with a non-functioning cable. The picture tells you to connect DBC9 pin number 5 (purple number 9) to IDC10 number 8 (purple number 9). This is wrong, as DBC9 pin number 5 should be connected to IDC10 number 9. To get a working cable from the current picture you'll have to interpret the purple numbers on the DBC9 connector as IDC10 pin numbers and vice-versa the purple numbers on the IDC10 connector as DBC9 pin numbers, but that is not what the text tells you to do. The layout in the link given by Gizmo and described again in his posting at 12:12 am on Jun 10, 2009 is correct and leads to a working cable.

The text mentions a 'straight through cable' but the actual cable to use is a null-modem cable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_modem_cable). Those are NOT straight-through as the RxD and TxD wires (and RTS/CTS and DSR/DTR, if present) are crossed. A straight-through cable is meant for connecting a DTE (a terminal, printer,...) to a DCE (modem or other communications device). In this case there is no communications device so the connection goes from DTE to DTE - hence the need for a crossed cable.

The speed of the connection on my box (a Scaleo 2205 which has lost its Windows-stickers in return for a refund from Fujitsu-Siemens...) is 115200 bps, not 9600. Maybe it is autosensing, I have not tried this. 115200 is preferable anyway... The speed can be adjusted in BIOS for those who are stuck at 9600 bps...

As stated above there is no need whatsoever for a USB keyboard as all input and output is redirected through the serial connection (as it should).


Wesha said

at 11:49 am on Aug 23, 2009

Please please please please. No more arguing, or I will be tempted to switch to profanity here.


I took my WORKING cable (which is depicted). I put it on the table JUST LIKE DEPICTED and used my multimeter to check it. I touched one lead to the pin marked purple 1 and another lead to the hole marked purple 1 and it beeped (that means contact). Then 2 and 2. Then 3 and 3. And so on. This picture is EXACTLY how my cable is laid out and IT WORKS, no matter what you say but IT WORKS, PERIOD. I verified that the pinout I use is what is depicted, FIVE times by now!!!

Wesha said

at 11:55 am on Aug 23, 2009

As of 115200, it did not work for me. Maybe my mobo is the culprit, I dunno, but it didn't work and there's a chance it will not work for another unlucky person. Therefore, it's better for anybody to play on the safe side and start with 9600. As of the straight vs null-modem cable, the cable I used was marked "straight", but whaddayouknow, maybe it has been mislabeled. I'll have to doublecheck -- admittedly, I didn't check THAT five times.

Frank de Lange said

at 7:36 pm on Aug 23, 2009

Not arguing, only trying to help others who come here to get a working serial connection in one go without having to resolder the cable when it turns out the first one does not work.

The thing is, I made a cable exactly to your purple number scheme by following the instructions you gave: "...a wire should connect purple 1's, 2's, etc.". This cable did not work. Then I checked around what sort of cable could be used on this (Intel) motherboard and ended up with the scheme I mentioned. This cable works. If you now look closely at those purple numbers you put in the picture you'll notice that - in contrast to what you stated before - they denote a layout dissimilar to the Intel/DTK cable.

Maybe you interpret those purple numbers in a different way which seems completely normal to you - who after all made the picture in the first place? All I can say is that on my Scaleo 2205 - which is nothing more than a relabeled Intel SS4200 - I need to use a cable made according to the Intel/DTK layout, not the layout you proposed.

Maybe your serial cable has a different layout which makes it work for you?

Intel/DTK + null-modem cable works for me... so anyone looking for a working serial connection on a Scaleo 2205 might want to try that first...

Now running Debian on the first SATA drive, GRML (http://grml.org) on the flash drive.


Wesha said

at 11:47 pm on Aug 23, 2009

It is quite possible that (THIS layout + strait through cable) or (YOUR layout + null modem cable) both work.

Frank de Lange said

at 1:27 am on Aug 24, 2009

That might be possible. Let's have a look at the pinouts... On the motherboard IDC10 header the pins have the following functions, are connected to (DTK/Intel) dbc9 pin and (your layout) dbc9 pin:

Motherboard IDC10 = function -> dbc9 via DTK/Intel / dbc9 via Wesha

1 = DCD -> 1 / 1
2 = DSR -> 6 / 8
3 = RXD -> 2 / 6
4 = RTS -> 7 / 4
5 = TXD -> 3 / 2
6 = CTS -> 8 / 9
7 = DTR -> 4 / 7
8 = RING -> 9 / 5
9 = GND -> 5 / 3

A null modem cable has connections 3 and 5 crossed so on your setup with a straight through cable the server's TXD will be connected correctly to the terminal's RXD. The server's RXD on the other hand is not - it is connected to the terminal's DSR. The terminal's TXD - which should be connected to the server's RXD - ends up being connected to the server's GND. This means the data from the server can possibly (but not certainly as there is no common GND) be sent to the terminal, but the terminal can not send data to the server. Did you not mention that you needed to use a USB keyboard to enter data? Maybe that has something to do with it?

Do you have a null-modem cable (or null-modem adapter, or a breakout box) handy? If so you could try to solder a DTK/Intel header cable to see if it works without the USB keyboard?


Wesha said

at 1:40 am on Aug 24, 2009

The USB keyboard phrase was from the original creator of the wiki article. Mine works just fine from the terminal alone.

Again, I'm not willing to get into figuring it out anymore, but I'm afraid you mis-traced your cabling somewhere and what you actually have is exactly what I have if you trace it all the way from ss4200-mobo header to the pins on your computer's RS232. I don't feel like opening mine yet AGAIN; however, I ordered another one and once it gets here I will give you such end-to-end pinout.

Frank de Lange said

at 1:46 am on Aug 24, 2009

From the original text, above:

"...Hook up a USB keyboard to the SS4200 as well as you'll need this to enter the BIOS etc.". Hence my reference to that keyboard. If yours works without, good. I can not see from the article who added that sentence, only that the last edit to the article was made by you 2 months ago.

Where did you order your cable, and what type did you order? I made mine myself according to the layout on http://www.logicsupply.com/products/db9_idc10dtk (and checked it after making it as the first cable did not work... check twice, solder once or 'meten is weten' in Dutch (my native language)).


Wesha said

at 2:35 am on Aug 24, 2009

I didn't order anything, I just went through my piles of computer crap and found one that had the respective connectors on each end, then re-soldered the RS232 end to match the above diagram.

Frank de Lange said

at 5:13 am on Aug 24, 2009

OK, that's what I did as well. Oh well, as long as it works... Anyone else out there have any luck with any specific connector? The normal AT/Everex type does not work, the DTK/Intel one does, any more takers?

Has anyone else noticed that the machine won't boot when the serial cable is attached on the server end but detached on the terminal end? If I boot it with a dangling serial cable it will enter the BIOS screen... which becomes visible when I attach the dangling terminal connector to the terminal. Without the cable it just works, with the cable attached on both ends it also just works. Stray electrons...?

Dave Hansen said

at 6:03 am on Aug 24, 2009

Oh, I get it now. Wesha put the IDC-10 pin numbers on the DB9 connector drawing and the DB9 pin numbers on the IDC-10 drawing. Apparently Wesha can understand this, but nobody else in the known universe can. :) The problem with this is that it requires people to know the numbering scheme for both sets of pins.

When I first looked at the drawing, I thought that, for instance, the purple '6' on the DB9 connected to the purple '6' on the IDC-10. I actually went and soldered a connection up like this. It didn't work very well. :)

Wesha said

at 6:17 am on Aug 24, 2009

Dave: no. purple 1 connects to purple 1, purple 2 to purple 2, etc. The whole point of the picture is that the connectors are right into your face, no knowledge of any schemes required.

Tobor said

at 2:46 am on Sep 2, 2009

The cable described (and a 0-modem cable between my PC and the SS4200) works fine for me. 9600, 8, none, 1 did not work for me, I needed to use 115200, 8, none, 1. Also, if you are not using an USB keyboard, it's F4 for BIOS menu, not DEL.

Wouter Lagendijk said

at 4:06 am on Sep 7, 2009

I pulled a IDC-10 to DB9 serial connector (for mouse) from an old Pentium1 board. Turned out that was straight connection (pin 1 on mobo to pin 1 on DB9, 2 -->2, etc. All the way to 9 --> 9).
Therefore I created my own 'weird' cable: using the null-modem layout with the DTK/Intel to DB9 conversion included. Pin-out on request ;)

And indeed the console-setting was 115200 baud in stead of 9600. Works splendid!

Currently trying to get Opensolaris 2009.06 installed from usb. Cannot wait to get ZFS running on my box. Upgraded ram to 2GB and replaced the DOM by a 4GB piece in order to accomodate Opensolaris, by the way.

Wesha said

at 8:59 am on Sep 19, 2009

OK, I've ordered a brand new SS4200 and I'm going to do everything from scratch (and factory settings) once again. I will report my findings. (I have a suspicion now that my instance of SS4200 I used to write this article was tweaked and switched to 9600 instead of factory default 115200).

fizze said

at 10:39 pm on Sep 20, 2009

I got my SS4200-E about a year ago.
I got a PCIeX1 graphics card to get into BIOS since serial access never worked.
The funny thing is that I can use the serial port in linux alright.

I tried the redirection setting on "boot only" and "always", but my kernel didn't boot when set to "boot only".

efficacyman said

at 11:18 pm on Oct 29, 2009

For those of us who can't salvage up an old IDC to DB9 cable, one can buy IDC-10 to DB9 serial connectors in DTK/Intel layouts - search for "DB9M IDC10 DT" on google. Looks like the current best option is PCcables.com, specifically - http://www.pccables.com/07121.htm. Came out to be ~$9 shipped.

Dave Hansen said

at 11:38 pm on Oct 29, 2009

If you live on the west coast, shipping for these is probably pretty cheap:


If you're in the Portland area, you can just go pick one up.

dubslick said

at 6:10 pm on Jan 11, 2010

The connector listed above is incorrect. You want the straight through one:


Wesha said

at 3:35 am on Jan 13, 2010


2xodDOTcom said

at 6:01 am on Jan 18, 2010

I used this guide today.. what a waste of time. JUST KIDDING!!! This worked perfect for me. I actually created my own adapter using an IDE cable and a DB-9 to RJ-11 cable.

I think it's important to note that this guide is looking at the connector from the front. Some people may not have the sense to flip the pins when they turn the adapter around and solder the pins.

My box was also setup for 115200 baud. You can tell when you connect at 9600 and you get strange characters.

I connected the serial, hit the power button and saw everything during boot!! THANKS AGAIN!!

Wesha said

at 7:53 am on Jan 18, 2010

I was told that the boxes come from the factory set to 115200. Mine was probably tinkered with as I had someone test it before me.

2xodDOTcom said

at 11:05 am on Jan 18, 2010

Errrr... cancel my last comment. I can see the output, but I can't type. I just spent another long while messing around with different pinouts all no no avail. I think this may be some kind of hardware issue???

I'm getting the same thing as this guy: ttrebing on this thread: https://forums.openfiler.com/viewtopic.php?id=2048&p=3
"After making and testing 3 different cables with the suggested pinouts, as well as testing various other configurations floating out there on the net for null modem pinouts, I had no success. Worked on it for 2 days. Same result. Display on Putty looks great, input is garbled. If I type an "e" it shows up as an "m", etc. Could this be a hardware issue?"

Same problem here. I tried the putty settings mentioned in here, but the text I type always comes out fubar.

NeXuS said

at 11:37 pm on Jan 21, 2010

Hello everyone. I have a little problem here, with my SE4200.

The system works fine with the provided DOM and Lifeline, even with an upgraded CPU (Celeron E1500, for those who care).
The problem is that, if I try to boot from another DOM I bought on which I previously installed and configured Ubuntu Server, all I get is a flashing power led.

So I got a IDC10-DB9 cable and a null-modem cable to hack into the BIOS. The IDC10-DB9 cable has the same pinout described by Frank de Lange (http://www.logicsupply.com/products/db9_idc10dtk) and the null-modem cable is of the "loop-back handshake" type (see http://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/info/RS-232_null_modem.html). I have tried every speed and parity setting, both the original DOM and the new DOM, but I get no output at all.

Any idea?

Frank de Lange said

at 6:12 am on Jan 22, 2010

With the DTK/Intel cable you don't need a null-modem cable. Try a normal (DTE-DCE) cable...

NeXuS said

at 6:22 am on Jan 22, 2010

Uh... you didn't write the same thing in your previous comment: "Intel/DTK + null-modem cable works for me... so anyone looking for a working serial connection on a Scaleo 2205 might want to try that first..."

Anyway I realized that I didn't check the IDC10->DB9 correctly, because I was too tired, and I effectively have a flat cable with a straight pin-out (DB9-1 to IDC10-1, DB9-2 to IDC10-2, etc.).

I will try some soldering work and see what happens.

yejun said

at 8:33 am on Jan 22, 2010

I just have tried this on Fujitsu-Siemens box with 115200, 8, 1 settings.
http://www.pchcables.com/sepocadbmato1.html + Null modem cable. They works.

Pitr said

at 6:31 pm on Jan 24, 2010

Your name sounds dutch - did you find any of the required parts in stores around here? I'm not eager to pay $40 in shipping for a $2 item ;)

Frank de Lange said

at 9:02 pm on Jan 25, 2010

Dutch I am for sure... but I don't live in the Netherlands. Here in Sweden is is nice, quiet, -15°C and white. A short $search_engine search for 'DTK prijs' and 'DTK btw' did not lead me to anything useable... I'd say make it yourself, it is not difficult.

Disabled Spider said

at 1:24 pm on Feb 22, 2010

I have been having some trouble getting serial access to my SS4200. After finally getting what I believe is proper wiring, I am now getting output from the terminal. Unfortunately, the output is heavily corrupted. Can anyone tell what is going on based on this picture?

Frank de Lange said

at 5:15 pm on Feb 22, 2010

Wrong terminal emulation settings?

'2;37;40m' is the ANSI/VT100 escape sequence for 'dim white on black'. If your terminal shows these escape codes it is set in RAW mode. Set it to VT100 and try again...

NikonMan said

at 2:16 am on Feb 23, 2010


Can someone verify that this is indeed correct to get serial port access to the NAS?


* STRAIGHT PINOUT * Serial Port Cable DB-9 Male TO 10 PIN IDC Socket


** CROSSED PINOUT ** Serial Port Cable DB-9 Male TO 10 PIN IDC Socket


CTG 15 Foot DB9 Female / Female Null Modem Cable

Thanks !

Disabled Spider said

at 5:19 pm on Feb 23, 2010

Thank you very much Frank de Lange. Switched from GTKTerm to PuTTY and everything works perfectly now.

jwp said

at 9:52 am on Feb 25, 2010

I really wish the "owner" of this page would add a section at the bottom that validates the following purchased cables will do the trick. I am glad the OP is so very proud of the cables their DIY solution. but there should be room in the main post for the $5 solution as well.

PCH Cables:

6 Foot DB9 Female - NM9-6FF 1 1.95
Female Null Modem Cable

** CROSSED PINOUT ** 000-F903 1 1.65
Serial Port Cable DB-9
Male TO 10 PIN IDC Socket

The above hardware and the 115200 baud rate settings works a treat

dubslick said

at 11:17 am on Feb 25, 2010

If you are near frys, you can pick up the following:

DB-9 Male w/Bracket to IDS-10 - $3.99


Null Modem Cable

Magneto said

at 2:51 am on May 4, 2010

Thanks for the information. I got a DB-9 to Intel-DTK header cable on ebay for $2. Just unscrew the cable screw pins and take off the port bracket and it fits right into the serial port on the ss4200.

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