Serial Port Connections

This page details ways to connect to the serial port on the QNAP Turbostation series of devices. Both the TS101 and TS201 have a 2x3 pin connector located behind LED 1 on the HDD side of the board. The pin outs are shown on the figure and labelled below

150px Click to enlarge

3.3V GND
N/C Tx
N/C Rx

NOTE: This is a 3.3V TTL 232 communication protocol - you should level shift the cable so that a PC can see +/-12V RS232 levels. There are a variety of ways to do this - most are documented at the nslu2-linux website. Use a Serial Console and Adding a serial port.

The easiest method is to purchase a FTDI USB TTL-232R-3V3 cable (e.g. here, or through international distributors). This enables a host machine to connect to the turbostation via a USB connection and interact directly with the U-Boot Bootloader. You could however use a level shifter (Maxim MAX232 or compatible) to enable the serial port to power other RS232 based devices. This is easy if you can solder. An illustrated sort of HOWTO is available at (in this case build into a Synology Diskstation DS-106).

Host to Turbostation Cabling

The FTDI TTL-232R-3V3 cable comes with a 6x1 0.1" female connector which needs to be connected to a 1mm pitch female connector. The easiest approach is to carefully remove the existing pins using a small knife or screwdriver to carefully lift the little black flap, and remove the pin. A small piece of wire can then be used to connect the two female plugs together. Note it is sensible to use a insluating cable around the bare plugs to remove the problem of short circuits.

Based on current FTDI colour coding and naming conventions the following setup works

N/C GND Black (GND)
N/C Tx Yellow (Rx)
N/C Rx Orange (Tx)

Host to Turbostation Communication

Windows XP Users

Inserting the FTDI cable into the USB socket should autostart the 'New Hardware Detected Wizard' - and all drivers should auto-install. Check which COM port is valid by going to Control Panel->System->Hardware->Device Manager. Under Ports (COM & LPT) you should see USB Serial Port (COMx). Using Hyperterminal (Programmes->Accessories->Communication->Hyperterminal) provides a quick and dirty interface. Set up a new session (e.g. called QNAP) with Baud 115200; and select the default settings. You are now connected to your QNAP; rebooting should produce the standard U-Boot output. Remember to press 'space' at boot time to enter U-Boot mode.