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idatalink programming cable diy


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pmarcus 
Member - Posts: 3
Member spacespace
Joined: September 17, 2014
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote pmarcus
Has anyone ever taken apart that $50 idatalink or flashlogic programming cable? It clearly has an FTDI USB to UART bridge in it so I'd guess it'd be pretty simple to build your own or use an off the shelf USB-RS232 cable if you could be assured of the pinout and what transceiver is used in the cable (if any).
catback 
Silver - Posts: 697
Silver spacespace
Joined: August 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 10:42 AM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote catback
I don't think anyone is quick to hack apart a $50 cable that works to attempt to build one for half price.
If you'd like to experiment with your money then please do and let us know your findings. If the cable is as basic as you think it won't be difficult to recreate, just Power, Ground, TX, and RX. Easy enough to test for and hookup.
pmarcus 
Member - Posts: 3
Member spacespace
Joined: September 17, 2014
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 3:53 PM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote pmarcus
catback wrote:
I don't think anyone is quick to hack apart a $50 cable that works to attempt to build one for half price.
If you'd like to experiment with your money then please do and let us know your findings. If the cable is as basic as you think it won't be difficult to recreate, just Power, Ground, TX, and RX. Easy enough to test for and hookup.
Super helpful comment, thanks!
yellow_cake 
Copper - Posts: 178
Copper spacespace
Joined: December 01, 2011
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 6:45 PM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote yellow_cake
Wow, I thought they would use something proprietary to make it almost impossible to re-create... How can you tell what they've used if you haven't taken one apart yourself?
I have one of these for an arduino programmer: www./itm/181438947135
I wonder if that would serve a purpose... It has RX, TX, VCC, GND pin outs labeled.
pmarcus 
Member - Posts: 3
Member spacespace
Joined: September 17, 2014
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 9:21 PM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote pmarcus
The reason I believe it's likely is because of the driver required to install the USB cable. I saw references to standard FTDI drivers. I can't imagine anything more complicated than one chip for the USB to UART bridge and MAYBE another chip to establish a hardware protocol like RS232 or RS485.
After looking at the driver for the weblink I found the following USB IDs:
VID_03EB&PID_2018
VID_274B&PID_0001
The first one being an off the shelf (at least partially) implementation from Atmel. http://www.mikrocontroller.net/attachment/70264/USB_device_details.pdf
The second one I couldn't find so it may be more custom.
Additionally the DBALL2PRO version of the module install a standard silicon labs CP210x virtual comm port driver. So that certainly supports my suspicion as well.
I think I read that the idatalink and xpress kit stuff were the same just branded differently? I could be wrong there.
It's pretty likely that it just looks like a standard COMM port in windows, though they (in the idatalink case) might have added something "special" for the weblink software to identify the port.
I was hoping that someone else had poked at one. If I end up buying one to do a bypass install I'll end up taking it apart but I'm not positive I'm going to put the remote start in.
yellow_cake 
Copper - Posts: 178
Copper spacespace
Joined: December 01, 2011
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posted: September 20, 2014 at 9:39 PM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote yellow_cake
Oh I see, I've never looked into the driver as I've never owned the cable. A quick google search for idatalink ftdi does turn up results for drivers...
To answer your question about Xpresskit and Idatalink, they are not the same. None of their products are rebranded of one another.
Idatalink is geared towards install shops so buying them locally for me is way more expensivet than Fortin or Xpresskit...
catback 
Silver - Posts: 697
Silver spacespace
Joined: August 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posted: September 21, 2014 at 12:05 AM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote catback
You'd be surprised how basic programming cables for various hardware can be so it wouldn't surprise me if the ads-usb cable is merely an off the shelf usb to TTL converter. A loopback test would give it away. Even then the only way to know if a home brew cable would work is to make one and test it. Unfortunately, there's not alot of demand in DIY ADS flashing so not alot of interest in testing, trying, or hacking open an ADS-USB cable. The local idatalink dealers already have cables, and the DIY customers mostly get the unit pre-flashed from the seller or have a local dealer flash it. The very few rest buy the cable for a one or two time use deal.
As for it being proprietary, not really necessary. They aren't making alot of money off of cable sales because under normal circumstances only authorized dealers and installers are the expected users of the programming cable and that demographic doesn't buy cables regularly. They make their money off of the actual bypass modules. Another reason against custom proprietary chips is cost. It costs a good deal to make completely custom chips and when your planned sales figures for such an item is limited (only dealers and installers are the foreseen purchasers) it just doesn't make sense. That said it's easy to lock the software to a particular off the shelf chip or change a small setting in the OTS chip and lock to that setup.
What you need is individuals more interested in playing with the cable than installing remote starts and other stuff into cars and trucks.
shafferny 
Copper - Posts: 240
Copper spacespace
Joined: February 02, 2008
Location: New York, United States
Posted: September 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote shafferny
I bought my ADS flash cable of eBay for about $35. For the cost, it's not worth trying to come up with some sort of home-brew cable. By the time I were to source the parts, mess with it, and potentially fry a bypass module or two, it's just not worth it to me.
Having said that. It sounds like you know more about what you're doing than I do. If you can reverse engineer the ADS cable and put together a parts list for DIY folks, cool!
pyro6314 
Member - Posts: 2
Member spacespace
Joined: February 19, 2014
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posted: October 15, 2014 at 2:20 PM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote pyro6314
I tried to program one with and FTDI chip to no avail. Supplying 5v to the device and running the Weblink ACtiveX wouldn't detect the module (ALCA) albeit it would communicate to the driver/COM port. Lots of digging came to some results although.
The supplied driver appears to be simply an .inf file that uses the Windows native usbser.sys USB driver. This employs a generic CDC/ACM standard protocol that appears is going to be the new standard when people move away from using proprietary devices like FTDI (if they ever do). The VID/PID's that were posted above are from that inf file and as said indicate an Atmel chip. On some of the arduino's they use a second Atmel chip which is programmed to emulate the FTDI chip. This allows the use of the FTDIbus.sys driver but not the ftdiport.sys driver. (If you're familiar there are two drivers). Ontop of the bus sits this usbser.sys driver.
None of the USB->Serial devices I have found support this driver or CDC/ACM protocol. Modifying the inf file and forcing it to install gives freezing/BSD. Not the way to go considering the actual programmer uses soely the FTDI drivers. So I tried the AT8/12 programmed to emulate the FTDI and use the usbser.sys which I was able to make talk just fine, STILL did not find the module even though the ActiveX was talking to the COM port. That was the last straw, so I bought the damn programmer in town for $106. (I'm impatient)
It works... so I dug into it. It uses the FT232RL which requires? an external EEPROM which is also onboard. I think this only contains a 1K ROM of configuration information for the FT232 and has nothing proprietary on it like handshake data. The board supplies 12V (from the USB 5v) via an unidentified IC and is switched by the DTR# pin on the FT232 through a HEXFET. The ActiveX serial COM appears to turn on the DTR pin only when it wants to talk. Otherwise, it is pure 5v TTL Serial Tx/Rx from the FTDI232 to the ATMEL micro inside the ALCA module.
I plan on trying this out when I get a new key for my car which likely requires reprogramming. I have some good pics of both sides of the programmer board (ADS-USB) if anyone is interested, I won't be posting them here.
bentrod 
Member - Posts: 1
Member spacespace
Joined: December 26, 2014
Location: New Jersey, United States
Posted: December 26, 2014 at 2:25 AM / IP Logged Link to Post Post Reply Quote bentrod
hey pyro any luck or more info about the cable?
I've worked with cp21xx and FT232xx before and know some of the settings can be burned one time (like VID/PID + other GPIO settings)
This makes me think everything that's getting passed to the usb host can be spoofed to make it look just like the idatalink cable.
Would it be too much to ask if for you to get a wireshark dump of the device when it enumrates and when it's doing whatever with the silly webupdater program?
I'm new to the remote start community so the device I need to use (ALCA) hasn't arived yet for me to play with. Nor do I plan on spending $50 for a cable that I'm going to use once.
If I can get someone to give me a dump of the usb side, I can work on the rs232 side so hopefully in the future people can just upload .bins to their devices without being connected to the internet.
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