Enabling the Serial Console on an RK3188 (Tronsmart MK908 v5.0)

Rockchip devices are a great platform for development: small, cheap and very hackable.  In particular, here at cozybit, we bought some Tronsmart MK908 (RK3188) to do some Android hacking. It wasn’t long before we realized serial console was a feature we wanted, so basing on omegamoon’s work, this is what we did to gain access:

  • Disassemble the plastic case to extract the board. Don’t worry, it’s simple to do without breaking anything.
  • Take a look at the MK908 board and identify its version number. This recipe only works for v5.0. Other versions have different layouts (click here for v1.0 boards).
  • Get a FTDI Basic Breakout for 3.3V (or similar) and a 5 pin breakaway male header.
  • Solder the breakaway male header to the board matching the FTDI Basic Breakout pins with the next soldering points:

mk908v5_soldering_points

  • The coppered square on top of the mentioned points is also a GND point. So, to make soldering easier, you can always solder the GND pin to it.

mk908v5_prototype

  • Now connect it to your machine, start minicom (or the tool of your choice) and configure it with the next parameters: 115200 – 8N1 – NOR.
  • Finally, secure your mod: make a small hole in the case, glue the breakaway male header and close it.

mk908v5_result

mk908v5_final_result

  • One last note: if you are already using a custom kernel, make sure that all the FIQ options are enabled in your config file and that “ttyFIQ0” is the selected console.

Enjoy your MK908 v5 mod and happy hacking!!

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