Pogoplug V4 Disassembly and Attaching Serial Cable

In this article we will see how to disassemble Pogoplug V4 and attach serial cable to the serial pads on the board.

To begin disassembly we need to remove the two rubber pads on the bottom towards the rear edge. (see white arrows in the image below.) The rubber pads are glued and can be easily removed and replaced.

After removing the two rubber pads we can see the two screws as in the image below.

After removing the screws, we can remove the top cover of Pogoplug and see the main board as in the image below. We just need to be careful about the soft locks (white arrows in the image below) in the front and sides of the Pogoplug.

The pads of the serial connection are shown in the image above:

  • GND: Ground Terminal
  • Rx: Serial Receive (data into Pogoplug)
  • Tx: Serial Transmit (data from Pogoplug)

I used Nokia CA-42 serial cable and identified its terminals as shown in the link below:
Use a Nokia Serial Cable on an ARM9 Linkstation

Now you can solder your serial cable the way you wish. Continue reading if you are interested to know the way I used myself.

I’ve tried to connect the serial cable and get it from the bottom of the Pogoplug to be able to assemble it again. I ended up with the setup shown below:

I’ve cut the CA-42 cable and attached a connector as shown below. So that I can plug it into this Pogoplug, or use it in another project without re-soldering.

To solder the serial connector to the Pogoplug board, I had to solder it on the bottom side, so that I can extract the wires from the bottom cover of the Pogoplug as shown earlier. The image below shows the bottom side of the board and highlights and serial pads we need to solder. We need to remove the four small screws that fix the board before we can remove it to solder on the bottom side.

The image below shows the 3-terminal wire soldered into the board.

We better use a glue gun to fix the wires into the board to avoid breaking the solder while we extract the wires from the opening on the bottom side of the Pogoplug case. After we extract the wires and fix the board in place, we get something as shown in the image below.

Now we can assemble the Pogoplug again, and connect the serial cable using the external connector as below.

45 thoughts on “Pogoplug V4 Disassembly and Attaching Serial Cable

        • Not sure if the SATA port will work in the mobile.
          There are no voltages showing at the sata ports and the mobile has quite a few components missing compared to the V4 board. Thanks to Moustafa for his photos of the V4 board.

          • I just opened my pogoplug mobile and althought it looks one can solder in the sata port, it won’t be of any use. However, there might be enough space to stick (maybe with doublesided tape) a 2.5 sata to the top case, internally, if one removes the internal vent on the top. I’m considering doing this using a sata to usb adapter, the thing is how to do this without losing the only usb port available…

  1. Hi Moustafa,

    Thanks for the great post. I got a pogoplug v4 device and tried installing arch linux onto it using the instructions here. http://archlinuxarm.org/platforms/armv5/pogoplug-series-4
    The ppv4-install.sh script ran successfully. But when I power cycled the device the green light just kept blinking. The device does not even send out a DNS query. Obviously there is no ssh either. Most posts on the arch linux form seem to suggest a serial connection to debug this.
    I found your post to be the most detailed with instructions. I’m wondering where you purchased the connectors and such.
    Also, once you wired up the serial connection was up did you use putty or some kinda terminal emulator to make the serial connection?
    Sorry about the many questions. I got a excited about installing arch linux on my brand new pogo and might have bricked it. I dont feel too good about it. Any help you can give me would be great.


  2. Great post. I would try to debug my bricked Pogo v4.
    By the way, is the Vcc 3.3V not necessary to connect? I’m wondering why you just soldered three wires. Does it work? Please help me.

  3. Hi Moustafa,

    great job! With serial cable what possibilities would you have? Accessing u-boot or also a prompt to login if installed os still runs? I unfortunately stopped the cloud service not beeing aware ssh will not work afterwards… so I search for a way to
    access /etc/init.d/rcS and activate it again.

    • Hi Markus, thanks for your feedback. With serial cable you would have root access to the OS (as if you logged in with ash using root user). So yes you cab edit any file.

  4. I soldered in the cable and am using Prolific usb to serial cable for windows. Using putty with speed of 115200, 8, 1, none, none on com port 8 which is what control pannel devices shows under port for the Prolific. I push reset and then open putty in serial mode but it times out. have checked wiring and all is well. Maybe I have wrong config or missed a step. Any ideas? Have series 4 with one usb and no sata. Thank you.

  5. Dear Mr. Moustafa
    Thanks For This Grate Post ,,
    Kindly I Need Your Advice & Help
    I Tried To Install Arch Linux As Of :
    But I Fail
    My Pogoplug Now Is Dead , ( Auto Re-Boot)

    1- I Need Correct Link For Software File
    2- What The Program I Should Use To Write The Software File To The Device ?
    ( If Its Putty .. How To Use )

    Sorry For My Many Questions

    Waiting For You Reply ..

    • Thanks for your feedback.

      before trying any fixes I advise the following:

      1- remove any USB drives from the plug and try rebooting. and see if it at least boots to the original firmware.

      2- post to the http://archlinuxarm.org/forum/ as there are many supportive people knowledgable about the archlinux installation.

      As for your questions:

      I assume that software file here means the plug boot firmware (uboot). Please let me know if you mean something else.

      1- the link of the uboot from the ArchLinux installation script is: http://archlinuxarm.org/os/ppv4/uboot.bin.gz

      2- to load new version of uboot into the plug without access to the linux command line. here is what I know:
      a- connect to the plug with serial connection
      b- configure TFTP server to hold the new uboot file (your PC can act as TFTP server)
      c- issue uboot commands to load the file and write at the correct address of nand

      the above steps are NOT TRIVIAL. and I’ve not went through them end to end. I’ve tried the loading, and didn’t try the writing. So as advised above, please post into the archlinux forum to get support from several knowledgable people.

      let me know if I can support any further.

  6. hello,

    sorry my english
    I have the same problem
    Tried the “1- remove any USB drives from the plug and try rebooting. and see if it at least boots to the original firmware.” and not got the original firmware.
    I tried the format this flash drive as ext3, label it “rootfs”. and not :(
    how is connect to the plug with serial connection? cabo RJ45?

      • I think not starting firmware.
        It blinks green for a while, then blinks red while it accesses the flash drive, then restarts.
        pogoplug v4

        • If it blinks green, then it starts the original firmware. Red blinking means it cant access internet. Please make sure the plug is connected firmly to your router, and that it connects to internet. Then you should be able to see it on the my.pogoplug.com

  7. I guess you’ve become the PogoPlug V4 “de facto” savior.

    Like many others in the comments, I was playing with my Pogoplug and it ended up being bricked.
    Now, after seeing your pictures, soldering the cables to the mainboard doesn’t seem too difficult, but once that’s done, what’s next?
    What is the USB connection for?
    Having the cables soldered is enough to bring my pogoplug back to life??

    Thanks Mr. Savior

    • Thanks for your feedback.

      Well it depends on how the plug is bricked. Once we have serial connection with the plug, we can almost do anything. E.g. Access the Linux installation and make any modifications, write new uboot image, change uboot environment, and so on.

      So how your plug is bricked?

      • Hi.

        The light in the front won’t blink. Neither green nor red, but the ones in the Ethernet port, start blinking as soon as I connect an Ethernet cable.
        Is this info enough?


          • Thanks for this info. It looks to me that uboot on mtd0 has been erased, and new one was not written (command failed as you outlined). So in such case, I believe serial connection won’t be enough. I understand that you will also need JTAG connection to flash new uboot. I advise posting a thread in forum.doozan.com. They are experts in such stuff and may recommend simpler solution. But anyway you will need the serial connection to interact with uboot after flashing it.

  8. Any thoughts on the pin-out to a standard 9 pin DIN connection? I’d like to wire this up to a run of the mill 9 pin serial adapter that I can use with the USB to serial adapter I carry around in my bag for accessing console ports of Cisco and other Network Gear. Thanks in advance.

  9. Hi,
    I bricked my Pogoplug mobile version while trying to install linux.
    I have ordered for the USB Serial cable and going to solder the wires.
    I see many instructions to recover the original firmware and getting confused.
    Can someone post the most recent one, pls.


  10. I just ordered a USB to 3.3v Serial adapter to try and install Arch Linux Arm on my PogoPlug Mobile V4.

    Question though, can the SD card be used in place of the USB flash drive for the Arch installation? I would like to leave the USB port free for an external HD. Also, is that a second USB port pointing up in the middle of the board? If so, is it active and usable? I have no problem cutting a hole in the top plastic to make that accessible later :-)

    Thanks for any info/help!


    • Good luck with your ArchLinux installation :) Actually the bootable devices depends on the version of the uboot installed on the pogoplug. the default one only boots from the local flash, and the one you update as part of the archlinux installation (from archlinuxarm.org) only supports booting from Sata or the USB2 slot. So I’m not aware of any uboot version for pogoplug4 that supports booting from the SD card or even the USB3.

      • Actually totally successful using the above directions to install the uboot in the tutorial and instead of installing Debian, I installed Arch. (Using the above commands). Its working great with a 2GB SD card so I can use the USB port for an external HD.

  11. I have a couple Pogoplug Mobiles that I’d like to try this mod. I opened one up and noticed that the solder spots are pretty small. Any tricks being able to solder the wires to the board?

    • Just be careful.. I soldered a fan header on those (had to bend the pins a little) on mine so I could remove the serial adapter easily. To do it, I pulled the pins out of the fan header with plyers and tinned the end with solder first. Then with a very fine point heat the header pin while holing it in place and the solder should stick. Once I did this on the three pins, I pushed the plastic of the header back down over (it will sill be about 1/8″ above the board) then and used hot glue to fill the gap and hold it all solid.

      Good luck!


      • Wow. Nice work. I wondered if that was possible. I’ll probably end up just trying to solder the wires directly to the board. Thanks.

        • I just thought if I had to do this again, I would probably just use a clothes pin, drill 3 small holes spaced on the tip of one side and put pins through them. If done right, you could just clip it on to the solder points of the board then unclip it when done..

  12. i have 2 old pogoplug v4 devices and wanted to do a DIY project to set them as NAS. I was able to activate the devices but was getting error when i try to register them. I purchased these devices 4 years ago. I cant enable ssh without registering the device. Please provide some suggestion on how can i proceed further.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *