Making sense of a serial connection to an ss4000 NAS

update: I consider the unit bricked and will donate it to an open source enthusiast.

I'm trying to make sense of this serial connection on my Intel ss4000 nas (a better picture can be seen here).
I found this dl10-db9 connector in an old computer, should be okay right ?
First problem is that this little cable fits in the pin header in two directions, so I have to figure out the correct way to insert it in the pin header.
The pin header has a whole in its casing on one side, and as far as I can tell from pictures on the internet the red line of this little cable should be on the right side, as in this picture:
I then connect this to a brand new serial cable into a real serial port on another Debian computer. All of the following commands give a blank screen when all cables are connected and the NAS is running(*).

cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 9600
cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 19200
cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 115200
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 9600
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 19200
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 115200
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 9600
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 9600 8N1
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 19200
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 38400
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 115200

115200 should be the correct transfer rate.

If I connect the little cable with the red line on the left side (pin 9 of the header according to this blog) like in the below picture, then all of the above commands give me lots of garbage (at different speeds...) on the screen.
How can I get this serial connection to work ? Do I have to reboot the NAS with every attempt ?

(*) The NAS does not respond to ssh or ping since the last 'aptitude update && aptitude upgrade' :(


Goya said...

Wouldn't you need a nullmodem in between NAS and pc?

Paul Cobbaut said...

Tried that too, I get a lot less characters with the nullmodem cable, only at boot it gives about 40 garbage characters, then nothing. I also changed the serial pin header cable with one that fits in only one direction (no difference) and with one that ends in DB25 directly in the serial port of the computer (no output) or indirectly via a nullmodem cable(no output). I 'll look at it again tomorrow.

Arioch said...

You might want to contact Wouter Verhelst for detailed information.
He's the one who ported debian to this machine.

Tom Laermans said...

There are 2 "standards" for a db9 breakout, you probably have the wrong one and need to rewire some of the pins. It's what we needed to do with our beagleboard as well...

Paul Cobbaut said...

@Arioch: Wouter is a good friend of mine, we already spent some time on it.
@Tom: I tried three different header-db9 cables and even more nullmodem/serial cable combinations.

@All:I consider the unit bricked. Data is backed up, the new QNAO nas took the job.

Paul Cobbaut said...


Eirikur Emilsson said...

How did you get around this problem. I have a problem where I don't get any feedback at all on a couple of computers but I would be really interested in how you got around this problem. My best guess is that it was the parity bit or something silly like that.

Eirikur Emilsson said...

How did you get around this problem Paul? The public has a right to know.

Paul Cobbaut said...

I didn't get around it, the box is still bricked.

I do have several computers with a working console connection, but not this one.

Eirikur Emilsson said...

I got around my problem with rewiring in/out on the serial cable. :)

Anonymous said...

Can you please said how you rewiring the cable?

Paul Cobbaut said...

@Anonymous: I never rewired it, I gave up on the box.

Παντελής said...

Your nas is not dead.... use a multimeter to verify the pins as the connection on NAS motherboard are not "usual"...
I had the same problem and I used the pinout found in


Barely it is:
3 2
5 3
9 5

if it won't work switch 2 and 3

Paul Cobbaut said...

Thanks. I still have it here on a shelve and will give your suggestion a try.

Παντελής said...

Also have in mind....

use XFS or JFS and set your disks to raid 10, -> you will achieve write speed of 12Mb/s or slightly better. If you use raid 5 and ext4 write speed will be about 5mb/s.

Also use lm-sensors and fancontrol to slow down your fan.
(fancontrol config script needs some tweaking to fake the values, but works)

thos said...

@Παντελής -
Could you explain the lm-sensor part? I was able to install debian on this intel ss4000 but i cannot manage to activate sensors and disk leds. Any help in this sense would be appreciate. Thanks in advance.

Paul Cobbaut said...

I hope Παντελής can help since I won't be able to look into this before July/August...


Quino3D said...

Hi. I thinks it's too late to answer but sometimes we revive the problems once again.
I have the same NAS and I succeed about taking data from serial connection like it was a vga. I can enter on BIOS with a usb kb and i see over a PuTTy terminal with 115200n8 conf.
I found the solution becaus i was lost trying ALL the things i googled, so i switched the com connection on the motherboard and i saw letters appear on the screen!
I hope is still useful.
Greetings from Spain.

Anonymous said...

I made my serial cable working. correct pin assignment
DL-10(DB9)- DB9(PC)
3 ------- 3
5 ------- 2
9 ------- 5

very useful.I made my NAS working again.


Anonymous said...

pin assignment