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Bluetooth serial console

Often being caught in situations when I need serial console to Cisco equipment and I don't have one, despite caring several capable linux machines in my pockets, made me do something about it.

For the experiments, I've got several things:

"DB9" above is actually "DE-9", but "DB9" is used more often.

Install some serial terminal software on the PC (minicom, picocom, nanocom, screen, putty, etc..) - I am going to use picocom.

$ sudo apt-get install -y picocom

Connect DB9 RS232 Bluetooth adapter via DB9 F-F gender changer to USB Serial adapter. Power the BT board via mini USB cable. Connect USB serial to PC USB port:

Launch serial terminal on it:

$ dmesg | tail | grep tty
[4505336.859339] usb 3-8.1: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

$ picocom -c -b 9600 /dev/ttyUSB0
Terminal ready

Turn the switch into slave mode. It will respond to serial. Execute 'AT' command, and get the response:

*** BOLUTEK SPP Bluetooth Module V2.44 Init OK in SLAVE mode!***
*** Please input AT+HELP <cr><lf> to get commands list.      ***
*** For more information, please visit ***



So, if we connect to the module directly via serial, we are talking to BC04-B BT transceiver part. The list of AT commands is available, but you can get the list directly from the module by issuing 'AT+HELP' :

Command              Description
AT                   Check if the command terminal work normally
AT+RESET             Software reboot
AT+VERSION           Get firmware, bluetooth, HCI and LMP version
AT+HELP              List all the commands
AT+NAME              Get/Set local device name
AT+PIN               Get/Set pin code for pairing
AT+BAUD              Get/Set baud rate
AT+CLEAR             Remove the remembered remote address
AT+LADDR             Get local bluetooth address
AT+RNAME             Get remote device name
AT+DEFAULT           Restore factory default
AT+CMODE             Get/Set connection mode
AT+BIND              Get/Set bind bluetooth address
AT+COD               Get/Set local class of device
AT+IAC               Get/Set inquiry access code
AT+ROLE              Get/Set master or slave mode
AT+STATE             Get current state
AT+SENM              Get/Set security and encryption mode
AT+IPSCAN            Get/Set page and inquiry scan parameters
AT+SNIFF             Get/Set sniff power table parameters
AT+LOWPOWER          Start/Stop low power mode
AT+UARTMODE          Get/Set uart stop bits and parity
AT+ENABLEIND         Enable/Disable Indication print
AT+LSP               List Paired Device List
AT+RESETPDL          Reset Paired Device List
AT+REMOVEPDL         Remove one entry from Paired Device List
AT+SUPERVISION       Get/Set supervision timeout
AT+AUTOINQ           Start/Stop auto inquiry
AT+INQ               Start inquiry
AT+INQC              Cancel ongoing inquiry
(M)AT+AUTOCONN       Start/Stop auto connection
(M)AT+INQM           Get/Set inquiry parameters
(M)AT+CONNECT        Connect to a remote device by BD address
Note: (M) = The command support master mode only, other commands
support both master and slave mode.
For more information, please visit
Copyright@2012 All rights reserved.

For now, there are only 2 commands relevant to our needs - here we are changing module BT name from default 'BOLUTEK' to 'BTSC' and pin from default '1234' to max. length '0123456789ABCDEF'. Unfortunately it will not let us change BT MAC address via AT commands.



Now we are ready to go.

Reassemble the gear: disconnect USB Serial and DB9 gender changer. Connect Null-Modem adapter, blue Cisco cable and Battery.

IMPORTANT: You need Null-Modem adapter for normal use.

Connect Cisco console cable into some Cisco equipment.

Plug USB BT dongle into PC. Dmesg shows:

[4562811.896635] usb 3-8.1: new full-speed USB device number 127 using xhci_hcd
[4562812.002374] usb 3-8.1: New USB device found, idVendor=0a12, idProduct=0001
[4562812.002376] usb 3-8.1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[4562812.002377] usb 3-8.1: Product: CSR8510 A10

lsusb detects it as:

Bus 003 Device 127: ID 0a12:0001 Cambridge Silicon Radio, Ltd Bluetooth Dongle (HCI mode)

Install bluetooth support:

$ sudo apt-get install bluetooth

Set dongle address to 00:11:22:33:44:55 if manufacturer supports it:

~$ sudo bccmd -d hci0 psset -s 0 bdaddr 0x33 0x00 0x55 0x44 0x22 0x00 0x11 0x00

Or by an easy tool:

$ cd /tmp
$ wget -U "Mozilla" -O bdaddr.tar.bz2
$ tar -xvf bdaddr.tar.bz2 
$ cd bdaddr/
$ sudo apt-get install libbluetooth-dev
$ make

$ sudo ./bdaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55
Manufacturer:   Cambridge Silicon Radio (10)
Device address: 00:11:22:33:44:00
New BD address: 00:11:22:33:44:55

Address changed - Reset device now

After reinserting you can see it with a new address:

$ hcitool dev
        hci0    00:11:22:33:44:55

$ hciconfig
hci0:   Type: BR/EDR  Bus: USB
        BD Address: 00:11:22:33:44:55  ACL MTU: 310:10  SCO MTU: 64:8
        RX bytes:612 acl:0 sco:0 events:37 errors:0
        TX bytes:942 acl:0 sco:0 commands:37 errors:0

Scan for other BT devices and see our Serial module:

$ hcitool scan
Scanning ...
        00:10:20:30:40:50       BTSC

List services:

$ sdptool records 00:10:20:30:40:50
Service Name: SPP Dev
Service RecHandle: 0x10000
Service Class ID List:
  "Serial Port" (0x1101)
Protocol Descriptor List:
  "L2CAP" (0x0100)
  "RFCOMM" (0x0003)
    Channel: 1
Language Base Attr List:
  code_ISO639: 0x656e
  encoding:    0x6a
  base_offset: 0x100

Connect serial device (funny, you don't need any PIN for that):

$ sudo rfcomm connect hci0 00:10:20:30:40:50
Connected /dev/rfcomm0 to 00:10:20:30:40:50 on channel 1
Press CTRL-C for hangup

Launch serial terminal in another terminal session:

$ sudo picocom /dev/rfcomm0

Press 'Enter' - and vuala - you are in Cisco console now:

Terminal ready


Bluetooth serial adapter module schematics can be found here.

From the module schematics mentioned above we can see it also has LN2054 battery charger, meaning you can go autonomous with the Li-Po battery, and charge it via Mini-USB when possible.

So, after we tested everything with a PC, it's time to do it on a mobile device, like Nokia N900. I did it in a two steps: first, paired bluetooth devices via Maemo GUI (whih is actually not necessary in our case), then edited

/etc/bluetooth/rfcomm.conf file, so it contains:

rfcomm0 {
        bind yes;
        device 00:10:20:30:40:50;
        channel 1;
        comment "BTSC";

Now, after you enable bluetooth via Maemo GUI, open a terminal, and issue:

Nokia-N900:~# rfcomm connect /dev/rfcomm0
Connected /dev/rfcomm0 to 00:10:20:30:40:50 on channel 1
Press CTRL-C for hangup

Microcom is a part of the busybox-power (note: Ctrl-X to exit):

Nokia-N900:~# microcom -s 9600 /dev/rfcomm0


BONUS: talking to Raspberry Pi Zero serial console from Nokia N900 via HC-05 Bluetooth RF RS232 TTL Module :