INFO: Cheap alternative to the Metra USB-CAB programming cable, $5 - Nissan Frontier Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 01:01 AM
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INFO: Cheap alternative to the Metra ASWC USB-CAB programming cable, $5

FYI- You do not need to buy the Metra USB-CAB overpriced cable, you can pick up a USB TTL serial converter off ebay for about $3 to $6 shipped: This is the correct USB to TTL cable needed. It is less than $3 on ebay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=130683943875 - or - just search for "USB to TTL 5v"
** Just make sure the converter you buy supports 5v output on the TTL pin side, the ASWC needs 5v from the TTL cable pins.

The $3 ebay adapter referenced above has the TTL pins marked on the board so you'll know which pin is which.

Hooking up the adapter wires to the ASWC:
In studying close up shots of the USB CAB cable, and the port opening on the ASWC, the cable is "keyed" so it only fits one way (so you cannot put it in backwards). Given this, refer to the image for layout and pin assignments. Using this, you can use any inexpensive USB to TTL 5v adapter as long as it supports 5v output on the TTL pin side.

(please excuse my low-tech photoshopping..)


Pin Out of USB-CAB Cable, Wire Colour, Function on the ASWC PINs:
Pin #1 is the leftmost pin when holding the AWSC in front of you, the firmware update access port should be on your lower left corner on face of ASWC unit. The pins run horizontally left to right, I am numbering them 1-4. It is OK if your cables are not the same colors as below, the colors noted below are on the Metra USB-CAB cable.

1 : : Ground (Black from USB-CAB cable)
2 : : TTL Receive Rx (Yellow from USB-CAB cable)
3 : : TTL Transmit Tx (Orange from USB-CAB cable)
4 : : Vcc +5V typical (Red from USB-CAB cable)


Metra should be *ashamed* of themselves for the outrageous price of their "special" cable, which is nothing more than a standard USB-TTL converter used for programming phones and other devices. It probably cost them 50 cents to make (at most). I would pay an extra $5 for the ASWC if they just included the darn cable.

Last edited by LAFrontier; 04-24-2012 at 11:21 AM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 02:50 AM
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Updated with pin functions and diagram! Confirmation coming soon..
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#3 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 09:27 AM
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I contacted Metra to ask for the pin-out on the ASWC module, and got a reply "We do not give out that information". That's it. No other reason. Like it is some big secret or something.. So their position is basically "we want to overcharge you a lot of money for an industry-standard USB-TTL cable".

I'll be testing update of the AWSC module this week using an inexpensive USB-TTL converter and will post results.

Last edited by LAFrontier; 04-24-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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#4 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 11:15 AM
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This is the correct USB to TTL cable needed. It is less than $3 on ebay. CP2102 USB 2.0 to UART TTL 6PIN Module Serial Converter | eBay

Just be sure to use the 5v output, and note my wiring above in the 1st post. the $3 ebay adapter has the pins marked so you'll know which pin is which.
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#5 (permalink) Old 06-10-2012, 01:28 PM
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LAFrontier - Thanks for all this great info about finding a cheaper alternative to the overpriced Metra cable. I ordered the cable off of ebay that you suggested but cannot get it to work. When I press the "Update Unit Board" button on the USBBootLoader program, it says it cannot find the USB cable. Have you run into this or do you have any suggestions on what I should do? I'm not sure if this cable is defective or not.
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#6 (permalink) Old 06-10-2012, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clhonu05 View Post
When I press the "Update Unit Board" button on the USBBootLoader program, it says it cannot find the USB cable. Have you run into this or do you have any suggestions on what I should do? I'm not sure if this cable is defective or not.
Make sure the cable is unplugged from your ASWC before you press "Update Unit Board" -- youll then be instructed to plug the cable to the ASWC

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WAS: 2010 Frontier LE CC 4x4, Night Armor, Steel Leather, LE Value Package - Bakflip G2, Kenwood DNX6990HD, Sliding bed extender, BullyDog Triple Dog GT Tuner (Installed 5/14/12 - Check out my Fuelly stats since then for MPG increase), Michelin LTX M/S2

Need a firmware update for your ASWC? No charge other than you paying for shipping both ways. PM me for info.

Last edited by RickNY; 06-10-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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#7 (permalink) Old 06-10-2012, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickNY View Post
Make sure the cable is unplugged from your ASWC before you press "Update Unit Board" -- youll then be instructed to plug the cable to the ASWC
I did follow those instructions listed on the bootloader and it still cannot find the USB cable. There is a red LED lit on the board when I plug it in and it shows up as a Port in the Device Manager. I had to install some drivers for Windows to recognize the cable. Is that normal?
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#8 (permalink) Old 06-10-2012, 11:02 PM
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It is normal to install drivers for a device if Windows does not already have a compatible driver as part of the operating system's driver library. I find Windows Vista and Windows 7 to be very unreliable with these types of cables and devices. I typically boot up an XP Virtual Machine, or my old XP laptop and use that instead.

I have not had a chance to test updating the ASWC with the cable, the ASWC is currently functioning fine and I have been completely slammed with work. I don't see a reason why the ASWC would not see the cable though. Did you reboot Windows after installing the cable drivers, and are all settings correct for communicating with the ASWC? Pins from cable hooked up correctly to the ASWC?
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#9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 08:18 AM
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LAFrontier,

Have you by chance actually verified that this works with the Metra application? If the cable interface is reporting a different hardware ID than what this eBay cable is reporting, its likely not going to work. The controller on the cable you pointed out (CP2102) is made by Silicon Labs, Metra's controller is made by FTDI (FT232RQ). I have doubts that this will actually work - not from a technical standpoint, but rather, the updater software is coded to recognize the cable by its VID & PID in Windows Device Manager.

You MIGHT be able to re-program the VID & PID of the CP2102, as evidenced by the post here: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/project...id-for-cp2102/ -- keep in mind, you will also have to update the INF files to reflect the new VID/PID combo within the Silicon Labs driver.

The non-Metra branded cable that is used is an FTDI TTL-232R-5V-WE and can be found by searching around the web.. Cheapest price I saw was $17.95 here: http://microcontrollershop.com/produ...oducts_id=2586 -- The Metra packaged cable has that model number on it on the USB plug side -- keep in mind, the 'WE' in the model means it is "Wire Ended", meaning you'll have to attach your own connector.

Below are the Hardware ID's in Windows Device Manager for the official cable when its plugged in. First, is the properties of the 'USB Serial Converter' and second is the properties of the 'USB Serial Port'





Rick

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WAS: 2010 Frontier LE CC 4x4, Night Armor, Steel Leather, LE Value Package - Bakflip G2, Kenwood DNX6990HD, Sliding bed extender, BullyDog Triple Dog GT Tuner (Installed 5/14/12 - Check out my Fuelly stats since then for MPG increase), Michelin LTX M/S2

Need a firmware update for your ASWC? No charge other than you paying for shipping both ways. PM me for info.

Last edited by RickNY; 06-11-2012 at 08:50 AM.
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#10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 09:20 AM
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Rick- Have not had a chance to test it out, I had left this thread with my last post saying I would post results after I tested it out. This alternative method is not my idea, there are a number of threads around the web on updating the ASWC with the less expensive ebay cables. But, none of the posters bothered to list the pin-outs or actual cables purchased / used, so I wanted to try and document an accurate / complete process. It is definitely plausible the ASWC is coded to only recognize specific chips such as the FTDI. It is also possible the ebay cable is bad or not outputting 5v on the power pin, or the COM port settings are incorrect under Windows.

I received a PM from another member here that they had the ASWC 'seeing' a cable they use for updating other types of TTL devices, but their cable outputs 12v so of course it can't be used without lowering the cable's output voltage. Would be nice to know what type of chip is in that cable as it may help confirm your theory. Thanks for posting the screenshots.
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