Cord Cutters Part 2 – Breaking the bonds of the power conglomerate

Cord Cutters Part 2 – Breaking the bonds of the power conglomerate

It turns out there are 2 module boards that connect to the device.  The first is the USB module that we currently  use.  The second is a Serial module that uses RS323 to communicate.  Both of these modules connect to the device through a 9 pin connector.  However, neither of these modules had any published information specific to board layout, schematics, or even theory of operation.

I was able to source a RS323 / TTL converter and a bluetooth module.  The RS323 module that was made for the device fetches for $175.  The total cost of around $225 is more than what I’m willing to shell out for an experiment.  I decided to contact the manufacturer of the device to see if they offer a wireless solution.

They wrote back and said that they do not offer a wireless option.  I then requested some information about the RS323 module and if any more details about the module were available.  I stated my intent of implementing my own wireless option, by means of an adapter.  I pointed out that I would need the information in order to spec out the adapter successfully.

The manufacturer responded again that they do not offer a wireless option.  They also pointed out that if I were to place an adapter on the device, it could lead to water damage.  I responded that I fully understood that water damage could occur if openings were not sealed.  I explained that the design would be completely contained, even though the current design has an opening for a USB connection.  I haven’t heard back.

Since the risk of damaging outweighs the benefit of identifying the pins of the device’s connectors, this project is getting bagged.  It’s not a common trait to be welcomed by a commercial group that guards its trade secrets.  I think it’s reasonable that they would want to protect themselves from competition.

At this point, my best effort would be to reverse engineer the USB module.  I’ve found some inspiration from some similar efforts, but it just isn’t worth it at this point to continue this pursuit.  The bonds of the power conglomerate remain.

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