Revive A DockStar And Get So Much More

[Firestorm_v1] has done a fabulous writeup on not only resurrecting his dead DockStar with JTAG, but also includes some handy techniques and useful information that could be used with other hardware and JTAG equipped devices.

The tutorial itself goes into the details of finding the JTAG, correctly identifying the ports and making an adapter cable. Then wiring a TIAO Parallel JTAG kit and finally the flash and upload of firmware to the deceased Dockstar to give it new life.

While the fun stops a little short, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for [Firestorm_v1’s] future plans involving these surprisingly useful (read: hackable) storage devices, “roving USB camera with WiFi” we hear?

10 thoughts on “Revive A DockStar And Get So Much More

  1. That’s a lot of work for a $40 device. Still, you can usually de-brick them with a $4 CA-42 nokia data cable since most of the issues are the crummy uBoot loader. Install Doozan’s uBoot on day one, it is much harder to screw it up going forward.
    Mine is running PlugApps (Arch), Apache, Minidlna, and Samba. Runs like a champ!

  2. Whoa. Thanks for the product heads up. They’re on sale at seagate for $39.99, with a 10% discount if you use the promo code: seagatestorage.

    Just bought one. Can’t wait to hack it up.

  3. Re-read my comment and it was not the best tone — Hats off Firestorm for putting this one together! Any plans to demonstrate how to add sdhc, spdif, or RTC? (The contacts are there…)

  4. Out of curiosity, are there any USB based JTAG cables that are relatively universal? The one they linked in the article is nice but parallel ports are harder to find these days.

    I am often tempted to try firmware mods but I am usually concerned about the potential bricking and a good means for recovery would be nice to have around.

  5. I’m afraid I caused this mess; I gave firestorm his first Dockstar, Nokia serial cable, and told him where to get the JTAG adapter. 8-)

    I’ve got one of the Altera USB Blaster clones on the way from eBay; I’ll see how it works with OpenOCD and this process (since my current Ubuntu box has no printer port).


    MORE for me! :)

    I loved hacking my dockstar. It’s a little iffy still but it’s only been out and about for 2-3 months so things should continue to mature quickly. I’m running Debian Squeeze on it.

    The only odd point I’ve had was issue with cold boot vs warm boot. Sometimes I can’t get to debian on a warm boot and end up in the pogo environment. ALSO, read up about it before you connect it to the internet. Stealth firmware updates are not fun.

  7. MrBill
    “I’ve got one of the Altera USB Blaster clones on the way from eBay; I’ll see how it works with OpenOCD and this process (since my current Ubuntu box has no printer port).”

    How did it work? Any instructions you can share? I bricked my DockStar and was looking for a way to de-brick without making a cable.

  8. I have a dockstar running pluglinux and serving audio via spdif, bit-perfect and losslessly:

    the black box is a burr brown PCM chip that runs regular old usb-audio in 44.1k mode. a c-media chip also works well here.

    one very very important thing: you need to edit asound.conf as such:

    pcm.!default {
    type hw
    card 0

    ctl.!default {
    type hw
    card 0

    without that, you’ll get choppy audio. with that, its bit-perfect and a nice replacement for the squeezeboxes!

    next I plan to add an LCD display and IR so it will really compete with the slimserver things.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.