Sugar Labs @ NDSU

Building a smarter computing culture in Fargo, ND

XO Debricking Fail

Tonight, I tried to debrick one of the XO laptops that we recently received from some of the OLPC crew. I went through the motions, as provided by the wiki, as well as a video of a OLPC Repair Day put on by Adam Holt and others at MIT.

Here’s the breakdown:

Confirmation of

I used my intel classmate, which is running on Fedora-Sugar, to complete the initial phase of download and installation of pyserial, as well as download the debricking script, This picture (above) is the confirmation of that step.

Intel running Fedora-Sugar connected to XO via serial adapter to J1 port

I followed the steps provided on the wiki to get to the J1 serial port, connected the serial adapter to the debricker laptop, executed the script and was prompted to attach the serial adapter to the bricked XO, as seen in this photo.

Terminal screen error printout

Terminal screen error printout

After waiting a awhile, at least 30 minutes, nothing happened. No sound or working screen, so I turned the XO off. I unplugged the serial adapter from the XO first, and then I unplugged it from the Fedora Sugar, debricker machine. After unpluggging the serial adapter from the debricker machine, I received the message (seen in the above picture) in the terminal window.

Anyone know what I could do to resolve this issue?


6 comments on “XO Debricking Fail

  1. paul fox
    September 16, 2011

    i see you’re not using a serial adapter from OLPC (ours aren’t red). is that from Sparkfun? their pinout is different than the OLPC pinout, so depending on where you got your cable, that could be the problem.

  2. Chris Lindgren
    September 16, 2011

    Hmmm. Not sure, Paul. The adapter was sent with the laptop shipment, but I remember that there was some last second shuffling with regards to the making sure that the box included an adapter.

    Any clues on how to verify? I will also contact Adam Holt, who arranged this shipment.

    Thanks, Paul!

  3. Chris Lindgren
    September 16, 2011

    Oh, apparently it is a adapter. So this won’t work?

  4. paul fox
    September 16, 2011

    chris — can we switch to email? pgf at laptop org

  5. Richard Smith
    September 16, 2011

    Hi, I took over maintenance of As paul suggests it looks like your problem is that you aren’t getting any serial data. I’ve updated ( 0.1.3 ) so that you get a read timeout message after 10 seconds. So please update your copy of If you get the read timeout you either:

    1) have a connectivity problem
    2) don’t have a D6 brick (aka clock fix bug)

    You can also fix this manually (if its really a D6 brick) using minicom or screen or some other serial terminal program. I haven’t tested if gtkterm will run under Fedora-Sugar but it might.

    See the following wiki pages for more info on talking to the laptop without the use of

    If you are 100% sure your serial connection works but when you boot the laptop you get zero output from the serial port then you have a much deeper hardware problem.

  6. ncarol
    September 17, 2011 serial adapters for 3.5 volt versions work fine, but 5 volts versions will not work. Using the model number, you can get pinouts from their website. The connecting cable should be as null modem, i.e., the RX goes to TX on XO and TX goes to RX on XO and GND to GND. Do not recommend connecting V+ from XO.

    When things get complicated, recommend using simple approach using minicom or
    screen. For a RTC clock fix, it is simple and does not require the complexity of . You can also use PC and hyperterminal as given in your wiki reference. If you want steps for PC see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on September 16, 2011 by in OLPC, Python, XO and tagged , , .


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 952 other followers

%d bloggers like this: