Boxes and Dongles: Everything You Need to Know (Part 1)
It’s difficult to imagine a service workshop without soldering or measuring equipment. However, it’s software repair tools for unlocking, repairing & flashing that always come first. These tools allow you to unlock or bring a bricked device to life again.
Let`s take a closer look.
What is a Box?
A Box is a device allowing you to repair a phone with software failure. Boxes are metal units equipped with light indicators of power supply and reading/writing data, and the following ports:
- USB IN – to connect to a PC;
- SERVICE / SERVICE CABLE – to connect devices via a COM interface;
- USB HUB – to connect other USB devices (e.g., flash drives, dongles), but not for phone servicing procedures;
- JTAG – to connect devices via a JTAG interface.
What Is inside the Box?
Usually, there is a card reader for smart cards and a COM (UART) port. A smart card serves for protection against unauthorized use of software and, if necessary, can identify a device on the software developer`s server. The COM (UART) port allows you to connect a phone to a box directly.
How to Connect the Box Correctly?
Having purchased a new box, you will usually find the box itself and a set of cables in the package. All boxes are connected to a PC using a USB A-B cable (see the picture below). This is an ordinary cable, which an average person uses almost every day when connecting a scanner, printer or any other office equipment.
One end of this cable (Standard B) is connected to a port most often marked as USB IN, and its other end (Standard A) is connected directly to a USB port of the PC (unless a JTAG or EMMC interface is used for connection).
Important! Do not use USB hubs and extension cables to connect a box. As a result, the box may work incorrectly or the PC may not recognize the connected device at all. Also, it`s recommended that you don`t use USB 3.0 ports.
A phone is usually connected to a box directly via a COM (UART) port. The UNI pinout is the most commonly used pinout (UART pin configuration) allowing you to use non-original cables. For instance, UART cables from Octoplus Box can be used with the Z3X Box, UMT Box, BST Dongle, Infinity Box, and any other boxes with the UNI pinout.
How to Choose a Box?
Boxes can be divided into ultimate solutions used for multiple brands and specialized solutions designed for devices of certain manufacturers or for specific operations.
Samsung and LG
iPhone and iPad
If you`re going to work with a JTAG or EMMC interface, you`ll need these boxes:
What is a Dongle?
A Dongle is a more compact solution for phone servicing. Dongles generally look the same as ordinary flash drives with a USB connector and are used as card-readers for smart cards. Just like in a box, the smart card inside a dongle contains software that helps to identify a device on the software developer`s server.
How to Connect a Dongle?
Dongles can be connected to a box or to a PC via a regular USB port in order to add specific features or update software.
Note! If you work with a dongle but you also need to have a connection via the COM port, you can use a box or one of these cables: ChimeraTool UART, Octoplus Dongle Micro UART Cable (based on PL2303), BST Dongle Cable Set.
How to Choose a Dongle?
Dongles can be divided into ultimate solutions supporting a wide range of popular phone models & the most requested features and specialized solutions designed for certain devices and operations.
Samsung and LG
What is a Smart Card?
A smart card is used for authentication of your purchase and identification of your device on the developer`s server. It looks like a regular SIM card used in mobile phones. Smart cards contain data about the firmware version, firmware itself and other special information.
Important! Smart cards have a limited number of data recording cycles. Usually, software notifies a user about the necessity of updates. Therefore, never update your smart card if it`s not required. The smart card can simply block itself, and as a result, you will no longer be able to use this smart card or even the box (it depends on the developer`s design). If you failed to update the smart card when required, please contact our technical support.
What to Choose: a Box or a Dongle?
You need a box if:
- connection via the COM port is required;
- phone recovery is only possible by means of a JTAG or EMMC interface.
You need a dongle if:
- you`re going to work with a phone in a working condition;
- you need to unlock, flash, repair IMEI or remove FRP;
- the PC can configure a phone;
- you are not going to work with the phone hardware.
In the next part, you will find out about possible errors & malfunctions that occur when working with dongles and boxes, their root causes, and how to troubleshoot these problems.
You may also like: