Boxes and Dongles for Phones and Tablets: Basic Concepts (Part 2)
5. How do I connect the phone for servicing?
Most phones are currently connected via a micro-USB cable. So for simple operations like unlocking or flashing the original phone cable is used, which is included in the package. Some phone models require connection using specific cables, for example, cables with a soldered resistor of a certain value. Box developers usually complete their products with most commonly used custom cables. Those cables can also be easily used when working with dongles, since they are always connected directly to the computer.
However, you may need to use a UART cable for some operations. In this case the phone must be plugged into a special slot in the box and powered by the phone battery.
Always check the connection manuals. In fact, all developers in their software describe connection options in details, as well as the sequence of actions for operations. They also usually provide links to the appropriate driver for correct box operation with a specific phone model. While reading the manuals, pay attention to the mode in which the phone should be put to perform a specific operation, and what options should be set in the device OS.
6. Typical errors and malfunctions when working with boxes / dongles.
The most usual problem the users face is that a box or dongle cannot read the smart card data required to run the software. To find out the possible reason, first of all you should check whether the card reader and card are recognized in the Windows Device Manager. If you see a card reader and a card in the Manager, then check or update the drivers for those devices. It may be possible that when recognizing the card reader or card, the OS installed the most relevant drivers, in its opinion, in contrast to those recommended by the box manufacturers. Check if recommended drivers are installed.
Note that most boxes or dongles (e.g., Octopus / Octoplus, Medusa / Medusa Pro, Sigma Box / Sigma Key, Smart-Clip2) do not require installation of the drivers for smart cards at all. It applies to OS Windows 7 and newer versions. Just do not pay attention to the yellow triangle in the Device Manager.
So, let's sum up the info about drivers. If you see a particular driver for the smart card on the developer's site in the list, then install it. If the driver is not mentioned in the driver package, then run the software without the above-mentioned drivers.
One of the common causes of problems with smart cards is dirt or corrosion on the contacts. This may have happened due to the long use of the smart card and, consequently, corroded contacts. Also, contacts in the card reader are corroded or dirty. To solve this problem we recommend you to remove the smart card from the card reader, wipe contacts with a rubber or an isopropyl alcohol dampened cloth, and insert it back into the box or dongle. Please note that you can only perform this procedure if the warranty period for the product has expired. Otherwise, contact the seller's technical support department.
Another fairly common problem is when the box is not displayed correctly or is incorrectly recognized by the system. In this case you should start by checking the box connection to the computer using a different cable. Try connecting to another USB port. It is also recommended to check the box on other computers, preferably with a newly installed OS to exclude software conflicts.
It may happen when the software does not start and a notification shows that it is necessary to update the firmware of the smart card or the box itself to the current version. In this case, follow the standard procedure for the card / box updating. Instructions how to do this are always provided in details in the notification itself or in the software documentation. After the procedure is completed successfully, restart the required software.
If for some reason the box does not see the phone which has to be repaired, always start the search from the Windows Device Manager. Make sure that the phone drivers are installed correctly, and there are no conflicts in the system.
It is also important to pay attention to the way a virtual COM port is displayed. This port is created by the system when the box is connected. It is also necessary to pay attention to the COM port number with which the box is trying to work. Sometimes the program’s software access to the phone can be blocked by proprietary utilities, for example, PC Suite.
When working with the JTAG interface, the main reason for all troubles is poor quality of phone cable soldering. Always try to use short cables to connect to the phone. Solder all pins once again if the first connection failed.
7. Software Version.
When working with boxes or dongles, you always need to monitor the actual software version. If you have not used the box for a long time, check which software version is published on the official developer’s website before you start to work.
When you run software or look at the software logs, you can often see notifications that you are currently using an out-of-date program version. Do not ignore such notifications.
It sometimes happens that the official developer’s website does not work. In this case, it is important to check the updates on the official product forum. 99% of all developers have their own custom pages on the forum http://forum.gsmhosting.com/vbb/. They usually post messages with links to the newest software version and even test versions of their software. It is recommended that you register on the above-mentioned forum in order to have feedback from developers.
8. Solutions Options.
- Before deciding to whom to turn for help, you need to define the problem itself. What exactly does not work? Let’s consider the most common cases:
- You just received your purchase and you have some difficulties starting the program for the first time. First visit the manufacturer’s official website, install all necessary drivers and software. You often need to perform the update procedure before starting the box or dongle for the first time. You can sometimes find step-by-step instructions on how to start the software on the site or on the above-mentioned forum. If you bought the product in our store and the previous tips did not help you - please contact our technical support via email email@example.com or use our online support chat at https://gsmserver.com/.
- The program starts correctly, but it does not function correctly – you should contact the product developer directly. Use the feedback form on the developer's website, or you can create a new thread at the official forum with a detailed description of your problem, attaching all available logs and screenshots.
- The box won’t start. The warranty period has expired. If you cannot solve the problem yourself (cleaning the smart card, checking the box and the board), you should write on the official product forum. There you can often find other users’ similar cases and solution options. If you fail to find the same case - create your own thread and wait for a response from the developer. The developers themselves often create a special thread at their forum where users can describe their problems, and where they post solutions. It is recommended that you check the forum carefully before submitting your request. Use the search function.
- The box won’t start, but the warranty period has not yet expired. In this case, contact the product retailer. If you bought the product in our store and the previous tips did not help you - please contact our technical support via email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online support chat at https://gsmserver.com/. Do not attempt to disassemble the box, because damaged warranty seal makes the warranty void.