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Making the internal pins (serial port, boot, an unknown pin) of Huawei E3372-153 externally accessible.

Finished work, with boot plug.


The Huawei E3372s-153 has some internal pins. (The Huawei E3372h-models also have such pins, but they have another layout, see for example this image.) Besides a serial port, a ground pin and a supply-voltage-pin (connected to the +5V-pin of the USB connector), there is also a "boot"-pin and another pin of unknown function.
Shortening the boot pin to ground while powering on the device places the device in special boot loader mode where it provides one serial port over USB where communication with the bootloader is possible.
When in boot loader mode, it is possible to download small images to the device which then enable to flash firmware, bypassing some hassles and checks. A Software to download those small images in boot loader mode is balong-usbdload by "forth32", available in source code (compiles well on GNU/Linux) as well as Windows binaries. After downloading the small binary, the real firmware can be flashed either with the official Huawei firmware update software, or with the software balongflash by "forth32".

Here, I document what I have done with my device. This is not an instruction for others to follow, only a personal documentation. I take no responsibility for what you do to your devices or any harm happening to your devices or computer when you follow what I have done. See disclaimer.


Now, on to the internal pins and making them easily accessible from outside.
For all images which are presented now: Those are only thumbnails; for full size click on them.

Here you can see the internal pins with their function:

Internal pins.
(The linked image actually is a PDF file.)
(This image is not work of my own; it is from this forum post which embeds the image from here, as of 2017-02-15. I do not claim any rights or credits on this image, all rights and credits to the original author.)

I took a socket header with six sockets with pin spacing of 1.27 mm (0.05 inch). This spacing is still broader than the spacing of the solder pads in the device, but it is a good compromise of beeing small enough to fit into the device and big enough to be able to easily handle it and the connectors to plug in.
Also, it had to be taken into account to not put any metal parts above or near the antenna which sits between the USB-plug and the SIM-card-connector/ external antenna connector of the device, so size and mounting place was limited by that, too.
Here is the connector soldered in -- After bending and shortening the pins of the socket heaser I soldered directly to the +5V, GND, Rx and Tx pins; to connect to the boot-contact and the unknown contact besides it I used very thin wires:
Connector soldered. Connector soldered, detail. Connector soldered, top side view.

To mechanically secure it more, I applied two component epoxy glue:
Glue applied, top side view. Glue applied, bottom view.

I carefully drilled a hole in the cousing and closed the device. On top, I applied a label showing the pinout:
Finished work, side view. Finished work, pinout labeled.

Last, I took a fitting pin header and modified it that it functions as boot-plug: When I plug it in, the boot pin gets shortened to ground and the device will boot up in bootloader mode when powered on. To make this plug, I had to remove one pin from the pin header (which otherwise would plug in to +5V) and then just shortened two pins which will be plugged into "boot" and "GND":
Finished work, with boot plug. Finished work, with boot plug plugged in.

Warning and disclaimer.

Only perform such work when you know what you are doing and have some electronics and soldering proficiency. It is very easy to destroy your device or even your computer, since the USB power supply of the computer is directly connected to the pins I mentioned. A short circuit or an input of wrong voltage can mean the death to the device or the computer.
I take no responsibility whatsoever for what you do. On this website, I only documented what I did to my very own device. This is not an instruction for others to follow.

More information.

A good place for information in German about the Huawei E3372-devices is LTE-Forum.at. More general, in Russia there seems to be a good community dealing with those devices, so Russian forums might be even more worth of information.

Copyright and licensing.

Text-content lastly updated: 2017-02-15, 16:59:22
Page lastly generated: 2019-02-21, 09:57:38