Tag Archive: USB

Non-Samsung USB Wireless Adapters on Samsung TV – How to

We recently purchased a 40″ Samsung LCD TV (Model No LA40D550) to replace our Jurassic era 29″ Flat screen CRT TV here in India.

The new Samsung TV is pretty cool. Frankly, I did not expect so many features in it! Has 4 HDMI inputs along with a host of other traditional connectors…and 2 USB inputs. You can connect any USB storage device & it plays a good variety of videos including h.264, divx, avi, wmv..etc and ofcourse mp3s and images.

Although this model is not a SMART TV, one cool feature is that this TV supports DLNA! Samsung calls it AllShare.

Well, what that means is, from a Windows 7 PC, one can stream movies/music to the TV. Also from the TV, one can browse & view the media thats on a DLNA server (windows 7 has it built-in). Also, now a days, other devices support DLNA (like my Mobile Phone – HTC Desire HD). So basically, I can play the video that I have on my phone on the TV. And for all this to work you need a WiFi network (works on a wired network as well, but who needs wires :D).

Now, to enable wireless DLNA on this TV you need to purchase the optional Samsung Wireless Adapter – LinkStick (WIS09ABGN), which is a total rip-off at Rs.4500 just for the adapter. Its basically a WLAN adapter, which is Samsung branded. Other 3rd party adapters are available for Rs. 1000 or less but the TV does not recognize it.

So, now for the interesting bit on how to get a Non-Samsung wireless adapter to work on this TV!!… Here are the steps that I followed…(the easiest approach that I could find)

  • Did some research on the Internet & found that the Samsung USB Wireless adapter (WLAN) was basically using a Ralink chipset within it – RT2870 to be precise. So, basically, the TV has the drivers required to control or interact with that chipset. Oh, the TV internally runs on Linux if you were wondering.
  • Now, I had to find a USB WLAN adapter which had the same chip. Did some further search on the internet and found that the Edimax EW-7718Unuses the exact same chipset. Did a quick search on eBay India & found one from Rs. 949 including shipping. Two days, and I had that adapter to play with!
    • You can find other WLAN adapters from other brands too, but make sure that the chipset within it is the same Ralink 2870 chipset & the VID/PID can be changed via the EEPROM (more on this a bit later). Also, please keep in mind that these devices come with different hardware revisions and each revision can have a different chipset. So, you need to be a bit careful here. It won’t burn your TV down if you plug an incompatible USB WLAN adapter, but you will have a useless WLAN adapter with you :)
  • I tried pluging-in this Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV directly and nothing happened. The TV did not recognize it. Then plugged it to my laptop.. and sure enough it was working fine. So, the unit was good.. but the TV was not recognizing it.
  • Did some search again on the net & found this wonderful site called SamyGo.Tv. Not for the faint hearted. Basically they have custom firmware and super cool hacks for Samsung TVs! How cool is that!! This page in particular was very helpful.
  • Every USB device has two identifiers VID & PID, which identifies the vendor and the product. These values are in the ROM and on many of the WLAN adapters, these values can be replaced or re-programmed (i.e, they are on EEPROM). So the TV is basically expecting the WLAN adapter to have Samsung specific vendor ID and product ID. Now we know what needs to be done to get the TV to recognize the Edimax Adapter!
  • So, basically, the Edimax EW-7718Un had the following values
    • VID = 7392
    • PID = 7718
  • For the TV to recognize the Edimax WLAN adapter, I had to replace the above values to the one present on the official Samsung WLAN adapter/linkstick:
    • VID = 04E8
    • PID = 2018
  • According to this wiki page, the recommended approach to make this change is to run some commands in linux, which re-programs the ROM. I searched for Windows equivalent tools to do the same, but could not find anything simple/easy.
  • Well, it had been a while since I had taken Linux for a spin and this was motivating enough to try the latest version of Ubuntu (release 11.1). I set it up in a Virtual environment & started following the instructions on the Wiki page. I quickly learn’t that the drivers did not compile on latest version of Ubuntu.. So had to download the older version of Ubuntu 10.4 and set it up. This time, the drivers compiled perfectly fine!
  • I would consider myself a beginner on linux..and I had to spend some time to figure it out. So, to help anyone else in a similar state, here is what you need to know…
    • The Linux OS by default does not have the necessary drivers for this Chipset (the Ralink RT2870).
    • You download the latest linux drivers from the Ralink website.
    • In the linux world, you need to compile the drivers. So, to do that you need to download the latest updates and development  tools (like the compiler etc) which are not installed by default when you setup Ubuntu/linux. The instructions for this are covered in the Wiki at SamyGo.tv
    • Once the drivers are compiled, you load the drivers using the insmod command (again covered in the Wiki)
  • Once the drivers are loaded, you can then run the command to re-program the VID & PID values in the EEPROM.
    root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 208=04E8
    ra0       e2p:0208=0x04E8
    root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 20A=2018
    ra0      e2p:020A=0x2018
  • Thats it!. Then I plugged the Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV & Viola!!! the TV recognized it as a Samsung adapter without a hitch!
  • Then it was just a matter of selecting my WiFi network, and entering the security key (WEP/WPA/WPA2) and within seconds, the TV was on our home network, DLNA enabled!

Hope this guide is helpful! This should mostly work on the B series, C series & the D series Samsung TVs.

By the way, do check out the SamyGo.tv website & especially this wiki page for other ways to get WLAN adapters working (of other similar chipsets).

Standard Disclaimer applies: I am not responsible to any damage to your TV or the wireless adapter! :)

All the best!

Impulse buying!

Well, I am not an Impulse buyer, but sometimes, some deals and offers are too hard to resists. So, ended up buying some electronics stuff in the last few days, which I kind of wanted to buy at the back of my mind.

  • Got a 1 GB RS-MMC card with MMC Adapter – from meritline.com – got it for around $29 including shipping. I can use this card with my Nokia 6600 and also the Canon A610 digital camera.1 GB RS-MMC card with adapter
  • Mobile Bluetooth Headset – Got Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth Headset from amazon.com for $27.50 – which is pretty good price. The actual cost advertised by logitech is around $59.99 – Also the reviews on this product is pretty good.Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth Headset
  • Got a PNY 1 GB Mini Attaché USB 2.0 Flash Drive for around $20 (no rebates etc) from dell.com. This one yet yet to ship from dell.com.PNY Mini Attaché USB 2.0 Flash Drive
  • Bought a Mobile USB travel charger for iPod – No more PC/Laptop required to charge the Nano! – got this one for around $6!

I dont say that these would be the best ever prices that I would ever get these item. But its always best to buy when good deals are available. The catch is, these deals dont last long!. Good deals expire with a blink of the eye!!!! …….. ….there is always another time, but you need to keep an close eye on the deals available.

USB 2.0 – Hi Speed Finally

USB 2.0 Logo
The world is getting faster by the day and USB is no exception. All the new USB devices are moving towards USB 2.0. With USB 2.0, the data is transferred at the rate of 480 Mbps (that’s Mega bits per second). Where as the earlier versions i.e., USB 1.1 (and 1.0), transferred data at the rate of mere 12 Mbps. And, 12 Mbps is way too slow.My motherboard at home, ASUS A7N266-VM has support for only USB 1.1. So, around a year back, I decided to go for a PCI to USB card, which would give me USB 2.0 ports. My vendor gave me a PCI to USB card which had a ALi chipset. I installed the card, but I never managed to get USB 2.0 working. No matter what I tried, it acted like USB 1.1. I tried reinstalling the drivers and tried all possible workarounds. But no matter what I did, the ports worked as if they were 1.1 ports. So, whenever I used to plug-in a USB 2.0 device (like my Sandisk Pen drive), windows would warn me that I have plugged in a Hi-speed device to a Low Speed port. :(. In fact, the problem continued after reinstalling windows (after the ants attack).

Finally, I posted this problem on one of the USB forums. And to my surprise, found that the ALi chipset cards are not very reliable, and are prone to problems!. The folks at the forum suggested that I replace the card with one that has NEC chipset. So, next, called up my vendor, and told him about this problem. Luckily, he offered me a replacement card. This time, it was a Intex PCI to USB card, with 4 (+1 internal) USB 2.0 ports. The Intex card was based on the VIA chipset. My vendor did not have any cards with NEC chipset.

I took this new Intex card home, removed my old card off the PCI slot, and plugged this card in (after clearing up the old drivers etc). Booted the machine. Windows detected the new card correctly (thanks to PnP!), and automatically installed some standard Microsoft drivers. And now…I have USB 2.0 ports. Now the data transfers are blazing fast!

Just to give you and Idea. .. Earlier it used to take around 12 to 14 mins to transfer 1 GB of data from PC to my Sandisk Pen drive using USB 1.1 ports. Now, the same process takes around 1.5 mins!!


aDSL Modem Blues…

Here is more on my adventures with broadband!

…. As a part of the touchtel package, we get a USB DSL modem on rental basis (Rs. 49 per month, included in the Rs. 700)

Initially, I was given a modem from beetel!…..

It had a beetel logo on it!. The installation went on without any problems…. And I was online in just a couple of mins. Was online for around 10 mins without any issues when the tech guy was around.

That night, I connected, and to my surprise, I got disconnected every 2 to 3 mins !….the connection was not at all stable.

Called up the tech guys again, and told them about the problem. They came down immediately the next day, checked the wiring etc., and finally, found the bug. It was got something to do with some settings on the server side, which was corrected, and after that no more disconnects !

Then started the real fun!…….. Now, I had stable connections without any disconnections!…:) => time to open up shareaza and make full use of my bandwidth :)………..

Started shareaza, and with a couple of mins after running shareaza, I got the blue screen of death on windows XP!. Boooom…….. Did major research on the net, and found that this was to with the modem drivers.

Tried to search for the latest version of the drivers,… and in the process came to know that the modem is actually manufactured by a Japanese company! and actually, its called TERA 100U !!..with a globespanvirata chipset. …the entire site is in Japanese. no english!., but still managed to get the drivers, and found that they are the same version as I had ! Then searched for some generic globespanvirata drivers!,…only to find that the company is taken over by conexant and could not find anything significant at conexant!

Only option left was to get back to tech guys!.. And to my surprise, the tech guy was really helpful and understanding. Without questions, he straight away replaced the modem. This time, a modem manufactured in Delhi!! with a proper conexant chipset. No more blue screen of death!.

Now all P2P programs rock!

Actually, this problem is more noticeable while running any P2P programs. i.e, its got something to do with the way in which these program work ! (may be opening up lot of connections..etc). Infact, I was able to reduce the frequency of the crash by changing the connection settings in shareaza. But could not avoid it altogether. But now, with the other modem, no problems at all. Not seen the blue screen of death since then.

All I can say is, the touchtel customer care is pretty good., and very responsive. Keep it up guys!