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Connecting to SheevaPlug Over Serial With PuTTY

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 08/26/2010

Okay, let’s log into this thing. We can either connect through a network connection, assuming you have a DHCP server on your network (and if you’re at home with a WiFi router, then you do) and figure out your IP, or you have to connect with the provided serial cable.

If you choose the network route, you can guess the IP it was given, which is actually quite easy if you get the IP of your existing machine. Since DHCP usually issues IPs in sequential order, then your SheevaPlug is likely to be one higher. A neat little trick is to open a CMD or Terminal window, and type ipconfig (or ifconfig, respectively) to see what your IP is. And then ping your own IP before the SheevaPlug is on your network. Then ping one higher and one higher until you get no response. Once you get no response, this is likely to be the IP that your home WiFi router assigns to your SheevaPlug, and you can get in through TCP/IP. Alternatively, you can go into your WiFi Web interface management software (or AirPort software in the case of Apple) and just hunt around for the list of IPs that have been assigned. It’s in there.

The other route, which I’m going to do here, is direct through serial cable using the PuTTY program that we used earlier with our QEMU virtual server. It can do direct serial communication as well as SSH. The only problem with this route is that you need some Windows drivers from a CD-ROM, which my SheevaPlugs didn’t come with. What you need is a file called WindowsTeraTermUSBDriver.zip (or sheevaplug_host_swsupportpackagewindowshost1.2.zip ), which can be downloaded from the download area of the SheevaPlug site. It’s usually the first file listed. Download and unzip it.

Before powering on your SheevaPlug, connect the serial cable between the SheevaPlug’s mini USB connector, and one of your PC’s USB port.

Next, I recommend opening device manager. I’m on XP, so I go into Settings / Control Panel / System and click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button. UP comes device manager. This will give you a nice before/after view of what’s about to happen.

Now, plug in your SheevaPlug to power. Device Manager will update, showing it under two locations: Other devices and Universal Serial Bus controllers.

sheevaplug device manager

You will be promoted whether Windows should look for your driver, but since you just downloaded them onto your desktop…


…point the Windows hardware wizard to this location to install the drivers. You might have to jump through a few hoops to make it find all the files. I did. This will include clicking a “Continue anyway” for an unsigned driver. But when you’re done, you should see the message that the wizard has finished installing the software for USB Serial Converter B.

usb serial converter b

Now, you have to scroll down in the device manager under Universal Serial Bus controllers, and select Properties:

usb serial converter b properties

…and go to the Advanced tab, and make sure Load VCP is checked. Click “OK”. VCP stands for “virtual com port” and is what will result in the USB port being assigned one of those COM1, COM2 old school serial port assignments. In all liklihood, it will be a very high com port number.

Load VCP

And to find out what com port is assigned, just unplug your SheevaPlug’s USB cable from your PC and plug it back in and watch Device Manager. You will see the port under Ports (COM & LPT). In my case, it became COM15:


And now, FINALLY, you can talk to your SheevaPlug. Run PuTTY and set the Connection type to Serial and set the Serial line to your COMxx number, and the Speed to 115200.

PuTTY Serial

Switch over to the Serial “tab” and scan down the settings. The defaults should be correct:

sheeva serial settings

Okay, now hit “Open” and be prepared for a blank screen:

putty serial port

…now click into the black screen and hit the Enter key once…

Sheeva Plug Login

And Voila! The SheevaPlug default login! Remember, we’re logging in as “root” and the SheevaPlug’s default password is “nosoup4u”:

Sheeva Plug Login Password nosoup4u