Automating JTAG Header Pinout Discovery

  • September 11, 2014 · 5:00 PM

So you break the seal, void the warranty, crack the case. Now you're looking at a crowded circuit board wondering if you really need to lift those pins to access the JTAG or pop the flash to figure out the next step.

But what about all those pads of pins, or maybe a header? Working through the pins with an oscilloscope is certainly possible, but time consuming.

This talk will present the software and approach for using an MSP430 launchpad board to figure out the pins for you. The provided code uses Processing and the Wire library, just like the Arduino.

Attend this talk to learn what a JTAG header is, why figuring out the pins isn't trivial, and how to speed up a manual process using an inexpensive development board and easy to use software.

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  • Darrell

    Found another video.

    Blackbox JTAG Reverse Engineering [26C3]

    This video goes over the background leading up to JTAG (Software, Hardware, Silicon development cycles). First 16 minutes.

    Then discusses how JTAG works (a repeat of the theory in today's meetup, nut with much more detail). 29 minutes.

    Wrap up starts at 45 minutes into video.

    September 12

  • Darrell

    I can't find the video talking about the automation of multiple debug system interfaces controlled by an analog voltage. But I did find these two videos.


    BONUS- BLACK HAT- Barnaby Jack - Jackpotting Automated Teller Machines Redux - Video (40 minutes total)

    JTAG mentioned at (cute story, about 2 minutes long)


    Just found this video on JTAGulator, but have not watched it fully. (47 minutes total)

    Defcon 21 - JTAGulator: Assisted Discovery of On-Chip Debug Interfaces

    September 12

  • Tim E.

    Thanks to all who attended. And to Dave for a great presentation. Note taken on moving the start time to 6 PM as several stated the traffic was horrible. I'll see if we can provide pizza or something at 5 and start the next talk at 6. Links to the slides and code on github will be up in a day or two.

    September 11

  • Jacob Nephi G.

    What time does today's event end?

    September 11

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