The Lab

Retrocomputing, tinkering and some other stuff that steals my time.

Amtec (ElsagDatamag) Argo 55/95 – Take 2: Serial access —

In the previous post, we saw that the board sports three interesting headers (in red):

Argo 95 headers

Argo 95 headers (Click to enlarge)

But what are they for? Well, this is what I found using a logic probe:

Vcc   NC    GND   RxD   TxD
o     o     o     o     o
+3,3   0     0    +2,9  +3,2

o     o     o     o     o     o     o

o     o     o     o     o     o     o
Vcc         GND   GND   GND   GND   GND
(Probable pinout:

3. ?
+3,3   0    +2,9  +3,2  +3,2   0
o     o     o     o     o     o
Vcc   GND               TxD?

I have absolutely no idea of what the port 3 is: there is activity on pin 5, but it isn’t a serial port. Port 1 is what we were looking for: we can connect using a RS232 – TTL adapter and a terminal emulator (115000 baud, 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit), and… voilà! The bootlog!

Reading the bootlog, we  learn some useful things: the box runs OpenRG, and the bootloader is U-Boot – and is freely accessible!

These are the available commands:

=> help
? – alias for ‘help’
askenv – get environment variables from stdin
autoscr – run script from memory
base – print or set address offset
bdinfo – print Board Info structure
boot – boot default, i.e., run ‘bootcmd’
boot_openrg – boot Openrg active image
bootd – boot default, i.e., run ‘bootcmd’
bootm – boot application image from memory
bootp – boot image via network using BOOTP/TFTP protocol
cmp – memory compare
coninfo – print console devices and information
cp – memory copy
crc32 – checksum calculation
dhcp – boot image via network using DHCP/TFTP protocol
echo – echo args to console
erase – erase FLASH memory
flayout – print FLASH layout and sections
flinfo – print FLASH memory information
get_openrg_active – print info about Openrg images in flash and indicate what is
the active
go – start application at address ‘addr’
gpio – GPIO management commands
help – print online help
iminfo – print header information for application image
imls – list all images found in flash
imxtract- extract a part of a multi-image
itest – return true/false on integer compare
led – LED management commands
loadb – load binary file over serial line (kermit mode)
loads – load S-Record file over serial line
loady – load binary file over serial line (ymodem mode)
loop – infinite loop on address range
md – memory display
mii – MII utility commands
mm – memory modify (auto-incrementing)
mtest – simple RAM test
mw – memory write (fill)
nfs – boot image via network using NFS protocol
nm – memory modify (constant address)
pci – list and access PCI Configuration Space
ping – send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST to network host
printenv- print environment variables
protect – enable or disable FLASH write protection
rarpboot- boot image via network using RARP/TFTP protocol
reset – Perform RESET of the CPU
run – run commands in an environment variable
saveenv – save environment variables to persistent storage
setenv – set environment variables
sleep – delay execution for some time
tftpboot- boot image via network using TFTP protocol
update_openrg – update openrg writing inactive image section
update_openrg_factory – update openrg factory settings
version – print monitor version

Wow, seems a lot of fun, right? :)


Amtec (ElsagDatamag) Argo 55/95 – Take 1: The innards —

Since the first weeks of 2011, the italian provider Fastweb is delivering this router to new customers. Since it’s a full-featured router, with a full-featured web interface (but inaccessible to the user), it seemed quite a nice idea to study the box a bit.

First a notice: Argo 55 is the model delivered with ADSL contracts, while Argo 95 is the FTTH variant – from what I can tell, the hardware is more or less identical, the only difference being the presence of an ADSL modem in the 55, which becomes a media converter in he 95. Said that, these articles will use the Argo 95 – the one I have at home – as a basis.

So let’s take a peek at the inner guts of the thing:

Argo 95 innards

Argo 95 innards (click to enlarge)

Nice, huh? From left to right we have the power supply section, the media converter, the switch (and, in the lower section, the SoC) and the ATA. In the lower right corner there’s the wireless miniPCI card (an Atheros AR5700G).

These are the main chips on the board (in yellow):

1. SoC: ikanos IKF6836 (
2. RAM: SAMSUNG   K4H511638G-LCCC (
3. Flash: SPANSION S29GL128P11TFI1 (
4. Media converter: IC+ IP113S LF (
5. Switch: Marvell 88E6063-RCJ1 (
6. ATA: ZARLINK Le88266DLC (

So, our router architecture is similar to Belgacom BBox2 (aming others), 16Mb of flash and 64Mb of RAM.

Ok, neat piece of hardware. In the next post, we’ll se what those tasty headers are there for :)