Introduction to Hardware Protocols

As you begin diving into hardware hacking and reading printed circuit boards (PCB) you will likely come across several common protocols.  This article isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list of content, but rather a quick guide to identifying which protocols are commonly used, what they require, and what common tools will let you interface with them.  I’ll be covering the following protocols in this article:

  • RS-232
  • USB
  • I2C
  • SPI
  • JTAG
  • UART
  • USART

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Identifying JTAG

This is a quick-hit post because as I’ve been working on some hardware hacking efforts I realized that while there are a lot of good resources on identifying JTAG interfaces and standards, there wasn’t really a good single page view of them.  With that in mind, I lifted the following images from the excellent resource at http://www.jtagtest.com/pinouts/ and put them into a single page view.  Full credit to JTAGtest… I just wanted something I could quickly reference.

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