I come from a hack Down Under…
GadgetsDNA.com has the story of Chris Pollock, a network engineer from Australia who yearned for the ability to use his iPhone to control devices via a serial port connection.
What’s that, you say? The iPhone doesn’t have a serial port? Well, actually it does — but there’s no easy way to access it. (Earlier this year, RedPark announced a serial port adapter, but so far it still appears to be in the “vaporware” category.)
Pollack, already using Terminal and Secure Shell on his jailbroken iPhone, had been trying to wean his way off of his bulky laptop completely. Up to now, he’d been stymied by the network router and switch consoles he’d encounter that could only be accessed via a serial or USB connection. Then came the “eureka!” moment: could he jigger his iPhone’s “hidden” serial port to connect to these devices somehow?
After a bit of research, Pollack discovered that the iPhone’s serial port was a low-voltage TTL device, which necessitated the use of a breakout board and some voltage-reduction circuitry:
Following some fiddling (and careful voltmeter readings) to ascertain the RJ45-to-DB9 wiring, Pollack put the whole shebang into a sturdy plug-in box:
Hey presto! A pocket-sized serial terminal for his networking rounds. Bye-bye laptop.
The full process is detailed on Pollack’s blog (Link). Heck, if you’ve got a medical/scientific device, industrial process, etc. you need to access, and can jailbreak your own iPhone, he’ll even build you your very own serial port box, with the price dependent on whether it’ll be hand-made or manufactured by a third party.