Talking to a Roland Modela from Linux

August 22nd, 2013

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So recently it has come to my attention that although I tossed it on my wiki a while back, people haven’t been about to find the pinout for the Roland Modela’s DB9 to DB25 cable I reverse engineered once. So here it is:

1, 8 <-----> 20
2 <-----> 2
3 <-----> 3
4 <-----> 5, 8
5 <-----> 7
6 <-----> 4
7 <-----> 6

It’s also listed on the useful page I can also recommend, which gives you more tips on how to configure the fabmodules once you’ve installed them. If you go to my wiki, you can search on it too, I just never implemented wiki and wordpress search in one convenient box because I didn’t think anyone would care.

I generally use Startech’s serial->USB dongles, which have a prolific chipset in them that has its hardware flow control set up somehow to play nice with lots of the machines I use. I’ve had less success with FTDI and Keyspan usb->serial things on Linux, but that doesn’t mean you should test it if you want.

Now contrary to what you may be inclined to think, this does not mean this solution will work on Macs! Somehow the prolific drivers for the startech dongle are different on a mac, and the moves from your toolpath get sent to the machine too quickly. I started contributing to an open source version of the PL2303 mac drivers, but then re-evaluated my life, my dedication to the mac platform, and my desire to be writing usb serial drivers instead of going to a bar.

Finally, I met the guy who designed the Roland usb->serial cable (so usb to 25pin) recently, and I suppose now I can contact him and find out the chipset he’s using and see if I can do anything to just be able to use that out of the box. Send me an email if you’d like me to hurry up on that. is by nadya peek. she'd love to hear from you.