CK3000 Evolution DIY Flash Upgrade Programming Cable – TTL Pinout

CK3000 Evolution Control Box Upgrade Cable Pinout
CK3000 Evolution Control Box Upgrade Cable Pinout

 Parrot CK3000 Box


CK3000 Evolution Release Notes Caption

I recently purchased the CK3000 Evolution car bluetooth hands free kit off eBay for £26, much cheaper than the retail £80. I quickly realised I needed to update the firmware on it as it was quite out of date and the latest 5.25c update from the parrot site fixes issues with Android phones.

CK3000 Evolution Upgrade Cable on Ebay
CK3000 Evolution Upgrade Cable on Ebay

Searching online I could not find the upgrade cable for less than £29. That’s more than I paid for the actual device! Having made my own upgrade\unlock\general hacking cables for devices before I was pretty much certain the upgrade cable would just be a glorified RS232 – TTL converter which I have made in past for free from spare parts. This turned out to be the case.

RS232 To TTL Converter Module on eBay
RS232 To TTL Converter Module on eBay

Making the cables is a bit laborious and I had previously spotted on ebay that you can buy a standard RS232 – TTL converter cable at a silly price. This was the perfect opportunity to give it a go. I bought the cheapest RS232 – TTL Converter on ebay from Hong Kong which only cost £1.79 ($2.91). I could barely post something to another person in the UK for that price, never mind buy the parts! The downside, unfortunately I had to wait 24 days for it to arrive argh!


ATX 4 Pin Molex
ATX 4 Pin Molex

As I didn’t know the pinout this was definitely something to be done from the comfort of my own home rather than in the car, so I knew I’d need a 12v power supply. The CK3000 takes its power from a 4 pin square molex connector, exactly the same shape as an ATX motherboard power supply. I had a PC power supply which had died a few months ago so I cut this off and attached it to a 12V DC 3A power supply (the writing on the blue CK3000 control unit says it only requires 300mA so this was more than enough).

Just had a thought… I didn’t check the wiring before I cut it off the PC power supply as I intended to wire it up manually, therefore I don’t know if the parrot and PC PSU 4 pin molex pinout is the same. Make sure you check this if you intend to power it from a PC PSU directly.

With a multimeter it was quickly worked out that pins 2,4,6 are GND; 3,7,10 +12V; 8 +5V. This only left 1,5 & 9 to be either Tx or Rx. The 5v on pin 8 was not enough to power the TTL circuit, I am not sure what it is for. Anyway to cut a long story short here is the pinout below.

CK3000 Evolution Control Box Upgrade Cable Pinout
CK3000 Evolution Control Box Upgrade Cable Pinout

I would be very interested to hear from someone with an official upgrade cable to tell me if that pinout matches theirs. All I know is, this one works…

Previous cables I have made required a 5V Vcc input from the device to power the MAX232/233. Pin 8 on this device didn’t provide enough power for this, but the new TTL Converter I bought took its 5v power supply from a spare USB port. I used the spare Vcc cable to connect pins 9 & 10.

The update process is fairly simple. Connect the TTL device to the blue control box but leave the device unpowered. Load up the Parrot software and wait for it to say XPRAM downloading… Then connect the power and watch it go… I had lots of failed attempts and a few heart stopping moments when I thought I bricked it after it got stuck after wiping the flash.  Thankfully it’s pretty resilient and it still lets you update it in this scenario after restarting the process.

Parrot Software Update Tool

Update: If you own the CK3000, CK3100, CK3300 or CK3500 please see: Parrot CK3100 CK3300 CK3500 DIY Flash Upgrade Programming Cable – TTL Pinout


  1. Peter, this info worked GREAT! I used my 5V FTDI breakout board from Sparkfun to flash my CK3000Evo to 5.25C today, the only issue I had, was swapping the TX and RX pins 😀 I hope Parrot doesn’t send you a C&D letter, because this webpage is priceless! Thanks a ton!

  2. Wow – this is great!

    My laptop doesn’t have an RS232 connector, only USB. Would a USB-TTL converter cable work for me (for instance )?


  3. hi. i’m trying to perform the flash update of my parrot under you instructions.

    my pc has no serial out/input so i just bought a usb to ttl converter. now, when selecting the type of connection to the blue box, i must select the serial connection… wich port do i choose if i made the connection through a usb port?

    I can´t connect any bluetooth device because of a firmware failure and the only way to fix it is to update by cable means.
    Can you help me?

  4. Just done this with my Boarduino FTDI cable.
    Rememebre to connect the FTDI rx to the CK3000 tx pin and the tx to the rx pin.
    I used a HDD jumper to connect pins 9 & 10 together.
    And make sure the baud rate of the USB COM port matches in Device Manager to the rate selected in the parrot software……

  5. Andre, the USB to TTL converter works by creating a fake serial COM Port, you could just use trial and error from the list on the parrot update tool. Alternatively try leaving the USB to TTL converter unplugged and look to see what COM Ports you have, then connect the USB to TTL converter and you should see a new port, that’s the one you want to use. (Make sure the drivers are installed properly)

    To test you can connect the Tx to Rx pins on the converter and open up hyperterminal on that port and try typing something, it should echo it back to you if it is working and you have the correct port.

    Chris, so happy it worked for you!

    P.S. For some reason I’m not getting email notifications when someone posts a comment despite it being setup, so sorry for the delay, I have to remember to login and check for new comments.

  6. Andre, did you suceed with flashing with USB-TTL adapter, I am trying all day with my PL2303hx USB to TTL adapter I bought on ebay but I always stuck on: XPRAM downloading.

    I installed drivers and change bitrate to 112500 in device manager.

    Peter, is pinout 4 on ck3000 box ment for connecting ground from my USB to TTL adapter, or the ground from 12V power supply?

    I connected it like this:
    RXD from my USB TTL adapter to ck3000 RX pin
    TXD from my USB TTL adapter to ck3000 TX pin

    +12v from power supply(500mA) to ck3000 +12v pin
    +12v from power supply(500mA) to ck3000 second +12v pin
    ground from power supply(500mA) to ck3000 ground pin on power side

    pin9 and pin10 connected with hdd jumper

    I left pinout 4 on ck3000 unconnected (should I put ground from my USB TTL adapter to it?)

    regards grega

  7. Grega,

    That’s correct, you should put pin 4 to TTL GND.

    You may be going wrong with supplying power to the CK3000, make sure you have the parrot updater saying XPRAM Downloading before you switch on the power to the CK3000.

  8. Thank you Peter for this great tutorial, altough I did not succeed to flash it, I tried all weekend with your instructions and I always stuck on: XPRAM dovnloading.

    I also tried with swapping RX and TX pin.

    Maybe the issue is is the USB adapter, but I tested it in hyperterminal with echo and it worked OK.

    I will order the same rs232(MAX232) adapter as you on ebay today and try with it when I get it.

    I will let everybody know how it went with it

    In the meantime if everybody suceed with PL2303 USB to TTL adapter please let me know, I wont stop untill I suceed 🙂

    Have a nice week.

  9. I am really surprised Grega, it should work. It sounds like you have the drivers installed correctly due to the Rx\Tx HyperTerminal test, but I did find these drivers which look recent, maybe worth a try?

    When you turned on the CK3000 could you see it via bluetooth? Just wondering if it was getting enough power.

  10. Hello.

    Tried this also, but no suceed, very strange,… Maybe the issue is that I have REGULAR (old) parrot ck3000 not ck3000 EVOLUTION,….

    But like I saw on internet the cable should be the same for upgrading-flashing,…

    Yes my smartphone see the parrot box, but cannot connect cause the old firmware do not support the phone, or maybe the box is faulty,.. I will try with some old phone model when I get one to see if even the box is working OK.

    Thank you very much for your help it is very nice from you to share your knowledge with everybody else,..

    Greetings from Slovenia

  11. I haven’t tried it, but it definitely should work. It is what we need. Does it come with any leads? Also maybe a USB extension lead. You’ll need those.

    Make sure you get working drivers. See PL2303 64 Bit Driver Issues

    The reason I went with the serial port version was because I have previously tried to use the prolific usb adapter which comes as part of the Nokia data cables and I had a nightmare trying to get it to work with drivers etc. (this was about 5 years ago, so hopefully things have moved on) I also had an old laptop with a serial port, so I wasn’t forced to use the USB-TTL version.

    I decided this whole process was going to be hard enough to figure the pinout without double the problem with a usb-ttl and the driver issues. That’s why I went with the serial port version requiring no drivers, but the USB one should work fine.

  12. Great work. Thanks a lot. 🙂
    Now, I can use my Parrot.

    Only a note, the pin numbering that you use if different than the board.
    I take a pictures from the board and can send you if you wish.

  13. Javier, glad it worked 🙂

    I didn’t see any pin numbering so I just went by the numbering a ribbon cable would have. Yes, I would like to see where these numbers are.

  14. Hi. I just wanted to say a big thanks for the pin info.
    I successfully flashed my CK3000 kit today using a USB – tll converter
    Saved me a few quid!
    For anyone have difficulties I found the process would not work for me until I set the port transmit and receive setting sliders fully to the left (slowest setting).
    You can find these sliders by clicking on the port in device manager and choosing properties then advanced. You can also find or change your port number here also.

  15. Excellent, more good news! 🙂

    Was this the Evolution or just CK3000, just asking as Grega was having trouble with just the standard CK3000 model?

  16. Hi,

    first thanks for your great post!.

    I try get Pinout connection CK3100. Can you help me?


  17. Find gnd, from there try all the pins and write down the voltages. The 12v ones are no good. We are looking for 5v. That will leave you with a small amount of pins and then just trial and error. My memory is a bit rusty but I think I also had a look at the normal cable to see which pins weren’t being used which if they are giving out 5v makes them stand out, they must there for a reason.

    Is that a picture of the upgrade cable? Or just the standard cable?

  18. Thanks for your quick response, Peter. I’ve ordered it and can’t wait to get tinkering.

  19. If that’s the upgrade cable then you are sorted. It’s a bit hard to make out but it looks like Tx and Rx are on the left hand side Pins 1 & 2 most likely. GND goes to pin 9 and 3.

  20. I can confirm this worked for me, however I learnt a few things along the way:
    * A keyspan usb -> serial adapter will not work – it gets stuck on “erasing flash”.
    * If flashing away from the car you need a good regulated PSU, a poor quality one will not do. I used an AT PSU (+12V and GND only).
    * If for some reason the process is interrupted then it is likely that the old firmware will not load – thus you cannot connect to the kit via bluetooth. However I was still able to flash the firmware to recover the unit.
    * Dependant upon the labelling on your RS232 -> TTL converter you may need to connect RX to TX and TX to RX (obvious when you think about it)
    * If your RS232 -> TTL converter gets its power from a USB connector, then the USB connector must be plugged into the same PC as the RS232 connection (very strange things happened when I didn’t do this!)

    Hope this helps others to avoid my mistakes…

  21. Chrils Lamb,

    yes this picture is a CK3100.

    Anyone can post real image Upgrade Cable CK3100? for see conectors.


  22. Hi, did anybody have any joy getting the pin outs for the ck3100?
    I ask as my ck3100 has lost everything due to my laptop reinstalling the blue tooth drivers mid upgrade . GRRRR!
    I want to do it myself, rather than buy a cable from parrot or anybody else.

    Thanks guys.

  23. Hi Dave,

    I try get photography pin CK3100 (update cable), if I do I will upload.

    If anyone can help me with photography, I will be grateful


  24. Hi Peter!

    I just flashed a Parrot CK 3100 Bluebox using the Max232…
    Everything worked fine…

    Pinout is: 1 = RX, 2 = TX, 3 = GND, 4 = GND

    Anyway: Max232, connected to the rigtht pins works fine!
    Thank you for the inspiration

    Greets Matthias

  25. Correction: CK3100
    Pinout is: 1 = RX, 2 = TX, 3 = GND, 9 = GND

    (Sorry for the Typo)


  26. Guys,
    i got this chip “”

    Now it has these pins:

    I connected the GND to Pin4, RXD to Pin1, TXD to Pin5, VDD, nowhere. Now on the power connection, i got a power adapter from one of the devices i have at home, connected the +12V on its + line, and the -12V on its – line. Not sure where to connect the GND though :S Please advise. As the update is not working for me, yet. Thanks.

  27. Matthias Zima can you upload photography please?

    Thanks i try create cord for CK3100 too.

  28. Just to say a big thanks to Peter for hosting this info and to confirm Matthias’ pin outs. it is indeed Pins 1 and 2 for RX and TX (I cant remember which way round, but if it doesnt work just swap them) and 3 and 9 for ground.
    I directly soldered my leads onto the PCB of the blue box, it wouldn’t reboot until I had cut the 3&9 link, but ive left them on, in the blue box for future upgrades.
    Once again, thanks to everyone for helping.

  29. Hi guys, nobody can help me with my CK3000 Evolution? 🙁 I posted my case above.

  30. Btw, when i check the chipset i have with this tool from Prolific, it says: This is a PL-2303 XA / HXA chip. Please advise 🙁

  31. Adel, you should not use -12 for the power supply, just +12 and GND. Please check the pinout as in the article.

    Good luck

  32. Thans a lot Peter for the info!!!

    I have just upgraded my evolution!!!

    Pease all of you, check with your adapter manufacturer (not the chip manufacturer) whether TTL output is 5V. Many of the adapters out there are 3.3V. Maybe this is the problem…

    I used one with FTDI chip with TTL 5v output.

    Thanks again!!

  33. I succeeded with upgrading my CK3000 Evolution to FW 5.25D !
    First attempt was stuck on erasing flash, I aborted the upgrade, powered off/on the device, attempted again with success.

    I used Silicon Labs (SiLabs) CP2102-based USB to Serial converter, under Win 7 x64.
    Converter’s TXD pin was connected to pin 1 of my CK 3000 Evo, RXD pind to pin 5 (thus exactly as on the drawing).
    ATX 4-pin power connector physically matches perfectly the socket on CK, however pinout must be modified. ATX has +12V on two top pins while CK needs +12V on both right-hand pins (as shown on the drawing).
    Note that CK will not boot properly and will not be discoverable over BT until jumper on pins 9 and 10 is disconnected. So after successfull flashing disconnect the power, remove the jumper, power on again and then check if you can doscover your Parrot over BT.

  34. Hi,

    GND should certainly be connected to pin 4 of the Parrot bluebox, exactly as shown on the drawing. I mentioned how TX and RX lines were connected in my case just to indicate that I did not have to crossconnect TX and RX lines, which may be required for some USB-to-RS232 dongles with wrong markings.

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