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 I quickly realised I needed to update the firmware on it as it was quite out of date and the latest 5.25c update from the parrot site fixes issues with Android phones.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. Hi guys,
    Look I know I’m going over something which seems to have been flogged to death but any help would be very welcome (I have read through the posts and cannot find a definitive answer).

    With regard to the DB9 serial plug pinouts for the upgrade of the CK3000 Evolution (the 9 pin plug on the PC end of the cable). What are the pin allocations for TX, RX, and GND? I am making my own cable and not using a jumper board.


  2. Hey Martin,

    It’s not that simple to just directly connect the PC to the board, the RS232 uses 12V which needs to be lowered to the 3-5v TTL used by the CK3000. You need to wire up a MAX232 chip to do this. Here is a circuit diagram:

    MAX232 Circuit Diagram

    I used to make these when I was younger, but now we have ebay and low cost parts, it’s easier just to buy it premade for you.

  3. Yes it is possible you might have broken it, but sometimes they put protection in these circuits to stop accidents. There is only one way to check really, does it turn on any more?

  4. Nope…dead then. This Parrot has squawked its last it would seem. And to think, I had an ELM327 USB to Serial for my OBDII on the shelf all along…too bad, so sad.

    Thanks for the help and the very prompt response.



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