How to connect a USB flash drive (pen drive) to your BlackBerry PlayBook

Connect USB Drive to your PlayBook
By Adam Zeis on 4 Jan 2012 11:31 am EST

A few weeks back we saw a video sporting USB support on a rooted BlackBerry PlayBook. Well now guillem has posted a little how-to that shows off just how to get USB support up and running on your rooted BlackBerry PlayBook. You'll need a few supplies including a rooted PlayBook, a USB OTG (On-The-Go) adapter (or a Female USB A to micro USB cable and a soldering iron) and a bit of tech knowledge to get going. Keep reading to find out just how it's done!

The USB OTG (USB On-The-Go)

The easiest way to start is to grab a USB OTG adapter. If you can't (or don't want to get one), find a female USB A --> microUSB cable. On this cable, open the microUSB side of the adapter and solder pins 4 and 5 of the microUSB port together.

The Console

When you have your USB OTG adapter (or modified microUSB cable) you can then run the commands to load the necessary kernel drivers. Everything here is already on the rooted PlayBook, so you won't need any extra files. The commands are as follows:

slay RIM_usbmgr-Winchester
slay io-usb
slay devb-umass
sleep 2
RIM_usbmgr-Winchester -m0s
io-usb -domap4430-mg ioport=0x4a0ab000,irq=124
sleep 2
waitfor /dev/io-usb/io-usb 4
devb-umass cam pnp blk automount=+hd6t6:/accounts/1000/shared/usb:dos,automount=+hd6:/accounts/1000/shared/usb:dos 

The only line you really need to pay attention to is the last one as it shows where the flash drive will be mounted after it's connected. You can specify different mount points for different partitions by separating them with comas (in the example here hd6t6 and hd6 are shown).

Connect Your Drive

If everything goes as planned you should now be able to access the contents on the folder you selected on your drive. Keep in mind that you'll first have to create the directory for the automount to work. Also noted is that the kernel modules do produce a bus error and crash at times, however if this happens just run the commands again.

So that's it! If you are bold enough to give this a go, drop a comment here and let us know what you find out. You can follow @guillemmateos on Twitter for more updates or hit up the original post for more.

Source: eTechnoBlog

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

How to connect a USB flash drive (pen drive) to your BlackBerry PlayBook


Sweet. So far this is the one thing that makes me tempted to root my PlayBook. My father-in-law asked me the other day if this was possible when he was about to buy his PB. It would be a great feature for them to make available in the official version.

I have been following this for quite a while and gave this a good go last night, but couldn't quite get it to read my flash drive. One thing to remember is that the above instructions were based on a 1.0.8 rooted playbook. I have a rooted playbook and couldn't get this to work. I wrote a detailed comment on his blog and I'd be happy to post here. I'm just curious to see if anyone else gets this to work on OS 2.0. If not, then some variables need to be changed in the code above.

Looks like it technically is, but enabling it would make no reason for us to buy the 32 and 64g versions...

Now that this is out, the community should pressure RIM to unlock this for non rooted playbooks and allow it to be a feature.

nah I don't think that's the reason.

USB OTG will certainly be beneficial
i.e. allow us to copy/move file off from someone's else stick without needing a computer

In Beta zone they say that there will be more features with os2 then they have advertised. If it is possible, an official way of doing this would help to differentiate the PB from the competition. I know nothing of programming, I just think it would be neat.

Thats exactly what i was saying. If these things can work in rooted form, it means RIM has plans or the option to include them in future OS releases.

this feature is coming on 2.0 update ,
is a logic thing to do and put the PB way above Ipad

now will be matter of someone making a micro usb drive that we can keep atached to the PB
like those micro usb blue tooth that you can connect to your laptop and they are barely noticeable

I could see a case that incorporates a flash drive that stays plugged in with hub type pass through that would still leave a micro usb open to connect to computer and charge through

Sith, is there scripting for it? I didn't see where the script was for the host support. We definitely need the script as I assume that this coding above only works until you restart your playbook. When you restart, the startup script launches the playbook back in slave mode only, correct?

So basically, if this is built into the os2 update, can I hook up a camera to it and download all the pictures so that I will be able to upload them to a photo sharing site?

If so, I just may be able to keep my laptop at home.

Now all I need is photoshop for Playbook.

if we are able to conect a usb drive we will be able to manipulate the files in that usb when you conect a camera it will be like connecting a regular usb drive cos thats exactly what it is once you connect it to a computer.
now about photosop on the playbook ,well the room to install it is there ,the hardware to run it is there it will be matter of adobe giving it a shoot

i tell you this folks, we are just barely starting to exploid the potential and capabilities of this device
and you k ow what i really like the most? that i am sure that i wont have to upgrade this device an a very long time

once again this just shows how premature the playbook was released. I have a playbook, but I also have a toshiba tablet running android. My toshiba tablet has a full HDMI input, a FULL USB input and also a mini USB input.


Well, let me play devil's advocate with it being premature, at least regarding the USB.

When you think RIM/Blackberry what is one of the first selling points you think of? Security, right?

Throw a live USB on there without finding a good way to secure it creates a number of issues. If the PB didn't come with onboard malware prevention and you toss on a flash drive that is infected, you would be pissed, right. And to whom would you be pissed? yourself? RIM for not locking it down, etc.....

Also, RIM still has a fairly decent presence in the corporate world. And many IT Security departments are constantly looking for ways to secure USB/removable devices. Toss in a USB drive that you cannot secure properly and corporate accounts will leave en masse (not that some haven't already).

All I am trying to say is it seems like RIM is on some thin ice at least in the states. And any move that could create a publicized security issue would be a bad move for RIM.

Just sayin......

BES IT policy - disable USB mass storage and USB host mode. Security = Done.

What you dont seem to understand is RIM is very good at removing features lol. Its struggling with adding them, but removing is a piece of cake. Same thing that companies do now with mass storage BB devices. The PB would be treated just the same.

Yes, with this USB host mode, this makes my Playbook everything I really wanted, including android support. I do love having the market on my Playbook and hope throughout the next few months, I'll be able to keep it on there and not be tempted to do any security wipes or lose Root. All of these playbook features have allowed me to stay with my 9700 (still in good condition) and be very happy.

pexagontech prints or etches custom one-off usb drives at a great price! I've used them a few times and always been satisfied.

It appears that to get the PlayBook to function normally/like any other tablet, requires a work around, now we need a soldering iron. Quite frankly they should scrap the crap, issue me a refund and start over.

What are you talking about. This is not anywhere close to the first device to use a USB OTG cable... at least its a standardized cable and not proprietary BS.

There is nothing "fanboy" about a standardized connector that RIM will see no royalties for; unlike the other vendors that use proprietary connector configurations that they license out to third parties. You are not going to be paying $30 for a standardized connector. BTW, you do know what standardized mean do you?

you clearly dont understand the article. that is for modifying an EXISTING USB cable to be a USB OTG cable. If you have a USB OTG cable already you need no soldering...

You can fin an USB OTG adaptor at Dollorama with a bunch of others USB adapter for $2.00 it's a standard adapter, nothing special !

Oh the possibilities... If this holds up or comes as a real feature in OS 2, I'll be making a case mod to embed a elago microsdhc adapter and a physical disconnect switch so it can still charge! From teardown photos, I think there'd be enough room to do it in one of the side speaker assemblies...

You can fin an USB OTG adaptor at Dollorama with a bunch of others USB adapter for $2.00 it's a standard adapter, nothing special !

OMG! Soldering two pins together is SO hard!!! ...honestly, this workaround is a cake walk. Wanna complain about a manufacturer removing services? Complain about the PS3 and no more Linux... look at the workaround required to get that going again... and they're still selling like hotcakes... bottom line is educate yourself before purchase!

Why do you need those "sleep 2" commands? All that does is do nothing for 2 seconds. I can see that being part of a shell script to ensure that the previous command had enough time to fully execute, but it isn't needed here.

Many users on OS 2 were not getting this to work. I hadn't heard of anyone who got this to work yet. I think it just has to do with where the flash drive mounts. I figured it out and can confirm it works. I even have a micro usb card reader i plugged into the usb otg cable and was able to read the contents. Therefore, I can confirm that any photographers can take the memory card out of their camera, pop it into a card reader and plug into the USB OTG cable for quick access.

Check the forum for instructions:

This feature should be built in.. why do we have to go through all this trouble to have the playbook work for us! if RIM wants us to continue supporting & purchasing their products they should make these features built in!! We have 3 pb in our house.. the hubby and I use ours for bus. my daughter for school ... this feature would eliminate unnecessary steps and make all of our lives alot less complicated. So if someone from RIM is listening - make this available to your consumer, so we don't have to use "other" products to accomplish our daily tasks!! I would love to stay loyal to RIM but they are making it very difficult these days- ***Make this feature available to your consumers it would make all of our lives so much easier*** and being able to print wouldn't hurt!!