Making the Android Host Debuggable - ADB for x86 Android Solutions

This tutorial provides an overview of the DBC infrastructure followed by the steps to enable the feature on Celadon and seamlessly run adb over a USB Type-A port.


The Android host ecosystem consists of new applications like Android Automotive, Chromebook, or gateways running on Intel NUC-like systems. A significant challenge with these Android host solutions is the lack of USB Device mode because most of x86 platforms are USB host systems. The DBC addresses this issue and allows a DUT with debug host x86 platforms to provide an infrastructure that offers a back-to-back connection using an USB Debug Class infrastructure.

DBC Overview

The xDBC provides the xHCI. The universal serial bus is a host-controlled bus. The Host Controller is the hardware that manages the USB bus and USB host ports. It initiates and manages all USB transfers. The xHCI is a register-level interface providing a mechanism that allows the xHC to communicate with the operating system of the host computer. In addition to exposing register interfaces that are essential for the xHC to function properly, xHCI supports many extended capabilities, which can be optionally implemented by xHC.

xHCI includes extended power management capability, I/O virtualization capability, and USB legacy support capability, among many others. xDBC is one of the main extended capabilities supported by xHCI.

This functionality enables low-level system debug over USB. The xHCI provides a means of connecting a debug host and a debug target. This is achieved by emulating a debug device by using xDBC on the debug target. The debug device presented by the debug target can be used by the debug host for low-level system debugging of the target.

GitHub PRs to enable adb over DbC for Celadon KBL NUC

  1. Kernel and adb changes

  2. Adding android property to switch between adb over DWC and DBC

  3. Adding sepolicy to access DbC RAW device node

Steps to enable ADB over DbC support in Host Machine

  1. Add the following permission to the udev rule /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules (create the file if it does not exist):

    SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1d6b", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0010", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev", SYMLINK+="android%n"
  2. Reboot the host system, or run the following commands with root permission to take effect:

    root@intel:~# udevadm control --reload-rules
    root@intel:~# udevadm trigger
  3. Rename or remove the kernel module usb_debug.ko in the host system if any:

    root@intel:~# cd /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/drivers/usb/serial/ && mv usb_debug.ko usbdebug
  4. Check if the usb_debug driver module is loaded to the kernel with the following command:

    root@intel:~# lsmod | grep usb_debug
  5. Unload the usb_debug driver module if it is loaded:

    root@intel:~# rmmod usb_debug
  6. The adb command installed by the Android SDK does not support ADB over DbC, you should use the adb command built from the Celadon source tree. The ADB over DbC-enabled adb command is avaiable in the out/host/linux-x86/bin/ folder after the build.

Steps to enable ADB over DbC support on Intel NUC BLKNUC7iDNHE system

  1. Check the Android property value persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover with the following command. The default value is dwc, which represents normal ADB over USB (DWC).

    root@intel:~# getprop persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover
  2. Reset the property value to dbc, then reboot the target system.

    root@intel:~# setprop persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover dbc

Connect the Target to the Host System

Plug the debug Target into the Host system using a USB Type-A to Type-A (3.0) SuperSpeed Debug cable. A USB 2.0 Type-A to Type-A cable does not work in this case.

At this point the target should have enumerated as a Debug Device on the Host. This can be confirmed with the following command:

root@intel:~# lsusb -t
/:  Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci-hcd/10p, 5000M
    |__ Port 4: Dev 31, If 0, Class=Diagnostic, Driver=usbfs, 5000M

root@intel:~# cat /sys/kernel/debug/usb/devices
T:  Bus=02 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=03 Cnt=01 Dev#= 31 Spd=5000 MxCh= 0
D:  Ver= 3.00 Cls=00(>ifc ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS= 9 #Cfgs=  1
P:  Vendor=1d6b ProdID=0010 Rev= 0.10
S:  Manufacturer=Linux Foundation
S:  Product=Linux USB Debug Target
S:  SerialNumber=DW1724778700007
C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=c0 MxPwr=  0mA
I:* If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 2 Cls=dc(unk. ) Sub=02 Prot=01 Driver=usbfs
E:  Ad=01(I) Atr=02(Bulk) MxPS=1024 Ivl=0ms
E:  Ad=81(I) Atr=02(Bulk) MxPS=1024 Ivl=0ms


Speed should be 5000 (i.e. Spd=5000) and Driver should be usbfs (i.e. Driver=usbfs) in the previous command output.

ADB detection in Host Machine

root@intel:/home/prabhatc/Desktop# ./adb devices
List of devices attached
* daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
* daemon started successfully *
DW1724778700007 device

Steps to switch back to normal ADB over USB (DWC)

  1. Check the Android property value persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover with the following command.

    root@intel:~# getprop persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover
  2. Reset the property value to dwc, then reboot the target system.

    root@intel:~# setprop persist.vendor.sys.usb.adbover dwc

ADB over DbC throughput test result

  • Achieved 28.0 MB/s (1073741824 bytes in 36.528s) for pulling 1GB file.

  • Achieved 27.0 MB/s (1073741824 bytes in 37.860s) for pushing 1GB file.


DbC is an ideal choice for platforms that don’t have a USB device controller IP and require debugging support. If a platform uses a dedicated USB device controller for just debugging support, it can be replaced with DbC. DbC is a dependable debugging solution, which is critical for early platform bring- up where there is limited BIOS support etc.