verifying the serial console

i have been trying to install openbsd on my pinebook pro (currently running a manjaro-i3 combo) and an at the point of verifying the serial console.

when i look on my linux (debian) box, i can see the usb connector (?)
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 1a86:7523 QinHeng Electronics CH340 serial converter

and can see it in dmesg (ttyUSB0)

the problem is actually sending something over- i have been unable to see anything with minicom on the other end
when i run a command like this (as root on the pinebook), i get nothing on minicom:
echo "console output" > /dev/console

and it just hangs on the pine box.

also (as i got my pinebook some time ago) it came with a cable, that i read was supposedly bad ... i tried that too, but nothing happened. the cable i am using was bought from the pine store, maybe a year-ish ago ...

i also opened the back and flicked the switch for the serial console out of headphone jack.

i guess what i'm looking for is how to verify that the link is working
or someway to know that my pinebook does not have fried hardware of one kind or another (diagnostic commands ok)

any help would be welcome


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