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Description: This is the SparkFun USB to Serial Breakout for the FT232RL, a small board with a built in USB to serial UART interface. This little breakout is built around the FT232RL IC from FTDI, with an internal oscillator, EEPROM, and a 28-pin SSOP package this is a serious little chip.

With this version, we’ve corrected a few issues found with the board. These changes include fixes to the VCCIO, a change from the mini USB to micro USB connector, and a few footprint modifications. Other than finding this board much easier to use, it is still the same FT232RL breakout that you know and love!


  • Implements full v2.0 USB protocol
  • Needs no external crystal
  • Internal EEPROM for device ID and Product Description strings
  • Royalty-Free Driver support for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX


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Customer Comments

  • Is the RX pin 5v tolerant? The spec sheet for the FT232RL seems to say yes in a couple places, this? (Would like to use this on a 5v Arduino pro mini without level shifting … And yes, if your wondering, I am lazy ;) ).

    • Yes, this is basically the same circuit we use on the FTDI basic which is designed for programming the Pro Mini. This just breaks out more pins. For true laziness I recommend the FTDI Basic which has a pinout to match the Pro Mini.

  • Can anyone tell me how much current this can handle on the RX pin?

  • I get that the micro USB is compact, but the pins simply don’t last multiple insertions and micro connections are not as mechanically sound (plugs can just fall out on their own).

    Bring back the mini USB version and make both available…!!

  • I would like to understand the design decision behind jp3, pin 1 being 3.3 and not vccio? thanks.

  • OS X users might want to read this:

  • If this board is ever updated, it would be nice if there was an option for the user to supply VCCIO so this board could interface to 1.8V or 2.5V logic. I guess you might be able to do that with this board by removing the VCCIO switch, but a 3-position switch that allowed for this option without requiring disassembly would be nice even if the LEDs wouldn’t work with a lower VCCIO.

    • Thank you for the feedback! We’ll definitely take a look at that the next time this board is up for revision.

  • Can I use this breakout board with my Robotis Dynamixel MX64T ? To replace this component: to drive these motors ?

  • Feeling a little lost, can anyone help me with the pin outs to use to program an Arduino Pro Mini?

    • To program an Arduino Pro Mini you basically need 4-5 connections. The first 2 are power and ground. Assuming nothing else is attached to the Pro Mini you can use either 3.3V or 5V power with no problem. Next is RX and TX. RX is receive and TX is transmit, meaning RX needs to go to TX and TX to RX. Sometimes you will see RX-I or TX-O, the I and O basically mean input or output and you can just ignore them. This tends to be the tricky thing is to remember to swap the RX and TX. The 5th connection is connecting the DTR pin, this is what enables the autoreset. If you don’t have this pin connected you can always manually hit the reset button. If you have any other questions feel free to email

  • I have to admit that instead of using these FTDI boards, I usually use a a Teensy 2.0 programmed as a USB to serial converter. Its a buck or so difference in price but then I can always build some smarts into the converter to suit my application.

  • I’d really like to see an FTDI alternative serial/usb board.

    After recent cluelessness by FTDI, I’m no longer comfortable with them as a source, and there seems to be a few other options available.

    • In their recent “Ask me anything” live session, I believe they mentioned they were going to make boards using Cypress’s offerings - but the time frame for these appearing here was weeks.

      • We are.

        The Cypress chips are really nice; they add some pretty advanced functionality beyond the normal serial functions, but retain pin-for-pin compatibility.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5

Based on 10 ratings:

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1 of 1 found this helpful:

Works great, could use one feature.....

The board worked perfectly as designed but I had to do one hack first. The I/O voltage is only selectable between 3.3 and 5V while my processor runs at 2.5V. I had to remove the switch and add a provision for an external I/O voltage input. Adding a pad and some sort of jumper, etc. for this would be helpful. Thanks at least for providing the schematic, it made the mod very easy to do.

FT232RL Breakout Board is a good one!

This little breakout board came with everything needed to assemble in various configurations to fit your need. The board worked exactly as advertised, and was a snap to set up after assembly. Love the documentation provided at Sparkfun–best in class.

0 of 3 found this helpful:

USB cable

Beware this does not use a standard USB mini cable. I needed to steal my wifes phone cable to fit.

The board works as promised .

Recommended for others

Good, but no 1.8v

Works well, but doesn’t seem to support 1.8v even though the IC is capable of it:

Great solution for chip comm

I have this board connected directly to an ATMEGA32 chip for debug. It works great, simple to hook up. Uses universal FTDI drivers.

Great breakout board

Easy to implement. Works great for interfacing UART and USB.

Board okay but data sheet not...

Board itself works okay but as this is first time I am using this board I had problem finding the correct pin connections to the other board (BT module) I am using in my project. The data sheet available in your page shows all but the simple connection diagram for 2x9 pins + additional 4 pins.

I’m sorry that it wasn’t easier to find the information you were looking for. We try to cover as much as we can in our docs, but we can’t always get everything. Happy hacking.

Bits go in, bits come out.

There are much cheaper bridges available in bulk from Alibaba and Ebay, but usually they’re based on the SiLabs CP2102.

Pros: Dual mode drivers - You can use as VCP or direct mode. Great DLL documentation and source code examples for many platforms. DLLs to go with that great DLL documentation. Respectable support department has been responsive even to my hobby user questions. One set of drivers works with serial, JTAG, FIFO, other variants of the FTDI chips.

Cons: It’s a wee big for hobby projects where space is tight. There are some Silabs boards that are ½ or 1/3 the size. This board is pretty easy to cut down without worrying about damaging anything though. Price - You can get equivalent function for serial only for $5 or so elsewhere, but you may have the occasional defective card.

Bottom line: FTDI chips are well supported and documented. You get piece of mind that your project will just work - the first time, every time.

Excellent tool!

Everyone who works with microcontrollers and sensors should have at least one of these in their toolbox. It took me 5 minutes to connect this to a sensor and I was up and running.