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Introducing the SparkFun FT231X Breakout board, complete with the full UART hardware handshake feature! The pin-out of this board matches the FTDI cable to work with official Arduino and cloned Arduino boards. It can also be used for general serial applications.
This board still brings out the DTR pin as opposed to the RTS pin of the FTDI cable. The DTR pin allows an Arduino target to auto-reset when a new Sketch is downloaded. This is a really nice feature to have and allows a sketch to be downloaded without having to hit the reset button. This board will auto-reset any Arduino board that has the reset pin brought out to a 6-pin connector.
The coolest thing about the FT231X Breakout is that we have broken out ALL the pins for your use, making this board all the more hackable! It also uses a common microUSB jack.
One of the features of this board is a jumper on the back, which allows the VCC output to be configured to either 3.3V or 5V. This board ships default to 5V, but you can cut the default trace and add a solder jumper if you need to switch to 3.3V. It should be noted that the max input of the FT231X is only 3.3V, but it can operate down to 1.8V with external pull-ups and is also 5V tolerant.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Title says it all really. I use it with several Arduino Mini Pro's and it just works like you expect it too.
I first purchased a cheaper FTDI from another vendor and wasted a lot of time trying to make it work without success. I finally realized it was not the user but the hardware. I figured it out by reading other comments where many were found to be defective. So, I went to SparkFun with confidence that the hardware would be fine. I was right. I'm not great at soldering but it was fairly easy on the SparkFun board and I used it right away to program an Arduino Pro Mini - worked great! All the hardware I've purchased from SparkFun has worked fine. Thanks SparkFun!!!
I needed a way to communicate with my PIC project over 3.3V UART signals. This board worked effortlessly. It works at 5V and 3.3V so I had to add a little solder to jumper a connection to set it to 3.3V. Simple! It runs at 115200 baud without a problem and is a big help in debugging my project.
We had issues with our board mounted FT231 and needed to see if using USB bus power would make it work. This board allowed us to quickly verify that all we needed to do was to use bus power. This was because a PC-based PIC bootloader needed to see the USB IC prior to powering up the target PIC and starting the inbedded boot code.