The FTDI cable is a USB to Serial (TTL level) converter which allows for a simple way to connect TTL interface devices to USB. The VCC pins of this FTDI cable are configured to operate at 5V with 3.3V I/O.
The FTDI cable is designed around an FT232RQ, which is housed in a USB A connector. The other side of the cable is terminated with a 0.1" pitch, 6-pin connector with the following pinout: RTS, RX, TX, 5V, CTS, GND (RTS is the green cable and GND is black).
This cable has almost the same pinout and functionality as our FTDI Basic Breakout board; you can use it to program your Arduino Pro, Pro Mini and Lilypad, etc. For use with those boards, align the black and green wires of the FTDI cable with the 'BLK' and 'GRN' labels on the PCB. The difference between this cable and the FTDI Basic Breakout is the cable has a 5V Vcc where as the breakout has a 3.3V Vcc. You will still be able to program an Aruidno Pro, Pro Mini, Lilypad, etc. The 5V Vcc supply will not damage these Arduino circuit boards.
Originally, the cable was designed to have 3.3V VCC, however something was lost in translation between SparkFun and our supplier and we got stuck with a whole bunch of FTDI cables that have a slight mix up in wiring. These have 5V VCC, and 3.3V I/O. The 5V Vcc output shouldn't be a problem unless this cable is being used to power a sensitive circuit such as a sensor.
There are pros and cons to the FTDI Cable vs the FTDI Basic. The FTDI Basic has great LED indicators, but requires a Mini-B cable. The FTDI Cable is well protected against the elements, but is large and cannot be embedded into a project as easily. The FTDI Basic uses DTR to cause a hardware reset where the FTDI cable uses the RTS signal.
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So after blowing 2x ESP8266 modules, i put a voltage meter on the VCC cable and saw the 5v output... nearly ready to lose me *****.... i read the item discription again and saw the forewarning that this cable outputs 5v..... sigh
Dont make the same mistake i made! get a voltage regulator if you plan to use this cable with a 3.3v device!!
I'd put this cable at just okay especially if you compare it to the other ftdi cables and boards Sparkfun sells.
1) You can't power a 3.3v device from it.
2) It's more expensive then the other sparkfun cables (eg CAB-12977 is half the price). It seems weird to me that you pay such a premium for having a few extra handshake pins broken out.
Pros: 1) In spite of con the cons The fact that the handshake pins are there and the fact that the electronics are not exposed, making it a bit more durable is absolutely worth it for me. 2) The FTDI chip is much more reliable than the prolific chips, which I've had flake out on me.
I got this to communicate with the Arduino Fio and have since used it with the RN52 breakout, and a few other projects. Has been handy as heck. The only downside i see in the future is that the wires going to the 6-pin connector are twisted around one another and seem to be the point that will ultimately fail. But I don't have a fix for it so i reckon they did as food as could be asked.
It's an FTDI cable...need I say more?
The cable works as advertised. I only wished that the power was at 3V3 like the logic. But that issue was described on the product page. I has several of these and will continue to buy them till such time as the power issue is corrected.
Works great, no complaints
Having proper 5V USB, but being able to communicate with 3.3V microcontrollers is hugely useful.
Need a terminal for a Beaglebone or Arduino derivative as mentioned- but don't have the footprint/profile for the breakout board (it is possible...it's why I had to buy several of these gems over time...)? This is your answer to that "problem" with the breakouts.
I bought this to use in conjunction with a BBB for BIOS flashing via SPI. Works great!