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Description: 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.

Documents: 

Comments 29 comments

  • Hi,

    Would this work with the Propeller P8X32A Breakout ?

  • When I got this product I was surprised to see a sparkfun logo molded into the boot. You guys are getting fancy.

  • How long have you guys had these things? I’d suggest moving them to a broader prototyping category for sure. They’re damn convenient for a lot more things than just arduino. I don’t think you meant to hide them from the rest of us.

  • So will this be able to register serial communication from an Arduino Mega’s alternate serial ports properly? The Mega runs at 5V logic, but I was wondering if I could use this cable to simply pipe the output from my Mega’s Serial1 port to my computer’s USB port.

  • What’s the point of this cable? Why are you selling it?? I just fried a $40 sensor because any sane person would assume that a cable labeled/moulded 3.3V would deliver 3.3V Vcc.

  • Hi , i didn’t understood if the cable is compatible with arduino pro mini or the “FTDI Basic Breakout”

    will it work with arduino pro mini as it is or i would need to connect another capacitors and resistors?

  • What might I expect for a maximum current from this cable? In my application, I have a peripheral 3.3 volt device that may draw up to 1.2 A but it has a variety of settings. I can limit the current in the device so that I might experiment while source it through this cable.

  • Can you check the schematic link ?

  • not have the cable that is transparent and brings LED indication of tx and rx

  • Taking a quick peek at the ft232r datasheet ( http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Documents/DataSheets/ICs/DS_FT232R.pdf ) it states that any IO must be below VCC+0.5V. Does this mean that I can connect it to a 5V i/o device or are the levels too low for that? It seems to me like I shouldn’t be able to damage the cable, since there are 10k resistors between the 3.3V regulator and the UART pins.

    edit. Saw the other question on 5V, however, I’m still curios of where the problem is.

  • I need a usb to ttl cable. I need RX, TX, GND and the most important: a pin to control ZERO CROSSING, since my purpose is to connect a pc through usb to XM10e (ttl-cmos) and so be able to send X10 commands through europe wire system.

    What cable do I need? Thank you so much for your help, since as you see, I’m bit noob :)

    • The X-10 transceiver will provide you with a zero-crossing detection signal, which you’ll need to synchronize your transmission to. You could use the CTS line on this cable to get that signal back to your computer. Since you’re a noob (nothing wrong with that!), be aware that this kind of “raw” X-10 communications requires a bit of timing finesse to pull off. To make your life easier, you might look into other X-10 transceivers that handle more of the job for you, such as the Powerlinc modem from Smarthome. (This is for US power systems, but you may be able to find the same or a similar product for Europe.) Good luck!

  • It would be nice to have a version terminated with the type of jumpers that will fit on header pins. Since these are 3.3 v they are likely used with development boards or custom boards.

    Ideally, there would be six jumpers having the same colors documented in the schematic. An adapter jumper that would mate with the existing inline connector would also work.

    I made my own but did not have all the right colors.

    John

  • is this good to use with 3.3v board and 5v board?

    • This is for 3.3V logic boards, for 5V you need to go with the 5V cable. You can use an FTDI Basic and utilize the solder jumper on the back to switch between 5v and 3.3v.

      • I can’t get this to work. w7 keep throwing “Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)” at me.

        Tried FTDI installer/files and no luck. When updating,state I already ahve the latest…

        what’s wrong with that cable?

        • nvm,problem found. My embeded USB hub in the front pannel is busted. threw it to the back one and it’s fine now.

  • n00b?: if I want to program an atmega328 on a breadboard do I use this? Or the ftdi cable? Or both?? Same questions if I am trying to program an arduino pro mini?

    • Yes, you can use this. This IS the FTDI cable. You could use this or the FTDI basic. They both do the same thing, they are just in different form factors.
      And yes, same question and answer for programming a pro-mini.

  • Hi,
    So I have been using this cable with my Fio, and I just noticed with this plugged in the 3v3 pin on shows 5 volts. Is that a problem? I see above that it mentions this cable won’t damage Arduino Pro, which is also 3v3 for vcc, right? Is the 3v3 mainly just important for the level on the rx/tx lines?
    Thanks!
    Justin

  • can somebody suggest a method to convert this to 3.3V Vcc. I’m using this to connect to the Razor 9DOF and it requires 3.3V Vcc

    • I know this is old but my solution is to pull the VCC out of the socket (you can do it without damaging anything if you’re careful) and plug it in to a pin added to the external supply input. That way the 5V from the USB will go through the nice onboard 3v3 regulator.

    • Buy the 3.3v version from mouser: 895-TTL-232R-3V3
      -Taylor

    • The El Cheapo solution would be a resistor divider, the true solution would be a regulator. Both of which are going to be tough to work elegantly into the cable.

  • Can I use this cable to configure an Xbee PRO?

  • Thanks for adding this!

  • Is it possible use for bit-bang programming?

    • skystorm: indeed it is, though you’ll be limited to 4 bits when using this or the basic breakout board. The BOB-00718 (full breakout board) can bang all 8 bits, but then lacks the convenience of directly interfacing to certain Arduino boards and other things that use the same pinout (some XBee adapters, serial RFID readers, etc.)


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