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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 I/O pins of this FTDI cable are configured to operate at 5V.

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 the same pinout and functionality as our FTDI Basic Breakout board; you can use it to program your Arduino Pro, Pro Mini and Lilypad. For use with those boards, align the black and green wires of the FTDI cable with the 'BLK' and 'GRN' labels on the PCB.

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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Comments 44 comments

  • If you’re a radio enthusiast, I successfully programmed Yaesu, Icom, Wouxun, Puxing and Baofeng radios with this cable. Should work with Kenwoods and many cheap Chinese radios as well. Works well as a C-IV control cable with Icom HF radios. Add an optocoupler and it will work as PTT control with Ham Radio Deluxe, AGW Packet Engine and similar. Email me if you want more info.

  • Does this cable do auto-reset for the Arduino?

  • the cable is 1.8m or about 6ft long

  • I found the VCC (red) and CTS (brown) wires swapped on the female header. I kept getting “USB port shut down due to too much power” warnings until I poured over the schematic and discovered the manufacturing defect. A quick swap, and it’s good to go. Not a deal-breaker, but something to watch out for.

  • Would this work for the EL Sequencer?

  • I’ve been looking for a cable that has the 6-pin flat connector at BOTH ends and I can’t seem to find one on here or on Newark Canada… don’t know what the issue is. I’ll probably end up buying the connectors and the metal crimp inserts and making my own cable… seems like a lot of work. I mean, the PicKit needs a similar cable, why aren’t they sold on here? Kinda crazy…

    • It sounds like you may be looking for just a jumper cable. Something like this, perhaps?

      • I could do with a 10 pin version of that lead

        • I honestly haven’t seen a 10 pin version anywhere to recommend where you could buy one, but you could use a 4 pin glued to a 6 pin jumper wire, to hack your own 10 pin version relatively easily.

  • I bought one of these to use as an interface cable to my HF radio and it worked well until I damaged the cable. So I bought two more (for redundancy this time) and get this – neither of my new builds will transmit to the radio at all. The damaged cable still works but I don’t consider it reliable. However, since neither of my new cables work I am stuck with the old one. I compared the connections I made for my working cable to the new cables and verified they were wired the same.

    So my only thought is that something changed in the build of the cables I just received. Maybe the wire color coding changed? Or the internal circuitry?

    Sitting here in a funk as my only working cable is the “bad” one, after wasting $50 to build up a pair of new cables ($18/cable plus $8/connector) that don’t work.

  • Awww, why not populate the TXLED and RXLED and use a translucent potting compound? :-)

  • Does this work with windows 8? I have 3 little $3 USB to 3.3V TTL boards that no longer work as well as a USB to serial cable. These all use a Prolific chip that seems to be “obsolete” so I’m looking for a replacement.

  • Bought the cable, and I have been trying to get it to work with an “arduino” I made (I whipped up an ATMega328p with headers, reset switch, and 5v regulator), and I conected GND to GND, VCC to VCC, RXD on cable to TXD on ATMega, and then TXD on cable to RXD on ATMega, and finally RTS to reset, but when I try uploading, I see that it resets because my blink program starts again, but then in the Arduino IDE it fails with

    avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00

    Any ideas?

  • If you don’t need all the fancy flow control and stuff, you can make your own cable for about $3. I built one myself and I can vouch that it works. It’s just a TxD/RxD/GnD. Here’s the tutorial: http://jethomson.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/diy-usb-to-serial-cable-for-3usd/

  • I’m planning to do some PIC microcontroller to PC communication, according to what I’ve been reading this will do that job, is that correct?

  • If anyone is having problems having this cable show up as a USB device and a com port, simply wiggle it around in all directions slowly and carefully. Once you get your computer to recognize it and have it install the drivers, you will be set for plug and play operations.

    If you successfully get the drivers installed and it comes up as a com port and it disappears/reappears constantly, the cable may have a loose connection and you should contact technical support.

  • I just received this cable and, I am having trouble with it. Should I return this item?

    When I plug it in, nothing appears as /dev/ttyUSB*. After plugging in, it isnt listed when I run “lsusb”. However, when I do “lsmod | grep usb”, I can see the driver:

    usbserial 37203 2 ftdi_sio,pl2303 usbhid 41905 0 hid 77367 1 usbhid

    I am running ubuntu 11.10. “uname -a”

    Linux jake-PC 3.0.0-15-generic-pae #26-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jan 20 17:07:31 UTC 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

  • Just received and tried to use this cable with the Ethernet Pro Arduino (DEV-10536) but can’t get any of three different Macs to recognize the cable. I’ve installed the most current drivers from FTDI but the computers never see it. I have an Arduino Mega that is recognized properly. The ethernet pro does turn on and run its OOB blink code, but sometimes will instead just turn on its led dimly and do nothing. Thinking either the cable or the board is bad but not sure. Anyone run into this before?

  • Hey just wondering which is more suitable for the ArduIMU the 5v I/O or the 3.3V I/O. Just wanted to check before I release the magic smoke.

  • This cable worked like a charm on my Cypress PSOC-5 evaluation board. Up and running in 1 min. Now able to send Rx and Tx commands like a champ.
    To note: Rx relative on the “FTDI Cable Schematic”, means the Tx on the micro controller. Tx on the “FTDI Cable Schematic” means Rx on the micro controller. (You probably know this, but I have had “fun” learning serial ports :))
    Like mentioned below, I’m interested in seeing the cable being able to handle loads larger than 70mA. I have personally tested this cable to 70mA as well and will hopefully soon test it to higher values.

  • (duplicate message removed)

  • When we are going to get these more?

  • How long is it?

  • I think that it would be pretty awsome to see one of these with an ATMEGA8u2, like on the Arduino Uno… It would be faster… Just saying… These are cool too, but you caould add it along side.

  • is the rts signal any different or worse than dtr?
    and are they nearly in because i really need one as opposed to buying an ftdi basic. :)

  • Is there a good tutorial and parts supplier so i can make my own custom wiring harnesses like this?

  • stock ?!?!

  • What is the maximum current this cable can supply through the 5V wire?
    The schematic shows an inductor in series with VBUS which becomes 5V.
    Maybe in the next revision, have another leg of VBUS that connects directly to 5V.

    • An initialized USB port can typically supply 0.5A@5V however some ports that are part of hubs or integrated into other devices source down to 100mA when initialized.
      I also don’t think the inductor inside the cable is 30ohms because I have used this cable to power devices that were drawing 70mA. At 70mA there would be a 2.1V drop across the inductor bringing the necessary 5V down to 2.9V, a little low for a 5V system. So the cable can certainly handle 70mA :)

      • The inductor on the schematic is most likely a ferrite bead and the 30 ohms is the impedance at a fairly high frequency like 100 MHz. The dc resistance is more likely 30-50 milliohms. Having said that, SparkFun should probably place a note on the schematic describing both the AC and DC resistances to better inform their customers.

  • Yeah.. I ordered 2 of the 5V boards about 3 days ago. This would have been even better since I plan on soldering some headers and long cables to it.
    Cool product, but now I’m forced to find a reason to buy it (like everything else on this site)

    • Possible reasons:
      -credit card balance dangerously low
      -too many projects, not enough FTDI
      -first one on your block to have one
      -just because.

  • bought the FTDI 5V board a week ago to go with my new pro mini…for the extra $5 i think i would have ordered this instead just because of the convinence of the built in cable :)


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