Description: This is the newest revision of our FTDI Basic. We now use a SMD 6-pin header on the bottom, which makes it smaller and more compact. Functionality has remained the same.
This is a basic breakout board for the FTDI FT232RL USB to serial IC. The pinout of this board matches the FTDI cable to work with official Arduino and cloned 3.3V Arduino boards. It can also be used for general serial applications. The major difference with this board is that it 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 pins labeled BLK and GRN correspond to the colored wires on the FTDI cable. The black wire on the FTDI cable is GND, green is DTR. Use these BLK and GRN pins to align the FTDI basic board with your Arduino target.
There are pros and cons to the FTDI Cable vs the FTDI Basic. This board has TX and RX LEDs that allow you to actually see serial traffic on the LEDs to verify if the board is working, but this board 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.
This board was designed to decrease the cost of Arduino development and increase ease of use (the auto-reset feature rocks!). Our Arduino Pro and LilyPad boards use this type of connector.
Note: We know a lot of you prefer microUSB over miniUSB. Never fear, we’ve got you covered! Check out our FT231X Breakout for your micro FTDI needs!
Based on 42 ratings:
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I had the 5V version of this and needed the 3.3V version for my Arduino Pro Mini boards.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Works like a charm once I figured out how to connect it for my application. I use this to send sketches to a prototype that uses a “bare” ATmega328 chip (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10524) on a breadboard. To program the chip I hooked up the FTDI DTR pin to the RST pin via a .iuF capacitor, the FTDI RX pin to the TX pin and the FTDI TX pin to the RX pin on the ATmega328 chip. I didn’t use the 3.3v pin. I used http://www.yuriystoys.com/2012/02/arduino-on-beadboard-uploading-your.html as the starting reference because I couldn’t find clear instructions on SparkFun. I use the Arduino IDE to load the sketch and can monitor serial traffic just as if I were hooked up to an Arduino. The time (and potential damage) saved using this compared to swapping the ATmega328 chip back and forth from my prototype to an Arduino is well worth the cost.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I purchased two of these boards recently, for use with an Arduino Pro Mini 3.3V. I especially like that the FTDI pins are arranged exactly the same on the Basic breakout board as they are on the Arduino; this lets me simply plug it in!
When I first used the FTDI Basic to upload a sketch, the response I got on the console was pure gibberish! A buddy and I search the web for clues as to what the problem might be. We tried everything (including a couple of different drivers and mashing the RESET button just prior to upload) short of reprogramming the FTDI chip.
In the end, we discovered that for certain boards, which may have been built in different versions, with different processor/voltage/clock-speed combinations, you must select that combination in the Arduino IDE Tools>Processor submenu. This is in ADDITION to selecting the board itself (“Pro or Pro Mini” in my case). Once you have the right board, voltage, clock speed, and processor, things will work flawlessly :-D
1 of 1 found this helpful:
No problems at all with this little guy. Worked exactly how I expected it to.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
Works as it should, as long as you use the FTDI drivers, not the ones built into OS X. The built-in driver has issues with leaving DTR low.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
Until now I haven’t had the need for a standalone FTDI programmer. I wasn’t sure exactly which one I needed, but I decided to pick up this FTDI Basic Breakout because it was recommended in the ESP8266 Thing hookup guide, which I also purchased.
My Windows 8.1 automatically installed the required drivers and my Arduino IDE was able to pick it up in just a few seconds. From there it was a simple matter of clicking a few buttons in the IDE to select the board and port, then clicking Upload; A few moments later, my ESP8266 Thing automatically reboots and runs my code without any issues.
I’m always amazed by the size of these tiny chips even when I see them online and try to imagine them in real life, they’re always so much smaller than I imagined! Don’t let the size fool you however; This thing works flawlessly. I just wish I had a tiny case to put this thing in, because it feels a little unsafe to unplug (my fingers might jump something, which could probably destroy the chip D:), but that’s to be expected with something so tiny (tiny things are often delicate and must be handled gently). It’s great that it’s a bare board though because you can easily integrate it into your own case if so desired.
Serial communication was easy and works great with my ESP8266 Thing (But I forgot to buy the jumper as per the hookup guide, and must use Realterm, as the Arduino IDE keeps the Thing in bootloader mode), and I haven’t had any issues or difficulties to speak of. Overall I’m very happy with my purchase and would buy it again or recommend it to friends who needed one in the future.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
Putting the connector on the bottom is clever too. Unfortunately the power regulator on it is incapable of powering any of the ESP8266 breakout boards that I actually bought it to experiment with. For future iterations please consider a higher capacity regulator. For all other purposes it works great though.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
I have used this for the Sparkfun pro mini board (it will program the 5v board also) and other boards with FTDI headers. Notably the Adafruit trinkets (sorry sparkfun - I try everything). It also works in a pinch as a serial to UART board. Just wire it directly to any UART device (I use it to test XBees sometimes) and you can use the Arduino IDE to send serial data.
I bought this one to work on 3.3v projects. It works pretty well
It does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Not exactly the shiniest or most glamorous of items, but a necessary one.
Small and compact much easier to store than versions with the cable built in. Love that it can be modified for 5v use.
Works well, excellent!
Great board for adding programmability to a 3.3V microcontroller from a host computer. Whats nice is that if you’re in a jam, you can turn this guy into a 5V breakout or vice versa. I did this by looking at the three solder pads on the back of the board and severing the center pad wire to the “3.3v” side. On my board, the silk screen on the board seemed like pretty serious business, because I couldn’t sever the connection using a razor blade just on the pcb, so I just clipped the 3.3V power line header, and soldered a little piece of wire to the 5V solder pad on the back. A little ugly, but ended up being a heck of a lot easier/faster than digging that razor blade into the pcb, and totally still works solid but at 5V! Obviously, check the wiring diagram to make sure you understand what you’re doing before attempting, but this is possible.
Helps with programming and comunication
The board works as advertised. I am able to program my Arduino based project without having an on-board USB chip.
Works with no issues.
Super small and installs easily. I could even leave it on my quadcopter it’s so light. Used it to program the on screen display module.
I did exactly what I want it to.
I had purchased a more expensive FTDI breakout that could be set to 3.3 or 5V via a solderable jumper. It came set for 5V and I had to desolder and resolder to set it to 3.3V. I tried and it didn’t work, so I bought this one instead. No jumper, it just works.
0 of 6 found this helpful:
Bought this to use with a Pro mini. Click on the driver link.. Start the down load.. 25 minutes later is still hasn’t downloaded.. It is useless without the driver and site that you download the driver DOES NOT WORK. Without the driver it is a $15 piece of junk. If Sparkfun really wanted people to use this they would have the driver ready to download.. Not going to wait 2hrs to download a 2MB file.. That is with cable modem.. Sad.. I know I will not be buying anything more from Sparkfun.. Had nothing but problems either with shipping or getting drivers to make purchases work.. I am done..
To add to this.. Finally got it to work but working is a stretch.. It would take jumping through hoops and standing on my head to get this piece of junk to work..While connected to a MINI it would download ONCE. without unplugging and making changes and trying to download changes it would quit working. Then having to unplug and plug back into the computer and Mini about a dozen times before it would work again…. Now the computer does not even reconigize it.. A TOTAL waste of money.. DO NOT BUY THIS JUNK!
Slow down. It sounds like you are running into some localized issues. But this in not a reflection of the product or it’s features.
The drivers are linked to on the official FTDI site because they release updates and revisions to the drivers from time to time. Also it’s the most direct location to get a driver for every OS (Mac, Windows, and Linux)
The download link is operational from my tests.There shouldn’t be any hoops, or head stands needed. Here’s a video that can help, it’s for Mac, but the process remains similar across different platforms. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbmgG87eIBA
Please contact our support team if you require further assistance.
Simple, no-frills, works better than an FTDI cable I had been using in the past—especially when it comes to resetting my Arduino for uploads. I’m happy as a clam with it.
It works flawlessly once you get the drivers installed, no complaints as far as functionality goes.
Mine did come with a very poor soldering job; the USB connector snapped right off the board, and you could see the legs had barely any solder on them. The surface mount pins were also weak and hard to reach. Once I fiddled around with it and resoldered the USB connector it worked as expected.
Sorry to hear that your device had some subpar soldering. We try to inspect and test every board we release. Some times a bad unit slips past our processes though. If you have this issue in the future, let us know and we’ll be happy to help resolve the issue.
0 of 2 found this helpful:
i’m in UK. Will be using it when I return.
Small, rugged, and convenient with female sockets for hooking up to CMOS. The TX and RX LEDs are more useful that I thought they would be - can see the relative timing when using multiple Breakouts. Last project used three Breakouts. Get several!
Using the FTDI breakout for very basic tasks of loading and communicating with the Pro mini (3.3v) works well. Of course, to be useful, other devices, displays, etc. need to be hung off of the Pro. When hanging additional components onto the Pro one has to watch the current draw. This is particularly true with displays, so my circuit leaves open the 3.3V output from the FTDI to the Pro and display and power is supplied via a separate circuit to both of them. The FTDI seems to be very sensitive to either power sequencing or leakage paths since I have had two of them stop working after maybe 5-10 power-up-down sequences. At that point the computer will attempt to upload the sketch and just hang there waiting for a handshake. An improvement to this product would be to include a separate voltage regulator capable of handling more current so that during development everything is powered in-situ. The battery system can be applied separately after the software is complete and the FTDI is disconnected. Notice should also be given to customers that the FTDI is sensitive to this issue.
The FT232RL datasheet discusses different power options and points out that for devices that require 100-500ma should be setup specifically in a max power mode. We do not set this up by default. However, if you need to use the device in this way, there is description of how to change this in the datasheet.
I just jumper wires from this device to standard ESP8266 modules, and am able to download code directly from the Arduino IDE. It’s very compact.
You know, Sparkfun should come up with an ESP8266 programming “jig” based around this board that uses DTR/RTS to control gpio 1 and the reset signal.
Simply connect to my Mac and ESP8266 Thing, and it works under Arduino IDE after quick installation for ESP8266.
Works well. I wired by hand and had a mistake that wasted an hour :/ maybe it is worth buying a pre-made cable assembly for the UART portion.
Does exactly as advertised with no problems
I initially had problems with using the board. I found that the shield of the USB connector on the board is not grounded on the board and the cable that I initially used only provides ground over the shield. I am not sure whether that cable is actually broken or just a non-standard product. Anyway, after using a cable with an internal ground conductor everything works fine. By the way, the “bad "cable works fine other products.
I bought this along with a Pro Mini. I soldered a header to the Mini, and plugged it in. I get a green light on the Mini, but on uploading a sketch, the IDE gives error “avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00” And tx and rx never blink. I searched for the error, and got a lot of “solutions,” some of which I tried without luck.
Update: tech support was able to help me find a port to use. My Windows system still doesn’t show an FTDI device, but the IDE finds it. It works now.
I have the board and com set properly. I can successfully upload to a Mega, so the drivers are okay.
Hmmm, we rarely see problems with this board. I would suggest contacting our tech support team, they should have no problem helping you fix your issues, or, if it’s a faulty board, getting you a replacement.
Bought it to program Arduino Pro Mini. Plugged everything together and it simply worked – no monkeying around required.
ordering process is easy. love to order from Sparkfun
I got this to program my Esp8266 Thing. I had put female headers on my Thing so I used some male headers to connect the FTDI to the Thing. I was able to upload the example sketches straight away with no problems. I have not used any other FTDI parts so I can’t compare them, but this one seems to do the job!
This interface works great, it’s easy to install, but sometimes it can’t connect to the comm port the first time. It takes two attempts to get a connection. Also, the LEDs that show the status and power end up being on the bottom of the board. This makes it tough to see the status of the programming and download.