Thursday 8 January 2015

Full featured FTDI-FT232RL Usb to UART breakout board

FTDI's FT232RL is the most popular USB to UART converter chip and is used by many hobbyists. 

It is very popular because it is easy to use and is reliable and also requires very less components to build a full featured UART interface from it.

For example when compared with others like PL2303 it doesn't require a crystal oscillator externally.

And one other advantage over Pl2303 is that it doesn't hang. Sometimes if the PL2303's internal FIFO buffer overflows then it will hang the driver as a result it won't work until computer is restarted and also since the driver is hung it will not respond to OS kill messages sent during Shutdown, so you will have to FORCE shutdown your computer.

Ok so the FT232R is available on breakout boards from many stores like sparkfun, adafruit etc and also on ebay. But many breakout boards just provided connections for the basic RX, TX , VCC and GND pins only.

If you ever try to use an FTDI serial-bridge as a arduino programmer (via bootloading), then you will know that we also require the DTR pin of the FT232R.

Another thing is that there is IO voltage selection pin on FT232R which can be used to switch the IO levels between 3.3v and 5v, this is also not broken out.

So keeping in mind all these extra features i designed a simple but fully loaded PCB design for the FT232RL, it contains all the features i talk above like IO voltage selection, broken out DTR, RTS and CTS pins and also multiple GND pins and 5v and 3.3v supply output.

Here is the schematic below:

And below is board layout (warning! not to scale use the pdf from repository for printing).

For soldering the components you can take help of this image.

If you observe my design you will find that i have included two USB connectors one USB-A type board mount plug and another micro-USB Connector. That is more of something like an experimental thing i was doing. But you don't need to bother with that micro-USB just use the USB-A type connector.

Two jumpers will be required to connect the Blue lines(bottom side of board) in the above image.

For printing the board layout use ftdi.pdf file from the repo.

You can find all the Eagle Design files from here

After building the final product will look like this, at least thats what mine looks like :D

So thats all and thanks for reading, if you have any queries or ideas just leave a comment.
neutronstriker An Electronics and Tech Enthusiast

I am a Tech enthusiast who loves to build stuff like new gadgets and tinker around with electronic devices doing some DIY stuff, writing some code and in the process providing something back to the community.


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