I would like detailed instructions on how to go about uploading a program onto an Arduino using an FTDI cable/programmer. I'm just not quite sure what parts to order and how to go about doing it.

Do I require both the FTDI cable as well as a breakout board? Or just one or the other? How exactly does it physically connect to the Arduino/computer? Links would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do you want specifically program it with FTDI? Doesn't it have already an USB interface? \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Feb 2 '12 at 12:51

Most standard Arduinos require only a USB cable to program. This includes Duemilanove and Mega, for instance.

If you have an arduino with the 6pin-interface in one line, like the Arduino Pro or the Boarduino, you will need either a FTDI cable or a FTDI breakout board and a USB cable.

You will have to check the required Voltage first, because the programming interface can be 3.3V or 5V.

There is quite a variety of cables / breakouts available. I personally chose to go for the FTDI breakout board from Sparkfun. I did not want to have another specific cable lying around.

The FTDI cables are basically USB cables with the FTDI built in.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ okay thanks - so the "FTDI Basic Breakout - 3.3V" will do, assuming that the interface is 3.3V? the part where i'm kind of lost is the connectivity to the computer. am i connecting the breakout board to the computer? or am i using the breakout board as a way of connecting the computer to the arduino? i see that there is a usb port on the b-board and a 6-pin interface that (i guess) connects to the arduino. but how to connect the computer to the usb port? how can a cable with a usb end and square end work? wouldn't i need a double usb-ended cable? any visuals would help. thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Barnett Feb 2 '12 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which Arduino are you using? (there are many) Most modern ones have an FTDI chip on the board itself. So just connecting a normal USB cable to your PC (the flat A end), with the other square end ("B" end) directly to the Arduino's USB socket. \$\endgroup\$ – jdh Feb 2 '12 at 20:45

You just need a normal USB cable (type A-to-B, the type with a squarish end for the arduino socket) from your PC to the Arduino's USB socket. You probably already have extra cables from other devices. Other than the cable, you physically just need an Arduino and some type of PC (Windows, Mac or Linux). I assume you intend to buy a modern Arduino version like the Uno. Some other older versions or the Hackduino require improvising your own socket.

Here's the software part: Download the Arduino V1.0 IDE here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software The IDE has several examples accessible from the menu. Start with the "blink" basic example which doesn't require any other hardware other than the Arduino. Programs are called "sketches" that you load in the Arduino IDE. Once loaded you compile them, or "Verify" as its called in this environment. If it compiles correctly, you then click the upload icon. Once the program has finished uploading, the arduino resets and starts to run the program. (For the blink, one of the Arduino LEDs will start to blink.)

Many vendors who sell Arduino's have great web pages with plenty of examples. Adafruit is a prime example of one site that has great getting started tutorials.

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