Technical Projects







USB232: A USB/Serial Adapter

Serial ports are being phased out...but USB microcontrollers are still hard to use, and require custom drivers. Using a USB to serial adaptor board overcomes both of these issues, as USB ports are standard on every computer, hubs are inexpensive, and these boards use a chip that is supported by MacOS/Windows/Linux.

A Simple USB Interface for Microcontroller Projects

A $15 board that can be reused for microcontroller projects, a painless way to add USB!

The FT232BM is a chip made by FTDI, a european ASIC manufacturer, it does all the work of communicating to a computer via USB and then translating that into 5V RS-232 data. If you want that data to be 'understandable' to a serial peripheral, you need to levelshift it using something like the MAX232, which generates the +-12V used with serial.

This chip is ideal for simple microcontroller projects that need to talk to a computer, although serial is a slow protocol for data transfer (not much more than 10K/s). One of the great perks of USB is that the computer provides 5V power, 100mA for USB 1.1 and 500mA for USB 2.0, so you can run your project straight off of USB.