Hey, sorry everyone, I know it’s been a while. But I hope this post will make up for that! Anyone who has done embedded programming knows that an easy way for microcontrollers (like arduino) to connect to a PC is through a serial connection. Unfortunately, not many computers have a serial port these days, and while are a lot of chips that will act like a usb-serial converter, they tend to be somewhere in the $3-5 range. However, I found one chip, the CH340G, that only costs 40 cents!
CH340G – alternative USB to serial IC - [Link]
Hemal Chevli wrote an article detailing his new tool the GLCDTerm that reads serial data without PC on GLCD:
I’m calling it GLCDTerm(spin-off from GTKTerm), this handy tool reads TTL serial data and displays it on GLCD. This is the first time I’ve used a GLCD in any of my projects. It runs on m328 using arduino bootloaer and the awesome GLCD library. I first made a prototype on one of my arduino clones, Below is the video running diagnostics program.
Read serial data without PC on GLCD – [Link]
This USB to serial converter project is easy to build, it is simple and inexpensive. It is based on the FT230XS from FTDI Chip.
USB to Serial converter using FTDI FT230X - [Link]
This USB to serial (TTL) converter project is easy to build, it is simple and inexpensive. It is based on the PL2303SA USB to USART bridge from Prolific.
USB to Serial converter using PL2303SA - [Link]
ARPix has posted this instructable on constructing an external serial monitor device using the Atmega328 MCU and a graphic LCD. It allows a user interface to set the serial baud rate and start/stop functions using tact switches.
Sometimes I needed an external serial monitor like the Serial Monitor in the Arduino Editor, to see what is going on. So I made one. For the ESM I used an Atmel Atmega328 because it have an internal SRAM with 2KBytes. It’s necessary for the big data processing. So you need more than 1KByte SRAM.
Constructing an external serial monitor - [Link]
luca @ lucadentella.it build a nice app that let you configure an RTC chip using a PC GUI and your Arduino board. The system is composed by two elements, the PC GUI written in C# and a sketch running on Arduino. The RTC is connected on the Arduino using I2C interface and Arduino is connected to PC using a simple serial protocol.
I chose to use the Adafruit’s RTClib library to talk with the DS1307 chip, that is for sure one of the most used RTC in the hobbistic world. The connection between the IC and Arduino is established using the I2C bus.
RTCSetup – configure an RTC chip using your PC - [Link]
Bertho shared his NoLoop galvanic isolator:
I had a problem some time ago with a nasty ground-loop and that cost me the USB port on my old laptop. It took me a while to realize what had happened and it was a generic problem we all run into more often than we think. Time to solve this particular problem once and for all and make generic isolation for Serial and SPI ports.
NoLoop galvanic isolator - [Link]
Another low component count USB to serial converter module is based on the FT230XS from FTDI Chip. The FT230XS is outfitted in SSOP-16 packaging. The first incarnation of FT230X chips got a nasty bug when the chip inadvertently goes into suspend mode triggered by certain byte sequences. The FT230X releases A, B and C were affected, see FTDI Chip TN_139 Technical Note. The resistor R1 connected to CBUS3 pin is providing workaround, keeping the chip awake. The Eagle projects files are here.
USB to Serial Breakout Board for FTDI FT230X - [Link]
asidorenk @ obddiag.net pointed us to this great little USB to Serial board:
This USB to serial (TTL) converter project is easy to build, it is simple and inexpensive. It is based on the PL2303SA USB to USART bridge from Prolific. The PL2303SA chip is not required an external crystal as the internal clock oscillator is continuously tuning up to USB bus frequency. Having chip in SO-8 packaging does not require special soldering skills to assemble the project. Please note: the TX and RX signal levels are 3.3 Volts.
USB to Serial Breakout Board for Prolific PL2303SA - [Link]
Ray reports he’s just finished working on a new open source wearable electronics controller board called SquareWear. It’s small (1.6″x1.6″) and has built-in USB port (used for programming the microcontroller, USB serial communication, and charging battery). It also has 4 on-board MOSFETs for switching high-current load (up to 500mA). The board is based on Microchip’s PIC18F14k50, and includes a SquareWear library to make it as easy to use as Arduino. Check out RaysHobby website for the source code and programming guide.
SquareWear open source controller board - [Link]