Breadboard Arduinos and Sparkfun’s FTDI Basic Breakout

Sparkfun FTDI Basic Breakout
The FTDI Basic Breakout from Sparkfun

I recently purchased one of these breakout boards from Sparkfun. I bought the 5V version because I want to power an ATmega328 over the USB connection on the board.

This is the procedure I use to connect and upload sketches to a breadboard Arduino from the Arduino IDE in Linux:

First of all, the ATmega328 chips that I’m using are already bootloaded using the Duemilanove bootloader. (Duemilanove w/ ATmega328 in the boards menu).
The ATmega needs to be hooked up with VCC & GND connectors (will be powered from FTDI board), an external 16MHz Crystal and a 0.1uF capacitor on pin 1 for auto-reset. A pull-up resistor on pin 1 is recommended.

Arduino on a breadboard
Arduino on a breadboard

Now add the breakout board to the breadbord and hock it up like this:

  • Connect the DTR pin to pin 1 on the ATmega through the 0.1uF capacitor.
  • Connect the RX pin to pin 3 on the ATmega (TX)
  • Connect the TX pin to pin 2 on the ATmega (RX)
  • Connect the 5V pin to the 5V rail of the board to supply the board with power from the USB interface.
  • Connect the GND pin to the GND rail of the board
Arduino on breadboard with FTDI Basic Breakout
Arduino on breadboard with FTDI Basic Breakout

Connect the USB cable and fire up the IDE.
There should now be a serial port called ttyUSBx. Select it.

From the boards menu, select Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ ATmega328

It should now be possible to upload sketches.

6 thoughts on “Breadboard Arduinos and Sparkfun’s FTDI Basic Breakout

  1. Thanks, needed this for reference, i used a 10uF and prolific FTDI, setting on Duemilenova didn’t work but UNO did, either way,i’m able to upload!

    1. The LED’s have resistors soldered to their legs and covered with shrink tube but it doesn’t show in the photos. I use them a lot as diagnostic LED’s on my breadboards because they take up less space that way.
      I never explained it because the point of this blog post was not to show how to connect LED’s to your circuit or how to hook up an ATmega on a breadboard. The only point of the post was to show how to get the FTDI adapter running.

  2. If anybody still is having a problem uploading to the code. I used the settings as Board: Mini, Programmer: AVR ISP. Hope this helps

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