This voltage converter board inserts between a 6-pin "FTDI" serial connection to allow different voltages on either side.Designed by matthijs in Netherlands
What is it? In microcontroller and Arduino boards, the 6-pin "FTDI" serial connector is commonly used to connect such boards to your computer through an USB-to-serial converter. One caveat is that ...Read More…
In microcontroller and Arduino boards, the 6-pin "FTDI" serial connector is commonly used to connect such boards to your computer through an USB-to-serial converter. One caveat is that the voltage on both sides of the connection usually needs to match: Connecting a 5V USB-to-serial adapter to a 3.3V Arduino will overload its pins and potentially break them. This board can be inserted between an USB-to-serial adapter and microcontroller board with mismatching voltages, and it will convert the voltage levels on the RX, TX and DTR lines automatically.
This converter is particularly useful when connecting to projects with non-standard voltages (e.g. an Arduino running off two AA batteries), since it will be pretty much impossible to find a USB-to-serial adapter whose vomltage is near enough.
This listing is for a bare PCB only. See below for the components you will additionally need. If you are interested in a kit (board plus needed components) or fully assembled board, let me know and I'll consider adding an option for that.
Note that FTDI refers to the manufacturer of the chip that was originally often used, by now a lot of these USB-to-serial boards use chips of other manufacturers as well.
I was working with a battery-powered microcontroller board, whose voltage could be anywhere between 3.2V (battery full) and 2V (batteries as good as empty). I first created the design on a bit of protoboard, using slightly different components, and then made a cleaner PCB design in KiCad.
I ordered some boards at Seeedstudio, but since the minimum order quantity for the PCB was 10 pieces, I have a few spare boards that I'm happy to sell.
The components to completely build this design, are:
Depending on your needs, some parts can be left out:
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