This is an FTDI (FT230X) serial board to enable access to the BBB's serial console (/dev/ttyO0) in a low-profile form factor that allows you to stack capes on top of the BeagleBone Black without interfering with your ability to watch the console.
This is quite useful especially if your cape happens to interrupt the hardware (e.g. eMMC pins) and prevent booting... you can see the errors as it boots.
This only works with the BeagleBone Black; it is not necessary for the original BeagleBone as that already has its console available through the onboard USB interface.
Board contains PTH holes offset to provide a suitable "friction-fit" over the male 6-pin header provided on the left side of the BeagleBone Black (next to P9). The USB connector is angled to enable a USB cable to fit snug between the DC jack and RJ45 ethernet jack.
**Note: I have found the best way to install this is to plug in the USB cable first, fit it onto the header and press down until ~1-2mm of the header is poking through, then press down on the USB plug so it sits closer to the BBB's PCB, it seems to engage the GND pin better that way. Otherwise you might find garbled data coming through the serial port.
This board does not power the BeagleBone Black nor does it provide access to the 5V rail from the USB connector. While the BBB only uses the GND, TXD and RXD pins from the FTDI header, this board does break out RTS, CTS and Vcc (Vcc is 3.3V from the FTDI chip's own LDO voltage regulator; very low power applications only). This allows you to potentially use it in other 3.3V-level projects so long as you can deal with low power usage (maximum current of 50mA per FT230X's datasheet).
FTDI chip included onboard is the FT230X (FT230XS, 16-pin SSOP). No status LEDs are included.
Compatible with USB mini-B cables and each unit includes its own USB cable for your convenience. Units are tested with their included cables on my BBB (Rev A5A) and bidirectional I/O verified at 115200 bps.
FTDI FT230X datasheet: http://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Documents/DataSheets/ICs/DS_FT230X.pdf
BeagleBone Black [Rev A5A details]
FTDI driver page: VCP Drivers
Design files: bbbftdi
BeagleBone Black serial monitoring, hacking of its kernel and boot settings.
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