Author Topic: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter  (Read 42153 times)

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Offline Chipguy

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Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« on: October 30, 2014, 08:50:42 AM »
Hi,
I would like to start a new thread to solely discuss the replacement of FTDI USB-to-UART converters.
Everyone who is in the process of changing the design to another manufacturer is invited to share his experiences in here.
FTDI bashing: Please join the crowd in http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ftdi-driver-kills-fake-ftdi-ft232/

I would like to ask the Aministrators, to move all the off topic replies in here in order to keep this one on topic.

Here is the original list I posted a day ago at the other thread.
Possible FTDI replacements in alphabetical order, not complete yet:

Atmel ATMEGA8U2 16U2 with Arduino USBSerial Firmware (see Arduino UNO R3)
ASIX MCS7810 http://www.asix.com.tw
Cypress CY7C65211 with battery charger detection http://www.cypress.com/?mpn=CY7C65211-24LTXI
Cypress CY7C65213 with battery charger detection http://www.cypress.com/?mpn=CY7C65213-28PVXI
Prolific PL2303HX (Pin compatible to FT232R) http://www.prolific.com.tw/us/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=156&pcid=41
Microchip MCP2200 www.microchip.com/MCP2200
Silicon Labs CP210x http://www.silabs.com/products/interface/usbtouart/Pages/usb-to-uart-bridge.aspx
Texas Instruments TUSB3410 http://www.ti.com/product/TUSB3410?keyMatch=tusb3410&tisearch=Search-EN
WCH-IC Chinese CH340 http://wch-ic.com/product/usb/ch340.asp

Where is that smoke coming from?
 
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Offline jeremy

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 08:54:45 AM »
If you want a good, cheap usb to serial converter, you can buy a cypress psoc dev kit for $4 and snap the board along the marked line. It also does usb to spi and usb to i2c.
 

Offline Chipguy

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 09:07:21 AM »
Hi,

Today I played around with the CY7C65213, mounted on the nice little board called CYUSBS232.
Here is a brief review of it:

You get a nice little board, 3 chips and a short USB to Micro-USB cable.
Drivers and software need to be downloaded.
When plugged in the first time it comes up with 2 unknown devices that have the same name.
They don't install themself so it is necessary to update the driver. I needed some attempts to find the right one of the 2 for each of them. That's a bit messy since both of them are in different directories.
Once the drivers are installed it works fine.

So I put it on t breadboard, and shorted RX and TX. Works fine. "HELLO WORLD", wohoo.
Now I wanted to use the Battery Charger Detection circuit.
It needs to be activated in the Cypress RDK software tool, that's what FTDI calls "FTProg", just for comparison.
It knows 4 different states that can be output on 2 pins, however the entire truthtable can be configured at what you need  :-+
It does not have the "enhanced detection" like the FT234X has, so it really needs USB D+ and D- to be shortes as per Battery Charger Standard 1.2 final (somewhere in section 1.4)

I also need RS485 and was wondering why there was no mention of that in the datasheet.
The CY7C65213 really has no auto RS485 direction signal. That's a big dissapointment  :--
I even tried Software RS485 with RTS inverted and non inverted, none of them worked.

Since the RXLed and TXLED are pretty dim flashing when there is data transfer going on I think I am going to get the logig analyzer and have a look on these signals. Maybe the timing is good enough.

That's it so far for today. I am very sad that auto RS485 does not seem to be possible. I wonder if there might me some patent stuff going on. Who knows. I will get some more of these as a drop in replacement for another board. I let you know how they work.

Cheers,
Chip
Where is that smoke coming from?
 

Offline Chipguy

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 09:13:15 AM »
If you want a good, cheap usb to serial converter, you can buy a cypress psoc dev kit for $4 and snap the board along the marked line. It also does usb to spi and usb to i2c.

I am rather thinking of really designing and layouting. Sure there are a lot of cool, cheap and easy solutions for tinkering/hacking/modding, but that's not what I am on about. This is for using the converter IC on it's own in anyones own design.
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Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 09:14:05 AM »
Today, I got the MCP2221 DIP-package chips I ordered from Farnell. Tomorrow morning I'll go soldering ...
It's very neat to still be able to get an USB-Uart in DIP package. More about this chip tomorrow. Decent price and very few extra parts besides the chip itself.

In the meantime I stumbled upon these Exar USB-Uart bridges
 www.exar.com/connectivity/uart-and-bridging-solutions
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 09:19:53 AM by benSTmax »
 

Offline Chipguy

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 09:29:54 AM »
Today, I got the MCP2221 DIP-package chips I ordered from Farnell. Tomorrow morning I'll go soldering ...
It's very neat to still be able to get an USB-Uart in DIP package. More about this chip tomorrow. Decent price and very few extra parts besides the chip itself.

In the meantime I stumbled upon these Exar USB-Uart bridges
 www.exar.com/connectivity/uart-and-bridging-solutions

Yeah I am really looking forward to that one. Only found the MCP2200 so far. Need to have a closer look around.
Somebody found out that this is actually a PIC18F something and was able to reprogram it, awesome.
Where is that smoke coming from?
 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 09:37:47 AM »
It seems there's a neat little board based on MCP2221 but it wasn't available at Farnell.
I am checking its schematic for my soldering adventure tomorrow. :)
Here is the link to it:
 www.microchip.com/DevelopmentTools/ProductDetails.aspx?PartNO=adm00559
 

Offline karan279

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 02:27:36 PM »
Just swapped a ft232rl with pl2303 on a simple usb to uart board and it doesn't work. When i connect it to the pc it does nothing . A trap for young players , looks like will have to look into this problem or maybe the pl2303 is dead .
Any experience anyone?

Edit : looking at the reference schematic for pl2303 and looks like it requires some extra components .
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 02:37:56 PM by karan279 »
There are those who accept things as they are, and those who Rise to change them.
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 03:23:11 PM »
http://www.microchip.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=261649

Firmware to clone a FT2(2)32 using a PIC18F, just to annoy FTDI more. Could probably easily fix the EEPROM-write difference too. >:D
 

Offline tbbw

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 06:50:34 PM »
Hi,
I would like to start a new thread to solely discuss the replacement of FTDI USB-to-UART converters.
Everyone who is in the process of changing the design to another manufacturer is invited to share his experiences in here.
FTDI bashing: Please join the crowd in http://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ftdi-driver-kills-fake-ftdi-ft232/

I would like to ask the Aministrators, to move all the off topic replies in here in order to keep this one on topic.

Here is the original list I posted a day ago at the other thread.
Possible FTDI replacements in alphabetical order, not complete yet:

Atmel ATMEGA8U2 16U2 with Arduino USBSerial Firmware (see Arduino UNO R3)
ASIX MCS7810 http://www.asix.com.tw
Cypress CY7C65211 with battery charger detection http://www.cypress.com/?mpn=CY7C65211-24LTXI
Cypress CY7C65213 with battery charger detection http://www.cypress.com/?mpn=CY7C65213-28PVXI
Prolific PL2303HX (Pin compatible to FT232R) http://www.prolific.com.tw/us/ShowProduct.aspx?p_id=156&pcid=41
Microchip MCP2200 www.microchip.com/MCP2200
Silicon Labs CP210x http://www.silabs.com/products/interface/usbtouart/Pages/usb-to-uart-bridge.aspx
Texas Instruments TUSB3410 http://www.ti.com/product/TUSB3410?keyMatch=tusb3410&tisearch=Search-EN
WCH-IC Chinese CH340 http://wch-ic.com/product/usb/ch340.asp
Maby abit late bloomer on my post but i just wanted to thank you for the time you put into finding these chips and posting links to them :)
 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 07:25:49 PM »
It seems there's a neat little board based on MCP2221 but it wasn't available at Farnell.
I am checking its schematic for my soldering adventure tomorrow. :)
Here is the link to it:
 www.microchip.com/DevelopmentTools/ProductDetails.aspx?PartNO=adm00559

My soldering adventure was really quick. I just hooked a couple of caps around the chip and a 3.3V regulator. I missed the reset pin pull-up resistor but it seems it is working without it just fine  :-+
Driver installation went fine. I am now using it to connect to the serial console of a Raspberry Pi. I like this chip ...  ;D
I'll come back later on with more details ...
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 08:27:13 PM »
Here is the original list I posted a day ago at the other thread.
Possible FTDI replacements in alphabetical order, not complete yet:


It would be nice to have an idea of price as well...can you put approximate price next to each one?
 

Offline paf

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2014, 08:52:45 PM »
Many thanks for the list!

The CH340g started to appear some time ago in very cheap "ebay" USB to serial adapter cables (around $2.00 USD).
Now, it also appears in "ebay" USB to TTL adapters and in the cheapest Arduino clones in ebay.

First, they only had drivers for some versions of Windows, but now one can find the driver for all the versions of Windows here:
http://www.wch.cn/downloads.php?name=pro&proid=5

For Linux, the drivers already come in the kernel, or can be loaded, and recently there is also an OSX driver:
http://www.wch.cn/downloads.php?name=pro&proid=178

The drivers say "CH341" but they work with the CH340.

For prices of modules go to ebay and search for "ch340g".

   
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2014, 09:07:33 PM »
Can somebody email a link to this thread to the boss of FTDI?

After all, forums like this are where the actual board designers hang out.

 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2014, 09:48:38 PM »
It seems there's a neat little board based on MCP2221 but it wasn't available at Farnell.
I am checking its schematic for my soldering adventure tomorrow. :)
Here is the link to it:
 www.microchip.com/DevelopmentTools/ProductDetails.aspx?PartNO=adm00559

The more I play with this chip, the more I like it.  :D
It turns out besides the USB-UART, it can do I2C. The extra pins can be used to read analog voltages and also generate a voltage (basically a DAC).  :clap:
I soldered a 2nd chip onto the breakout section of an NXP LPC1114 board to have easy access to the LPC1114's serial lines. It works a treat!
The price of MCP2221 (depending on the package) varies from $1.55 till $1.69
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 10:16:53 PM by benSTmax »
 

Offline jeremy

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2014, 10:02:46 PM »
Wow! this MCP2221 is incredible. I just wish it did SPI  :(
 

Online NANDBlog

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2014, 11:56:06 PM »
I don't recommend silicon labs, because they fail to deliver their drivers through microsoft. That is a big no-no to me. The TI's TUSB with their legacy MCU core is also a weird choice. I dont like cypress, because no-one stocks them really (farnell has 7 in US stock. kinda stocking).
Soo... Microchip.
 

Online bktemp

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2014, 12:04:17 AM »
Do the microchip ICs keep their assigned COM port number when plugged into different USB ports?
 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2014, 12:06:20 AM »
This MCP2221 is amazing!  :D
There's a tool you can use to play with the I2C and also with the other things on this chip.
I hooked up an I2C EEPROM and I was able to read and write into it.  :-+
All this time data was being sent out on UART by the LPC1114 micro. The chip had no problem doing UART and I2C things in parallel.
Man, I wish I knew about this one earlier ...
So long FTDI!
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2014, 12:30:16 AM »
I have used ch340-based converters for quite sometime now. No problem whatsoever.
================================
https://dannyelectronics.wordpress.com/
 

Offline amyk

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2014, 12:30:42 AM »
Wow! this MCP2221 is incredible. I just wish it did SPI  :(
The MCP2221 appears to be a preprogrammed PIC16(L)F1455, which does have SPI support, so if you were so inclined you could probably write some firmware to do it. The pinouts match completely, and Microchip provide an example of a CDC-based COM port firmware for it: https://sites.google.com/site/ytsnew/home/pic16f1455

Amusingly enough there's a thread here from last year about using that PIC as a virtual COM port... complete with some "no, use FTDI instead" posts. :D

(These might be actual PIC die that were rejected for being imperfect, but their use as USB-UARTs doesn't need the modules that would be required to be operational in a true PIC.)
 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2014, 12:59:30 AM »
Do the microchip ICs keep their assigned COM port number when plugged into different USB ports?

It seems the chip doesn't provide any serial number, so the COM changes when you plug it into different ports.
I checked the datasheet and there were mentions about enumeration with or without serial number.
I installed the MCP2221 Utility and I found you can actually put your own serial number into the chip.  :-+
When I checked the "Enumerate with serial number" box, the chip started using the serial number I have provided and the COM ports didn't change anymore when I plugged it in other USB ports.
Very nice feature indeed!!!  :-+

PS: This chip doesn't need a crystal. I read the thread along with the "no, use FTDI instead" mentions  ;D
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 01:44:49 AM by benSTmax »
 

Offline LoyalServant

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2014, 01:09:46 AM »
Well Digi-key has the MCP2221 in stock and Newark will have some in a week per their site as of this writing.
So, these guys are not unobtainium at least...

I like that you can set a serial number too...
 

Offline LukeW

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2014, 01:20:36 AM »
Do you want to completely boycott FTDI, or just the FT232RL?

If the latter, you might want to consider something like the FT230X. I wouldn't use the FT232 in any new designs today anyway, even ignoring all the recent FTDI issues.
 

Offline benSTmax

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Re: Alternatives to FTDI USB to UART converter
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2014, 01:42:13 AM »
All the way until this FTDI-gate, they were pretty much "the only" USB-UART converter chip company I would go for.
This whole FTDI scandal is in fact an eye-opener. I just want to know more about the other similar chips from other companies.

I do have a couple of FT230X boards and they are quite ok but I cannot bet all my money on FTDI again. Maybe they will do something nasty as well when they'll discover FT230X-like chips not made by them.

TUSB3410 is not bad either. I've played with one I have on a MSP430 Launchpad board. Very decent chip.
 


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