I'm about to buy Arduino Pro Mini (http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardProMini). As far as I can see it requires FTDI or similar circuit to program it.

Should FTDI be present for communication with PC after sketch is uploaded to chip or there is a way to connect Arduino Pro Mini DIRECTLY to USB cable and PC?

Is this also case with Arduino Pro Micro? (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12640)

Thanks in advance Petar

  • After the sketch is uploaded you only need to provide the board power. The FTDI is only used for programming.
    – Gerben
    Nov 20 '14 at 17:35

V-USB can be used to create a low-speed USB device in software, but you will need to program the chip before you can use it. It also has a number of caveats that must be adhered to regarding electrical and software specifications, so it not the best choice for an absolute beginner.

A USB-UART bridge (not necessarily a FTDI chip, although that is (was?) the most popular solution) will allow you to program and communicate with the chip over its serial port, but any AVR ISP programmer can also be used to program it without requiring a preexisting bootloader in place.

  • Thanks for quick replay. Info was very helpful. For now I will stick to the Micro board thus it has built in USB chip, but for later projects i will try V-USB (at least for those w/o high-speed communication requirements).
    – cyberbrain
    Nov 20 '14 at 18:26

The "Arduino Pro Micro" has its own USB interface so you don't need extra stuff for it to work. However, a number of existing libraries that deals with Arduino shields do not support the new chip inside the Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4) so check first to make sure it will work with what you need.

For the "Arduino Pro Mini" (which I use a lot since it is very very cheap, about $3 from ebay) to program it I use "USPASP" (also cheap ~$3) so I have three of them but you only need one to program as many Pro Minis as you like. And for communication I use a "USB to TTL UART" (based on the "CP2102" chip which works with Linux, Windows and Mac) they are also super cheap (about $2) and you connect it to the serial pins on your Pro Mini.

(Just search ebay for the terms I put in quotes and you will find many of them at low prices, they ship from china so it will take about a month to get to you which is why I ordered more than I need for future projects, or for a little extra you might find local sellers with same products)

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