update: I uninstalled the portable package of Arduino IDE, completely, and installed the IDE using sudo apt install arduino. yes, I verified that my Nano was plugged in, the status on the bottom right says Arduino Nano w/ ATmega328 on COM1, but sadly the IDE won't explain to me why the Tools > Serial Port section is still unavailable.

Also, the online version doesn't recognize the board even though it's plugged in and configured in the settings to look for a "Nano". I also used a reliable USB Hub I use for my drawing tablet, because that was one of the remedies to troubleshoot the lack of connection, and because the Hub seems to do a lot of good things around here.

end of update

I received an Arduino Nano as a gift a couple months ago and had to place it on a shelf as a mere dust collector, because it was not as easy as I thought it would be to get it working. I plugged the Nano into my computer with a cable, and attempted to load an example "blink" program and it gives errors saying "no device connected" in the errors.

It does light up and flash, so I know it is receiving power, so how do I specify where the Nano is? I am familiar with the /dev category and how to use code in Linux, but I don't know how to communicate with the Arduino, as in, know which block device the Nano is in /dev

now that Thomas has brought to my attention the "port" setting in the drop down menus, I just realized that the port is greyed out. that could be a good detail in troubleshooting this issue.

  • arduino.cc/en/Guide/Linux#toc6 – Juraj Apr 25 '20 at 4:17
  • Hey I just thought of an interesting Idea: what if I can use something like moserial to see a raw output from the Arduino? maybe then, I can see if it is at least talking to the laptop – Jaz Apr 27 '20 at 1:05

In the Arduino IDE, the mcu will show up in Tools > Port. Your Arduino Nano will probably be visible at /dev/ttyUSB0 or /dev/ttyUSB1 following whatever is already plugged on USB. Make sure to select it.

Select Nano in Tools > Board.

Last step is Verify/Compile your code (^R), then Upload (^U).

This link sounds to be a good read to start.

  • +1 that is a legitimate answer... and that also brings up the kicker. I forgot about the exact errors and issues I was having, because this was months ago, but it's all flooding back to me. the board is next to me now. the green light is steady, and the port drop-down is greyed out/ not clickable. what do I do? – Jaz Apr 25 '20 at 2:22

I have to sadly conclude that this issue posted was for nothing. the board I was using most likely has an underlying defect (of all odds, the 45 boards my teacher was using, he gives me 1 defect board? believable.) rendering the board inoperable. I plugged the board into an entirely different laptop, downloaded and installed a full IDE for it, ran it normally, ran it in Administrator, downloaded and installed the plugin, ran the Online IDE to test that... same exact issues: greyed out serial port settings, and no device detected upon plugging in.

again, I apologize for this being a waste of time. I wished this was not the case and that I could make some pretty cool stuff during this quarantine mess.

I salute to all you programmers out there.... and wish you all good luck in your own endeavors in Arduino.


If you have managed your Linux security well, a normal user may not have access to the port where Arduino is plugged into. If so, try from terminal with "sudo arduino". (At least works for me)

  • in my conclusion, i stated I ran it both normally, and in super user mode (sudo arduino), but gave no results. – Jaz May 4 '20 at 15:41
  • I hate to be that person who kicks down every answer and return it with another issue. i am not doing this for attention. I legitimately don't know what is wrong. – Jaz May 4 '20 at 15:42
  • actually the more i think of it, i think the cable was not made for data transfer. it was a cable i found in a pile of wires so it may just be a charge cable for something else. I will try to find one guarenteed for data transfer and see if it gives better results – Jaz May 4 '20 at 15:44

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