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Typically refers to a specific type of device which allows raw serial communication with a PC via USB.

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A 5V cable would be fine, or for about the same price, I would recommend an Adafruit FTDI Friend which is configurable between 5V and 3.3V. …
answered Mar 14 '15 by Bad Wolf
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The older Arduino boards used an FTDI FT232R chip to handle the USB port. This chip is a special purpose, USB to serial UART interface. In the current Arduino boards, the USB to serial conversion is … ? Well, first, it's cheaper than the FTDI chip, and second, it can do much more. Being that it's an actual microprocessor, you can actually reprogram this chip to behave like different USB devices. For …
answered Mar 14 '15 by Bad Wolf