How to Install FTDI Drivers

Contributors: Paul Smith
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Note: The screen shot in this tutorial is from Ubuntu 13.04. The process should be very similar, if not exactly the same, for other versions/variations of this operating system.

Note: You will most likely need to obtain administrative privileges from your network or IT administrator in order to install these drivers.

  1. Plug in the FTDI device to a USB cable.

  2. When you download the Arduino IDE in Linux, the download comes with the FTDI drivers bundled with the IDE. However, if you just open Arduino from the desktop, you’ll notice that, if you click on ‘Tools’, the ‘Serial Port’ option is grayed out.

    Serial Ports grayed out

  3. Linux includes the drivers necessary to use Arduino, and no additional install is needed. However, permissions might need to be configured. For current instructions on how to set up these permissions, visit this page.

    An alternative method is to run Arduino as root in the terminal with the following command:

    sudo arduino

    However, this method is encouraged only if you know what you are doing and should only be used as a last resort. You will also need to enter your administrative password to run as root.

  4. Arduino should open, and this time the ‘Serial Port’ menu is available.

    Easy Peasy

  5. The FTDI device will show up under this menu. It should be named /dev/ttyUSB0. The number may vary depending on how many USB devices you have plugged into your computer. That’s all.

Note: If you have more than one FTDI device plugged in to your computer at the same time, all of the devices will show up under this menu. To figure out which device is which, look under the ‘Serial Port’ menu. Take note of the names of each device. Then unplug the device you want to use. Go back to the ‘Serial Port’ menu. The device you unplugged should no longer be listed. That is the device you want. Plug it back in, and select the device that has now reappeared.