The FTDI FT232RL is a popular USB-to-serial bridge IC (Integrated Circuit) manufactured by Future Technology Devices International (FTDI). It is widely used in various electronic projects, development boards, and commercial products to add USB connectivity and communication capabilities to devices that need to interface with a computer or other USB-enabled host.
The FT232RL is commonly used to convert Universal Serial Bus (USB) signals to UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) serial communication signals. It acts as a virtual COM port on the computer, allowing developers and users to communicate with devices using standard serial communication protocols. This makes it easy to interface with microcontrollers, sensors, and other electronic components that communicate via UART.
Key features of the FTDI FT232RL include:
USB 2.0 Full-Speed compliant: The chip supports USB 2.0 specifications, providing a maximum data transfer rate of 12 Mbps for USB communication.
Integrated EEPROM: The FT232RL includes an onboard EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) that stores vendor-specific information and settings, such as the device description and USB vendor/product IDs.
Low-power operation: The chip is designed to operate efficiently with low power consumption, making it suitable for battery-powered applications.
Driver support: FTDI provides driver support for various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and others. These drivers create a virtual COM port on the host system, simplifying the integration of the FT232RL into user applications.
Available packages: The FT232RL comes in different package options, including SSOP, QFN, and DIP, making it versatile and easy to use on various PCB designs.
Due to its ease of use, driver support, and reliability, the FTDI FT232RL has become a popular choice for hobbyists, engineers, and manufacturers alike, enabling seamless USB communication for a wide range of electronic devices and applications. However, it's important to note that in the past, FTDI faced controversy related to driver updates that intentionally bricked counterfeit versions of the chip, causing concerns about device authenticity and driver compatibility.