adventures with microcomputers prototyping with raspberry pi

5. Connectivity

FTDI Breakout

Download and install the FTDI Driver to your laptop from here.

With with your RPi off, make the following connections between a FTDI Basic Breakout and the Raspberry Pi:

  • FTDI GND <-> RPi GND
  • FTDI TX <-> RPi RX
  • FTDI RX <-> RPi TX

While any FTDI breakout should work, note that the logic levels of the Raspberry Pi are 3.3V, so you must use either a 3.3V FTDI device or a 5V to 3.3V Logic Level Converter will also be needed). Interfacing with the Raspberry Pi GPIO is much easier if one uses something like the Sparkfun Pi Wedge (which already has a built in spot for the FTDI breakout board).

After double-checking your connections, plug the Raspberry Pi power adapter into its port and connect the other end to an outlet.

Connecting via screen

  1. On your host CPU, open a new terminal window and type the following command to connect to your Pi's console: screen /dev/tty.usbserial[TAB]. You should see the terminal autocomplete with some identifier of some sort. For example, after hitting tab the command looks like this on my CPU: screen /dev/tty.usbserial-AH02LSSH
  2. Add the BAUD rate (115200) to the command above (the command should like something like this: screen /dev/tty.usbserial-AH02LSSH 115200). Press enter to issue the command
  3. Once a connection is made you should notice that your terminal label will update to screen as opposed to bash. Press enter to bring up the login screen
  4. Enter login credentials

Disconnecting via screen

  1. Type exit and then hit enter to return to the login prompt
  2. Open a new terminal tab
  3. We need to get the ID number of the screen session so we can kill it. Enter screen -ls in the terminal and copy the number before .tty001 for use in the next step
  4. Issue the following command in the terminal: screen -X -S <SESSION NUMBER> quit