USB Host - Serial Driver for FTDI, CP210X, PL2303

HobbyTronics USB Host - Serial Driver for FTDI, CP210X, PL2303
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Manufacturer: HobbyTronics
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USB Host - Serial Driver for FTDI, CP210X, PL2303

This software allows you to connect a USB serial device that uses an FTDI, CP210X or PL2303 USB chipset to the USB Host Board or USB Host IC's and send and receive data.
This version combines the original FTDI, CP210X and PL2303 software into one complete driver.

This is a free software download for our USB Host Board and USB Host IC's (SOIC, DIP, SSOP).

To buy - See the USB Host Board and IC product pages (links on the pictures below) for details on pricing and installing this software.

Download Software
USB Host BoardUSB Host Mini
USB Host Boards
USB Host IC's

What is a USB Serial device

Many serial devices use a USB chipset so the device can be easily plugged into a computer's USB port. You will find this type of chip on products like USB GPS receivers. There are several USB chip sets made by a number of companies. This driver software is for products from FTDI, Silicon Labs (SiLabs) and Prolific.

Supported Chipsets

The USB SERIAL Driver has been tested to work with the following chips.

  • FTDI FT232RL
  • FTDI FT232R
  • FTDI FT232H
  • FTDI FT201XS
  • FTDI FT230X
  • FTDI FT231X
  • FTDI FT2232H
  • Prolific PL2303
  • SiLabs CP210X range


You might think it a little strange that the chip in the device is converting serial to USB, then we are converting it back to serial again. Well yes, that is true. You could simply open up the device and gain access to the serial connection directly and that may well be the easiest and cheapest option.

But if you don't want to modify the device (and void the warranty), or if you want data from the device at a different baud rate (e.g. USB GPS runs at 4800 baud, but you want serial data at 9600 baud), then this software and the USB Host board / IC is what you need.

USB Host Configuration

The following Commands (sent via Serial connection) are available to configure the USB Host Board / IC with the SERIAL software

These commands are used to configure the USB Host board / IC and will only function when no device is plugged into the board. If a device is plugged in, these commands will be sent to the device

BAUD <value> Set local Serial Port Baud Rate (default 9600)
USBBAUD <value> Set Serial Port Baud Rate for the USB device
INTERFACE <value> Set Serial to USB interface method
0 - String/Packet - sends data as a packet
1 - Byte   - sends each byte as it is received
TIMEOUT <value> Timeout (in ms after last character) for sending packet
values from 1 to 30 (in milliseconds) - default 5ms
Applies to INTERFACE 0 only
USB <value> USB Data request timer (in ms)
1-20 (default 20)
GROUP <value> Group Serial Data together.
0 - OFF, 1 - ON  (default OFF)
RTSCTS <value> Local RTS/CTS Handshaking
0 - OFF, 1 - ON  (default OFF)
PORT <value> Serial Port Selection. If attached USB device has more than one Serial port, you can choose which port to connect to.
E.g. FT2232H
1, 2 (default 1)
HELP or ? Display help


The baud rate for communication with the USB Host (default 9600). Note that this does not effect the communications speed with the attached device.


The baud rate for the USB device. This should be set to the required value for the device. E.g. if the device is a GPS unit that runs at 4800 baud, the USBBAUD setting should be set to 4800


You can control how data is sent to the attached USB device.

  • 0 - String/Packet - sends data as a packet. See also the TIMEOUT setting below
          The data is received by the USB Host board and sent as a packet when no data has been
          received for the TIMEOUT duration.
  • 1 - Byte - sends each byte as it is received


This is the timeout in ms after which the data is sent as a packet. The default is 5ms and can be set anywhere between 1ms and 30ms. Test data worked without any errors with a setting of 2ms at 9600 baud (2ms is approximately 2 bytes of data)


USB Data request timer (in ms). - default 20ms
This allows you to adjust how frequently the USB Host requests a data transfer. Setting can be between 1ms and 20ms. The dafault setting should be suitable for most applications


Because of the way USB works, data is requested and transferred in packets - this can lead to small gaps in the data output (NOT lost data). This setting tries to keep data together by only outputting the data when a USB data request returns a "no data" packet. Valid settings are 0 - OFF, 1 - ON. For most users, this setting will have no effect.


RTS/CTS handshaking is for local data received from the USB Device. For data sent to the USB device handshaking is not enabled.

If you are connecting a microcontroller to the USB Host board you may only want to receive data at certain points in your program. Turn ON RTS/CTS handshaking for this functionality.

RTS on the USB Host board is the pin labelled SDA. This is an output pin which is normally HIGH when there is NO data available.
When data is available, this pin goes LOW.

CTS on the USB Host board is the pin labelled SCL. This is an input pin which should be held HIGH when you don't want data to be transmitted.
Pull this pin LOW to receive data.


Serial Port Selection. Some USB devices have more than one serial port
If attached USB device has more than one Serial port, you can choose which port to connect to.
E.g. FT2232H has 2 ports

If the attached device has only one port, this setting has no effect.

Connections required

  • 5V power in
  • 0V
  • TX out
  • RX in
  • SS pin (optional). This pin goes high when transmitting received USB data

Program Updates

To upload the Software to the USB Host Board you will need to use the ds30Loader program. See the USB Host Board product page for more information on this.

Change Log

1.05  2016-12-12    Added PORT setting
1.04  2016-11-11    RTSCTS setting wasn't being saved
1.03  2016-09-27    Added RTS (SDA) and CTS (SCL) Hardware handshaking as option
1.02  2016-08-29    Added CP2101
1.01  2016-06-06    Added FT2232H
1.00  2016-03-21    Initial version


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USB Host - Serial Driver for FTDI, CP210X, PL2303
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