FTDI Chip Gone

After a couple evenings of tampering with the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, I found out why it’s not attaching to the Arduino’s serial port.

Apparently the newer Arduino UNO boards have been packed with a new USB chip. In fact, it’s not a common chip at all (unlike the FTDI chips that were employed until now).
They have adopted a generic ATmel chip that they have loaded with a firmware that focuses only on driving the USB serial conversion.

I can understand the reasoning behind this choice, it makes the Arduino that much more versatile for advanced developers (who can reprogram the USB chip itself both to emulate keyboards, joysticks or any other common peripheral, and also use it for processing if they wish – and are capable to).

Unfortunately this breaks the PnP compatibility with previous solutions to wire up the N810 and Arduino (which were based on the FTDI driver). The FTDI driver will search for FTDI’s Vendor ID, while the new Arduino has it’s own VID now (V2314).

At this point I have a few solutions…

  1. Purchase an older Arduino, or some Arduino derivative board that still employs the FTDI chip, such as the Seeduino V3.
  2. Purchase an Arduino USB Host shield, and make the Arduino act as the USB Host, or add BlueTooth connectivity and make it talk to the N810 wirelessly.
  3. Find the source for the FTDI driver for Maemo 5, modify it to look for the appropriate VID and recompile it.
  4. Learn how to reprogram the Atmega16u2 chip (apparently it works just as the FTDI chip), and compile a modified firmware that broadcasts the original FTDI VID, so the FTDI USB driver on the N810 can recognize it.

I would be tempted to go for option 4, just for the chance to learn a bunch of new stuff… but I’m afraid it’s a little too early! I am really an Arduino new bye!

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