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Author Topic: USB through tiny hole in box; FTDI breakout boards?  (Read 720 times)
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Carbondale Illinois
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We've developed an Arduino-powered pump controller for our river models (www.emriver.com) using Arduino Pro.  It's in a watertight box.  I'd like to run USB through the box using a glad nut.

We could easily do this by running connector-less USB cable and then soldering to a breakout board inside the box (the gland nut will only pass small wire; not even a mini USB connector).

We are using these boards now http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716  and I see Sparkfun also has a BOB that would probably work for us (but way expensive for some reason):  http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9716

And we could desolder the connector from the first board above, but I hate to do that.  And we could use very expensive/ hard to find watertight USB ports.

Any advice or ideas?  Thanks!

Here's a little peek at the controller with nice custom PCB.

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Leeds, UK
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Good job with the board in the photo, it looks really slick.

If I understand you correctly, perhaps it would be worth quickly knocking together an FTDI breakout board of your own, and adding the appropriate holes to connect the chip to the emasculated USB cable.

It shouldn't be too hard to solder that chip with a bit of solder paste and an iron and you solve the problem of having to somehow thread a connector or having to solder the wires to the small connector pads - much more mechanically reliable.

What's the USB used for - just for programming or for control etc?
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You just need Rx/Tx/Gnd to connect to an external to the box USB adapter?
There are very inexpensive CP2102 USB/Serial adapters available on e-bay, can you run three very small (28 guage) wires from that in a single jacket thru the gland nut, and then have the module in its own waterproof box?
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Carbondale Illinois
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Thanks ya'll.

After talking to others I've decided we'll keep using the Sparkfun unit with the mini b plug; I found a male mini b plug at Mouser (798-UX40A-MB-5P) that should be easy to solder; we'll pass the USB pigtail through the glandnut and then solder on the plug and connect to the Sparkfun board that way. Actually, without the overmolding we *might* be able to pass the soldered-on plug through the gland nut opening.

a.d., we will use for both programming and control; students and researchers use the models for experiments/teaching; so it's very cool to have real time control/data readout, which can be done with USB.

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