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Topic: Make your Arduino USB for only 1 dollar! (Read 30907 times) previous topic - next topic


It's workin'...  Hoo-rah!!!  

I ended up using an older driver (PL-2303 v2.0.2.5 for XP) from here;



I have just bought a DKU 5 cable, but I have had no luck using it with my mac.
When I plug it in hardware growler spots it and reports it as a USB-UART controller and system profiler shows this:

 Product ID:      0x0232
 Vendor ID:      0x6547
 Version:       0.01
 Speed:      Up to 12 Mb/sec
 Manufacturer:      ArkMicroChips
 Location ID:      0xfa230000
 Current Available (mA):      500
 Current Required (mA):      500

However I am unable to locate the serial port in /dev anywhere and the arduino IDE cannot find it either.

Do I need a specific driver?
Is there a file I need to edit?
Does it involve the sacrifice of a chicken?



Do I need a specific driver?

Yes, I think you do.  The manufacturer's name, ArkMicroChips, should be a clue.  The normal Arduino USB-to-serial chip is made by FDTI. My CA-42 cable uses a chip made by Prolific Technology. Both these chips have drivers built-in on Linux (which OS are you using, BTW?), but the Ark chip probably does not.


The manufacturer's name, ArkMicroChips, should be a clue.

Well gee, I never would have thought of that on my own!  ;D
I have already searched for a Mac driver from ArkMicroChips and I haven't had any luck. I was hoping that someone might know where I could get one, or might know that I was doing somthing wrong.

I am running OSX 10.6.3

Oh well, if it doesn't work at least it only cost me £3 on eBay and now I have some nice 3 core cable!

Thanks for your continuing help and support folks. This community is very good. :)



Apr 16, 2010, 04:40 pm Last Edit: Apr 16, 2010, 04:53 pm by stephen_t Reason: 1
Got my cheap CA-42 cable from a Hong Kong vendor today. Just to be different it has 4 wires, wired to Gnd, TX,RX and USB VBus.  Ignoring the Vbus and powering the Arduino (home brew with 5v 328 chip) seperately it works fine on Ubuntu pressing the reset at the opportune time.  Its detected as a PL2303 and installs as a standard ttyUSBx port.  It took a long time to come but the UK ebay page is:  



Flushed with success, I dug out another one I failed with a while back, again a CA-42, externally looks almost identical, but had 3 core cable and didn't work, It received with lots of errors but wouldn't upload.  Ubuntu reports and loads the device fine (identically to the working one), I guess its a bad one, the downside of paying next to nothing on Ebay..........


I have already searched for a Mac driver from ArkMicroChips and I haven't had any luck.

Ah, you didn't say that in your original message! I think the only way forward is to find that driver, somehow.


Ah, you didn't say that in your original message!

Sorry, that was my fault there. i hace found a driver for Linux, but as yet none for Mac and I am fairly sure that Linux drivers don't work on the Mac. Rats.

Looks like I wasted £3. :(


May 17, 2010, 06:56 pm Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 07:32 pm by raron Reason: 1
Great tip! I finally have an alternate way of uploading sketches :)

After reading this thread I picked up a DKU-5 cable from


It has a prolific PL-2303 and a 3 core wire.

orange = GND
blue = RX
red = TX

I've tested it with my 5 volt board and it works fine.

I too got a DKU-5 with 3 wires. But I had the TX/RX colors the other way around. Even though I measured the pinouts beforehand, I managed to confirm Murphy's law and switch them. Thankfully, the DKU-5 held (might be because I had a 220 ohm on the TX from an arduino, just in case).

This guy have a really nice writeup on the nokia serial converter: http://www.uchobby.com/index.php/2009/10/04/diy-usb-to-serial-cable-for-3/#more-492

EDIT: Forgot to say, I found a tip in the link above helpful: The one about finding X and waiting X seconds after clicking upload, since there is no auto-reset. For me X was 2 seconds (give or take). Only tried twice so far, and I don't remember which bootloader I have on my breadboard arduino thing. Probably ADABOOT.


sorry... just to feed my curiosity..
this can be used in the arduino 0018?


sorry... just to feed my curiosity..
this can be used in the arduino 0018?

If it works at all, it will work with any Arduino IDE.  If you care to read the whole thread, you'll find a lot of pitfalls, a FDTI breakout board whilst more expensive, is a lot less grief.........


guys... i am a new comer here in the Arduino family.. although i am only exposed to PIC earlier.just started to play with Arduino about 3 days ago.

yup... already tested with the pl2303 or Arduino 0018. my Arduino board hasn't arrive yet.. so i have to bare with building up from the the source, 328s and the pl2303 (although i already bought the FTDI breakout board)
its not cheap for a jobless guy like me.(just finished studying)

its proven success to use the pl2303 as replacement for ftdi... thanx guys


Hello guys.. I hooked my DKU-5 cable (Third Party) after seeing this post...
The cable got 5-wires and i measured the voltages & they came out to be-

Green - GND
Yellow - VCC (3.23V)
White - 0.11V
Black - 0.14,0.15,0.16V (the reading fluctuated)
Red - 0.12 0.13V

Now which is Tx and Rx ? :-?



I'm sorry, i didn't do the voltage test.. he he he..
why dont u try breaking the case....
my dku-5 even got labels... the same as for all there is on ftdi's...
dtr cts r1 and a lot more...
rx tx...

i waited for a month to get the guts to break it.. what a relief!



Will the RX pin on the PL2303 be ok with 5v straight from a 5v Arduino TX pin?

The guide at uchobby.com uses a divider but others seem to connect the RX straight to the Arduino TX.



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