Note: This post is dedicated to the Arduino compatible boards that use the CH340 USB to Serial IC.
We get quite often comments from people that have issues with connecting their Arduino compatible board to their PC. Luckily it turns out that in most of the cases the issue is at least one of the following two, which they are very easy to fix!
If you have issue with the PC recognizing your Arduino compatible board so you can upload code, check the following (preferably in the same sequence):
- Your USB cable should be a data cable and not a power only one! To easily test if your USB cable can transfer data, you can connect your mobile phone using the cable ( or any other device that can be transferred data through it ) with the PC and check that the phone storage/data is accessible via the PC.
- You should have the driver for the CH340 chip installed in your PC. If you are unsure whether you have an Arduino compatible board that uses the CH340 IC ( some boards use other ICs ), checkout the image above and look for an IC that has the text “CH340” typed on it. Nevertheless you can anyway install the drivers and give it a try.
1. Check your USB cable! Yes, not all USB cables can transfer data, hence have the ability to upload code to your Arduino compatible board 🙂. There are usually two types of cables:
- Data cables
- Power cables
A data cable is the ‘usual’ cable that you use to connect your phone (or HDD, camera) to your computer and transfer data (music, files etc…). This type of cable typically uses 4 wires, the two are used for power transfer ( give power to the Arduino ) and the other two for data transfer.
A power cable is a cable that can only transfer power. This cable is usually used to power up or charge a device, like your phone (or camera, power bank) only. The reason that this cable cannot transfer data is because it actually misses the two data wires and looks like the image below!
These types of cables are sometimes designed to transfer more power and charge a device faster, like some fast charging cables. Other times they are included in devices for just providing power, since there is no use in transferring data like a digital USB photo frame.
2. Windows 10 by default does not have the CH340 driver pre-installed. The CH340 driver is a piece of software that lets your computer communicate with the board that uses the CH340 IC, which in this case is your Arduino compatible board.
Below you can find the driver for the three common operating systems:
If you need detailed instructions on how to install the driver, you can head to this Sparkfun tutorial.