Arduino board install problems

Arduino board is darn close to plug and play. However, there are many arduino compatible boards that come with different USB chips, making the play part just a bit further away from the plug part. So, if you have got your new arduino (or compatible), how do you install the USB chip driver? The following are the steps to identify what driver you need, where to find them, and how to install them.

There are several USB chips different Arduino compatible boards use. An incomplete list of them is supplied at the end of the post.

First of all, if you have good eye sights, you should locate the USB chip on your arduino, which is usually near the USB socket, read its markings. Then find the driver from the list at the end of the post.

On Linux, many of these drivers are included in the distribution so you don’t notice anything except that you now have a new serial port, such as TTYUSB0. On windows, however, you need more work to get the driver installed.

If you are using windows, and you can’t determine (markings too faint) what chip set you have, do the following after plugging in your arduino board:

Go to device manager and find the device with an exclamation mark under “Other devices” as an “Unknown device” (mine actually is already recognized as COM47, yeah, lots of Arduinos).

unknown device

Select properties and view the Details tab. Select under Property “Hardware Ids”. Look at the value.

USB serial port propertiesMine has VID=0403 and PID=6001. It is the FTDI FT232RL. This tells me that I would need the FTDI driver in case the driver is not already installed.

Install the correct driver, remove the arduino, reinsert it and wait for the driver to properly associate with the board. In case that didn’t happen automatically, you want to then right click the unknown device and update driver, then choose “browse my computer”. Then point to the right driver location. This step is necessary for all ATMEGAXXuX chips. The driver is in Arduino IDE under Drivers folder.

Update software driver

The following is a working list of chips, VID, PID and download links. I don’t guarantee the links are current or virus free but I did post official links.

Chip VID PID Board Link Note
Atmel ATMEGA16U2 2341 003D 003F 0042 0043 0044 ADK, DUE, MEGA2560 R3, UNO R3, ADK R3, clones Included in Arduino software under drivers
Atmel ATMEGA32U4 2341 8036 etc. Leonardo, micro, clones Included in Arduino software under drivers
FTDI FT232RL 0403 6001 Nano, Duemilanove, MEGA, clones Included in Arduino software under drivers. Many fakes exist so avoid buying cheap Arduino compatible board with this chip.
WCH CH34X 1A86 5523 7523 etc. Many clone boards Supports win 10. Seems best choice for Arduino compatible boards.
Prolific PL2303 10CE Many clone boards The company claims that many older PL2303 models on the market are fakes so it has stopped supplying drivers for win 7 and up on these models.
Silicon Labs CP210X 11F6 Many clone boards The driver may not work with win 10 so if you just upgraded to win 10 and your board stops working, …