Fri, 30 Sep 2016
Using minicom with the FTDI friend
For ad-hoc quick usage I most often use the screen /dev/somedevice baudrate for serial things, but for real usage, I prefer minicom. Mostly because I typically want my things to be running under screen, and screen in screen makes my head hurt, and because when I use that trick, I can never remember how to make screen quit.
As I've been doing more with Raspberry Pis, I've gotten a handful of the Adafruit FTDI friends to use as USB to serial adapters. I tried using one tonight, and while I could get output from the Pi booting, I couldn't type anything. I spent a half-hour in vain, swapping out FTDI friends, trying to wire two back to back, etc, until I figured out the trick.
minicom defaults to turning hardware control on, but the most common FTDI Friend config out there is three wires only — RX, TX and GND. No hardware control lines wired up. Which causes this exact problem. To fix, you can hit the minicom control key, then select 'cOnfigure Minicom', 'Serial port setup' and turn off 'Hardware Flow Control'. There doesn't seem to be a way to specify this on the command line, but since I use minicom pretty much for serial console access these days, I just save the configuration as default and get on with it.