FTDI cables confusion


I went to the store and asked for a FTDI cable however, I need a bit of assistance, apparently I didn't properly do my homework before shopping and I ended up with upper pic.

I need an FTDI cable to configure my Xbee modules so I could transmit wireless voice, however, upon double checking after buying it, I found out that the FTDI cable is supposed to have 6 pins not 4, so I'm getting confused. Also the cable I bought does not have a label saying it's the CA 42, so I end up with two questions that I haven't been able to answer using Google:

  1. Which is the standard FTDI cable, 4 or 6 pin?

  2. Could I still use the 4 pin cable to configure my Xbees?

  3. I opened the plastic case to see the circuit, I can see the missing RTS CTS pins, however I'm still wondering if I should solder them and use them.

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Best Answer

You're going to have to look at the specific XBee. An FTDI cable is just typically an adapter that can mate a USB connection to a UART breakout. The absolute minimum for a UART is a +V, GND, TX and RX line (looks like that's what you have). Something like an Arduino will also need a DTR and a CTS line (the other 2 of the 6 you're looking at). The CTS isn't necessarily used, but the DTR line is typically used to trigger a reset for programming.

FTDI is actually a company that makes the USB chip. SparkFun has a number of these, and they call them FTDI adapters (not sure if they started the naming), which is where I've seen them before.

If you're using this just for communication, either should work fine.

NOTE make sure the voltage is correct. That looks like it breaks out a +5V line. If your xbee needs 3.3V, you're going to release all of the magic smoke.