Using the Arduino’s Serial Monitor on the Raspberry Pi

Serial Monitor showing GPS data

once you have installed the Arduino IDE on the Raspberry Pi it is possible to use the Serial Monitor with almost any Serial device acting as a Terminal program like Putty on windows.

Two useful devices are a Serial to USB lead and a TTL to USB adaptor, both these are available on eBay for less than £5. I used. jY-MCU USB Adaptor for Arduino, this device had a full size USB connector and 5 pins to connect TTL signals. Any FT232 or PL2303 device should be OK. Try to get one with a full size USB connector that will plug into the Raspberry Pi, if not an adaptor lead will be needed.

Plug the TTL to USB adaptor into the Pi boot up and enter the following command

Sudo lsusb
This will list all the USB devices and my adaptor showed up as Future Technology FT 232. Shutdown the Pi and remove the adaptor. Four pins are needed, 5v supply, shown as VBus on my device, Gnd, Tx and Rx.
I wanted to connect an Adafruit Ultimate GPS board to the Raspberry Pi, but following the instructions on the Adafruit site and installing the recommended software I saw no output from the GPS device, even though it showed it had a Fix.

This was when I decided to try using the Arduino Serial Monitor. I connected the GPS board to the TTL to USB as follows

GPS —- TTL to USB
Gnd. —– Gnd
Vin. —- VBus or 5 volts
Tx —-Rx
Rx. —- Tx

Plug the adaptor into the Pi and boot up. From the desktop launch the Arduino IDE, select Serial port as ttyUSB0 and start the Serial Monitor. The speed should be set to 9600. Data from the GPS will be shown as in the picture above. Now it’s time to write the python script to read the data!

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