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Connecting Arduino to Mac and PC, the easy way?

While working on an Arduino-start-here tutorial, I am trying to find the most "fail proof" way to hook up an Arduino.

Now, if I could decide what OS and connection everyone had, it would be easy as this:

* Install Ubuntu 10.10 OS on your PC
* Install The Arduino IDE (and write your program)
* Insert an USB-FTDI cable from conputer to Arduino board
* Select the serial port

- And done, you can now press the "upload"-icon, your program will compile and upload.

The above is so far the easiest I have found.

It may just be me, but it appears that all other configurations needs a lot more explanation.

Do you have other setups (OS's and /or types of connection) that works just as easy?

Thanks :)

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I have Windows on my computers (7 and XP), although Ubuntu is a second boot, I have never used it with Arduino. But from my experience, the way the Arduino website explains the steps worked perfectly. Also, I have a FTDI Breakout Basic board (5V) from SparkFun and it powers my µBotino, R-Dev-Ino and another the old Ro-Bot-X board (with an adapter, as this board used a MAX232) from the USB port. Why that wouldn't work on MAC? perhaps the USB port can't supply enough current? No idea. Also, the Prolific USB-serial cable that I'm going to sell (like the one you received Frits) powers the boards directly. Remember to install the driver BEFORE you insert the cable. Later, when you insert the cable, the proper driver is selected and everything works fine. If you have problems, manually remove all drivers from Windows and reinstall following the proper procedure (from the Arduino website). 

Thanks :)

I think the way the arduino website says it is the easiest. Here it is for mac http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/MacOSX and here it is for windows http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/Windows . I was going to try to explain it like you did but then realized there are pages explaining it already. I do not think it gets any easier than this.

Yes, well thank you. If only things where that simple :)

I had just written a longer essay of all the strange stuff that did not work, but in the heat of the battle, I have found this:

I am pretty sure it is all because I do not have a single "original Arduino", but for future reference, here is how I managed so far.

Ubuntu:
Look above. AND NOTE: If you are using the FTDI Basic from Sparkfun, you need to power the board externally.

Mac:
Sometimes (in every case I have tested, and I am not alone) using the "FDTI inside USB -> Flat connector", causes the cable just to not show up on the list on "Serial Port" in the Arduino IDE. However, the Sparkfun FTDI Basic (little red board that hooks up to an USB) does. And if you make sure to set everything correct AND make sure to power the board externally, this works on all setups I have tested.

PC:
It appears to be as the documentations says, only make sure to power the board if using Sparkfun FTDI Basic, or you get strange sync-errors.

 

So thanks, I have made it all work now, on all platforms, without using "Original Arduino HW". (Would still be nicer to have a one-does-it-all, but I guess that would be the benefit of using original HW?)

I do not always use the original hardware and as for the Mac setup i know that my FTDI "FLat Connecter" cable works fine and shows up fine just like it does on windows. I found my Mac to be an easier setup than windows personally.

Thanks :)