Program Arduino Mini 05 With FTDI Basic




About: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California College of the Arts. www.wearablesoft...

When you need a small arduino with an good amount of I/O pins, the Arduino Mini is for you. This is one of my favorite microcontrollers for wearable tech projects because of its size.

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Step 1: Materials

Arduino Mini

FTDI Basic

Male headers

Jumper cables or solid hook-up wire


Male A to Mini B USB cable


Soldering Iron


Step 2: Prep Arduino

You only need to connect to four pins of the Mini in order to program it. To make it breadboard friendly solder 4 male headers to the TX, RX, 5V and ground pin. The ground pin is annotated with the schematic symbol. It looks like a little tree.

Step 3: Connect

The connections to make from the FTDI board and the Mini are:


5V >> 5V

RX >> TX

TX >> RX

After the connections are made, take the USB cord, plug into the FTDI, then to a free port on your computer.

Step 4: Upload Sketch

Open the Arduino environment, go to:

File > Examples > Basics > Blink

Ok, so here's the trick, once you press the upload button it will say "Compiling sketch..." at the bottom of the sketch window. As it says this and right after you press upload, press the reset button on the Mini.

A quick way to check if the program is loading is to glance over to those glorious TX and RX lights on the FTDI, they will be flashing very fast if all is well. Meaning that the board and your computer are talking to each other.

Pick up the LED, connect the positive side to pin 13 (default in example sketch) and the ground to a ground pin. If it blinks, that means success!

If it doesn't, try the timing of hitting reset and check all of your connections.

Step 5: Test

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    9 Discussions


    6 weeks ago

    What do I have to select under IDE tools -> Programmer? Are there any other settings I have to make before attempting the upload? Thanks.


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 4

    Excellent instructable. The last part is very tricky and can be annoying. In Arduino IDE I have selected: Preferences/Show verbose output during/upload. As soon as compiling is ready and a message in red appears, a very short press on Reset starts the upload.
    However I have seen a better approach somewhere. If I succeed, I will post the details.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have one of these and no pressing is required at all. However I have 6 connectors on my ftdi gnd tx rx vcc and a green and black wire not otherwise identified on the board

    Mad Fox

    4 years ago on Introduction

    "As it says this and right after you press upload, press the reset button on the Mini."

    use the DTR line will ya?

    4 replies
    push_resetMad Fox

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    In some situations the reset button needs to be manually pushed in order to program the Mini, but not in all. Based on your comment, it seems best to also include a circuit that uses the autoreset in addition to the alternative explained above.

    ClaybrattMad Fox

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I was initially thinking the same thing, but apparently it is slightly trickier to use the auto reset on upload on the new arduino mini 05 .


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    the autoreset always works, no fail. pushing the reset button is more like an art one has to master

    Mad FoxClaybratt

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I've been using the auto reset on my arduino pro mini for ages. never has problem with it.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    If i may add: the FTDI basic costs 14.95 USD, puhlease Way to expensive. can be had for around 1.20 USD at e.g. Aliexpress