So I bought some Arduino Nano over Amazon lately and was amazed that I got 5 boards for only ~15 EUR by some chinese retailer. When I finally found some time and wanted to start programming with the Nano modules I couldn’t manage to connect them to the Arduino IDE.

If connected via USB you normally have to make the USB connection first, start the Arduino IDE and finally have to select the model and mainly the port over the Tools menu. I did so on my OSX 10.12, but the Nano module didn’t show up on the ports list. Only /dev/cu.Bluetooth-Incoming-Port was listed.

After some days of random Google researches and several driver installations without fixing the problem, I finally found out that there are two main USB to UART converter chips used which need different drivers.

Official boards use FT232 some chinese boards use a CH340 Chip

First have a look at the USB modules on your board and read if it says something like „CH34*“ or „FT232“. You could with the chip on the backside of the Arduino board like this:

First of all be sure that your board is still working and is detected at the USB Port. So go by „Apple Logo top left“ > „About This Mac“ > „System Report“ > „Hardware / USB„. Try this once without the Arduino board connected and once with the board connected. There should be an additional USB device listed. With the original Arduino boards you might directly get the board name, like „Arduino Leonard“. With the cheaper models it maybe just say „USB Device 2.0“.

To make those chips running you just need to install new drivers. Adrian Mihalko created some working drivers for macOS 10.12 and later. Go to this github project and download the latest .pkg-file.

If you already installed older versions for CH34* drivers uninstall them first. Do the following steps:

  • Remove the old driver by issuing one of the following commands (depending on your installation):
    • sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Extensions/usb.kext
    • sudo rm -rf /Library/Extensions/usbserial.kext
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Double-click on the CH34x_Install_V1.3.pkg file.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Plug in your device. It should now be listed under the /dev directory. Examples:
  • /dev/cu.wchusbserial1410
  • /dev/cu.wchusbserial1420

cheers.
Sebastian

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