Lately I was working on building a few products where I used USB to UART IC for easy PC interface.
I was already aware of FTDI Chips and Silabs USB UART IC but found availability issues with some particular parts.
When I did some online research I was surprised to find that there are around 8 different manufacturers who manufactures USB to UART bridge ICs. Honestly, I was aware of only a few of them.
I thought this might be an interesting information other embedded engineers must be aware of so sharing it here in a blog.
List of USB to UART IC Manufacturers
1. FTDI Chips
This is the most popular USB to UART IC manufacturing company out there in the market. Some of the popular devices are FT230, FT231, FT232, FT4232, FT2232H, FT234. After Covid these ICs have become rare and cost has jacked up very high. Now a days, several chinese clones are also available in the market which one need to be careful about.
2. Silicon Labs (Silabs)
Silabs is another manufacturer which produces high quality USB bridges, they compete well in USB bridges segment with FTDI Chips. In my designs, I have used Silabs chips most of the time due to its availably and reasonable pricing. Some of the USB bridge ICs available from Silabs are CP2102, CP2105, CP2108, CP2110, etc.
Many of you will be surprised but Microchip do make USB to UART bridges and I remember I once built a breakout board in order to test these ICs but I am not sure why Microchip was not able to make them popular. They have two parts in their portfolio MCP2221 and MCP2200.
4. Cypress Semiconductor (now Infineon)
Cypress Semiconductor has a USB to UART bridge IC, CY7C64225. I never knew about it before this time.
5. Holtek Semiconductor
Holtek Semiconductor is a Taiwan based manufacturer, they are very popular for MCUs, RF Chips for high volume consumer electronics. Holtek manufactures USB to UART bridges although I have never used them in my designs so far but can definitely consider them in the future as they are quite cost effective compared to FTDI Chips and Silabs. Some of the Holtek parts are HT42B534, HT42B564.
6. HTC SEMI
HTC Semi is a chinese manufacturer who has a USB to UART bridge IC HT8232R. This is drop in replacement to FTDI FT232R
MAXLinear is another semiconductor chip manufactuere which makes USB to UART bridge ICs are XR21V1410, XR21V1411,XR21V1412, XR21V1414, XR21V1424. In the part I have used some of their DC DC converter chips but wasn’t aware of their UAB to UART ICs.
8. Prolific Technology Inc
Prolific is another company who had USB to UART IC and even USB to UART converters based on there chips were quite popular, I still remember using these converter back in 2005/2006 time frame.
These have several part in their PL2303 Series of USB to UART bridge.
9. Nanjing Qinheng Microelectronics (WCH)
Lately WCH, a chinese company has become very popular in USB to UART space with its ultra low cost USB to UART bridges. They make several different parts with single dual quart UART.
Som of the parts are CH343, CH9102, CH9101, CH341, CH340, CH9326, CH9340, CH342, CH9103,
CH347, CH9344, CH344, CH348
They have also gained much popularity for their ultra low cost RISCV Microcontrollers.
I hope you found this blog useful and learned something new today!
If you have any feedback about the blog, you can share in the comments below or you can also contact me directly.
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