ImageStandard Arduino boards use FTDI’s FT232RL to interface with computer’s USB port. Since FT232R is just a USB to UART converter, it is possible to build an Arduino compatible USB interface using other USB to UART chips.

Here is the schematics for using CP2102 with ATmega328p (the circuit below is compatible with the Arduino IDE):
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if you compare the above circuit with the official Arduino Duemilanove board you will see that the interfacing portions (RXD, TXD and TDR) are virtually identical.

Since CP2102 comes only in QFN-28 packaging, some people might find it slightly harder to deal with than TSSOP. Using the prototyping method I mentioned a few months back though, it is fairly straightforward to use the chip on a standard perf-board nevertheless. No special tools or stencils are needed. The following picture shows the USB to UART converter portion of the Arduino, which can be used to replace the FT232 break out board. I chose to break out the converter so that I could use it in other projects that require serial connections.

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