Connecting to a Raspberry Pi with a serial cable

Wed, Jun 22, 2016 1-minute read

I usually log in my Raspberry Pi via SSH. That’s perfect for my day-to-day use but sometimes, like when I need to diagnose why it’s not booting up or if I screw up the networking setup, it could be unavailable.

I’ve never connected my Raspberry Pi to physical monitor, mouse and keyboard and I can’t see any reason why I should do that since SSH is perfect for my normal use while in case of emergencies I can always connect to the device using a serial cable.

You can find inexpensive but reliable serial cables online. The model I bought is compatible with the model sold on AdaFruit so you can follow their very complete guide to set it up.

I set it up on my Mac and that has been just a matter of getting the drivers, connecting the cables as shown in the picture and start the connection using screen.

The correct connection to the GPIO pins

Once everything but the power is connected it’s time to start screen with screen /dev/cu.PL2303-00001004 115200. Then plug in the power cable or the usb cable (don’t connect both at the same time!). Shortly something should appear in the terminal and you should be able to control your Raspberry Pi.