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This forum is designed for support on products in the Kits & Materials category that are in a classroom setting. The SIK, MICRO:BIT & E-textiles products to name a few.
If you purchased the Arduino Uno version of the kit, you shouldn't need to install any drivers. The Arduino IDE provides the drivers with it's IDE.

There are two different drivers required for the (RedBoard in the) SparkFun Inventor's Kit, depending on which version you purchased. Installing the driver allows your computer to recognize the RedBoard as a device and lets the computer communicate with the board over the USB connection. If you purchased the SIK version 4.0a or earlier, you will need to install FTDI drivers; otherwise, for newer releases of the SIK, you will need to install CH340 drivers. If you aren't sure, which version of the kit you have, you can refer to the link used to download the code in booklet or parts associated with the product.

However, the easiest way is to take a look at which version of the RedBoard is in your kit. There are currently, two versions of the RedBoard (pictured below): the original release (top) and the Qwiic version (bottom). (*For the differences between the two, refer to this hardware section of the RedBoard Qwiic hookup guide.)

If you have the original Redboard, then you will need to install the FTDI drivers.

If you have the RedBoard Qwiic, then you will need to install the CH340 drivers.

You can install both drivers if you wish; they shouldn't interfere with one another. Instructions for each specific driver is linked below: We also have a few instructional videos that you can follow:
(Coming soon!)
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Troubleshooting Tips:
  • You will need administrative privileges for the driver installation.
  • For teachers/instructors, please make sure to install and test out the drivers and boards on your computers before you begin your classes to avoid any potential roadblocks (like simultaneously troubleshooting 20 laptops with a bunch of rowdy kids or having to wait for your IT department).
  • Make sure you are using cables that enable data transfer and aren't charging only cables. A good way to test these cables is to plug in a compatible device like a camera or phone. If the camera/phone doesn't show up as a device or mass storage device, then the cable is probably a charge only cable. (You can also just try another USB cable.)
  • Apple has written their own drivers for the FTDI and CH340 chips; they do not work! Make sure you follow the instructions for uninstalling the incorrect drivers before installing the new drivers.
    • Do NOT try to plug in your RedBoard Qwiic to your Mac computer without removing any outdated drivers first. On Mac OSX, if you have previously installed the CH340G drivers and plug in the new RedBoard Qwiic, you may run into a kernel panic issue. Your computer will appear to freak out and reboot constantly. If this does happen, all you need to do is just unplug the RedBoard Qwiic from your computer and restart the computer. Then follow the steps below for removing the outdated CH340 driver.
  • The FTDI and CH340 driver, will normally, automatically install on Windows 7/10. If you run into issues follow the instructions to manually install the drivers.
    • We have had a few reports that on Windows 10 computers, the CH340 driver will automatically install and the board will show up under a new COM port, but with a different device name. However, the board cannot be accessed on the Arduino IDE. Others have had issues where the installation process hangs. Based on the customer experiences, this might be specific to the manufacturer provided OS and are usually isolated cases. Users seem to be able to eventually get the board recognized by a combination of giving the computer time to finish the install (close to 20 min.), plugging the board back in multiple times, and/or re-doing the installation process and resetting the computer multiple times (repeat both steps).
  • Follow the steps in the instructions in the guides for verifying that your board is getting recognized.