How do I setup and use a serial console on Elementary OS?

1 Answer 1


I like using the Parallax USB to serial adapter because it enjoys good support on *NIX operating systems. You can pick them up in the robotics section at Frys electronics in the U.S. for around $17.

After connecting the adapter, run dmesg, you're looking for a few lines at the end like so:

[ 2970.548809] usb 2-1: Detected FT232RL
[ 2970.551218] usb 2-1: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

Note the device name 'ttyUSB0'. Run a long list on this to determine which group it is owned by;

$ ls -l /dev/ttyUSB0
crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 188, 0 Apr  8 09:24 /dev/ttyUSB0

Add your user account to that group. This way you can run the terminal program as a non-root user.

sudo gpasswd -u <username> dialout

Log out and back in for the group change to take effect

Install the picocom terminal utility

sudo apt-get install -y picocom

Connect to the serial console using the appropriate baud rate for your target device and the device name as shown in dmesg earlier

picocom -b 38400 /dev/ttyUSB0

To exit picocom press CTRL-a-x

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.