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