I’ve never had specific issues with USB to TTL debug boards personally, but potentially you could damage the target if you select one with the wrong voltage, and for more advanced use cases often do not include GPIOs.
μArt USB to UART-TTL Adapter aims to solve those issue with wide voltage range (1.8 to 5.4V), safety features like galvanic isolation or over-current protection, and one header exposing I/Os.
- Universal TTL-UART – 1.8 – 5.4 V, up to 3M speed, standard & non-standard baudrates, pins for handshaking and flashing various MCU families, wide OS-support
- Galvanic isolation, integrated pull-ups, signal- and power-filters
- Over-current protection, reverse-polarity protection, ESD protection, mechanical protection
- Voltage-autosensing, LEDs, GPIOs, software-configurable
- Dimensions – 58 x 33 x 14 mm
- Weight – 16 grams
Everything is also packaged in a case contrary to most (all) other boards in the market.
The developer provides drivers for Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc…, although currently GPIO support only works with Linux and Windows.
The μArt adapter is now crowdfunding on Crowd Supply, and the project has already raised close to $12,000 with 36 days to go. You’ll need to pledge at least $32 to get a “simple μArt” with plastic enclosure, but kits with cables are also available, as well as bundle of multiple boards. Shipping is free worldwide unless you need registered mail which adds $4 to $7, and you should expect your rewards to be shipped around mid November 2018.