need a crystal?

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Do you need a crystal ci\onnected to the AVR in order to program the device?

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Yes. The devide needs to be powered and have a clock source, either a crystal or ceramic resonator or other clock source, before it can be programmed in either parallel or serial mode. There is a section in the back of the data sheet for each device which details both the parallel and serial programming procedures, including connection diagrams and timing info etc.