Need help finding a USB/ZIF AVR programmer

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Hi.

I've done some work with PICs in the past, but now I want to see how AVRs compare. I've been using a cheap USB programmer with a built in ZIF connector (from eBay) to program my PICs, but I'm having trouble finding something similar for AVRs.

I prefer building everything on a breadboard, so I bought various tinyAVR DIP chips (as opposed to a Butterfly evaluation board or something). None of the USB AVR programmers I've found so far have ZIF connectors, only ISP headers (which I have no experience with). Why is everything mostly ISP in the AVR world and ZIF in the PIC world? How do I work with ISP connectors and discrete chips?

Thanks.

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Why is everything mostly ISP in the AVR world and ZIF in the PIC world?
That's not quite correct, even though you can plug a PIC into a ZIF socket you are still doing some form of ISP (ICD). If you get a Dragon (about $50) you can put a ZIF socket on it and wire the socket up for the chip of you choice, then not only you get an ISP programmer but also a JTAG and HVPP programmer. On top of that you get the ability to debug your code using either debuwire (for chips up to 8 k flash) or JTAG debugging for chips up to 32k flash (again similar to the PIC's ICD).

by the way it become VERY hard to program chip soldered into a board :) ISP (or ICD ) makes your life a lot easier as you can quickly change/update the code whithout taking the chip off the board.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Generally you leave the AVR in your application and provide a header for the ISP programmer. I also do a lot of prototyping on breadboards, and I've made an IDC to breadboard adapter that looks like this:

http://www.technologicalarts.ca/...

Or you can make one that looks like this:

http://www.winfordeng.com/produc...

Then just wire up the adapter to the correct AVR signal pins.

As for PICs, I have the same question - why do I see so many PIC programmers with ZIF sockets? Don't they have an ISP programming mode? (Note - I've never used a PIC.)

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Quote:
Don't they have an ISP programming mode?
Yes, they call it ICD (in circuit debugging) and it will program the chip in the board if the facility is provided. I still have one of those :oops: but haven't used it for a long time.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Thanks for the replies, just a few more questions :)

-So basically I can connect the ISP pins directly to the AVR on my breadboard or a ZIF socket? If so I'm tihnking I can just chop the header off and wire it directly to my breadboard.

-How many pins will I need to use for the ISP?

-Does this work for every tiny/mega AVR?

-Will I need a separate power supply?

-I get the impression that the Dragon is quite prone to breaking. So can I buy any ISP AVR programmer and just hook it up to my AVR?

Thanks

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Avrfreak001 wrote:
Thanks for the replies, just a few more questions :)

-So basically I can connect the ISP pins directly to the AVR on my breadboard or a ZIF socket? If so I'm tihnking I can just chop the header off and wire it directly to my breadboard.

Yes, but please don't chop the header off - you very well might regret it later. Just get a 2x5 pin header and make a breakout board.

Quote:

-How many pins will I need to use for the ISP?

Five. Six if you want to power your application from the programmer.

Quote:

-Does this work for every tiny/mega AVR?

Yes.

Quote:

-Will I need a separate power supply?

No. Generally the programmer supplies it own power. In addition, you can set things up so that your application also draws power from the programmer. Or, you can power your application from an independent supply.

Quote:

-I get the impression that the Dragon is quite prone to breaking. So can I buy any ISP AVR programmer and just hook it up to my AVR?

Pretty much.

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Quote:
-How many pins will I need to use for the ISP?
Have a look at the STK500 docs for the pinout, it will work with ALL chips but ** BEWARE ** some Mega chips use pe0 and pe1 for programming instead of miso and mosi. If you would like some ISP wiring examples you can look up my website, in the download page I have a few circuits. I HIGHLY recomend you stick to the standard 6 pin ISP wiring including the VCC (pin 2) as some older programmers took their power from there.
Also this pin is used by new programmers to determine the VCC and will not work unless they find a valid VCC on that pin.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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I'm thinking about buying this from eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/USB-AVR-JTAG...

$35 for a small programmer/debugger with a plastic case.

It doesn't mention supporting the tiny series though. Anyone think it should be ok?

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Some of the tiny series do not support isp and need to be programmed using what is called high voltage programming, check the docs before you buy.

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Quote:
Some of the tiny series do not support isp

The tiny11 is the only one that I can think of, and I don't think they make them anymore. There are several pin compatible replacements for them. The only real reason to use them is the price. They are ~$0.30 to ~$0.35 in quantity.

Regards,
Steve A.

The Board helps those that help themselves.

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Avrfreak001 wrote:

-I get the impression that the Dragon is quite prone to breaking.

There was quite some discussion on that a while ago, it seemed that the voltage regulator could break when touched by hand.
(there was also something on non standard voltage on PC usb ports)

On the bottom of this thread someone had a digikey part numer for a nice housing, so problem solved
https://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=50107&highlight=

The dragon is great(IMHO), used it on different computers with different boards already, one time i thought it was busted but that was a wiring problem.
A lot of bang for a buck(and my stk500 is still sealed in the box)

A lot of people had starting problems with setting the fuses correctly and then the extra High Voltage Programing mode of the dragon is a real chipsaver.

Take care that the 6 pin ISP cable and a standard usb cable isn't included.

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ISP is definatly the way to go..works great and cheap Atmel USB/ISP programmer is about$40...
Atmel Dragon is really inexpensive for what you get ISP,JTAG,DBUG WIRE, HV programming (no case, ISP/JTAG cables or connectors included!)

But sometimes your breadboard dip chip may get the internal programming fuses messed up or it may appear to be dead..hv/parallel programming usually gets things back to normal..
if you do not want to jack off with jumper cables on the Dragon and the STK500 for hv/parallel programming and just want to get the job done, found this device on Ebay that works well but costs a bit more than Dragon or STK500 (but it does have a case and a zif socket!)..still a bargain since it does other chips as well...AVR support is not complete, but update on regular basis since AVR popularity is growing...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280136078913&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebay.com%3A80%2Fsearch%2Fsearch.dll%3Ffrom%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm37%26satitle%3D280136078913%26category0%3D%26fvi%3D1

note on decription: the dimensions in mm are correct, about the size of the palm of your hand. The included universal wall wart power input is 120 to 220 vac and 50/60hz. It does work well with W2k and Windows XP.

this is the link for the sofware for it..runs in demo mode if not connected to a programmer
http://www.programtec.com/english/products/EasyPRO90B.asp

who knows maybe they will knock off the Atmel Dragon JTAG/DBUG WIRE thats made in China also and throw that poop inside the case too...that would be very cool 8) and a much better Dragon for those working with dip chips