I design and program boards built around a variety of AVR chips, mainly the 168/328, 1281, and 128RFR2 (and RFA1). I only use SMT parts, and do not pre-program the chips before assembly.
I have used an AVRISP mkII exclusively to program all of my AVR projects. This means I always include a 6 pin ISP connector in the design (segue: this product, http://www.tag-connect.com/TC2030-IDC is great for reducing programming header size and height. It easily replaces the stock cable in an AVRISP mkii).
For debugging, I use either an LED or a spare UART port.
However, I have several designs coming up that will require two UARTS for normal operation, making any potential debugging much more complicated. As such, I am looking to purchase a debugger (prepare for more questions to follow, as I have never used a debugger before)...
I am not sure what to buy. Keep in mind, this will likely be for programming in-system and/or debugging. I will not be doing any high-voltage programming.
I have looked at both the Dragon and the AVR JTAGICE mkII. I like the price point of the Dragon better, but have ready MANY posts (here and elsewhere) about how easily they are damaged/fried. The device I am buying will likely see heavy use as a daily workhorse for programming and debugging. While the sticker price of the JTAGICE seems a little high, I would be willing to pay it for increased reliability/durability.
Can users of either/both provide recommendations?
Edit: After frantically copying the above text (after hitting the submit button and waiting an interminable amount of time), I was surprised that when this did eventually post, it didn't have a captcha.