STK500 ATtiny13 woes, signature problems

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I'm using STK 500 + Studio 4.16 build 628, configuration of STK per latest Atmel STK500 doc for serial HV programming.
I earlier used Studio 4.13/Serial Programming and had no difficulties programming Attiny13B chips..., for a while. Then the dreaded "Can not connect" message appeared. After fussing with everything imaginable, I tried a fresh chip. Voila! Everything Ok and working. Later when re-programing the (new) chip, the "cannot connect" appeared again. Reading that some had switched to 4.16 to address this problem, I decided to try that. No luck. Tried switching to HV Serial. No luck. I note that the signature always reads as 00 00 00 00., which seems to be the problem. I now have two chips that are no-workies, and a dwindling supply.

While writing this.., I decide to roll the dice and plug in one of my two remaining chips and see if the signature would read Ok..., nope..., still 00's. I do not believe the STK500 is faulty (geeze, I *hope* not). Any help would be appreciated. TIA

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In the interim since my originalpost, I have re-configured the STK500 for regular Serial Programming. Inserting a fresh chip, I successfully connect and read the signature of the chip. I am *very* hesitant to do any more programming until I can figure out what happened during the programming process to disable or damage the first two chips (which, by the way, were working fine in the target circuit before re-programming). Any thoughts would be welcome.