Standalone automatic AVR programmer

For simple microcontroller prototyping there is no problem program chip from computer by using one of many programmer adapter. Setting thing up takes a bit of time, but for up to several chips this is not a big problem. But when your projects scale up a bit, flashing issue may become annoying. When you need to flash lots of them you start for more robust solution. The guys from Solderlab grew to the point where lots of AVRs need to be programmed so instead of doing this old fashion way they built an auto programmer. Their auto programmer is capable of programming AVR microcontrollers automatically. All you need is to put hex file in to micro SD card and once powered it can flash chip automatically. Programmer can work with DIP AVR chips also program via ISP. It has a Nokia 5510 LCD where navigation menu is displayed. Here you can select what to do including: flashing, reading, reading fuses and other stuff. LCD also displays progress bar while programming and error messages if there are some. Same or more… Continue reading

Automatic flashing of AVRs with CNC

Imagine that you need to flash hundreds of microcontrolelr chips. One way is to do this one by one, but this can be exhausting task and plus inefficient. If you use standard ISP adapter your boards has to be with ISP headers soldered on- this also rises overall cost. So how to do this faster and efficient. If you have a CNC platform lying around, it may be fairly easy. Pleasantsoftware shared his rig where he managed to set up an automated solution of AVR flashing. He needed to flash several hundred of AVRs so building this rig seemed quite reasonable. On his boards he used special programming connector which sits on SMD chip directly to ISP and power pins. Assembled PCBs come in panels of 40. All he had to do is to build a programming connector holder which was 3D printed. He used his G-Code sender app to send position commands to CNC. Hex code and fuses are hard coded in to source since it is same for all batch. Single panel of 40 AVRs are flashed in… Continue reading

Programming AVR micros with TinyLoadr

Some time ago Jeff has been working on Arduino AVR programmer shield which turned out to be useful. So now he introduced new version of programmer called TinyLoadr. But this time instead of building another Arduino shield, he made standalone programmer with Arduino heart ticking. Programer supports most of Attiny microcontrollers and Atmegas with less than 64K of flash. It accepts through hole chips in the ZIF socket, but there are 6 and 10 pin ISP programmer headers for in-circuit programming. Programmer is supported by Avrdude but also can be used with Arduino IDE. Continue reading

ISPnub – standalone programmer for AVR

Thomas Fischl is very well known for his USBasp AVR programmer. If you are looking for other AVR programming options, take a look at ISPnub stand-alone AVR programmer. This is really small dongle that can be used to flash microcontrollers in the filed without use of PC or other host device. Programmer is build by using Atmega1284p microcontroller which has only one button and couple indicator LEDs. in order to program target, you only need to connect module to target using ISP connector ant press the button. The rest is taken care of by programmer. The trick of minimal design here is that targets hex file is stored in module microcontroller flash. It can carry max 120kB. In order to load flash in to atmega firmware, there is a special java tool used. So you need to merge target hex with ISPnub’s hex, then flash everything to module with ISP programmer and then module can be used to program micros. ISPnub is equipped with programming counter which allows predefined number writes. This might be useful if you do some commercial… Continue reading

STK500 compatible AVRUSB programmer

This is not new project, but a slight remake of stk500 compatible AVR USB programmer from tuxgraphics. It uses FT232BL chip to implement USB to serial converter and ATmega8 in DIP package. Actually it is a mix of smd and through hole parts that were found on table. So there you won’t find a fancy tiny PCB but yet another STK500 clone PCB version. Actually this programmer can be built in many ways as it doesn’t care how serial data reaches Atmega8, so there can be any type of USB to serial converter as main core of programmer is AVR firmware that takes care of STK500 protocol. So if you are looking for AVR ISP programmer this is one of places to look for. The most important thing is that it works with AVRStudio and AVRDude. Continue reading

Radical AVR USB programmer design

You’ve probably seen many AVR ISP programmers that come with USB connection. Some of them use software based USB stack emulation, others use hardware USB or specialized chip like FTDI USB to serial. Anyway all of these are at some level quite complex and most of them require to be somehow programmed in order to operate. Well this one is different as it uses an USB hub for USB interface. So this programmer doesn’t use any other USB chips but hub itself. The idea is brilliant: it uses four hub ports that can be enabled and disabled from PC software this way creating pulses on each hub output. Sending these pulses through simple logic Quad 2-input NAND gate you get all signals required to program AVR chip via ISP interface. Currently software works only with Linux, but who knows – the idea itself is great to move towards cheap and simple USB ISP programmer. Continue reading