ISPnub – A Stand-Alone AVR In-System-Programmer Module

[Thomas] tipped us about his latest project: a stand-alone AVR programmer module named ISPnub. As you can see in the picture above, it is a simple circuit board composed of a main microcontroller (ATmega1284p), one button and two LEDs. Programming a target is a simple as connecting the ISPnub and pressing the button. The flashing operation success status is then shown using the green/red LED.

ISPnub gets its power from the target circuit so no external power supply is needed. It works over a wide voltage range: 1.8V to 5.5V. The module also features a programming counter which can be used to limit the number of programming cycles. A multi-platform Java tool is in charge of embedding the target flash contents with the ISPnub main firmware. The complete project is open source so you may want to check out the official GitHub repository for the firmware and the project’s page for the schematics.

12 thoughts on “ISPnub – A Stand-Alone AVR In-System-Programmer Module

  1. Hey, this would be pretty good for being at group events for programming a crapload of microcontrollers with, say, the Arduino Bootloader. You could just pass it around and people could flash their chips with it.

  2. Not trying to be “that guy”, but wouldn’t it have been cheaper and easier to use a smaller microcontroller and external spi/i2c flash/eeprom. This has a major limitation in that the firmware you want to flash has to be less than the space left over in the programming device. Also, the atmega1284 is obscenely expensive for what it is.

    1. It sounds to me that you are “that guy”, “that guy” who are quite right. And I like the idea of some ATtiny with an external flash who is programming something like an ATmega.
      That being said, I think you would need to program a lot of microcontrollers with the same firmware before you need a device like this.

    2. May be a micro SD card to store the firmware. Write the SD card with the required firmware and pop it in the socket and off you go mass burning firmware.

  3. This is really cool, but I think I will build one similar with an on board TQFP spring socket so I can put bootloaders on before I solder the chips to a circuit board.

  4. As some may have noticed this is very similar to a project posted on HAD before but that board had a LCD, SD and more features… This is a great probably based on that project. I would use this a lot if it did PDI or JTAG and held more data for microcontroller flashing such as the XMEGA. If those features were given I would buy it in a heartbeat.

    1. Do you know where I can find that project? I’ve searched HAD but can’t find it. I’m very interested in the ISPnub but with storing a hex file on SD.

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