AVR ISP Programming Via Arduino

ardunio avr isp programming

We found this Arduino AVR ISP programmer particularly interesting. AVR microcontrollers can utilize an interface called In-System-Programming. ISP allows the chip to be programmed or reprogrammed while in an actual circuit via a pin header. Atmel’s solution is the AVR ISP MKII programing tool. The MKII can also be reprogrammed just as an AVR. The difference here is that most people are not likely to modify the MKII to be used as anything but a programmer. On the other hand if you already have the Arduino, fetch the avr.isp.03 firmware and AVRdude. Then program a device, for example an ATtiny13 using the Ardunio as the programmer. All the project information is provided under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license. On a related note we covered a Microcontroller cheat sheet which covers AVR devices and ISP pinouts.

32 thoughts on “AVR ISP Programming Via Arduino

  1. If you already have a programmer to program the AVR, why on earth would you need another programmer?

    I could see this being useful in only a certain few situations, but those are situations in which having a standalone programmer is the proper solution.

    That said, this is really just an expensive programmer ($30 + time/cost of making custom daughter board).

    In a pinch, having a reference to the “hack” on hack-a-day might come in handy, but otherwise, pointless.

  2. I don’t think this is pointless. I suspect there are a fair few arduino users that would like a go at “raw” avr and don’t know if they will get into it enough to justify a standalone programmer. If you want to branch out from arduino so you can use smaller cheaper chips then a cheap diy programmer utilising parts you already own makes some sense.

    This is pretty much the equivalent of a diy parallel port programmer for people that already have an arduino.

  3. Awesome, I’ve actually been looking for something exactly like this. I bought a few smaller AVR chips (2313, 13) after having already bought an arduino to mess with. Buying a 30$ programmer for 2 devices that cost a total of $2 seems wasteful to me, especially because I already have an arduino. (Which can be used for other things too in the meantime)

  4. ReKlipz,

    Consider that you may modify the firmware to do batch programming without a PC. Could also add an SD card and LCD screen. Contain hundreds of builds on a single board. This would work well for small distributed hardware that requires updated firmware. Sure there are plenty of other projects that do the same thing and support gang programming.

    The Arduino in general opens up the doors for the hobbyist who may otherwise have no place to turn. Some are very likely to broaden their horizons and move on.

    The last i checked the MKII was ~$30. About the same price as the Arduino. Get a .1″ protoboard from radio shack (assuming they still carry em) to bring the ISP signals out. Worst case is we have to bit-bang(slow)program the Arduino with the firmware. Then move on to the higher speed serial programming.

    Now a few disclaimers. Being old school i understand and agree with most of the complaints about Arduino based projects. When i see a Microcontroller used to blink an LED, i gripe and moan pointing out a thousand other ways it *should* have been done using cheaper, smaller, less power consuming methods. But i digress…

  5. can we please stop with all the arduino crap? every other day there are a dozen posts about a devboard that’s being used as a universal solution to the simplest of problems.
    ithink it would be a lot better to have fewer posts that focus on simple solutions that one can build from rather than encouraging people to use an arduino to blink an led, or spin a fan, or whatever.
    i’m sure now at least 30 fanbois will start flaming the old “put up or shut up” mantra…criticism is part of life. if you can’t deal with it maybe you should give up.

  6. i just build a super simple “bit banging”
    AVR ISP programmer from junk i had lying around. even works with the “crappiest” usb-rs232 adapter i have.

    id be much more interested in an arduino based
    microchip PIC programming shield


  7. Most of the AVR programmers I’ve seen consist of an ATMEL chip anyway. As well as the arduino and clones I’ve met until now.
    Bottomline, you can make anything wiith an AVR programmer, and only AVR programmers if you have an arduino. Which in turn you can use for everything, again. :D

  8. You can use the existing ISP Port and F232RL chip on the board to do ISP just by populating the 4 way header and adding a few flying leads… Why all the bother to do this?

  9. @noobius: maybe a better solution than reducing the number of posts is to offer a tailored feed/section for people that aren’t interested in these things? Or maybe a “best-of” section?

    I think hackaday readers are approaching this stuff from a lot of different levels, from complete novice to seasoned expert. I’m glad that it tries to cater to all of us.

  10. This is old hat. It doesn’t do HVSP, so you can’t program some important fuses. Get an AVR Dragon from Atmel, it’s great and does in-circuit debug too with processors having 32k or less.

    I like AVR micro-controllers; the free AVR Studio + WinAVR tool-chain is decent too. But I don’t like the Arduino. The stupid gap between the I/O connectors is not 0.1″ spaced and the whole elitist artsy-fartsy community surrounding the thing is a put off.

  11. @therian

    “web shops that selling Arduino shold have mandatory psychilogical test to detect and ban “artists””

    Funny you should say that, as the stated purpose of the arduino is to be a simplified, easy-to-learn platform for “artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. ” [arduino.cc], very first paragraph.

    If one has real technical skill, it’s perfectly acceptable to use things other than the arduino, especially when they’re more efficient, or more appropriate.

    The WHOLE POINT of the arduino, though, is to enable non-technical artists to experiment and create with electronics, and create new things.

    I personally threw together an el-cheapo AVR programmer, to reset my own arduino when it got caught in a watchdog timer loop. But, if I wanted to do real _ICSP_, being able to make a more reliable programmer would be especially helpful.

  12. The positive side of the Arduino is that it DOES introduce newcomers to microcontrollers and it doesn’t manage to mess them up too bad if they want to migrate to the more advanced AVRGCC/WINAVR to do some “normal” embedded C coding.

  13. AVR chip + Veroboard would also introduce them to microcontrollers, as well as simple soldering. if they want to learn about electronics, that’s what they need instead of keeping their belief that soldering dip packages is difficult.

    imo the only legitimate customer of arduino boards is the electronics guru in such a hurry that (s)he cannot afford to solder an atmega chip to some piece of pcb.

  14. I was made avr-isp mkI clone that working fine at AVR Studio, AVRdude and CVAVR from did not modifiy any parts of Arduino Decimailla.
    Firmaware used ATMEGA168-20AU and 16MHz crystal.

    Circuit of AVR-ISP mkI of Arduino.

    Firmware Hexa File included Arduino_Program for like a Arduino Sketch upload with hexa file.

    How to make AVR-ISP mkI clone.
    1. you need a Arduino Decimilla
    2. Download Arduino_Program and decompress
    3. Connect Arduino Decimailla to USB port of PC
    4. Double click Arduion_Program
    (Vista and Win7 users must change to XP-sp2 compatible at file proferty.)
    5. Select a firmware of AVR-ISP-V2.hex at decompreed folder When you pressed Brows button.
    6. Press Program Button.
    7. Done modify Arduino to AVR-ISP compatible for AVR Studio, Now you can connect AVRISP/STK500 in AVR Studio like a AVRISP mkI standard.
    8. Don’t worry, You can download any firmware from your Adrduino Sketch (ICE).
    9. You need attach some parts for amke the AVRISP, See linked Cirduit diagram.

    Ref : http://www.avrtools.co.kr/technote7/board.php?board=download&command=body&no=103

    Good Luck
    From Leeky at avrtools.co.kr

  15. Oh great – I fear that I’m going to be difficult about this. To begin with, ain’t it grand to have to bootstrap yourself SOMEHOW (with another burner, of course) just to get it working. And, of course, either you have to etch a board yourself or go to PCB123 or someone or other. And then, you’ve got to buy the parts – not outrageously expensive, but still a hassle. And then – the absolute kicker for me – I CANNOT SOLDER EVEN 1/10th inch center boards any more because I’ve got “intention tremor”. I’m great at large movements, but the finer the control I attempt to exert, the more my hand(s) shake. Kind of makes SMD useless, I fear. I must agree with the person who asked “Why do this at all?” I suppose it has to do with an obsessive “DIY” ethic or something. Personally, I’d LOVE to buy such a device (pre-programmed) at a decent price, but I simply am not capable of building one. Poor little me, eh? Oh… I _can_ buy one of several choices over the Web? I guess it isn’t ‘poor little me’ after all.

  16. Gotta love the Hack A Day crowd! I’ve visited this website numerous times searching for some piece of information on my various projects.

    There is one constant I’ve noticed in the comments on every article in here. That is, at least one pretentious moron mouthing off about how this or that hack is somehow wrong, even when it isn’t.

    I’ve observed that most often, when one criticizes another using such dubious reasoning, it is a pitiful attempt at compensation for one’s own failings. Merely an attempt to make oneself look better by making those around look worse.

  17. I think all of you that are very smart about AVR and know a lot, I envy you. You are getting too big for your britches. I dont have the money or time to go to school and learn this. I like AVR ant started with Arduino and am teaching my self.
    It is hard to work all day come home tired and fall asleep teaching my self looking on websites to find you people wasting time cutting down every thing you can think about. Give me something I can use!!! What are we in this for anyway??? Ill tell you why. it is for $$$$$
    If you watch Shrk/Tnk. they buy into what is going to bring $$$ And that just might be bkinking an LED. Pfff, You Guy’s, Mine’s Too Hot- Mine’s Too cold :O Make something for $$$$ of get out of it. The hardest thing to think about is finding something to think about.

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