Description: This new version uses an SMD 5x2 header. This is a simple to use USB AVR programmer. It is low cost, easy to use, works great with AVRDude, and is tested extensively on a Windows desktop. Based on Dick Streefland’s USBtiny and Limor Fried’s USBtinyISP. This is a low-cost programmer designed for those on a tight budget.
This programmer works really well for ATmega168 and ATmega328 and should work with all the AVR micros supported by AVRDUDE. The microcontroller-to-be-programmed can be any AVR with 64K or less of flash. The ATmega328 on an Arduino Uno or RedBoard works perfectly, but the ATmega2560 of an Arduino Mega does not.
This board is buffered and power protected so that you can do some really evil things to the programmer without killing it. It is fast! One of the greatest features of this board is the ability to power the target (up to 500mA) from the programmer.
Note: This product is a collaboration with Limor Fried. A portion of each sales goes back to them for product support and continued development.
Note: The drivers link has been updated below to be Windows 7 compatible.
Based on 6 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Years ago I bought one of these to program an ATTiny85 for a project. Did great when I had it hooked up to my MacBook Pro (at the time). Works great with AVRDude.
Downsides, and it was probably due to my setup issue, was Windows didn’t work too well with it and any virtual machine with Linux didn’t work too well (on same Windows machine).
Other than that, great little thing for those times you need to program a bare MCU without a bootloader.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Full disclosure: I make and sell a competitive product on Tindie. But that product was inspired directly by this one, although it was inspired by its shortcomings:
The mini USB connector is not nearly as ubiquitous as micro USB. In fact, this device was the only thing in the house that had that connector. So this device needed its own unique cable.
The target power switch isn’t effective. This is because SparkFun added a pull-up resistor to the BUFFEN line. Their intentions were good - the BUFFEN line should be held high if the USB connector isn’t plugged in. But when the target power switch is off and the programmer is powered by USB, target power can leak from the BUFFEN output of the controller through the pull-up resistor. This makes the programmer - as is - unsafe for targets that can be damaged by 5 volt power.
There are extra LEDs that it turns out add very little value. All the D+ and D- LEDs do is light up on bus activity, but the Stat1 LED already lights up when the programmer is working. Stat1 and Stat2, by the way, are not well labeled. They are the PROG and CONN LEDs in the original design. CONN lights up when the USB host enumerates the programmer (so, when the programmer is plugged in and recognized - no need, really, for a separate power LED), and PROG lights up whenever AVRDUDE is actually doing something.
I don’t really see the 5x2 header being used much anymore. Every project I’ve seen uses the smaller 3x2 header or some proprietary 6 pin variant.
The IDC cable they supply is a 5x2 on one end and a 5x2 and 3x2 on the other end about an inch apart with the ribbon cable wires separated and string around to make the 3x2 connector wiring correct. It’s a very clever way to solve the problem, but separating the ribbon cable wires dramatically weakens them. Mine wound up failing and I replaced it with 6 individual crimped 26 gauge wires going from a 5x2 to a 3x2 DIP header..
The TinyISP is only good for AVR programming, and only for targets with less than 128K of flash. Some other AVR programmers can also program both larger and smaller AVR chips (specifically, the Tiny4 series, which uses its own programming protocol), or do JTAG or HVP or other things, but the TinyISP - if for no other reason - simply doesn’t have any leftover space in the ATTiny2313’s flash for added functions.
All of the above aside, this was my first AVR programmer, and the only one I’ve ever used apart from one I built myself. I happen to think that of all of the programmers available the TinyISP is the best bang for the buck. Once you graduate from the bootloader, it’s a good way to go.
Have had very good luck with this tool and the Arduino IDE. Have tried to use with AVR Dude, followed several tutorials, spark fun was definitely best, but I was unsuccessful on fronts. I’m quite sure it is me or my laptop. Anyway works awesome in an IDE that is already easy as pie!
Bought this board to reprogram the bootloader on an Arduino Nano that I had managed to kill somehow. Reprogrammed the bootloader with this board right away and the Nano is back to normal.
Everything worked perfectly with my Win7 PC once I found and installed the correct drivers.
Personally, I think this product is awesome. For one, it’s much cheaper than a full-blown AVRISP MKII or similar and does an adequate job for most purposes. I personally don’t have much of a use for a debugger in my programmer (yet)-a serial connection usually suffices. In cases without one, oh well, blinking an LED or making noise will have to do. Then again, what project doesn’t have some kind of output?
It’s based off of the ever-awesome USBtinyISP from Adafruit, but I actually like this version better for a couple reasons:
Overall, I find it’s a solid programmer that works well for most purposes. You can even upgrade the firmware if a future update brings better features! (Well, you’ll need another programmer for that…but most of us have an Arduino lying around and the ArduinoISP code. Or you could just use a blank AVR with enough flash space to store programming code and the new hex file.)