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HOW TO – Program lots of chips


We often get the question “How do you program all the chips in your kits?” Well! Now we have a nice tutorial showing how its done!

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  1. Hmm… is the resonator required? Can I use it to programm am AVR that has been fused to use a crystal? Or runs on the internal oscialator?

  2. yes its required if the chip needs a crystal

  3. I imagine that 28 pin ZIF socket won’t work for programming ATtiny85v’s, right?

  4. sure will, just need a different target board

  5. Hm. I think you could do better — how about this:

    Instead of sending the programming commands from the computer over USB through an AVR (the TinyISP) and then to the target chip, you instead build a single board with a ZIF socket, an AVR controller, and a bit of flash memory (perhaps onboard on the AVR, or maybe in an SD card, or whatever).

    You put a chip in the socket, power up the board (light turns green) hit a button (light turns red) and it reads the program from flash and burns it onto the chip (and maybe verifies the burn). Light turns green, you take out the chip, put in another, and repeat.

    No need for a computer to burn the chips once you’ve got it loaded into your programmer, and you can swap out SD cards to select a program to burn. Speed up your pipeline, and have a cool unique little mass-programmer.

    Obviously there’s a little bit of design time and programming involved… but isn’t that why you’re in this business?

  6. @tyler – interesting ideas – sounds like a fun project for you to build and post, publish 🙂 we’re in the business of inspiring to people make things, go for it!

  7. @tyler – there are a number of programmers like this already, albeit not necessarily with an SD card (which is a good idea).

    For example, the PICKit2 and PICKit3(finally?) programmers do this, allowing "programming to go" (a.k.a. "in-the-field programming"), for about $35. There’s also an even cooler micro-widget like this,, that can also be used remove nasty bits of food from between your teeth (in parallel!).

    Taking the SD card thing one step further, bail on switching-out cards, just put all of your images on one card and cycle through them with a pushbutton and pick which one you want.

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