AVR Device Programmer - AVRISP Assembly Kit
This is an In-circuit Serial Programming tool, using USB to communicate with the host. It has different FW options to load (AVRISP-mkII, USBasp, AVR-doper, ...). It works with AVR Studio v4.1x from ATMEL. You only need to spend 30 minutes to assemble it.
Specs and Features:
. On board controller: ATmega8(L) from Atmel, running at 12MHz, drives the USB.
. Have both 10-pin and 6-pin IDC connector footages.
. Can supply 5v or 3.6v power to the target board.
. Compact size: only 3.2cm x 8.3cm.
. The circuit is compatible with USBasp, so it can be switch to USBasp, or some other option, by re-programming the FW on board.
The on-board MCU, ATmega8(L), will be programmed with the FW that is based on AVRISP-mkII , which is highly recommended, as the default. Other choices are available on demand.
Schematic of AVRISP programmer
Using USBasp Under Windows Vista:
As reported, this USBISP clone might not work properly under Windows Vista. To those who use Windows Vista, USBasp option is a good choice. The HW of this design is compatible with USBasp and the FW, together with Windows drive, can be downloaded from http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/. There is one issue for users who use USBasp programming/reading AVR devices that run at low clock frequency (< 1MHz): a jumper is needed on J3.
To address this issue (get rid of J3), here is a modified version of USBasp (based on USBasp 2009--02-28) that will automatically adjust the SPI interface clock (SCK) for the target AVR device being programmed.
How to Use the Programmer:
(1) install AVR Studio v4.1x (download from http://www.atmel.com);
(2) connect the programmer to USB port, and then start running AVR Studio.
(3) click "tool" in tool bar, and then go to program AVR -> auto connect. Or you can choose program AVR -> connect, and then AVRISP mkII.
A pull-down manual will show up if the connection is successful! Usually, first of all, you need select the AVR device that you're going to program; and you might need to set up the ISP speed if necessary from 'main' tab. Afterwards, everything else is simple and straight forward.
Switch to Other FW:
The AVRISP FW is from www.simonqian.com, which uses AVRISP mkII protocol and has been proved to be very impressive. Other choices are:
 AVR-doper from http://www.obdev.at/products/vusb/avrdoper.html which uses SDK500 protocol and seems also reliable but little bit slower.
 Another SDK500 ISP FW from http://www.ullihome.de/index.php/USBAVR-ISP has been used by many people and won the reputation, as well.
 USBasp from http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/, which uses AVRDUDE or some other Windows host SW as the user interface.
$8.50/each kit, plus $2.50 S/H fees
NOTE: on-board controller (ATmega8L) will be programmed when shipped.