July 2, 2007 AT 12:22 pm

New Kit! USBtinyISP, a USB AVR programmer

Summer means tank-tops, air-conditioner installation and new kits!

This kit is something I’ve wanted for a while. Its an all-through-hole USB AVR programmer for a bit over $20, with both 6 and 10 pin cables and a jumper for powering the target board from the USB hub’s 5V power. It can also be used with SpokePOV kits to upload images and configuration (finally!)

I’ve had a bunch out there in the wild for a few weeks so I’m feeling comfy with an official release.
Check out the deets at the USBtinyISP page

A simple open-source USB AVR programmer and SPI interface. It is low cost, easy to make, works great with avrdude, is AVRStudio-compatible and tested under Windows and MacOS X. Perfect for students and beginners, or as a backup programmer.

The project is based off of the USBtiny code & design. The main improvements are: adjusting the code to allow it to act as a SpokePOV interface, adding lowlevel bitbang commands, and addition of a “USB good” LED. Other changes are new VID/PID (to make it official), removing some of the commands, and moving around the pins a bit.

You can build this design using the schematic and firmware, or buy a kit from the Adafruit webshop. Having a full kit available solves the “chicken & egg” problem of purchasing or building a USB programmer that then needs a programmer of some sort to ‘kick start’. (See USBasp, AVRdoper, USBprog)

All the firmware code is distributed under the GPL, the hardware design layout files are CC 2.5 Attrib./Share-alike

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6 Comments

  1. Looks cool. Is it STK500-compatible, or does it use another protocol to connect to the computer?

  2. it’s not stk500-compatible as-is, what i use is a piece of ‘bridge’ software that you run while avrstudio is working and it translates between avrstudio and the programmer.
    http://www.ladyada.net/make/usbtinyisp/stk500compat.html
    you could of course use it with any other windows software that wanted to chat stk500 but its not ported to mac or linux cause i figured avrstudio was really the only app necessary to support….

  3. Nice work!

  4. Aww shit.
    I wanted to order one last month, and now the price went up by 4 bucks. Shipping too. NIIICE!
    Being located in Europe that means I probably end up buying the real deal. It doesn’t cost that much more, don’t have to solder it myself, no compatibility worries and so on.
    Too bad.

  5. Sadly, mouser has just stopped carrying the enclosure and the other distributor’s price is higher. I may lower the price if I can get the assembly costs down but its a rather complex kit for the cost, with the case drilling and large number of parts.

    On the other hand, shipping costs to Europe haven’t increased, or rather, not since the near-doubling by the Post office back in May. Then again, the prices I get are direct from the post office site so whatever they say is pretty much the actual price of shipping.

    Don’t forget, its an open source project, so you can always just build it yourself! :)

  6. So I guess I’m going to buy it anyway and try to squeeze in as many other projects PCBs as possible without further raising the shipping cost. Thank god the $$$ to €€€ rate is the way it is right now so this poor student will not end up broke due to buying too much toys he doesn’t actually need!

    > Don’t forget, its an open source project, so you can always just build it yourself! :)

    You’re being way too nice!
    I have this thing for Valley girl engineers that appeal to my open source instincts! 8)
    Great business model to reel in all the geeks!
    (Wanna have my baby? Oops sorry, nevermind…)

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