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Norfolk UK
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I figure it's time to buy a dedicated programmer and looking at the Arduino IDE is seems to natively support AVRISP, USBTinyISP & USBasp.
Could people please suggest the most suitable/versatile of these to buy.
It will probably be a cheap eBay device unless the cheap devices are unreliable.
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Värmland, Sweden
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Bought one of these a couple of years ago and it has served me well:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USBTiny-USBtinyISP-AVR-ISP-programmer-for-Arduino-bootloader-Meag2560-uno-r3-/400368767664
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The USBtiny would be my third choice.

first choice: an second Arduino in AVRisp mode.
second choice: a USBasp programmer.
third choice: USBtinyISP.
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I too have a USBtiny programmer and it's been great for most uses. But it has fundamental problem programming a mega2560 board in that it can't write to the larger address space the the 2560 uses. Even Adafruit the original suppliers of this programmer notes the restriction, so it's funny that ebay seller has "meag2560" in it's title.

Not the warning on the adafruit ad for the USBtiny programmer:

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It cannot program chips with more than 64K of flash, such as the Atmega1280/1281, or Atmega2560/2561

http://www.adafruit.com/products/46

Lefty
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Atmel AVR ISP MKii,
Can do bootloaders, sketches without bootloader, all the ARV devices.
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Atmel AVR ISP MKii,
Can do bootloaders, sketches without bootloader, all the ARV devices.

Costs $35, and many people struggle finding the correct USB driver software to work correctly with the arduino IDE. But I agree it's the most advanced programmer of those listed in the IDE programmer menu and worth the money, I'm just too cheap to get one.  smiley-grin

Lefty
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correct USB driver software to work correctly with the arduino IDE
It's included in the IDE - I've posted the path/folder showing where it is several times.
Do we have a 'programming hardware' forum? We could gather all that info there.

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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
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Atmel AVR ISP MKii,
Can do bootloaders, sketches without bootloader, all the ARV devices.
Does this mean the USBtiny & USBasp cannot directly program memory or burn bootloaders?
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Atmel AVR ISP MKii,
Can do bootloaders, sketches without bootloader, all the ARV devices.
Does this mean the USBtiny & USBasp cannot directly program memory or burn bootloaders?

Yes they can. However the USBtiny for sure can't write to the larger flash memory addresses that the mega boards use, but works fine for the other chips having flash of 64kB or less.

Lefty
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However the USBtiny for sure can't write to the larger flash memory addresses that the mega boards use, but works fine for the other chips having flash of 64kB or less.
So USBtiny is out the window, can both AVRISP & AVRASP program Mega's?
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Atmel AVR ISP MKii can, if that's what you mean by "AVRISP".

Nick Gammon's Arduino as ISP sketch can also.
http://www.gammon.com.au/forum/?id=11635
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Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years. Check out the ATMega1284P based Bobuino and other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17.
Arduino for Teens available at Amazon.com.

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