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So, is there really a need for a ISP if you can use the Arduino, and if so what one to pick with them ranging in price from £3 to £150+

Im baffled

What can say the popular STK500 ISP do that a £2.88 chinese cant do?
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The Arduino is certainly usable as an ISP, however if you are going to program devices frequently then a dedicated programmer is more convenient. Unfortunately, that Chinese programmer has the 10-pin ICSP connection instead of the 6-pin one that I use in my designs (as does Arduino), otherwise I would buy a couple.
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From what I understand, certain settings used when programming the controller (ATMega, ATTiny, etc) can "brick" it, where you need a programmer with "high voltage" capabilities to reset it to try again; I don't think (?) the Arduino ISP code can do that as-is (would be a great addition if it doesn't). I'm sure there are other things the more expensive programmers can give you as well (wider range of controllers to program, jtag debugging for those controllers that support it, etc)...
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True. However, the high voltage programmers seem to cost a lot more than the low-cost programmers that don't do HV programming. The AVR chips don't cost much, so you'd have to brick a lot of them to recoup your investment in a HV programmer.
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You can make a programmer by buying a 328 with Bootloader and putting your own dedicated board together.

Or -you can make a small board that has plugs that connect into pins 8 - 13, and the power/reset connector and has 2 sockets, for 328 and 2313 chips.

You already have an Arduino, why not use as an ISP, and if you are building other boards anyway, why not get a few extra 328's so you have asome chips to experiment with.
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You already have an Arduino, why not use as an ISP, and if you are building other boards anyway, why not get a few extra 328's so you have asome chips to experiment with.

Turns out the Arduino dons't want to work as a ISP for me!
http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,93210.0.html
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Quote
What can say the popular STK500 ISP do that a £2.88 chinese cant do?
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Turns out the Arduino dons't want to work as a ISP for me!
Well, to start with you get a "supported" programmer with a large user base, that you can pretty much expect to work, not a "questionable" clone of a hack that will leave you and would-be helpers scratching their heads going "do you know which firmware version is running on that?"
Then stk500 has switches, LEDs, numerous sockets for non-ISP programming, HV Serial programming mode, HV parallel programming mode, and support for assorted daughtercards, support for legacy devices, headers for off-board use (a "sort-of arduino board"), rs232 level translators, variable supply voltage, variable aref voltage, and lots of jumpers.

But the stk500 lacks a power supply, and won't talk to a modern USB-centric computer.
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So, is there really a need for a ISP if you can use the Arduino, and if so what one to pick with them ranging in price from £3 to £150+

The link you posted was to a £21.40 device, hardly £150.
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I've got an AVR Dragon, which lets you do high voltage programming, and thus recover a "bricked" processor.

Digi-Key has them for $US 54.30, being right now £34.36, so I wouldn't spend much more than that on one.
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The link you posted was to a £21.40 device, hardly £150.

I linked to that one as a popular model rather then a expensive model.  

The AVR Dragon dose seem good value for money.....but worry I would only end up using a fraction of the functionality?

Well, to start with you get a "supported" programmer with a large user base, that you can pretty much expect to work, not a "questionable" clone of a hack that will leave you and would-be helpers scratching their heads going "do you know which firmware version is running on that?"
Then stk500 has switches, LEDs, numerous sockets for non-ISP programming, HV Serial programming mode, HV parallel programming mode, and support for assorted daughtercards, support for legacy devices, headers for off-board use (a "sort-of arduino board"), rs232 level translators, variable supply voltage, variable aref voltage, and lots of jumpers.

OK, thats a good point well made!

But the stk500 lacks a power supply, and won't talk to a modern USB-centric computer.

wont work with USB 2/3, or just wont work with USB1?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 02:03:00 pm by n00b » Logged

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My comments about stk500 features were for the "real" Atmel STK500:


This doesn't support USB at all; it needs a real rs232 serial port (which could be provided by a USB/RS232 adapter), and a 10-15V external power supply. 
The link you had provided was to some random ISP programmer that implements the STK500 upload protocols, which is a different thing entirely...  (OTHO, the 'real' STK500 is only about $85...)
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