Gammon Forum : Electronics : Microprocessors : How to make an Arduino-compatible minimal board has helped me solve my issue. Has some sketches to verify that things are working. Using their tutorial i completed my bootload in 5-10 mins verses my 2 days of attempting.
i have it setup correctly like the documentation here.
http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ArduinoToBreadboard - the one without the 16mhz crystal.
however this is the error i get "avrdude: Yikes! Invalid device signature.
Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
- I do not know how to fix the device signature and 2. Not sure how to override as an attempt to ignore the error.