Are my ATmel328P-U Chips being damaged by Arduino?

I have now lost the ability to upload programs to my 4th ATmel328P-U chip and don't understand what is happening or even if their slavageable. I'm fairly new at using Arduino but do have a decent background in computers and programming. To test the chip, I compile the BLINK program fine however when it attempts to upload, I get the following error msg: "avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00"

Regardless of which computer I use in the house, Arduino UNO or Duemilanove platform, the msg is the same. The Arduino is recognized by the Device Manager as "USB Serial Port (COM16)"

When I put a new chip into the device, it works.

Any help or suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Phil Huntsville, Alabama aka. "Rocket City"

P.S. This is my first post to the forum. How do you upload/embed a .jpg file?

Did you purchase the four 328p chips with bootloader program already installed in them?

Lefty

for images,tag them likethis: [ img ] website link [ / img ] without the spaces, (button below the Italic button above)

or, click on Additional Options below, and browse to your locally stored image. Resize it to ~800x600 so its not all off the side of the screen when it opens.

I wonder if your lock bit fuses are getting hosed. I recently bought an AVR ISP MKii from mouser.com (~$34) so I could readily check on fuse settings.

The bootloader was already installed. My OS is Windows 7. I don't know how to reprogram the chip or really understand fuse settings.