AVR Programming Options

Well I began like all others with just being happy programming my arduino with sketches and watching motors turn. Life was blissfully easy:)

Then I started looking at programming AVRs directly (ATTinys).

Using ArdinoISP, and a basic circuit, I managed to use my Uno to load some simple sketches onto an ATTiny84 - leap of joy ! But that seems to have limited use. I need to get my AVRs to use SPI and to have USB communications, and for that, it looked the only option was developing code in AtmelStudio (or similar). The above assumption being right or wrong, I did find that AS did provide a much more 'familiar' and feature rich environment for coding.

That then is where I am unsure of my strategy. As I understand it, working from AStudio, I have to utlilise an specific AVR programmer. Whilst not the cost of the earth (£15 for a pololu, £25 for an Atmel), I do hate spending where it's not needed, cluttering my drawers, and maybe mostly, underutilizing my existing arduinos.

So, the question (at last !)... can I use Arduino as an AVR Programmer from AtmelStudio to load C and/or assembly, including AS's fuse setting and other features ? i.e as a direct replacement for an AVR programmer ?

I have treid Googling this, but as soon as you put 'Arduino' and 'AVR' together, you mainly get artcicles about loading Sketches to an AVR via the Arduino IDE.

Any guidance/corrections most appreciated :)

Thank you

I think you can use the ArduinoISP sketch as a replacement for a basic AVRisp. You won't be able to program some of the larger AVR chips since they require the STK500V2 protocol.

You can get a knock-off USBasp programmer for under £2 via eBay. For another £1.59 you can get the 10-pin to 6-pin adapter needed for programming Arduino boards or other AVR boards that use the 6-pin ICSP connector.

Have a look here, there is a series of three tutorials. Have not tried it yet myself. http://www.jayconsystems.com/tutorial/atmerpt1

As I understand it, working from AStudio, I have to utlilise an specific AVR programmer.

Yes, if you want to use the debugging capabilities. No, for just programming. AStudio will produce a .hex file that you can "upload" using AVRDude. I'm pretty sure that Atmel Studio will even allow you to install avrdude as an "external tool." See here, maybe: "http://www.jayconsystems.com/tutorial/atmerpt1/" or search for ""atmel Studio" avrdude" for other instructions.

Thanks for the comments and links !

Firstly it's good to have confirmed (with added detail) my thoughts... sometimes you just don't know if you are going in the 'best' direction.

I'll have a better play with this over the next few days but just wanted to leave some feedback for now.

Tbh, I am tempted on reflection, to now opt for the 'official' programmer route, if only because I prefer to have as few 'unknowns' at play at any one time. This other option I will definitely want to come back to explore as soon as I've mastered the basic.

Thank you for your input :)