Bootloader problems?

So, I'm new here. I just got into this a couple weeks ago. I wrote a program that is basically a touch sensitive ignition for my race car, with a bunch of other bells and whistles on it. I have a few friends and family members who want a copy as well. I originally thought, "Its 2016, all I need to do is buy a few copies of this atmega thing, drop them in this Uno, hit the little upload button, and one by one I'll have a bunch of these little guys in about five minutes."
As you all know, and I found out today, it doesn't work like that. I know there are technical reasons (I don't understand them, but I've searched and read about them) but that's beside the point.
I made sure when I bought these new chips that they had the exact same part number...328p-pu. I bought the ones with the "bootloader pre-installed" not knowing what that meant, but knew it sounded like something I didn't want to do on my own.
Anyway, I plugged one in today and got an error basically saying it didn't work and it tried 10x. I assume I got ripped off by the online seller or I don't know what I'm doing. To be honest, I am pretty sure it's both. But I plugged my original IC back in and tried and that has errors now too.

Anyway, if a person were to get these chips with the boot loader actually pre installed, would it be as easy as plugging one in and hitting the upload button? Or is there more to it even still? Would I still have to go through the whole ISP and separate breadboard ordeal?

I bought the ones with the "bootloader pre-installed"

Which bootloader?

deric:
Anyway, I plugged one in today...

Into a wall outlet? Into a random piece of foam board?

I guess I'm new enough that I didn't know there was more than one. I wasn't even sure what a boot loader was. I just assumed it would be better to have one than not. I'm not much of a programmer, as you could probably tell. But I bought the ones that said "ATMEGA328P-PU Microcontroller With ARDUINO UNO R3 Bootloader"

I typically plug the chip into the one and only designated place that I know of, on the Uno board. I'll try the wall suggestion later, but it doesn't seem that it would make much sense.I did try to plug it into a piece of toast though. But it beeped twice and then gave me the same error as before.

deric:
I typically plug the chip into the one and only designated place that I know of, on the Uno board.

...drop them in this Uno...

Missed that in the original post. My apologies.

deric:
"ATMEGA328P-PU Microcontroller With ARDUINO UNO R3 Bootloader"

Optiboot. Assuming the vendor is competent.

But I plugged my original IC back in and tried and that has errors now too.

That processor was known to work so that is were you need to start troubleshooting.

Did you reinstall the original processor the correct way around?

Yeah the original one seems to be working now. I just had to keep trying and now it works. At least, I don't get an error anymore. I tore the whole circuit apart so I can't test if it's actually functional now.

But anyway. I'm not sure what my end result will be here. If I try again and buy more atmegas, I've heard adafruit is reputable, will I eventually be able to plug them into the Uno, hit the upload button, and then remove the atmega and solder it into a final pcb with all the other magic components and have a functioning circuit for my car? Assuming I am capable of the other tasks outside of the current problem.

I tore the whole circuit apart so I can't test if it's actually functional now.

Upload a sketch that blinks the LED on pin 13.

Ok, and then whether that works or doesn't work, will I eventually be able to easily make copies and use them separate from the arduino and any other computer control?

Sure, you just a reliable means to bootload them, then you can program them like any other chip.
A programmer like this will let you do that easily.

You'll need a 16 MHz crystal, two 22pF caps, 10K pullup resistor, and four 0.1uF caps (100nF) as a minimum to build up your standalone projects, and a 5V supply.

Oh, awesome. That programmer look like the solution for me. Thanks! I tried to read the description, does this allow me to bootload and program a blank chip so it's ready for my final standalone circuit?

I've seen the tutorials to build the standalone as you mentioned. I plan to try that tomorrow. One more question, if I build that circuit without the clock, will it show any signs of life or is it completely dead until I add the clock?

"does this allow me to bootload and program a blank chip so it's ready for my final standalone circuit? "
I believe it does.

Standalone chip won't work without a clock once it's bootloaded as an Uno.

CrossRoads:
"does this allow me to bootload and program a blank chip so it's ready for my final standalone circuit? "
I believe it does.

Standalone chip won't work without a clock once it's bootloaded as an Uno.

Good news! That helps with a few of my hardware headaches so I can get back to learning the coding part. Thanks so much

CrossRoads:
"does this allow me to bootload and program a blank chip so it's ready for my final standalone circuit? "
I believe it does.

Standalone chip won't work without a clock once it's bootloaded as an Uno.

You can use the clock from the Arduino running as ISP; pin#9 I think. The Adafruit ISP does this. I built an ISP following their instructions having bought the parts on eBay, it works. Because I wanted to create a standalone ATmega that uses its internal 8MHz clock I had to create a board in the boards.txt file to instruct the chip to run at 8MHz

Well, there's a couple of obvious problems here.

One is that we have not - as is required for all requests for assistance here - been given the actual circuit diagram and a perfectly focussed photograph to verify construction of the "breadboarded" project. In the absence of this, it is virtually impossible to find the faults in the design. Obviously if the OP had got the design right, there would be no problem in the first place. :astonished:

It follows from that problem, that we do not know if the "breadboarded" project includes a provision for downloading, generally by a USB to TTL adapter. If there is no expectation to download a program to the target system, then there is no requirement for the bootloader in the first place, you merely program the chip using Arduino as ISP or a USBASP adapter with the sketch itself. Burning a bootloader first - given that it will actually be overwritten by the ISP process - is a useful way however to set the fuses.

Further than that, if there is no reason to require a USB interface on the target system, the ISP interface (six pin) can with due care to the circuit arrangements, be included on the target and the chip programmed in place using ISP.

As far as I could tell from the above posts, he had not gotten so far as attempting to run it on a breadboard - he was failing when he tried to test it while it was plugged into the Uno?

Correct. I assumed I could put the new chip in the arduino, upload my latest version of code, and continue on my way.
I think I may just buy some new chips from adafruit and hope for the best. Or get that programmer mentioned earlier.