Bootloaders and bare chips

I am relatively new to Arduino, buying my first board (Uno) just after Christmas and using Arduino 1.0 from day one.

I want to be able to use standalone AVR chips on breadboard/veroboard for my next project but have seen conflicting information regarding how to do this.

It seems that the Uno is not supposed to be able to be used to burn a bootloader to a new chip. but it might work if my existing boot loader version on the Uno is the latest version of Optiboot.

So, my question - how can I tell what revision of optiboot I am running on my Uno?

Can anyone say definitively if I can use my Arduino Uno as an ISP to program a bare chip?

Thanks in advance!

ANY Arduino can be used as an ISP, including the Uno. However I would always prefer the real thing. Use an AVRISPmkII, especially if you are a beginner. Unless you have some experience you should be grateful for any pitfall that you can avoid. That is: if you fail using the Uno you will most likely have absolutely no clue where to start searching. So either find someone experienced or try to reduce potential points of failure up front.

SupraJames: It seems that the Uno is not supposed to be able to be used to burn a bootloader to a new chip.

That's a lie. It works fine.

but it might work if my existing boot loader version on the Uno is the latest version of Optiboot.

The latest version of optiboot helps (you do not need to disable auto-reset) but is not required.

So, my question - how can I tell what revision of optiboot I am running on my Uno?

I believe westfw includes a version in the image and a sketch that returns the value. However...

I am relatively new to Arduino, buying my first board (Uno) just after Christmas and using Arduino 1.0 from day one.

...makes it very likely your board has the latest bootloader installed. Assuming you purchased an authentic board.

Can anyone say definitively if I can use my Arduino Uno as an ISP to program a bare chip?

You can.

Thanks for the replies. I just noticed a previous post on here with a picture of an rev 3 UNO and that's exactly what I have - so looks like my boot loader is good.

I also have 2 x spare ATmegas that have apparently already been boot loaded! So, I guess I don't need to bootloader them. But... to play around and learn I will try to anyway. I will just keep one of the chips safe as a backout plan :)

Loading the Optiloader sketch onto an Uno and connecting to a bare chip on a breadboard is pretty straightforward. westwf had a video of it in action in one of the threads. https://github.com/WestfW/OptiLoader read the pde, tells you the 4 wires that need connecting along with power & ground.

CrossRoads, this looks great however can it be used to set the fuse bits to allow internal 8Mhz clock operation? Would this be an easy mod to the code?

Read the file
optiLoader.pde
there are 2 sections that discuss fuses,
so I would say yes.