Bootloading ATMega168 20-PU

I’ve built a PCB for a Word Clock according to some plans on Instructables: I’m currently at the stage of burning a bootloader onto the chip in order to load the sketch onto it but I’ve come across some problems while doing this (please bear in mind this is the first time I’ve ever built a PCB or done anything like this!)

I have selected the Arduino Diecimila ATMega168 option from boards (I’ve also tried the other 168 boards from that menu) and then attempted to burn the bootloader. After about 30 seconds the status bar states: “Error while burning bootloader” with the following output from avrdude:

avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x51

For the first attempt I used my USB UART connector ( - I’ve never used this before so I’m not sure if it even works. I then tried installing the ATMega 168 onto an an Arduino Uno board I have, which resulted in the same error. Here are a few pics of my setup just to see if there are any glaring errors in there:

The Board:
The Board:

I connected the UART to the board according to the pin-outs on its PCB and the circuit schematic provided for this project (

Is it possible that I’ve damaged the ATMega 168 somewhere along the line, or could there be other causes for this? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

first youll need a dedicated programmer to burn the bootloader on the atmega168 youll then use the usb to serial to upload code to it

if you have an arduino uno take a look at this tutorial also youll need to disable the auto reset on the uno board using a capacitor between reset and gnd (search the forum there are lots of info)

for the first time making a PCB its looks pretty good what method did you use ?

Thanks for your help, I'll have a go at doing as the tutorial describes with my Mega 2560 board and the Uno board I was using earlier. I was wondering if I needed to/could do something like that.

The PCB pattern is available to download from Instructables, I printed it onto a transparency and exposed the PCB using a lightbox then developed the photoresist and etched the copper using chemicals bought from Maplin. I was pretty surprised at how well it worked for my first go! It does help that I have access to all the kit to do it at my university. The most difficult thing was drilling all the holes :roll_eyes: