Custom SMD chip boot loader issue

I made this very nice little device that lets me burn the Bootloader onto an TFQP32 Atmega328P chip. It’s like a custom board with an Atmega328P-AU running Gammon’s boot loader program, that will boatload a SMD chip in the socket.

There are 2 FTDI ports on my this device - one for the onboard chip running Gammon’s sketch. The 2nd FTDI port is connected to the new Atmega chip in the socket, so I can test the chip or load a sketch, once it’s been boot loaded.

It also has a couple switches, for the socketed chip. One lets me switch the crystal to 8Mhz/16Mhz, and another switch I can choose 3.3V/5.0V.

So, I can burn a normal “UNO” bootloader, and then verify it by loading a sketch, or I can burn a lily pad boot loader for low volt applications, and also test it.

I’ve probably done about 50 chips with this in the past few years. Now just recently, it has a problem. I can’t communicate with the new chip over the FTDI port. (The FTDI chips are genuine, from DigiKey). The onboard Gammon sketch works, it recognizes the chip in the socket, it’s burns the boot loader, (UNO or Liliypad) and it verifies. And I’ve confirmed the chip by installing it on in a different board. But there’s a fault in the FTDI connection of the new chip. My laptop recognizes the FTDI chip when I plug into it, but it gives this error when trying to load a sketch:

avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 1 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 2 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x00

I tried bypassing the crystal switch by hard soldering the pins on the bottom of my board, a direct connection to the 16Mhz crystal. And I’ve tested continuity from the socket pins to the board for the RX/TX/ReSET pins… Not sure why it would just suddenly quit working. Unfortunately, as seen in the photos, I soldered the socket right onto the top of the board so there not much way to troubleshoot…

Before I make a whole new one, I wondered if anyone might spot the potential problem? It’s a great little device for boot loading chips.

Schematic.pdf (54.6 KB)

PS. It still lets me loot load them, I just can’t actually test them, though I guess the “Verify” in Gammon’s sketch is satisfactory.

1 more photo of it.