Fixing USBasp based on ATmega8

I have purchased several of these Chinese USBasp programmers with the metal case covers. These are very nicely built.

You can also get them cheaper in bulk for about $4.00 ea.

They are based on the USBasp circuit design with an Atmega8L. The problem with these are they do not actually use the USBasp firmware. They do not work direclty with avrdude. They emulate an USB HID device so they can install without any Windows drivers. The catch is they need to use a special Windows GUI (progisp.exe) program to burn AVRs. They are based on the MX-USBISP-V3.00 2012-05-20 pcb. See image.

I found that you can reprogram these with the usbasp.atmega8.2009-02-28.hex or usbasp.atmega8.2011-05-28.hex firmware and they seem to work great.

  1. They usually have the lock bits set so you will have to erase it first.
  2. Also the back of the pcb have three solder bridges that need to be removed. See image.
  3. Short the two holes the arrows are pointing from to the UP label. This is the RESET line for self-programming.