Newbie needs advice

Hi guys, I've been wanting to play around witht he Arduino for a long time now and finally ready to order one. My question is, can I use the Arduino to program an Atmega8 chip, or would I need a separate AVR programmer?

I want to program an Atmega8 for a standalone USB joystick controller.

Thank you all very much!

I want to build one of these:

http://www.flightsim.com/main/howto/mind.htm

Thank you very much. I have searched a lot but wanted to ask here because I know nothing about AVR programming or the Arduino.

I want the USB joystick controller to be a stand alone hardware device as I plan on using the Arduino to play around with a lot of the other projects I have seen. Eventually I would love to do what this user did:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRiKlA9DTRk&feature=player_embedded

Basically interface the X-Plane flight simulator to have 7 segment LED's show for certain autopilot readouts, and to interface either servos or stepping motors to create "real" working gauges for my home cockpit.

You can do it with an arduino, either way that I am thinking...

First off the the Atmega8 is outdated... I would use a 328, or at least a 168. The code will still be compatible.

If it is bootloaded, just connect the tx to the tx on the stand alone, and do the same with rx.

If it is not bootloaded, you will have to sue icsp... You can use arduino as an icsp... Go to: File - Examples - Arduino ISP

why would you recommend a 168 or 328? maybe 8k and 8mhz is more than enough to complete the task

and its not outdated, heck the uno is using one as its usb interface, you can still buy them, there is still an application for them

I am not sure what bootloaded means. Would you please skim over this how-to and tell me if all I need basically would be the Arduino and an Atmega chip?

http://www.flightsim.com/main/howto/mind.htm

Again, thank you all so so much for taking the time to help. My funds are very limited and I want to be sure I am ordering the right hardware.

there are basicly 3 ways to get software onto these chips

1) high voltage programming, which I dont know too much about

2) ISP programming, which if you have an arduino you can use as a programmer

3) with a boot loader, which is a special little bit of software already loaded onto the chip by the above means so you can just load it by using the serial port on the chip

the project you linked to is using a atmega 8, with right up avrgcc, and not arduino, while arduino's ide will handle avrgcc stuff I dont know how it handles big project files

but since he gives you the compiled hex, if you get the atmega 8, and a isp programmer (like the one he shows with ponyprog or an arduino setup as one with avrdude) then you should be good to go (although I dont see where he sets the fuse bits)

I want the USB joystick controller to be a stand alone hardware device as I plan on using the Arduino to play around with a lot of the other projects I have seen. Eventually I would love to do what this user did:

Here is a great tut on putting the Atmega328 (or 168 or 8) onto a breadboard for embedded (or permanent) projects without having to buy another board:

http://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Standalone

I've searched the ends of google and I can't find any Atmega8 or Atmega16 or even 168's for sale, so can I use the 328 without any modification to the source code (a hex file)?

It also appears the 328 is out of stock on sparkfun, what are some other good, reputable US suppliers?

I've searched the ends of google and I can't find any ...

Atmega8: http://www.google.com/products?q=atmega8&hl=de&aq=f

Atmega16: http://www.google.com/products?q=atmega16&hl=de&aq=f

Atmega168: http://www.google.com/products?q=atmega168&hl=de&aq=f

Those are all “Out of Stock”.

Looks like it is time to update the code to a current chip. They don't live forever.

(Hey I finally figured out how to quote!)

That may be doable with the code for the Atmega8, I have the source for that (an .asm file), but the newer project using the Atmega16 there is no source available, just a .hex file.