Learning About the AVR Parallel Programmer

: Description : Document my experience using an AVR parallel cable programmer and constructing a programming "jig".

: Status : Successfully programmed an ATMega8 mounted on a constructed programming jig.

: See Also : Learning About Arduino and ATMega8


I had access to a parallel port-based programmer for AVR chips when Learning About Arduino and ATMega8. After initially building the suggested test circuit on a breadboard I decided to construct a more permanent programming "jig"—this page documents some of this process.

The circuit is based on this schematic:

Breadboard programming circuit

Here is the circuit as I constructed it on a breadboard:

@@ TODO : Document this layout.

Custom-made programming jig

Rather than build the programming circuit on a breadboard each time I needed it, I designed and built a programming "jig" on prototype board.

Here the programming jig can be seen connected using an Arduino Diecimila for its 5V regulated power:

Exiting the top left of the photo the parallel programming cable is visible while the cable on the right is external power for the Arduino.

Here's a close up of the jig in action, note the flashing LED indicating a successful program upload:

Pins on the underside of the board enable it to be plugged directly into the 5V and Ground connectors of the Arduino. There's room on the right side of the board to add an external clock crystal in a future modification.

I sketched out the board layout using a template I link to which did the job even though it's really for stripboard:

Component side board close-up:

A close-up of the solder side of the board:

@@ TODO : Document the layout.


Oh, and for those interested, here are the hi-tech, clean-room conditions in which I assembled the board: