Build your own USB-ASP Programmer Clone
FEB 21, 2022
Using more ATMEGA based MCU’s in my recent projects, and not using ready-made Arduino boards for any of them, it became necessary to invest in a dedicated ASP programmer to flash the MCU’s. Huge delays on electronics components, with confirmed orders being mysteriously cancelled due to sourcing issues, and the high cost of “original OEM ASP programmers”, send me on a search for a DIY style programmer, like the old “NOPPP” ( NO PARTS PIC Programmer) in the good old days…
Personal computers have changed a lot, and while ATMEGA chips are not PIC’s, I did feel that it could be done. Given the fact that you could also use an Arduino UNO as an ISP, and doing a little more digging, I finally found a very attractive alternative…
Thomas Fischl, on his website,https://www.fischl.de/usbasp, has an open-source hardware project, that seemed to be exactly what I needed. His device is capable of programming 5v devices, at various speeds, including a super slow one. He has also written firmware for the device, and although the last update was in 2011, It still seems to be working well, or at least as far as I can see…
I did however decide to add my own twist to the design and build in a logic level converter, to be able to program 3.3v devices as well…
The modified schematic is below:
I chose to do my own PCB layout, to incorporate the changes listed earlier, namely the logic level conversion from 5v to 3v, as well as adding a 3.3v LDO voltage regulator to provide 3.3v to the target in case it is required.
The PCB is still in transit from the factory, and thus I will update this article later with pictures of the actual device.
Firmware can be flashed using any ASP programmer, Arduino as ISP as well, but with the caveat that you have to use AVRDude from the command line… More on that in the follow-up post… ( I would like to show actual screenshots of the process, and not theory.. ). The links to the firmware are available on https://www.fischl.de/usbasp, courtesy of Thomas Fischl, whom I would like to thank for making this open-source hardware project available freely, as well as for writing and maintaining the firmware.
The PCB can be ordered, or the design files downloaded ( a free download ) from my Projects page at PCBWay soon…
This PCB was manufactured at PCBWAY. The Gerber files and BOM, as well as all the schematics, will soon be available as a shared project on their website. If you would like to have PCBWAY manufacture one of your own, designs, or even this particular PCB, you need to do the following…
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If you use the link above, you will also instantly receive a $5USD coupon, which you can use on your first or any other order later. (Disclaimer: I will earn a small referral fee from PCBWay. This referral fee will not affect the cost of your order, nor will you pay any part thereof.)
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