Electronics > Microcontrollers

Cheap AVR programmers, are they any good ?

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There are loads of chinese avr programmers on ebay, how do they compare with the originals ? are they worth a go ?

It depends ...
Do you want a playtoy or a robust original unit.
The real AVRISP MKII (that has offical support) and programs every AVR MCU from Tiny4 to Xmega384 , isn't that expensive

I have both an USBASP and an original AVRISP MKII.

I got the USBASP for 6€, an ok price for a "hobby unit"  (that just only added PDI/TPI support).

The 35€ AVRISP MKII , have had original AVR Studio support for all MCU's since the MCU's were released (an Atmel firmwareupdate of the programmer)

For anything above 15€ ... I'd say go for the real AVRISP MKII.

There's a lot of good  AVRISP MKII "lookalikes out there" , but i rarely see an AVRISP MKII (chinese) tha comes in the "Atmel Box" , but i'd buy fron an EU source/shop.


The cheapest USB AVR programmer I know that is still worth something is USBasp. Assuming someone put a real micro with correct firmware the only known problem for them are wrong voltage Zeners (it sometimes doesn't work with 3.6 V, the proper are 3.3 V). You can get one with selectable 3.3 or 5 Volts and a good one has jumpers available for self-programming, powering the target and slowing down programming clock.

I'll get an original as soon as i'm paid and flog that good for nothing pickit3

But what about debugging? Did you plan to do any of that or are you planning to do error free code every time   ;)?
While the JTAGICEs are in a different price category, in commercial work at least one should calculate how many hours of head banging one of them is worth... not that many at all.
For hobby it is another thing of course and anything goes. Because who counts the price of a hobby, eh ;D


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