Electronics > Microcontrollers

eBay AVR programmer/debuggers?

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Hey guys. I ran across this on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/AVR-USB-Emulator-debugger-programmer-JTAG-ICE-for-Atmel-/160826021353?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2571fa55e9#ht_2205wt_1344

What do you guys think?

It says it supports up to AVR Studio 4.18, but I have the feeling that it says that because it was put on the market when 4.18 was the latest.


This is a typical crap AVR debugger clone.

It just supports the old (Mk I) debugging interface and is two generations behind the current. It will not work with any modern AVR.

Also, it will likely not work with Studio 5 or 6 at all, because Atmel tightened the detection mechanism for programmers and debuggers in Studio 5, 6. Studio is now much more picky of what it accepts as genuine debugger.

In general, with two kinds of exceptions, there are no AVR debugger clones on the market doing current AVRs. Atmel has kept the interface proprietary, and only their own debuggers can talk to their modern AVRs. They even don't publish how to talk to the debuggers, so you are stuck with the Atmel Studio crap for driving an Atmel debugger. And their latest debugger no longer works with Studio 4.x, but requires Studio 5 or 6.

The first exception are complete ripoff clones of the original Mk II debugger. However, they became rare, and just because some Chinese company uses the same enclosure as Atmel doesn't mean it contains a working Mk II debugger.

The second exception is a Chinese company producing what they call an mkii-CN debugger. They claim they aren't doing a ripoff and that Atmel confirmed this. Interestingly, their clone got cloned and they are trying to lock out the cloners via firmware tricks.

The makers of the mkII-CN have just released an upgrade to make it compatible with Studio 6

So would the mkII-CN be a good cheap alternative? or would a genuine avr programmer (not debugger) be a better option?

Genuine AVR Dragon is cheaper and is more likely to work with future versions of AVR Studio. It allows both programming and debugging. If you want a robust programmer, then the AVR ISP Mk. II is an affordable solution.


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