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Old 11-15-2014, 09:12 PM #1
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Default ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

I'm at a point of frustration here. I've been trying to program an ATTINY85 chip, and it just seems like a comedy of errors and crap from china that doesn't work. Why they would sell an AVR USB programmer for $4 that doesn't include the DIP8 interface to plug a chip into is beyond me. They can make the entire programmer for $4, but the passive dumb adapters cost $30? Or I can try and solder one together myself?

What I'm looking for is a USB programmer that I can plug into my PC and plug an ATTINY85 into, and load code. Period. Seems like the simplest task on the planet. I do not want to buy arduino hardware, learn about shields, or DIY hardware just to be able to program this chip. blah blah blah. I just want to program an ATTINY85 without learning a bunch of parallel skillsets that don't particularly interest me. This is for a laser project. Key here is that I want something I can just order (_to canada_), without breaking the bank, and that will just let me do this very simple task.

It seems like this:
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11801
is exactly what I need. USB to DIP8, seems like the obvious piece of hardware. But their order page doesn't work, and it's $20, so by the time they add shipping, etc, it will probably be $50 CAD.

This has been a weekend of $#!t that should work, not working. So if someone can point me to a simple solution, it would be hugely apprciated, and bring down my (potentially irrational) level of anger and general frustration substantially


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Old 11-15-2014, 09:43 PM #2
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

If you have a programmer with a standard ICSP header it shouldn't be hard to put a few wires in that to a breadboard for programming the Attiny chip, that's what I do to program them.
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Old 11-15-2014, 09:57 PM #3
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARG View Post
If you have a programmer with a standard ICSP header it shouldn't be hard to put a few wires in that to a breadboard for programming the Attiny chip, that's what I do to program them.
It shouldn't - and I've done exactly that this morning, and I keep getting:
Code:
avrdude: warning: cannot set sck period. please check for usbasp firmware update.
avrdude: error: programm enable: target doesn't answer. 1 
avrdude: initialization failed, rc=-1
         Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
         this check.
The first error (firmware) seems to be one that I can't fix. The second error, target not answering, seems to be something different.

I just want a USB to DIP8 programmer....

Okay, I just bit the bullet and bought one from http://www.robotshop.com/. A $19.99 programmer becomes $34 after shipping and tax. But you get what you pay for. I'm at wits end with junk from China that doesn't do what its supposed to. After the revelation that my new 30A bench PSU is in that category, it's just a bad week as far as stuff not living up to expectations goes. Why would someone sell a programmer on eBay with outdated firmware that can't be updated without buying other hardware? Answer: because the seller is lazy and cheap.
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Last edited by rhd; 11-15-2014 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:17 PM #4
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

The three errors from avrdude comes up when there isn't a proper connection between the MCU and the programmer. Double checking your wiring and making sure they're solid would help.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:34 PM #5
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryansoh3 View Post
The three errors from avrdude comes up when there isn't a proper connection between the MCU and the programmer. Double checking your wiring and making sure they're solid would help.
I've checked, rechecked, rebuilt, used different pinouts (EDIT: I mean "used different pinout graphics to confirm that they were correct"), etc.

I think it sees the chip (unless that's just an echo of the command line input telling it I'm expecting an ATTiny85):

avrdude: seen product ->USBasp<-
AVR Part : ATtiny85
Chip Erase delay : 4500 us
PAGEL : P00
BS2 : P00
RESET disposition : possible i/o
RETRY pulse : SCK
serial program mode : yes
parallel program mode : yes
Timeout : 200
StabDelay : 100
CmdexeDelay : 25
SyncLoops : 32
ByteDelay : 0
PollIndex : 3
PollValue : 0x53
Memory Detail :
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Last edited by rhd; 11-15-2014 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:55 PM #6
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

Are you powering the chip or not? Check if there's voltage coming out of the ICSP. Some provide the power in which case disconnect your own, and some don't provide power.
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:20 PM #7
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Default Re: ATTINY85 programmer that doesn't require Jerry Rigging and/or 5 days of my life?

In addition to the above, getting a proper driver for the ICSP Programmer is a nightmare. I had a hell of a time getting my Arduino and Digisparks (a prefab ATTiny85 mini Arduino) to connect and flash because Win8.1 wouldn't recognise the device OR the drivers, and then again when it decided that it wouldn't re-flash the uC when plugged into a USB3.0 port. I got it all sorted out by cleaning out and reinstalling the drivers direct from Arduino's website.

The sparkfun board is ideal and I've heard of lots of folks having frustration free results from it. Hopefully the one you just ordered will do similarly (I didn't see a link to it, just the shop page). I totally understand not wanting to have to LEARN Arduino just to program your ATTinys, but honestly you've probably spend the combined cost of an UNO now, and you don't have to learn arduino at all to use an UNO as an USB ICSP Programmer. The original reason I bought an arduino UNO was for this exact purpose. It wasn't until later that I decided to learn to use it as a uC itself.
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