Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I lost my parallel programmer

A while ago I wired a 25-pin parallel port socket with three resistors to build a parallel programmer for burning Arduino bootloader on brand-new chips. I used several times and it was great. However I do have the need to use it now and I cannot find it.

I've bought an ATMega328 as a drop-in replacement to have more memory available for a project involving the Ethernet shield and UDP networking. Unfortunately, Arduino Mega does not have the proper pinout for the Ethernet shield, so the ATmega328 is my best choice. But the new chip I've bought was empty and I need to burn the booloader.

I do keep my old PC available just in case, but my new iMac does not have a parallel port either. So I remembered that there was another way of burning the bootloader with some extra wiring on a Diecimila board.


And the wires go to the ICSP header ...


This way the FTDI serial chip can be used to burn the bootloader in the flash memory of the ATmega. However, it is not as easy if you are not using Windows. The problem is that in order to use this method, changes to avrdude program and FTDI driver are needed in OS X and Linux. The process is well documented but it is time consuming.

For those not interested on compiling away I'd recommend you to use a Windows virtual machine to make the process faster and easier. That's what I did and it worked nicely with vmplayer on Linux.

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