I bought a cheap USBASP clone Atmel programmer from eBay a few weeks ago, to use with the Arduino IDE. (see images below)
The board worked ok, but kept giving errors
avrdude: warning: cannot set sck period. please check for usbasp firmware update
and I was unable to program an ATTiny85 on a breadboard when running at 3.3v (it worked fine at 5V), so I decided to bite the bullet and attempt to update the firmware on the USBASP using one of my Arduino boards as the programmer.
There appears to be a lot of misleading and confusing information on the web about how to do this, so I thought I’d document what worked for me.
- NOTE. Attempting to reprogram your USBASP may damage or erase it. Only follow the process described below if you are willing to take this risk
- Program an Arduino UNO as an ISP.
This is a fairly simple process.
Plug in your Arduino.
From the Examples (on the File menu). Select “Arduino ISP”
Select “Upload” and confirm that the new firmware has been uploaded.
Note down the Comm port that the Arduino board is connected via i.e from the Tools->Serial port menu
- Download the lastest version of the USBASP firmware from http://www.fischl.de/usbasp
I used usbasp.2011-05-28.tar.gz
unzip the file and note the full path of the the bin/firmware directory for the firmware you have just downloaded and unzipped
- Open a command prompt (windows cmd ), and Cd to your Arduino program folder and then into the hardware\tools\avr\bin folder
This folder should contain the avrdude.exe that will be used to flash the new firmware.
- Link the Self Program jumper on the USBASP – on my board this was labeled J2, some other boards are different.
I had to solder the pins onto the PCB as they were missing, and used a jump link, but any way to reliably connect the Self Program pins should work fine.
- Connect the Arduino to the programming pins of the USBASP
Make sure you disconnect the USBASP from your computers USB
My connections were
5V ———– 2
GND ——– 10
13 ———— 7
12 ———- 9 (MISO)
11 ———- 1 (MOSI)
10 ——— 5 (RESET)
- Check that avrdude can connect to the USBASP
In the windows command window, type
avrdude -C ../etc/avrdude.conf -c avrisp -P COM3 -b 19200 -p m8 -v
Note if your Arduino is not on COM3 you need to change this to whatever your Arduino IDE used.
If everything is connected correctly you should see a load of information about the USBASP board that you are about to program, like this
Using Port : COM3
Using Programmer : avrisp
Overriding Baud Rate : 19200
AVR Part : ATMEGA8
Chip Erase delay : 10000 us
PAGEL : PD7
BS2 : PC2
RESET disposition : dedicated
RETRY pulse : SCK
serial program mode : yes
parallel program mode : yes
Timeout : 200
StabDelay : 100
CmdexeDelay : 25
SyncLoops : 32
ByteDelay : 0
PollIndex : 3
PollValue : 0×53
Memory Detail :
Block Poll Page Polled
Memory Type Mode Delay Size Indx Paged Size Size #Pages MinW MaxW ReadBack
———– —- —– —– —- —— —— —- —— —– —– ———
eeprom 4 20 128 0 no 512 4 0 9000 9000 0xff 0xff
flash 33 10 64 0 yes 8192 64 128 4500 4500 0xff 0×00
lfuse 0 0 0 0 no 1 0 0 2000 2000 0×00 0×00
hfuse 0 0 0 0 no 1 0 0 2000 2000 0×00 0×00
lock 0 0 0 0 no 1 0 0 2000 2000 0×00 0×00
calibration 0 0 0 0 no 4 0 0 0 0 0×00 0×00
signature 0 0 0 0 no 3 0 0 0 0 0×00 0×00
Programmer Type : STK500
Description : Atmel AVR ISP
Hardware Version: 2
Firmware Version: 1.18
Topcard : Unknown
Vtarget : 0.0 V
Varef : 0.0 V
Oscillator : Off
SCK period : 0.1 us
avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions
- If you get an error message about invalid signature, your board is may not use an ATMega8, and you will need to change the -p option on the AVRDUDE command to match you board. If you omit the -p option, AVRDUDE will display a list of compatible devices and their codes which you can use to select the correct device.
If you have the correct device, but still get a signature error, check that you are using -c avrisp and NOT -c arduino.
Using -c arduino tells AVRDUDE that you want to program the Arduino board and not the USBASP
If you can’t connect at all, check your wiring, as its possible that some boards don’t have the same pinout as my board.
- Assuming that AVRDUDE can connect to the USBASP, you can backup the original firmware using the command
avrdude -C ../etc/avrdude.conf -c avrisp -P COM3 -b 19200 -p m8 -U flash:r:original_firmware.bin:r
This should read the firmware and save it to a file called original_firmware.bin (in the same folder as avrdude.exe)
- As a double check you can attempt to write the original firmware back to the device, I’m not sure if this is a foolproof way of testing whether you can flash the USBASP but I did it as a test, as previously I’d had issues writing / flashing the device but was able to read it OK.
avrdude -C ../etc/avrdude.conf -c avrisp -P COM3 -b 19200 -p m8 -U flash:w:original_firmware.bin
If this appears to work and AVRDUDE verifies OK, then its probably safe to attempt to burn the new firmware.
In my case the new firmware was in c:\usbasp so the command was
avrdude -C ../etc/avrdude.conf -c avrisp -P COM3 -b 19200 -p m8 -U flash:w:c:\usbasp.atmega8.2011-05-28.hex
Note. If the chip on your USBASP is not a MEGA8, you need to use the correct / matching file e.g.
avrdude -C ../etc/avrdude.conf -c avrisp -P COM3 -b 19200 -p m8 -U flash:w:c:\usbasp.atmega88.2011-05-28.hex
- If the process worked ok and AVDRUDE verified the new firmware, you can disconnect the USBASP from the Arduino and connect it via USB to the PC and attempt to program your target device (using the Arduino IDE or AVRDUDE).