It’s best not to use the 8u2 as an ISP programmer

ISP programmers have a very specific purpose. You use them to program gadgets in a finished circuit. This is as an alternative to doing so in a separate socket programmer. During production, you can position the device you want to program on the PCB. Afterwards, you can employ ISP to program it at a later date.

Many of the older Arduino models used the FT232RL chip. They converted the TTL serial from the Arduino chip. This allows you to connect to software like PureData. In addition, it enables printable debugging. However, there is something vital you should know about the FT232RL; it can only function as a Serial/USB port. As a result it’s unable to operate like a MIDI device, mouse, disk drive, or keyboard.

A different chip

The Uno design has changed this by substituting the FT232RL with an Atmega8u2 chip. You can program it by soldering a 6-pin ISP header. You need a standard AVR programmer as well. Moreover, you can utilise the bootloader in the 8u2. It’s a little different with first generation Unos. Here, you permit this by soldering the 10k resistor beneath the board.

Some people wonder whether it’s possible to use the 8u2 for programming. The truth is it can work like full ISP programmers. Still, there are several good reasons why it’s not a good alternative. For instance, you don’t want beginners having access to a full programmer. This may lead to bricked chips. Furthermore, having your chip only operate as a Serial/USB passthrough streamlines the firmware. The chip ends up with one purpose and doesn’t need to do double duty.

At Kanda, we supply a plethora of genuine ISP programmers. The designs we have include CPLD, ST7, AT89S, and AVR. In addition, we have universal ISP boards and leads to go with the devices.

As you can see we are a one stop shop for programming and development. If you would like to purchase our merchandise, please visit our website or get in touch. We can cater for most kinds of special orders.

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