How to use AVRISP-MKII with AVRDUDE and Great cow basic

Atmel have stopped making AVRISP-MKII but Kanda sell a Waveshare version that is identical to the original. Atmel Studio fully supports AVRISP-MKII and it is simple to install and use with Studio but it can also be used with AVRDude and Great Cow Basic compiler.

Using with Atmel Studio

Just to refresh your memory or for new users, AVRISP-MKII is really easy to use with Studio. Just plug in the programmer and Windows will Auto-detect and install the USB driver.

Run Studio and choose Tools -> Program AVR -> Connect and this dialog appears

Choose AVRISP-mkII and click Connect

Atmel Studio help gives lots more details on using AVRISP mkII in Studio.

Using with AVRDUDE

AVRDUDE is free software used to program AVR microcontrollers, including Arduino boards. It uses the free GNU LibUSB driver rather than the default Microchip driver used by Atmel Studio, so the first task is to change the driver.

Changing USB driver

Luckily, other people have solved this problem and there are free solutions that make this task much easier. Here we will use ZADIG, which is a free GNU USB driver installer, because it makes it really simple.

Download ZADIG from here

a. Install ZADIG
b. Run ZADIG
c. Select Options and check List All Devices
d. Then, select the AVRISP mkII in the drop down list

e. Change Driver to Libusb-win32

f. Click Replace Driver

Change driver to libusb-win32

Plug and re-plug your programmer for the new driver to take effect. Your AVRISP-MKII is now set to work with AVRDude software.

AVRDude Software

The original AVRDude software is a command line but various GUI’s have been developed to make it nicer to use.Look on Sourceforge or other repositories for free versions. This example uses free AVRDUDESS, which can be downloaded here

AVRDUDESS interfaces looks like this.


Connect your target AVR board or Arduino and read and write as normal. Read the documentation with AVRDudeSS if you are not familiar with programming software.

Use with Great Cow Basic

Great Cow Basic is based on QBasic/FreeBasic, with the syntax changed enough to make it suitable for microcontrollers. It supports PIC and AVR devices, including Arduino. It offers a simpler solution than assembly language or C. It is open source and can be downloaded here…

Download Great Cow Basic

Run your Great Cow basic IDE and select Programmer Preferences. Select AVR ISP-XPII[KANDA] from the list of supported programs.

Select Kanda programmer from list

If this programmer is not shown in the list, you will need to add it. Select Add to bring up the Programmer Editor and follow the instructions…

Programmer Editor Box

a. Name as : AVR ISP XPII [KANDA]
b. File as: %instdir%..\avrdude\avrdude.exe
c. Command Line Parameters as: -c avrispv2 -P usb -p AT%chipmodel%
-U flash:w:”%filename%”:i
d. Working directory as: %instdir%..\avrdude\
e. Optionally, you can add Use If as: DEF(AVR)
f. Select OK to save the programmer
g. Select AVR ISP XPII [KANDA] and drag to top of the ‘Programmers to use (in order)’ list.


AVRISP-MKII programmer is available here on Kanda website


That’s all folks! You can now use your AVR ISP II with AVRDude and Great Cow Basic.

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