Rabbithole from TinyML to Arduino to USB ISP Firmware flashing

Sudhan bio photo By Sudhan Comment

Introduction - Getting USB ISP Programmer (clones) to work on MacOS

What started as an attempt to do a bit TinyML led to a day long exercise in getting a USB-ISP V2.0 programmer to work. These are cheap programmer boards used to flash programs to ATmega, ATtiny microcontrollers from Atmel. These micro-controllers usually very easy to use since most folks use them via Boards like Arduino UNO, Nano, Pro Micro and the like that have USB-to-Serial built-in.

If you need to program the chips and use the bare minimum components, you will have to move away from the Arduino boards to the bare-essentials.

BUT, to do that, you will need to somehow flash firmware to the chips. Enter: USB-ISP Programmers.

I bought a very cheap one for around 4 USD only to find out that it does not work (on Mac Monterey atleast). Rather than return the device, I tried to figure it out and benefited from the lessons from many folks who had already made the journey.

To save time for others:

  • Summarized the symptoms
  • Modified and compiled the source code
  • Written a small Readme section for folks to follow

You can check out the repository at https://github.com/p2c2e/usbasp.2011-05-28-zhifengsoft-USB-ISP-Clone.git

Device that I bought: https://robocraze.com/products/usb-isp-programmer-version-2-0 Image: How the device looks like

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