Using Arduino as an ISP to program brand new microcontrollers

Was just about to buy a $5 Atmel AVR programmer from China, and was freaking out about having to wait up to month for shipping. I should have realised this before, but you can program an Arduino to act as an ISP ( In circuit programmer).

The microcontroller I plan to use in my project is an ATMEGA48, which costs  $2.69 from Element14. It runs at 10 MHz, has an ADC and I2C, SPI, USART connectivity.

Using this guide, you can use AVR dude (free software) to turn your code into hex format, and then upload it via SPI using the Arduino as a programmer.

Using an Arduino board to program an ATmega,with external crystal and associated capacitors (18 or 22 picofarads).

I bought $40 worth of electronics from Element14, and they sent it to me via four  couriered packages arriving between 1- 7 days. I didn’t pay anything for shipping, but surely that must cost them a fortune. I know they were shipping parts from different warehouses and I do like that they ship as soon as the parts are available. On the site it tells you how long each of the parts should take to ship. I really like Element14, they seem to be really well run and I even got a call from them saying that if I ever needed any technical help they had people on staff I could talk to. Which is nice.

I ordered the wrong sort of chip, DIC instead of DIP, and it was an instrumentation amplifier too! and cost $11. Urgh, the most expensive part – I’m hoping I won’t actually end up using it, and can substitute a cheaper maybe $5 instrumentation op amp, with similar specs, but since for the amplifier stage of the EEG I am using someone else’s design, I should stick to that- since analog circuits are definitely not my area. Will detail my plans for an EEG shield in the next post, and maybe put it in front of this one.