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Cool and cheap USB based AVR (Arduino) ISP Programer

Vendor's Description: 

Hi all,

If you are into Atmel AVR's then you might find this programmer very useful: http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/ 

It is an USB based AVR ISP programmer which is supported by avrdude and as far as I understand by AvrStudio too with some tweaks.

The programmer uses an ATMega8 (and others) micro controller which implements the USB communication in firmware so you only need an USB cable, a few resistors, a 12 to 20 MHz quartz crystal (the speed can be selected in the software)  and some caps (please see the link for more info). 

The schematic is really simple and it can be built on a protoboard or a breadboard. 

It can be used to set the fuses, program all AVR chips using ISP, and even works on the Arduino.

The costs are somewhere around 3 bucks ... not sure how much the Atmega8 costs currently.

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Very nice, I like the fact that the USB interface is all firmware. Some of the USB interface IC's can be expensive.

... that most of the USB interface chips come in small SMD packages which are hard to use in a DIY enviroment.

Also being firmware based it can be modified to do lots of stuff.