Picture of Arduino Leonardo as ISP

The Leonardo was my first Arduino, I bought it because it's native USB capabilities. After experimenting with Arduino, I decided to migrate from my Arduino Leonardo to a standalone Atmega328p or, for smaller projects, to a microcontroller from the Attiny family.

After some research I found this guide by PeterVH: http://petervanhoyweghen.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/arduinoisp-on-the-leonardo/
After several failed attempts, I was able to burn the bootloader and upload sketches successfully and wanted to share that with this Instructable.

I can not be held responsible for any damages that could occur to you or your equipment while following the procedures present on this page. Also, I give absolutely no warranty on the correctness and usability of the information on this Instructable. Please note, however, that these procedures have worked in my case without any damages or problems.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
- Arduino Leonardo (with usb cable)
- A computer (all steps are based on computer running Windows)
- Wires
- Target Atmel microcontroller 

KlemenŠ112 days ago

if your IDE 1.6.4 software doesnt find the programmer Leonardo option, you need to past that text not in leofix folder, but go to hardware->arduino and find an existing programmers.txt file there, and paste that tet at the end of the ones already in.

AnujD21 days ago
AnujD AnujD21 days ago

thanks a lot!! made it with a little help from these guys


TollerT4 months ago

I Need help at Programming my Attiny85
I get this error when uploudin the Blink sketch to it via Arduino Leonardo:

avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 1 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x03

Are you using the VCC and GND from the Leonardo? Try a different power source. In my case it was the other way around: I was using a battery and I had to feed my breadboard from the Leonardo. EVEN if the voltages were the same, the equipment didn't sync. Fiddle with this. Whatever works. In 2-3 days of searching I couldn't find anything else.

i know it may technically may not make sense, but, it's all i got as info

Also make sure your pins connect properly (I soldered my pieces, I do not have a breadboard), and some were not entirely well connected

scrlk (author)  UnitedElites.4 months ago

You can use different power sources but gorund must be connected so the 0v reference for the devices is the same when communicating.

I don't understand step 5, the wiring from RX(pin2) to leonardo digital pin 0 and the wiring rom TX(pin3) to leonardo digital pin 1. These connections are not needed for programming the target (imho). I would suggest to mention the pin numbers for GND and VCC in the table, instead of the RX and TX pins.

scrlk (author)  carl.vandenzen4 months ago

there are not necessary when programming via ISP but are used for serial communication

JihadZ7 months ago


I would like to do the same but I want to use the Arduino Leonardo with circuit with atmega32u4 can you tell me how can I burn bootloader to the atmega

scrlk (author)  JihadZ7 months ago
Do you mean Arduino Leonardo bootloader to an atmega32u4? yes, its possible, i just burned it into my leonardo that did not respond.
Use any arduino board running the "arduino as isp" program or an avr programmer to burn. At the Arduino IDE, select the proper programmer and "Arduino Leonardo" ad board. Then click at "burn bootloader". It may take a couple of minutes.
If something is unclear do not hesitate to ask.
RichardBronosky made it!10 months ago

Thank you so much for this great instructable! There are so many instructions out there explaining how to use the Uno to do this, but this is the best for ATmega32u4 based boards. I used the SparkFun 3.3v Pro Micro to program an ATtiny45. This demonstrates that you don't have to use a 5v Arduino and you don't have to have an ISP header. Because I intend to make a custom ribbon cable for this, the red and black wires are going to A0 & A1. To get that to work I just set those pins HIGH and LOW in the setup(). It worked a treat! Thank you so much for taking the time to give back! I'll post a video of this soon.


As promised, here is a video demonstration.


scrlk (author)  RichardBronosky10 months ago

Very nice video! glad it helped.

Lucif3r9451 year ago

Great instructable. All info I could find prior to this was that you needed an arduino with removable IC (aka not a leonardo) in order to use it as ISP.

I tried this method on my leo yesterday and it worked fine :) Or well, I did have some initial issues with the atmega328 not being recognized....... But as it turned out I hadnt pushed it all the way down in the breadboard lol After I did that everything went perfect :P

Error while burning Bootloader.....

avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00

Help Required

creasty1 year ago
hey,friend it's look like u have a great knowlage on arduino programming,i need ur help,i m new to arduino..i want to run arduino programme which i'hv (made for leonardo board only) and check whether there is any error in programme or not..and than i want to upload this programme in programme board and acorrding to programme it'll run 2 gear motor,so how can i check it and load it..can u please tell me step wise instruction or put this instructable type vedio..i'll be thankfull,thank you
cae21001 year ago
great guide, just one question: can you change the reset from 10 to another number, lets say 2 or 3? then you can make a small board with ICSP header on it for reprogramming chips without needing to use alot of board space.
scrlk (author)  cae21001 year ago
Ive never tried it but it would work. Please give it a try and let me know the results, thanks.
I like the way you stickered your ICs

did you like the way I pined my LCDs

scrlk (author)  Josehf Murchison2 years ago
Yeah, it is a great method to remember and memorize the pinouts
I am great at imbedded code (100101) but I am lousy at C and other programing code so I got Arduino to practice and work on my weak spots.

When I work with ICs I have the data book in front of me or print out the pdf data to track the pin outs, there is no standard on even Vcc and Vdd.

Did you do that on your printer with stickers because it looks good?

If you did you should do an Instructable on snickering ICs that is a fantastic idea I never thought of that.

scrlk (author)  Josehf Murchison2 years ago
Thanks for reminding me to look for vdd and vcc, was something I was curious to know but I never remember to ask or search. Here is the answer, I think: http://encyclobeamia.solarbotics.net/articles/vxx.html

No, I didn't use stickers or adhesive paper, they were printed on regular office paper and pasted using a paper glue stick (no conductive). But it is a good idea to use stickers, I am going to try that some day.

Now isn’t that funny in my data sheets I get Vcc and GND, Vdd and GND or Vdd and Vss I even checked and couldn’t find one with Vee.

Even the manufactures don’t stick to the standard of Vcc and Vee or Vdd and Vss.

scrlk (author)  Josehf Murchison2 years ago
For me, as a electronics hobbyist, I only check if it is negative or positive voltage, but maybe for professionals those letters indicate useful information.

It is useful some ICs work with positive and negative current that is why Vcc and Vee ICs marked Vcc and GND are mostly 5 volts+ and ground.

scrlk (author)  Josehf Murchison2 years ago
Yes, that is exactly what I suppose when looking the new ic datasheet