I had trouble connecting the chips any other way so I made my own universal adapter.
This could also be used to do In-Circuit programming without removing the chip from the PCB.
If you want an adapter to connect and fit any size microcontroller, this Instructable is for you.
Tools and parts that you will need:
+ Hot glue or epoxy
+ 6 old floppy disks
+ plexiglass or piece of thick plastic
+ 8 pin chip socket or just pins that you could plug into the PIC programmer
+ 6 springs (abt 2mm diameter, 2.5cm long)
+ drill or copper wire to make holes for the springs
The base of the adapter is a piece of plexiglass or thick plastic that will hold the whole fixture.
First there are 12 holes to be made, 6 holes for the cylindrical springs and 6 holes for the wires. Refer to the picture to get a sense of approximate locations of the holes.
I took 6 old floppy disks and extracted the springs inside of them (the ones that close the floppy disk cover from dust)
I then bent and put these small springs inside cylindrical springs, inserted a wire into each spring so that there is a connection made between the wire and the spring. I tried to solder the wire to the springs but that didn't work so I just tightly fit the wire inside the cylindrical spring and that worked fine.
Then I hot glued the springs and the wire to the under side of the board and soldered the other end of the wire to 8 pin chip socket. You could have pins instead to give you more flexibility to program different types of chips.
By now, you are done!
Plug in your adapter into a PIC or AVR programmer according to the programmer pinout and continue taking over the world with Micro robots!
The adapter provides with 6 wires that can be connected to any leg of the chip, for example you need 5 legs to be connected for a PIC chip (I program my PICs with PicKit 1 and this adapter works beautifully for that). I'm sure you can use this for AVR chips as well. The springs from floppy disks are good enough to hold a tight contact with the chip when you have it on this adapter but I encourage you to put a rubber band around the chip to secure the chip while programming.
Let me know if you have any questions!