Introduction: An Universal Programming Adapter for the Atmel STK500

About: Native German living in Sweden

You have an STK500 development board for the AVR controllers from Atmel?

And you want to use it with a newer AVR controller which is not supported by any of the 8 sockets on board?

And you do not own an STK505 extension board?

Welcome to my world until yesterday!

This is my first instructable which will describe how I helped myself yesterday. You might find an update on my blog as well...

Step 1: What You Need

All you need to build yourself an adapter which will support all different kinds of controller pinouts for your ST500 is

- some piece of prototype pcb board
- some strip of female pin header connectors (single or double-row)
- a socket for the controller, preferably a zif socket
- solder wire and a soldering iron

I used a narrow 28-pin DIP zero-insertion-force socket, similar to the famous Textool brand, but labeled as TFXTDOL. For a 28-pin socket you will need two 28-pin long strips of the female header. For the connection to the ISP10PIN header on the STK500 you will need another two pieces of 5x2 contacts.

Step 2: Put It Together

Cut the female pin header strips to the corresponding lengths. Then solder the socket and the pin header strips to the circuit board - align the pin header strips along both sides of the socket.

Connect each pin of the socket to the corresponding pin(s) on the adjacent pin header.

Finally solder a 5x2 pin header strip to the top of the circuit board, next to the socket arrangement, but without aking any connections between the two areas.

Take the second 5x2 pin header, slightly bend the solder pins slightly outward and solder it from the bottom of the pcb onto the connections of the 5x2 header on the top side.

Step 3: Using It

All you now have to do is to look up the correct pinout of the controller you want to use in your project from its datasheet and make the necessary connections  with jumper wires between the ISP10PIN socket and the  socket connectors. You can easily rewire the adapter for the next controller to be used in your next project.

You can also add connections to a breadboard or to the LEDs and switches on the STK500 with male/female jumper wires, and you can add components like quartz crystals directly next to the controller. In the case of the quartz crystal it will be difficult to add the recommended capacitors as well, so your mileage may vary - don't expect perfect functionality. Alternatively you could insert the quartz in the socket on the STK500 and use its built-in oscillator and connect a wire from the OSCSEL jumper to your adapter.

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