5 Reasons Why You Are Not Able to Program a Microcontroller

About: Preapering for my medical entrance exams

When starting with microcontrollers you are likely to face some problems in programming your microcontroller and there is nothing more frustrating than wasting hours to find the problem and still not be able to. I have worked with different types of microcontrollers like The Arduino , PCAXE , PIC microcontrollers etc and each time I started with off with a new family of microcontrollers there used to arise a problem which took me hours and sometimes days to find out  what the problem exactly was , so I have come up with a list of problems you are likely to face while programming a microcontroller.

Heres The List:

1] Check The Power Supply
When I was trying to program a PICAXE microcontroller it always used to show a error that unable to program I tried to solve this problem and then I finally came to know that my power supply was not appropriate. I was using a wall adapter at first when I replaced it programming started taking place smoothly. My programmer required external power supply

2] Selecting Correct Serial Port
In the programming software that you are using you need to specify the port to which you have connected your programmer to. I have failed to program my PIC microcontrollers because I didn't select the correct serial port.

3] Installing Drivers
Before being able to use your programmer you need to install the drivers necessary for the functioning of the programmer. When you connect the programmer for the first time it will automatically install them but if it doesn’t download it from the internet. While programming the arduino it did not automatically install the drivers I had to specify the locations of the drivers.

4] Pull Ups
Many microcontrollers require pull ups in their circuit before they can be programmed like the picaxe microcontroller requires 10k pull up resistor at the serial pin to get programmed otherwise it shows a error. Many other microcontrollers too require pull ups they might 1 or several.

5] The Programming Software Is Not Detecting The Microcontroller
This again is a problem with your power supply check your power supply again and again connect the programmer to the computer and now it should detect it but if it still doesn’t detect it there might be a problem in your programmer.

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I came across a problem with Atmel ATTiny micro that, as supplied, had its flash bits set for High Voltage programming, so could not use normal programming. Had to use special programmer to reset flash bits.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's really a drag. Fortunately the ones I got always could be programmed with regular programming.
    Only once did I have an attiny13 that unfortunately got programmed with a wrong oscillator frequency and subsequently didnt respond anymore.. Built a simple HV programmer (1 transistor-6 resistors) especially for that, which did the trick. Have not used it since, but it came in handy :-)

    With regard to uour point 5. I am not sure if that is always the PSU, sometimes it is just a bad connection and not seldomly one has selected a wrong setting in the programmer


    4 years ago on Introduction

    So a part you refer to is just a low quality board. Personally if think the arduino is

    a bit of a low budget thing; if you see what they make with it, i prefer ti-boards, especially the audio boards with the new newwer dsp's and their free software pwork amazing. But pricewise you can't compare it , only the arduino is a board which i used 12 years ago at the university written in assembly or c(++), and assembly may be a a lot of work to do something you can right in c code in 2 minutes... great to learn how it works . But on a large scale pls don't use it:) .....

    Biut arduino offers in a basic form not a lot ..... It costs nothing, but a ti module is about 250 euro but they explain it perfect and you don't get ripped of by hifi companies


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    1- Power Supply .

    2- Serial / USB interface damaged aka (maxim232, ftdi,atmel).

    3- Microcontroller it self damaged , or write enabled due to the wrong fuse .

    4- wrong programming (wrong use of sleep instruction , rare ).


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Well done and well thought. I wish had been this proficient at 13. I agree about power supplies...that's usually where I have problems.