This is a simple PCB that contains the necessary components to make an Atmel ATMEGA328 programmer. If used with a ZIF socket it allows you to automate the programming of '328 chips quickly and easily
Note that if you wish to program the smaller Atmel AVRs, then Leonerd does this awesome Bus Pirate programmer aimed at those
I made this as a tool for me. I sell a few products with an Atmel ATMEGA328 that needs programming before I send them out, so I wanted to automate this as much as possible. Using a Bus Pirate helps to speed this up a lot as it can burn the bootloader and program the chips from command line instructions, but it still requires plugging in jumper cables to a breadboard with other circuitry to support the '328. This board plugs directly in to the Bus Pirate (v3.6) and can take a ZIF socket to make things much more efficient.
If I'm honest, all the special happens in the Bus Pirate, and you will need to buy one of those to make any use of this product. (This product does NOT include the Bus Pirate). Once you have one of these, simply plug this board on top (use PCB supports if you wish to), drop in a blank '328 and you can get started. See this article on AVR programming using the command line. If you use the Arduino IDE then you can select Bus Pirate as your programmer - although note that whilst this works for burning the bootloader, you will need to make a change in programmers.txt for this to work for uploading sketches.
The workflow I use is to develop the sketch in the Arduino IDE and program the '328 using an FTDI cable. Once I've got a sketch that I'm happy with I will upload it with the verbose option turned on. Scrolling up through the command window, I'll find the command that looks a bit like this;
C:\Users\spencer\Documents\arduino-1.6.5-r5\hardware\tools\avr/bin/avrdude - CC:\Users\spencer\Documents\arduino-1.6.5-r5\hardware\tools\avr/etc/avrdude.conf -v true -patmega328p -carduino -PCOM7 -b115200 -D - C:\Users\spencer\Documents\arduino-1.6.5-r5\hardware\tools\avr/bin/avrdude -Uflash:w:C:\Users\spencer\AppData\Local\Temp\build8920263103957141077.tmp/RC2014_keyboard_1_2.cpp.hex:i
This gives me the temporary location of the hex file that the IDE generated. I can then copy this to a permanent location and create a batch file based on this command but modified for the new hex file location and the Bus Pirate as the programmer. Running that batch file then programs the '328 without having to load the Arduino IDE every time. A similar process can be used to create a batch file to burn the bootloader.
The PCB can take either a standard 28 pin narrow DIP socket, a 28 pin narrow ZIF socket or a 28 pin wide ZIF socket. It also features a 6 pin FTDI header.
Note that should you wish, the board can be used as a very basic Arduino board without a Bus Pirate as it contains the support circuitry (crystal, caps, FTDI programming header) and all the pins are broken out. This is not what the board was intended for, but could be a useful feature in some situations.
PCB Only You get only a PCB! (NO Bus Pirate)
Kit with standard socket A kit of parts including the PCB, 16Mhz crystal, 2 x 22pf capacitors, 100nf capacitor, green LED, 330r resistor, 10k resistor, 2x5 socket, 6 pin header, 28 pin standard DIP socket (NO Bus Pirate)
Kit with ZIF socket A kit of parts including the PCB, 16Mhz crystal, 2 x 22pf capacitors, 100nf capacitor, green LED, 330r resistor, 10k resistor, 2x5 socket, 6 pin header, 28 pin ZIF socket (NO Bus Pirate)
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Tinkering with old 8 bit home computers to see what can be done with modern solutions.