Atmel’s AVR microcontrollers, both the tinyAVR and megaAVR classes, are growing in popularity among hobbyists, roboticists, gamers, and others using embedded computer control. Our pals at Solarbotics use the ATmega8L AVR in their BrainBoard Sumbot add-on kits. Lady Ada has also just released a cheap (US$18) kit for building a USB-powered programmer for AVR MCUs. With the Adafruit kit, all that’s missing is a board to house the chip so that you can plug the programmer in and send your code to it (one of the cool features of Ada’s kit is that it powers the chip over USB). That’s where a target board comes in, and that’s what this Evil Mad Scientist Labs how-to is all about: showing you how to build a quick n’ dirty target board for a couple of bucks. Nifty.
EMS Labs also has a review of the Adafruit USBtinyISP AVR Programmer kit here.
[Shown above is the Adafruit AVR Programmer and an EMS Labs target board.]