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When I look at arduino and arduino-like boards featuring ATMEGA328 chip, I see that they either use a micro controller or a FTDI chip to program the ATMEGA through Arduino board pin 0 and 1.

This only works because there is a bootloader available on the chip. Is the bootloader present by default or do I need to install it. What I mean is can I just buy 10,000 ATMEGA328 from ATMEL, put them on boards and program them through UART or do I need to first flash them with a bootloader?

  • You can ask Atmel to pre-program chips if you're going to buy 10K of them. – pjc50 Nov 13 '15 at 16:39
  • @pjc50 Is it from experience? I have a doubt they will do that even for 10K, as it means setting up a process. – Eugene Sh. Nov 13 '15 at 16:42
  • Some distributors of programmable ic's will program them for you... it does cost extra. – Spoon Nov 13 '15 at 19:09
  • Not from experience, but atmel.com/images/… / electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/38990/… – pjc50 Nov 13 '15 at 19:34
  • Just to be clear; the bootloader is not requires to upload or run code on the chip. It's just there, so you can program the chip using serial, instead of ISP (or OneWire or parallel). – Gerben Nov 14 '15 at 16:39
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The bootloader is the feature supplied with the Arduino board, but not a chip itself. If you want to clone Arduino (fully or partially), you will have to burn the bootloader yourself.

  • Is it possible to find the bootloader online, so that I can ask the contractor (the one that will manufacture the boards and put the CMS on them) to burn the bootloader at the same time? – PeterG Nov 13 '15 at 16:42
  • The bootloader is supplied with the Arduino IDE. Also I believe you can find the files on their website (even the sources). – Eugene Sh. Nov 13 '15 at 16:43

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