I have some experience with the Arduino UNO , Nano , mega etc .. But today I want to upgrade my skills and knowledge to next level . So I am about to design my own PCB for ATmega328 au ( SMD ) but this time I want to use a tqfp32 programmer to get the job done .. I have searched the internet and I have found that people use Universal programmers ( ISP ) such as Top2013 universal programmer or TL86ii but I have no idea how to use them and I don't even know what software that the youtubers are using ... They are actually uploading some *.hex files it seems I am not sure but they aren't using Arduino IDE . According to my knowledge they are using a tqfp32 to dip28 programming module ( I have attached a pic ) . And then the Module is mounted on top of the ISP . Then they have uploaded code using some unknown software. And few people are using USBasp , can any explain me the scenario and what they have done .. https://youtu.be/GFyr9tVEHzQ The link is a reference video . enter image description hereenter image description here

  • 1
    Please add more info to your question on how this will be used in relation to Arduino. Thanks.
    – sa_leinad
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 15:24
  • The link to the video in your question is of a "promotional" nature (TQFP32 to DIP 28 converter Zif socket). If you want to know more about their product, click the "SHOW MORE" link. This network is for Arduino questions, not questions about the TQFP32.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


To upload compiled code (.hex) to a bare atmega which doesn't have a bootloader installed you can use ISP. As this stands for in-system-programming you don't have to flash the chip before assembly, but you can flash it in-system, so when already soldered onto your pcb. There actually is no need for those adapters like shown in your first picture, which often are a bit expensive. Also, both pictures stand in contrast to the idea of ISP, they seem to show firmware upload via serial connection, which as far as I know only works with a bootloader already installed... ISP is based on SPI (serial peripheral interface) and you need to break out the corresponding pins to fit this connector. This obviously has the advantage of being able to update a firmware afterwards without the need of a bootloader.

Atmel provides a tool for flashing firmware via ISP which is called avrdude (tutorial) or you can use the atmel studio. To compile your code, you can use avr-gcc.


I use Atmel AVR ISP MKii, which is a dedicated Programmer - it connects via USB to the PC, and to the Power/Gnd/Reset/SCK/MOSI/MISO pins of the SMD device (i.e. the pins that connect to an ICSP header if one were installed). Then in the IDE you can select Upload Using Programmer, and it will load the .hex file that is created as part of the IDE compilation process into the chip. This blows away any bootloader that might exist.

The Arduino as ISP does the same, running a sketch on an Uno for example that then interfaces with the PC and the target device to program it via the ICSP connection.

If the pins are not brought to a header, but are accessible via edge connecters, than a Programmer adapter can be used to connect the Programmer to the desired pins. Imagine this board had a SMD package vs a DIP - then the 6 wires are connected to the desired pins, in this case via flying wires, and programming can be done. A FTDI module is connected to other pins (5V, Gnd, DTR, Tx, Rx) just to provide power to the board. The AVR ISP MKii only monitors the power level in use (generally 3.3V or 5V) and adjusts its output levels accordingly.

enter image description here

The TQFP socket you show would generally be used to pre-program chips in a manufacturing type environment before they are installed on boards, or by a distributor like Digikey if you were ordering a large quantity of parts.

Making the ICSP pins accessible on board somehow is often not hard, and can be beneficial for making changes.

Here is an example of the same chip in a TQFP package, and you can see the dedicated ICSP and FTDI headers to allow onboard bootloading and then Serial downloads of code being developed.

enter image description here

I find the dedicated hardware very convenient as I bootload and/or program a lot of boards and SMD chips on boards.

I also have this adapter for Atmega328P chips that are installed on a board. There are 6 little spring-loaded pins that press down onto the chip's ICSP pins from above to allow programming when an ICSP header is not provided, or the signals are not brought out to accessible pins. Unfortunately, hobbyking.com does not stock them anymore, this has gotten me out of a jam on occasion.

enter image description here

  • Do you have the name of that last item with the spring-loaded pins? Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 22:43
  • I got it from hobbyking.com. I don't see it listed there now, and I haven't found it anywhere else online. Which is too bad, it's a nice tool to have.
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 12:43
  • This is the closest I could find diagnosys.com/DTI/41-0191.PDF Dated 2014 CLIP 41-0191 I don't see a way to buy one tho.
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 13:16

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