Ive turned a project I breadboarded with arduino and other modules into one pcb on EAGLE. The pcb includes the ATMEGA328p smt version that doesn't have the bootloader installed. My question is then what module or components can I use to burn the bootloader onto the atmega and upload programs to it together?

  • Sidenote; a bootloader isn't always required. I never used it in my projects. I program my sketches directly via ISP. The bootloader is only there so you can program the chip over Serial (over USB).
    – Gerben
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 11:01
  • when laying out a pcb you may wish to include a 6-pin ISP connector for programming the part, either with ArduinoISP or a programmer like the USBASP. Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


You can use a second Arduino as a standalone programmer for it, either to upload your sketch directly, or to upload a bootloader (after which you'd upload your sketch in the normal way). The example program, ArduinoISP, uploaded into the second Arduino is what can do this. Here is a link to a how-to article for doing just that.

If you haven't already populated your PCB, good - sometimes your external (to the MCU) circuitry can interfere - but it's worth a try, even if you have.

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