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50 $ robot not working.. please help..

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ankshah13:
ok,I have built the 50$ robot but its not getting programmed. I have made the microcontroller and its fine. I have tested it at least hundred times and now the voltages are also fine. I have plugged in the atmega8 and the cheap serial port dongle programmer. I also compiled the photovore hex file and downloaded the ponyprog software. When I plug in the programmer and switch on the microcontroller, I select "Write All" from the ponyprog file. Then the error of missing device or unknown device keeps coming EVERY single time!! I checked the voltages and its alright.. My computer has only 1 serial port.. so I chose serial prog IO and selected COM1 from the interface setup in the ponyprog file.

By far, the only mistake i have made in the circuit is that the DIP socket for the ic is the wrong way (the u shaped side is on the opposite side of the pc  board.).. but I have plugged in the IC correctly.. Does this make a big difference?? please reply..

jwatte:
The orientation of the socket doesn't matter as long as the actual IC is inserted correctly.
When programming Atmega microcontrollers, there are two things that commonly go wrong:
1) You must have power supplied to the microcontroller while you program it. Make sure the battery is on!
2) The 6-pin ICSP programmer cable can be plugged in backwards, which will result in the programmer not seeing the microcontroller. Re-plug the cable the other way on the 6-pin header if that's the case.

(Note that I'm assuming the $50 robot uses the standard 6-pin programming header -- if not, then case 2 above might not apply)

johnwarfin:
cheap serial programmers, specially the ponyprog one, are known to be problematic. they work on some computers and some os but not all. usbasp ($3 on ebay) are trouble free and generally work better than programmers costing 10x more. better to switch than fight.

ankshah13:
"(Note that I'm assuming the $50 robot uses the standard 6-pin programming header -- if not, then case 2 above might not apply)"

@ Jwatte, thank you very much for the reply but unfortunately, i am not using the 6 pin programmer. I have a ten pin programmer (exactly the same one shown in the tutorial). Should I try switching the pins? I make sure the batteries are on when i try to program it..

The voltages are fine and the programmer is also being supplied with 4.94 volts.. So I am confident that voltage is not the problem.. Is there any specific detail related to the configuration of the serial port??

ankshah13:
@ Johnwarfin, are the pinouts for the usbasp programmer the same as those of the cheap programmer??

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