This is just a quick post about a board I made to program a whole bunch of ATmega 328′s for some kits I’m making. I am ordering the 328′s in bulk, so they are brand new and do not have an Arduino bootloader on them. One of the ways you can get an Arduino bootloader on a factory fresh 328 is use an Arduino Uno and a USBTiny. Sure, I could pop about 100 of these into an Uno, but that would be a lot of work as well as wear and tear on the 28 DIP socket on my Uno.
The answer? A ZIF socket! These are fantastic! Anyone who has installed/upgraded a CPU in a computer knows what these are. ZIF stands for Zero Insertion Force. That means you drop the chip in the socket very easy, then pull a lever down to secure the contacts and prevent the chip from bouncing out of there. Making swapping out a bunch of chips to program them a lot easier, faster, and less prone to damage to the pins or chips!
You can get these 28 Pin ZIF sockets at Adafruit, and for cheep! There is also a 40 pin version if your heart or project so desires. Sparkfun has this part in their Eagle library, if you don’t have it, and use eagle, I would get it. There is a lot of good stuff in there. And on another note, if you don’t have the Adafruit Eagle library, it’s worth having also.
And a big happy birthday to my first daughter Anna, who came into the world today!!! A future maker? Engineer? Who knows, but I can tell you this, She. Is. Awesome.