I've purchased a few boards, made a reasonable one, but for prototyping I keep coming back to the breadboards.
First off I made a simple PC parallel port programmer which worked but was rather inconvenient for me and would stop the project running after programming. In the end I purchased the AVRISPMKII which is really excellent and works perfectly with my Mac. This device has some smarts which set it apart from the simpler devices out there. The multi-coloured LED tells you if it's seeing the voltage it expects to see for example.
The prototyping board is a really excellent on I bought from Parallax some time back called the "Professional Development Board #28138" it has on board switches, LEDs, audio amp and speaker, potentiometers, seven segment displays, serial port, real time clock etc etc. Of course it can be used with any CPU.
Anyhow, the news here is that I've made up a little adapter board that converts the 6 pin In Circuit Serial Programming into both the 10 pin version, my own in-line version and now a plug with fly leads as shown above that I can plug directly in to a proto board.
The objective of all this madness is to build some ham applications of which there are many.
- AVR-GCC package
- avrdude command line programmer
- AVRFuse a gui for avrdude that makes it easy to view and set fuses
- AVRlib a great library of useful stuff
So far I've got useful things going such as reading a value from an analog to digital input and writing it out via serial to an LCD display.
I notice that the ATMega8s come set to run at 1MHz with the internal RC oscillator, this works just fine but I turn them up to 8MHz internal and find this accurate enough to do serial at 9600 baud.