2 Dead Baby O's - Help?


I work in a research lab and I believe a student fried two of my Baby O boards. I’m wondering whether anyone has seen anything similar, and whether there is a way to fix either/both. I have a bench supply on my desk and I’m powering both boards with 6 volts. There are no other devices connected to the boards. I have successfully programmed both in the past, but I can’t program them any more.

Board 1: I think he underpowered it while programming (he thought it was a 3.3V board). I have an AVRISP Mk II and when I connect it to the Baby O it fast blinks orange. The manual says that this means that the programming cable is reversed, but it fast blinks orange in both the correct and incorrect configuration.

Board 2: He got the power right, but opened a new project in AVR Studio and tried to program it without setting the proper fuses or selecting the right chip. In other words, he didn’t use one of the example projects from the libpololu directory as a starting point. When I connect the AVRISP Mk II I get the solid green light, but any attempt to program it leads to an error. I get a popup window (“A problem occurred when executing the command…”) and see “Entering Programming Mode… FAILED!” in the log section. On the fuses tab, the SPIEN fuse has a red question mark in its box.

Does anyone have any idea what’s going on, and how I might go about fixing these boards? Thanks!!


Do you have another programmer you can try with either of these boards? Also, does your AVRISP mkII still work correctly with other devices (i.e. have you ruled out that the problem is with the programmer?)?

I am not familiar enough with the AVRISP mkII to know what happens if you program an underpowered board, but I know of other programmers where this can lead to corruption of the microcontroller. I wouldn’t expect this to cause the programmer to think the cable is plugged in backwards, though. If the programmer is unhappy just being plugged in, it makes me think the board might be damaged. Do you see 5V on VCC when the board is powered?

The second scenario you describe isn’t necessarily one that would result in any problems, and I’m concerned about your statement “without setting the proper fuses”. The Baby Orangutan fuses are properly configured before we ship the unit and they should not be touched again unless the user knows precisely what he is doing. Also, it is pointless to look at the fuses tab in this situation since the programmer must first enter programming mode in order to read the device fuses. Can you give me any more details about what the student did (e.g. what code he tried to program onto the device and what he clicked in the AVRISP dialog box)?

If you can’t program the boards with another programmer, or if you don’t have another programmer to try, you should contact me directly at ben at pololu dot com for information on how to send the boards back for us to look at.

- Ben