Connecting BabyO to PC

I just ordered the Baby Orangutan. To get started as soon as possible, I also want to order the equipment needed to connect it to my computer. The quick start guide says I need a “6-pin in-system programmer such as the AVRISP from Atmel”. I went to, but the Shipping Costs to Norway are insane. (Almost tripled the price of the programmer.) I have also looked at, but none of the distributors are good alternatives.

Can someone please help me? If you know a way for me to connect me BabyO without spending to much money it would be great. I have also heard that it is possible to make a programmer yourself. Does anyone have the instructions for how to do this?

At school we have recently been programming the AVR Butterfly. This device contains an ATmega169. When connecting the Butterfly to a PC, we used a serial-cable like shown in the picture. Would this be possible with the BabyO?

If you have the answer to any of my questions, please respond.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to getting started on my robot! :smiley: Also, very glad I stumbled upon this web shop. The Pololu products look great, but I wish there were a bigger selection of sensors. Maybe a tip for the future. :wink:

You can turn your Butterfly into an AVR programmer. If you go to and look up “buttload” (I kid you not) in the Projects database, you’ll find it pretty quickly. The author of Buttload is very active in the forums, and should be able to answer any questions you might have.


WOW, that was a fast reply!!! Thank you! I will check it out at once.

If you have a chance, please post your experiences with that. I’ve got an AVRISP Mk II, so I haven’t tried to use my Butterfly as a programmer for my Orangutans. I really would like to know how well it works out if it’s not too much trouble.

Best of luck!


Of course Tom! I have already downloaded the buttload-software and transferred it into my butterfly. It has a well arranged menu and it does not look difficult to program other AVR-units. I probably wont get my Baby O in a week or two. But when I do, I will tell you how it works out.

In the manual, it says you need a level shifting circuitry to translate the 3.3V Butterfly-signals into the target AVR’s voltage and vice-versa, or you can damage the Butterfly. As an example they use two 4.7Kohm resistors for a 5V target. The BabyO manual says it runs on 5-10V. Does this mean I can connect a 5V battery to my BabyO and use their example with two 4.7Kohm resistors? Or is the “target AVR’s voltage” the output-voltage, and different from the input-voltage from the battery?

If this works well I think the Butterfly may be superior as an ISP. It is much less expensive than the AVRISP Mk II; ATMEL are literally giving them away at my school. In addition, once you have loaded a program into the Butterfly, you dont need a PC to program the target AVR. Really looking forward to test it.

The Baby-O regulates whatever you feed it to +5V, so my guess is you could treat it like a 5V device and use the 4.7k resistors they mention. (But if I’m wrong, someone please say something!)


If you have a computer with an old-fashioned parallel port (printer port) available, you can make your own programming interface with a cable and a few resistors that should work fine with most AVRs. For details on cable and the SP12 software (which runs under WinAVR) see:

For a working example with circuit diagram, see the Atmel (ATmega8) brainboard for the Sumovore from Solarbotics: … ard_V1.pdf

This board has both 6-pin avrisp and 5-pin parallel port programming interfaces and I’ve used both, on the same brainboard, with no problems.

You should be able to adapt the cable schematic to fit a connector suitable for direct plug-in to the Baby O. If it works, please let the rest of us know!


Thanks! Since I already have the AVR Butterfly, I will try using that first. If it doesnt work, I might have to build my own programming interface.

I find the situation inexcusable in the first place! Seeing as the AVR design was invented in Norway (Wikipedia Article) you’d think they would have distribution there.

Let us know how your Buttloader works out!


hehe, whats even more ironic is that it was invented at the very same school where I study.

Anyway, I did not find any distributors in Norway by searching the Internet. But if the Butterfly works fine as a programmer, I dont see any reason to buy the AVRISP anymore. Tom may have saved me a lot of money there. Thanks again! Will let you all know how it works out as soon as I get my Baby O in the mail.

Several inexpensive AVR programming interfaces, kits and application ideas, with a linux orientation but windoze compatible, are available in Europe at … ?id=1b2c7c