This is a more serious problem than first appears.
I have a commercial design on the bench at work that uses the USB AVR Programmer programming an Atmega328 in the Baby Orangutan programming configuration. Last week, I was happily programming it using the USB AVR programmer. Yesterday, it stopped programming, giving the usual error indicating that something is unplugged. The programmer connects OK, with a little persistence. But it fails when I attempt to read the serial number. Or anything else.
I bought two USB AVR programmers. Assuming that I had somehow fried the first programmer, I installed the second programmer, including downloading and installing its software and assigning it to COM4. It failed as well.
Next, I tried the programmer on a Baby Orangutan 328 running. the B.O. 328 lights up OK (green LED), and the USB AVR programmer lights up OK - initially - with the green LED on and the yellow LED blinking. This configuration also fails.
Note: Connection to the programmer is flaky, sometimes taking several ties to connect. I am running Windows XP on my work computer using Atmel AVR Studio 4, using assembly language, with code previously developed and being modified for a new design.
Another oddity: The USB AVR programmer presently connected to the B.O. 328 has progressively failed between yesterday and today. This morning, I could still get it to connect to Studio 4, usually with several tries of unplugging and replugging the USB connector. Now, it does not connect at all. The last error I received from the Configuration Utility program (and had received yesterday) was that the programmer had sent a command to the device and received no response back. (I hope I have this correct. I can no longer bring up the programmer even to generate the error.)
I decided to cross-check this whole problem against a Baby Orangutan 328 + USB AVR programmer configuration in a home project that I have been working with for 2+ years. This home project has been working on my desk, unchanged during this time. Last night, I went home to verify that I can still read from the 328. Failed! This is with an untouched hardware configuration sitting on my desk in the form of a Pololu USB AVR programmer connected to the B.O. 328.
But there was a software change. Two months ago, my desktop died, and I got another to replace it. I had to switch to Windows 7 (from Windows XP) , but transferred everything over. As I recall, I re-downloaded Studio 4, and I may have re-downloaded the USB AVR drivers. Studio 4 runs fine, assembling code. I had not verified that programming still worked on the new desktop computer.
I have two Baby Orangutan 328’s and three USB AVR Programmers on order, to arrive tomorrow morning, (Just missed getting them today.) This way, I can run a programming test with virgin devices. If these do not work (which I expect), I will be seriously peeved.
Please check this out.
I fervently hope the problem is a firmware bug that can be cured by an update.
I have a critical project stalled with people waiting on me because of this problem.
I need a way forward.