avrdude Man page

AVRDUDE(1) BSD General Commands Manual AVRDUDE(1)


avrdude — driver program for “simple” Atmel AVR MCU programmer


avrdude -p partno [-b baudrate] [-B bitclock] [-c programmer-id] [-C config-file] [-D] [-e] [-E exitspec[,exitspec]] [-F] [-i delay] [-n -logfile] [-n] [-O] [-P port] [-q] [-s] [-t] [-u] [-U memtype:op:filename:filefmt] [-v] [-x extended_param] [-V]


Avrdude is a program for downloading code and data to Atmel AVR microcon‐
trollers. Avrdude supports Atmel’s STK500 programmer, Atmel’s AVRISP and
AVRISP mkII devices, Atmel’s STK600, Atmel’s JTAG ICE (mkI, mkII and 3,
the latter two also in ISP mode), programmers complying to AppNote AVR910
and AVR109 (including the Butterfly), as well as a simple hard-wired pro‐
grammer connected directly to a ppi(4) or parport(4) parallel port, or to
a standard serial port. In the simplest case, the hardware consists just
of a cable connecting the respective AVR signal lines to the parallel

The MCU is programmed in serial programming mode, so, for the ppi(4)
based programmer, the MCU signals ‘/RESET’, ‘SCK’, ‘MISO’ and ‘MOSI’ need
to be connected to the parallel port. Optionally, some otherwise unused
output pins of the parallel port can be used to supply power for the MCU
part, so it is also possible to construct a passive stand-alone program‐
ming device. Some status LEDs indicating the current operating state of
the programmer can be connected, and a signal is available to control a
buffer/driver IC 74LS367 (or 74HCT367). The latter can be useful to
decouple the parallel port from the MCU when in-system programming is

A number of equally simple bit-bang programming adapters that connect to
a serial port are supported as well, among them the popular Ponyprog
serial adapter, and the DASA and DASA3 adapters that used to be supported
by uisp(1). Note that these adapters are meant to be attached to a phys‐
ical serial port. Connecting to a serial port emulated on top of USB is
likely to not work at all, or to work abysmally slow.

If you happen to have a Linux system with at least 4 hardware GPIOs
available (like almost all embedded Linux boards) you can do without any
additional hardware – just connect them to the MOSI, MISO, RESET and SCK
pins on the AVR and use the linuxgpio programmer type. It bitbangs the
lines using the Linux sysfs GPIO interface. Of course, care should be
taken about voltage level compatibility. Also, although not strictrly
required, it is strongly advisable to protect the GPIO pins from overcur‐
rent situations in some way. The simplest would be to just put some
resistors in series or better yet use a 3-state buffer driver like the
74HC244. Have a look at http://kolev.info/avrdude-linuxgpio for a more
detailed tutorial about using this programmer type.

Atmel’s STK500 programmer is also supported and connects to a serial
port. Both, firmware versions 1.x and 2.x can be handled, but require a
different programmer type specification (by now). Using firmware version
2, high-voltage programming is also supported, both parallel and serial
(programmer types stk500pp and stk500hvsp).

Wiring boards are supported, utilizing STK500 V2.x protocol, but a simple
DTR/RTS toggle is used to set the boards into programming mode. The pro‐
grammer type is “wiring”.

The Arduino (which is very similar to the STK500 1.x) is supported via
its own programmer type specification “arduino”.

The BusPirate is a versatile tool that can also be used as an AVR pro‐
grammer. A single BusPirate can be connected to up to 3 independent
AVRs. See the section on extended parameters below for details.

Atmel’s STK600 programmer is supported in ISP and high-voltage program‐
ming modes, and connects through the USB. For ATxmega devices, the
STK600 is supported in PDI mode. For ATtiny4/5/9/10 devices, the STK600
and AVRISP mkII are supported in TPI mode.

The simple serial programmer described in Atmel’s application note
AVR910, and the bootloader described in Atmel’s application note AVR109
(which is also used by the AVR Butterfly evaluation board), are supported
on a serial port.

Atmel’s JTAG ICE (mkI, mkII, and 3) is supported as well to up- or down‐
load memory areas from/to an AVR target (no support for on-chip debug‐
ging). For the JTAG ICE mkII, JTAG, debugWire and ISP mode are sup‐
ported, provided it has a firmware revision of at least 4.14 (decimal).
JTAGICE3 also supports all of JTAG, debugWIRE, and ISP mode. See below
for the limitations of debugWire. For ATxmega devices, the JTAG ICE mkII
is supported in PDI mode, provided it has a revision 1 hardware and
firmware version of at least 5.37 (decimal). For ATxmega devices, the
JTAGICE3 is supported in PDI mode.

Atmel-ICE (ARM/AVR) is supported in all modes (JTAG, PDI for Xmega,
debugWIRE, ISP).

Atmel’s XplainedPro boards, using the EDBG protocol (CMSIS-DAP compati‐
ble), are supported using the “jtag3” programmer type.

The AVR Dragon is supported in all modes (ISP, JTAG, HVSP, PP, debug‐
Wire). When used in JTAG and debugWire mode, the AVR Dragon behaves sim‐
ilar to a JTAG ICE mkII, so all device-specific comments for that device
will apply as well. When used in ISP mode, the AVR Dragon behaves simi‐
lar to an AVRISP mkII (or JTAG ICE mkII in ISP mode), so all device-spe‐
cific comments will apply there. In particular, the Dragon starts out
with a rather fast ISP clock frequency, so the -B bitclock option might
be required to achieve a stable ISP communication. For ATxmega devices,
the AVR Dragon is supported in PDI mode, provided it has a firmware ver‐
sion of at least 6.11 (decimal).

The avrftdi, USBasp ISP and USBtinyISP adapters are also supported, pro‐
vided avrdude has been compiled with libusb support. USBasp ISP and
USBtinyISP both feature simple firmware-only USB implementations, running
on an ATmega8 (or ATmega88), or ATtiny2313, respectively. If libftdi has
has been compiled in avrdude, the avrftdi device adds support for many
programmers using FTDI’s 2232C/D/H and 4232H parts running in MPSSE mode,
which hard-codes (in the chip) SCK to bit 1, MOSI to bit 2, and MISO to
bit 3. Reset is usually bit 4.

The Atmel DFU bootloader is supported in both, FLIP protocol version 1
(AT90USB* and ATmega*U* devices), as well as version 2 (Xmega devices).
See below for some hints about FLIP version 1 protocol behaviour.

Input files can be provided, and output files can be written in different
file formats, such as raw binary files containing the data to download to
the chip, Intel hex format, or Motorola S-record format. There are a
number of tools available to produce those files, like asl(1) as a stand‐
alone assembler, or avr-objcopy for the final stage of the GNU
toolchain for the AVR microcontroller.

Provided libelf(3) was present when compiling avrdude, the input file can
also be the final ELF file as produced by the linker. The appropriate
ELF section(s) will be examined, according to the memory area to write

Avrdude can program the EEPROM and flash ROM memory cells of supported
AVR parts. Where supported by the serial instruction set, fuse bits and
lock bits can be programmed as well. These are implemented within
avrdude as separate memory types and can be programmed using data from a
file (see the -m option) or from terminal mode (see the dump and write
commands). It is also possible to read the chip (provided it has not
been code-protected previously, of course) and store the data in a file.
Finally, a “terminal” mode is available that allows one to interac‐
tively communicate with the MCU, and to display or program individual
memory cells. On the STK500 and STK600 programmer, several operational
parameters (target supply voltage, target Aref voltage, master clock) can
be examined and changed from within terminal mode as well.

In order to control all the different operation modi, a number of options
need to be specified to avrdude.

-p partno
This is the only option that is mandatory for every invoca‐
tion of avrdude. It specifies the type of the MCU con‐
nected to the programmer. These are read from the config
file. For currently supported MCU types use ? as partno,
this will print a list of partno ids and official part
names on the terminal. (Both can be used with the -p

Following parts need special attention:

AT90S1200 The ISP programming protocol of the AT90S1200
differs in subtle ways from that of other AVRs.
Thus, not all programmers support this device.
Known to work are all direct bitbang program‐
mers, and all programmers talking the STK500v2

AT90S2343 The AT90S2323 and ATtiny22 use the same algo‐

ATmega2560, ATmega2561
Flash addressing above 128 KB is not supported
by all programming hardware. Known to work are
jtag2, stk500v2, and bit-bang programmers.

ATtiny11 The ATtiny11 can only be programmed in high-
voltage serial mode.

-b baudrate
Override the RS-232 connection baud rate specified in the
respective programmer’s entry of the configuration file.

-B bitclock
Specify the bit clock period for the JTAG interface or the
ISP clock (JTAG ICE only). The value is a floating-point
number in microseconds. Alternatively, the value might be
suffixed with “Hz”, “kHz”, or “MHz”, in order to specify
the bit clock frequency, rather than a period. The default
value of the JTAG ICE results in about 1 microsecond bit
clock period, suitable for target MCUs running at 4 MHz
clock and above. Unlike certain parameters in the STK500,
the JTAG ICE resets all its parameters to default values
when the programming software signs off from the ICE, so
for MCUs running at lower clock speeds, this parameter must
be specified on the command-line. You can use the
‘default_bitclock’ keyword in your ${HOME}/.avrduderc file
to assign a default value to keep from having to specify
this option on every invocation.

-c programmer-id
Use the programmer specified by the argument. Programmers
and their pin configurations are read from the config file
(see the -C option). New pin configurations can be easily
added or modified through the use of a config file to make
avrdude work with different programmers as long as the pro‐
grammer supports the Atmel AVR serial program method. You
can use the ‘default_programmer’ keyword in your
${HOME}/.avrduderc file to assign a default programmer to
keep from having to specify this option on every invoca‐
tion. A full list of all supported programmers is output
to the terminal by using ? as programmer-id.

-C config-file
Use the specified config file to load configuration data.
This file contains all programmer and part definitions that
avrdude knows about. If you have a programmer or part that
avrdude does not know about, you can add it to the config
file (be sure and submit a patch back to the author so that
it can be incorporated for the next version). See the con‐
fig file, located at /etc/avrdude.conf, which contains a
description of the format.

If config-file is written as +filename then this file is
read after the system wide and user configuration files.
This can be used to add entries to the configuration with‐
out patching your system wide configuration file. It can be
used several times, the files are read in same order as
given on the command line.

-D Disable auto erase for flash. When the -U option with
flash memory is specified, avrdude will perform a chip
erase before starting any of the programming operations,
since it generally is a mistake to program the flash with‐
out performing an erase first. This option disables that.
Auto erase is not used for ATxmega devices as these devices
can use page erase before writing each page so no explicit
chip erase is required. Note however that any page not
affected by the current operation will retain its previous

-e Causes a chip erase to be executed. This will reset the
contents of the flash ROM and EEPROM to the value ‘0xff’,
and clear all lock bits. Except for ATxmega devices which
can use page erase, it is basically a prerequisite command
before the flash ROM can be reprogrammed again. The only
exception would be if the new contents would exclusively
cause bits to be programmed from the value ‘1’ to ‘0’.
Note that in order to reprogram EERPOM cells, no explicit
prior chip erase is required since the MCU provides an
auto-erase cycle in that case before programming the cell.

-E exitspec[,exitspec] By default, avrdude leaves the parallel port in the same
state at exit as it has been found at startup. This option
modifies the state of the ‘/RESET’ and ‘Vcc’ lines the par‐
allel port is left at, according to the exitspec arguments
provided, as follows:

reset The ‘/RESET’ signal will be left activated at pro‐
gram exit, that is it will be held low, in order
to keep the MCU in reset state afterwards. Note
in particular that the programming algorithm for
the AT90S1200 device mandates that the ‘/RESET’
signal is active before powering up the MCU, so in
case an external power supply is used for this MCU
type, a previous invocation of avrdude with this
option specified is one of the possible ways to
guarantee this condition.

noreset The ‘/RESET’ line will be deactivated at program
exit, thus allowing the MCU target program to run
while the programming hardware remains connected.

vcc This option will leave those parallel port pins
active (i. e. high) that can be used to supply
‘Vcc’ power to the MCU.

novcc This option will pull the ‘Vcc’ pins of the paral‐
lel port down at program exit.

d_high This option will leave the 8 data pins on the par‐
allel port active. (i. e. high)

d_low This option will leave the 8 data pins on the par‐
allel port inactive. (i. e. low)

Multiple exitspec arguments can be separated with commas.

-F Normally, avrdude tries to verify that the device signature
read from the part is reasonable before continuing. Since
it can happen from time to time that a device has a broken
(erased or overwritten) device signature but is otherwise
operating normally, this options is provided to override
the check. Also, for programmers like the Atmel STK500 and
STK600 which can adjust parameters local to the programming
tool (independent of an actual connection to a target con‐
troller), this option can be used together with -t to con‐
tinue in terminal mode.

-i delay
For bitbang-type programmers, delay for approximately delay
microseconds between each bit state change. If the host
system is very fast, or the target runs off a slow clock
(like a 32 kHz crystal, or the 128 kHz internal RC oscilla‐
tor), this can become necessary to satisfy the requirement
that the ISP clock frequency must not be higher than 1/4 of
the CPU clock frequency. This is implemented as a spin-
loop delay to allow even for very short delays. On Unix-
style operating systems, the spin loop is initially cali‐
brated against a system timer, so the number of microsec‐
onds might be rather realistic, assuming a constant system
load while avrdude is running. On Win32 operating systems,
a preconfigured number of cycles per microsecond is assumed
that might be off a bit for very fast or very slow

-l logfile
Use logfile rather than stderr for diagnostics output.
Note that initial diagnostic messages (during option pars‐
ing) are still written to stderr anyway.

-n No-write – disables actually writing data to the MCU (use‐
ful for debugging avrdude ).

-O Perform a RC oscillator run-time calibration according to
Atmel application note AVR053. This is only supported on
the STK500v2, AVRISP mkII, and JTAG ICE mkII hardware.
Note that the result will be stored in the EEPROM cell at
address 0.

-P port
Use port to identify the device to which the programmer is
attached. By default the /dev/ppi0 port is used, but if
the programmer type normally connects to the serial port,
the /dev/cuaa0 port is the default. If you need to use a
different parallel or serial port, use this option to spec‐
ify the alternate port name.

On Win32 operating systems, the parallel ports are referred
to as lpt1 through lpt3, referring to the addresses 0x378,
0x278, and 0x3BC, respectively. If the parallel port can
be accessed through a different address, this address can
be specified directly, using the common C language notation
(i. e., hexadecimal values are prefixed by ‘0x’ ).

For the JTAG ICE mkII and JTAGICE3, if avrdude has been
configured with libusb support, port can alternatively be
specified as usb[:serialno]. This will cause avrdude to
search the programmer on USB. If serialno is also speci‐
fied, it will be matched against the serial number read
from any JTAG ICE mkII found on USB. The match is done
after stripping any existing colons from the given serial
number, and right-to-left, so only the least significant
bytes from the serial number need to be given.

As the AVRISP mkII device can only be talked to over USB,
the very same method of specifying the port is required

For the USB programmer “AVR-Doper” running in HID mode, the
port must be specified as avrdoper. Libusb support is
required on Unix but not on Windows. For more information
about AVR-Doper see http://www.obdev.at/avrusb/avr‐

For the USBtinyISP, which is a simplicistic device not
implementing serial numbers, multiple devices can be dis‐
tinguished by their location in the USB hierarchy. See the
the respective Troubleshooting entry in the detailed docu‐
mentation for examples.

For programmers that attach to a serial port using some
kind of higher level protocol (as opposed to bit-bang style
programmers), port can be specified as net:host:port. In
this case, instead of trying to open a local device, a TCP
network connection to (TCP) port on host is established.
The remote endpoint is assumed to be a terminal or console
server that connects the network stream to a local serial
port where the actual programmer has been attached to. The
port is assumed to be properly configured, for example
using a transparent 8-bit data connection without parity at
115200 Baud for a STK500.

-q Disable (or quell) output of the progress bar while reading
or writing to the device. Specify it a second time for
even quieter operation.

-s Disable safemode prompting. When safemode discovers that
one or more fuse bits have unintentionally changed, it will
prompt for confirmation regarding whether or not it should
attempt to recover the fuse bit(s). Specifying this flag
disables the prompt and assumes that the fuse bit(s) should
be recovered without asking for confirmation first.

-t Tells avrdude to enter the interactive “terminal” mode
instead of up- or downloading files. See below for a
detailed description of the terminal mode.

-u Disable the safemode fuse bit checks. Safemode is enabled
by default and is intended to prevent unintentional fuse
bit changes. When enabled, safemode will issue a warning
if the any fuse bits are found to be different at program
exit than they were when avrdude was invoked. Safemode
won’t alter fuse bits itself, but rather will prompt for
instructions, unless the terminal is non-interactive, in
which case safemode is disabled. See the -s option to dis‐
able safemode prompting.

If one of the configuration files has a line
default_safemode = no;
safemode is disabled by default. The -u option’s effect is
negated in that case, i. e. it enables safemode.

Safemode is always disabled for AVR32, Xmega and TPI

-U memtype:op:filename[:format] Perform a memory operation as indicated. The memtype field
specifies the memory type to operate on. The available
memory types are device-dependent, the actual configuration
can be viewed with the part command in terminal mode. Typ‐
ically, a device’s memory configuration at least contains
the memory types flash and eeprom. All memory types cur‐
rently known are:
calibration One or more bytes of RC oscillator calibration
eeprom The EEPROM of the device.
efuse The extended fuse byte.
flash The flash ROM of the device.
fuse The fuse byte in devices that have only a sin‐
gle fuse byte.
hfuse The high fuse byte.
lfuse The low fuse byte.
lock The lock byte.
signature The three device signature bytes (device ID).
fuseN The fuse bytes of ATxmega devices, N is an
integer number for each fuse supported by the
application The application flash area of ATxmega devices.
apptable The application table flash area of ATxmega
boot The boot flash area of ATxmega devices.
prodsig The production signature (calibration) area of
ATxmega devices.
usersig The user signature area of ATxmega devices.

The op field specifies what operation to perform:

r read device memory and write to the specified file

w read data from the specified file and write to the
device memory

v read data from both the device and the specified
file and perform a verify

The filename field indicates the name of the file to read
or write. The format field is optional and contains the
format of the file to read or write. Format can be one of:

i Intel Hex

s Motorola S-record

r raw binary; little-endian byte order, in the case of
the flash ROM data

e ELF (Executable and Linkable Format)

m immediate; actual byte values specified on the command
line, separated by commas or spaces. This is good for
programming fuse bytes without having to create a sin‐
gle-byte file or enter terminal mode.

a auto detect; valid for input only, and only if the
input is not provided at stdin.

d decimal; this and the following formats are only valid
on output. They generate one line of output for the
respective memory section, forming a comma-separated
list of the values. This can be particularly useful
for subsequent processing, like for fuse bit settings.

h hexadecimal; each value will get the string 0x

o octal; each value will get a 0 prepended unless it is
less than 8 in which case it gets no prefix.

b binary; each value will get the string 0b prepended.

The default is to use auto detection for input files, and
raw binary format for output files. Note that if filename
contains a colon, the format field is no longer optional
since the filename part following the colon would otherwise
be misinterpreted as format.

When reading any kind of flash memory area (including the
various sub-areas in Xmega devices), the resulting output
file will be truncated to not contain trailing 0xFF bytes
which indicate unprogrammed (erased) memory. Thus, if the
entire memory is unprogrammed, this will result in an out‐
put file that has no contents at all.

As an abbreviation, the form -U filename is equivalent to
specifying -U flash:w:filename:a. This will only work if
filename does not have a colon in it.

-v Enable verbose output. More -v options increase verbosity

-V Disable automatic verify check when uploading data.

-x extended_param
Pass extended_param to the chosen programmer implementation
as an extended parameter. The interpretation of the
extended parameter depends on the programmer itself. See
below for a list of programmers accepting extended parame‐

Terminal mode
In this mode, avrdude only initializes communication with the MCU, and
then awaits user commands on standard input. Commands and parameters may
be abbreviated to the shortest unambiguous form. Terminal mode provides
a command history using readline, so previously entered command lines
can be recalled and edited. The following commands are currently imple‐

dump memtype addr nbytes
Read nbytes bytes from the specified memory area, and dis‐
play them in the usual hexadecimal and ASCII form.

dump Continue dumping the memory contents for another nbytes
where the previous dump command left off.

write memtype addr byte1 … byteN
Manually program the respective memory cells, starting at
address addr, using the values byte1 through byteN. This
feature is not implemented for bank-addressed memories such
as the flash memory of ATMega devices.

erase Perform a chip erase.

send b1 b2 b3 b4
Send raw instruction codes to the AVR device. If you need
access to a feature of an AVR part that is not directly
supported by avrdude, this command allows you to use it,
even though avrdude does not implement the command. When
using direct SPI mode, up to 3 bytes can be omitted.

sig Display the device signature bytes.

spi Enter direct SPI mode. The pgmled pin acts as slave
select. Only supported on parallel bitbang programmers.

part Display the current part settings and parameters. Includes
chip specific information including all memory types sup‐
ported by the device, read/write timing, etc.

pgm Return to programming mode (from direct SPI mode).

vtarg voltage
Set the target’s supply voltage to voltage Volts. Only
supported on the STK500 and STK600 programmer.

varef [channel] voltage
Set the adjustable voltage source to voltage Volts. This
voltage is normally used to drive the target’s Aref input
on the STK500. On the Atmel STK600, two reference voltages
are available, which can be selected by the optional
channel argument (either 0 or 1). Only supported on the
STK500 and STK600 programmer.

fosc freq[M|k] Set the master oscillator to freq Hz. An optional trailing
letter M multiplies by 1E6, a trailing letter k by 1E3.
Only supported on the STK500 and STK600 programmer.

fosc off
Turn the master oscillator off. Only supported on the
STK500 and STK600 programmer.

sck period
STK500 and STK600 programmer only: Set the SCK clock period
to period microseconds.

JTAG ICE only: Set the JTAG ICE bit clock period to period
microseconds. Note that unlike STK500 settings, this set‐
ting will be reverted to its default value (approximately 1
microsecond) when the programming software signs off from
the JTAG ICE. This parameter can also be used on the JTAG
ICE mkII, JTAGICE3, and Atmel-ICE to specify the ISP clock
period when operating the ICE in ISP mode.

parms STK500 and STK600 programmer only: Display the current
voltage and master oscillator parameters.

JTAG ICE only: Display the current target supply voltage
and JTAG bit clock rate/period.

verbose [level] Change (when level is provided), or display the verbosity
level. The initial verbosity level is controlled by the
number of -v options given on the commandline.


help Give a short on-line summary of the available commands.

quit Leave terminal mode and thus avrdude.

Default Parallel port pin connections
(these can be changed, see the -c option)
Pin number Function
2-5 Vcc (optional power supply to MCU)
7 /RESET (to MCU)
8 SCK (to MCU)
9 MOSI (to MCU)
10 MISO (from MCU)
18-25 GND

debugWire limitations
The debugWire protocol is Atmel’s proprietary one-wire (plus ground) pro‐
tocol to allow an in-circuit emulation of the smaller AVR devices, using
the ‘/RESET’ line. DebugWire mode is initiated by activating the ‘DWEN’
fuse, and then power-cycling the target. While this mode is mainly
intended for debugging/emulation, it also offers limited programming
capabilities. Effectively, the only memory areas that can be read or
programmed in this mode are flash ROM and EEPROM. It is also possible to
read out the signature. All other memory areas cannot be accessed.
There is no chip erase functionality in debugWire mode; instead, while
reprogramming the flash ROM, each flash ROM page is erased right before
updating it. This is done transparently by the JTAG ICE mkII (or AVR
Dragon). The only way back from debugWire mode is to initiate a special
sequence of commands to the JTAG ICE mkII (or AVR Dragon), so the debug‐
Wire mode will be temporarily disabled, and the target can be accessed
using normal ISP programming. This sequence is automatically initiated
by using the JTAG ICE mkII or AVR Dragon in ISP mode, when they detect
that ISP mode cannot be entered.

FLIP version 1 idiosyncrasies
Bootloaders using the FLIP protocol version 1 experience some very spe‐
cific behaviour.

These bootloaders have no option to access memory areas other than Flash

When the bootloader is started, it enters a security mode where the only
acceptable access is to query the device configuration parameters (which
are used for the signature on AVR devices). The only way to leave this
mode is a chip erase. As a chip erase is normally implied by the -U
option when reprogramming the flash, this peculiarity might not be very
obvious immediately.

Sometimes, a bootloader with security mode already disabled seems to no
longer respond with sensible configuration data, but only 0xFF for all
queries. As these queries are used to obtain the equivalent of a signa‐
ture, avrdude can only continue in that situation by forcing the signa‐
ture check to be overridden with the -F option.

A chip erase might leave the EEPROM unerased, at least on some versions
of the bootloader.

Programmers accepting extended parameters



AVR Dragon
When using the JTAG ICE mkII, JTAGICE3, Atmel-ICE or AVR
Dragon in JTAG mode, the following extended parameter is

Setup the JTAG scan chain for UB units
before, UA units after, BB bits before, and
BA bits after the target AVR, respectively.
Each AVR unit within the chain shifts by 4
bits. Other JTAG units might require a dif‐
ferent bit shift count.


Override the device code selection by using
VALUE as the device code. The programmer is
not queried for the list of supported device
codes, and the specified VALUE is not veri‐
fied but used directly within the ‘T’ command
sent to the programmer. VALUE can be speci‐
fied using the conventional number notation
of the C programming language.

Disables the default checking for block
transfer capability. Use no_blockmode only
if your AVR910 programmer creates errors dur‐
ing initial sequence.


The default setup assumes the BusPirate’s CS
output pin connected to the RESET pin on AVR
side. It is however possible to have multiple
AVRs connected to the same BP with MISO, MOSI
and SCK lines common for all of them. In
such a case one AVR should have its RESET
connected to BusPirate’s CS pin, second AVR’s
RESET connected to BusPirate’s AUX pin and if
your BusPirate has an AUX2 pin (only avail‐
able on BusPirate version v1a with firmware
3.0 or newer) use that to activate RESET on
the third AVR.

It may be a good idea to decouple the BusPi‐
rate and the AVR’s SPI buses from each other
using a 3-state bus buffer. For example
74HC125 or 74HC244 are some good candidates
with the latches driven by the appropriate
reset pin (cs, aux or aux2). Otherwise the
SPI traffic in one active circuit may inter‐
fere with programming the AVR in the other

The SPI speed for the Bus Pirate’s binary SPI

0 .. 30 kHz (default)
1 .. 125 kHz
2 .. 250 kHz
3 .. 1 MHz
4 .. 2 MHz
5 .. 2.6 MHz
6 .. 4 MHz
7 .. 8 MHz

Sets the SPI speed and uses the Bus Pirate’s
binary “raw-wire” mode:

0 .. 5 kHz
1 .. 50 kHz
2 .. 100 kHz (Firmware v4.2+ only)
3 .. 400 kHz (v4.2+)

The only advantage of the “raw-wire” mode is
the different SPI frequencies available.
Paged writing is not implemented in this

ascii Attempt to use ASCII mode even when the
firmware supports BinMode (binary mode).
BinMode is supported in firmware 2.7 and
newer, older FW’s either don’t have BinMode
or their BinMode is buggy. ASCII mode is
slower and makes the above reset=, spifreq=
and rawfreq= parameters unavailable. Be aware
that ASCII mode is not guaranteed to work
with newer firmware versions, and is retained
only to maintain compatibility with older
firmware versions.

Firmware versions 5.10 and newer support a
binary mode SPI command that enables whole
pages to be written to AVR flash memory at
once, resulting in a significant write speed
increase. If use of this mode is not desir‐
able for some reason, this option disables

Newer firmware versions support in binary
mode SPI command some AVR Extended Commands.
Using the “Bulk Memory Read from Flash”
results in a significant read speed increase.
If use of this mode is not desirable for some
reason, this option disables it.

This sets the AUX pin to output a frequency
of n kHz. Connecting the AUX pin to the XTAL1
pin of your MCU, you can provide it a clock,
for example when it needs an external clock
because of wrong fuses settings. Make sure
the CPU frequency is at least four times the
SPI frequency.

This sets the serial receive timeout to the
given value. The timeout happens every time
avrdude waits for the BusPirate prompt.
Especially in ascii mode this happens very
often, so setting a smaller value can speed
up programming a lot. The default value is
100ms. Using 10ms might work in most cases.

Wiring When using the Wiring programmer type, the following
optional extended parameter is accepted:

After performing the port open phase, AVRDUDE
will wait/snooze for snooze milliseconds
before continuing to the protocol sync phase.
No toggling of DTR/RTS is performed if snooze
is greater than 0.

Connection to the PICkit2 programmer:

(AVR) (PICkit2)
VDD – VDD Target (2) — possibly optional if AVR self powered
GND – GND (3)
MISO – PGD (4)
SCLK – PDC (5)
MOSI – AUX (6)

Extended commandline parameters:

Sets the SPI clocking rate in Hz (default is
100kHz). Alternately the -B or -i options can
be used to set the period.

Sets the timeout for USB reads and writes in
milliseconds (default is 1500 ms).

/dev/ppi0 default device to be used for communication with the
programming hardware

programmer and parts configuration file

programmer and parts configuration file (per-user

~/.inputrc Initialization file for the readline library

Schematic of programming hardware

avrdude: jtagmkII_setparm(): bad response to set parameter command: RSP_FAILED
avrdude: jtagmkII_getsync(): ISP activation failed, trying debugWire
avrdude: Target prepared for ISP, signed off.
avrdude: Please restart avrdude without power-cycling the target.

If the target AVR has been set up for debugWire mode (i. e. the DWEN fuse
is programmed), normal ISP connection attempts will fail as the /RESET
pin is not available. When using the JTAG ICE mkII in ISP mode, the mes‐
sage shown indicates that avrdude has guessed this condition, and tried
to initiate a debugWire reset to the target. When successful, this will
leave the target AVR in a state where it can respond to normal ISP commu‐
nication again (until the next power cycle). Typically, the same command
is going to be retried again immediately afterwards, and will then suc‐
ceed connecting to the target using normal ISP communication.


avr-objcopy, ppi(4), libelf(3,) readline

The AVR microcontroller product description can be found at


Avrdude was written by Brian S. Dean .

This man page by Joerg Wunsch.


Please report bugs via

The JTAG ICE programmers currently cannot write to the flash ROM one byte
at a time. For that reason, updating the flash ROM from terminal mode
does not work.

Page-mode programming the EEPROM through JTAG (i.e. through an -U option)
requires a prior chip erase. This is an inherent feature of the way JTAG
EEPROM programming works. This also applies to the STK500 and STK600 in
parallel programming mode.

The USBasp and USBtinyISP drivers do not offer any option to distinguish
multiple devices connected simultaneously, so effectively only a single
device is supported.

The avrftdi driver allows one to select specific devices using any combi‐
nation of vid,pid serial number (usbsn) vendor description (usbvendoror
part description (usbproduct) as seen with lsusb or whatever tool used to
view USB device information. Multiple devices can be on the bus at the
same time. For the H parts, which have multiple MPSSE interfaces, the
interface can also be selected. It defaults to interface ‘A’.

BSD November 25, 2016 BSD

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