Electronic – Suggestions for small and handy connector for in-circuit programming


I have many PCBs that use an AVR in SMD packaging, and since I frequently change the firmware in prototype boards, I'm trying to come with the best solution to program the AVR quickly and easily.

The first approach was to have a standard header (2×5 pins, .1") on the board, but since these are bulky (for the size of the boards I'm dealing with), I started to have just the contact holes without soldering the header, and bent the pins of a header with a plier so I could "snap" it in and out the board. Not an optimal solution, but it worked.

The next step was to use gold fingers (i.e. one edge of the board would have some contacts exposed, like those old ISA boards, but with just a few contacts of course). The problem with it is that the board cost increases, and still uses a lot of "real estate".

Any suggestion for small+cheap+clean alternatives? Ideally, without having to solder anything on the board (like with the gold fingers). I was thinking about just some small contacts on the board and maybe two aligning holes, if there's a connector that could fit there and by some way stay in place while the programming is done.

BTW, although the standard connector has 10 pins, only 6 are required.

Best Answer

Take a look at www.tag-connect.com. They supply programming cables that mate to a small board pad layout. Include the layout on your board and your all set.