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I want to develop microcontroller projects at my home. In college, we had a device that would write the microcontroller code into the microcontroller. I was going through some of the microcontrollers kits and found this. My question is that the one which is labeled as 8051/AVR USB programmer(zoom the image), what is its purpose? Could that be used for writing code into the microcontroller through USB and then the uC be plugged into the 8051 development board?(But the chip which is plugged to the 8051/AVR USB programmer is smaller than the one on 8051 development board, which makes me confused abut this being the case.)

If this is not the case, then do I need to program the microcontroller the conventional way? the way we do in college, using the device which is specifically designed for burning codes into the microcontrollers? Is there any way by which I can write the code into the microcontroller at home with constrained resources?

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It's an ISP programmer. The IC on it interprets the commands set to it via USB and manipulates the pins on the connector appropriately to program AVR and 8051 MCUs.

JP1 on the dev board is the connector that the cable from the programmer connects to.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I connect the 8051/AVR USB programmer to the USB on one side and then use the 6 pin cable to connect it to the 8051 microcontroller kit, then it would burn my code to the uC? \$\endgroup\$
    – Anwesa Roy
    Nov 20, 2017 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Once you tell the computer to do so, yes. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2017 at 20:45
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Is there any way by which I can write the code into the microcontroller at home with constrained resources?

Modern microcontrollers don't need to use ISP, they have a built in "boot-loader" that can reprogram (write to) the internal flash memory of the microcontroller without an external chip. Usually they download data through the UART interface of the microcontroller which has 2 pins, transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx). Development boards often have a USB interface, which is handled by a separate IC which converts USB to UART signals.

Unless you must use an 8051 you would be better getting an Arduino board. The smaller Arduino's such as the Uno use an Atmel Atmega 328 which has the boot-loader mentioned before. There are lots of add-on boards for the Arduino, it has a reasonably good development environment (IDE) and lots of support from Adruino and the on-line community.

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