Seeing that the ATMEL AT89S52 chips are so cheap (8 usd for 5 with free shipping from ebay!), are supposed to have a simple architecture and a lot of documentation available online, I would like to use them to learn microcontrollers at a lower level than the Arduino.

I have already learned how to compile simple programs with sdcc and convert the resulting ihx file to hex with packihx, ready to be loaded into the chip.

I don't understand what hardware and software is needed to transfer the file from my laptop via a usb port. From what I've read avrdude doesn't work for these chips, what should I use instead? Also, what hardware should I buy to do the programming?

Can someone provide a simple guide for a beginner?


EDIT: If I understand correctly, the circuit provided by Sandun only converts the RS-232 voltages down to 5V. If this is correct, and since I'll be using a USB port instead of a serial one, can I just use a USB - serial cable which outputs 5V like this one? Or am I missing something?


1 Answer 1


You could use a simple ISP Serial programmer and use software like PonyProg.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Do you know if there is any kit or assembled version of this or a similar board I can buy? \$\endgroup\$
    – nib0
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 12:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ it's called a ISP programmer. If you buying then buy a USB based one. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 12:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any suggestion? The Atmel AVRISP mkii does not list the chips as supported. The usbtinyisp from adafruit and the usbasp from fischl also don't (I'm not 100% sure about the usbasp). I don't know of any others. \$\endgroup\$
    – nib0
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm using that serial adapter that I mentioned above. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm using the serial adapter that I mentioned above. I know it's working with ponyprog + Linux. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 14:23

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