Atmel ICE header adapter

The Atmel ICE is a fantastic tool for programming and debugging AVR and Atmel ARM chips. However, the included cable has a connector with a pin pitch of only 1.27mm. I made a header adapter to make this Atmel ICE more useful for normal spaced 2.54mm connectors.

Atmel ICE with header adapter

Bad news. My trusty AVR ISP MKII died. I plugged it into a board which in this specific case cannot be programmed at the same time. The programmer died with the familiar smell of burned electronics. Bummer… just order a new one. To my surprise this model was not made anymore. The replacement: the Atmel ICE.

Ok. Time to check the local distributors inventories: none. Expected delivery: in 2 months. How on earth could I not program AVR chips for two months? The Atmel ICE programmer/debugger was so fresh on the market, no one in Europe has stock.
Then USA stock checking it is. Hey, atmel.com store has is, however, shipping costs were too high for me. Digikey had some in stock also.

After submitting the order with Digikey I waited a few days and the programmer arrived. My impression was that I was getting a programmer twice the size of my old because of the two connectors on the front. I assumed they were standard 10 pin 2.54mm connector and by that guessed the size of the programmer. However, when I got it, I was surprised. The Atmel ICE was roughly the same as my broken AVR ISP MKII but with tiny 1.27mm pin pitch connectors.

The included adapter cable was only useful for programming chips with 6-pin ISP 2.54mm connectors, which I do not have many of. I wanted the old 10-pin 2.54 ISP connector also. And, since it can program ARM chips also, want a 20-pin (old) standard ARM/SWD connector.

Time to make an adapter board.

Atmel ICE header adapter board

The schematic is really simple. Just connect every signal of every pin to every other pin on the new connectors.
Someone at Atmel had a bright moment. On the SAM connector every pin used can be found on the AVR connector. This means the header board only needs to use one or two programming ports to connect to.Atmel ICE header board schematic

The board was ordered with my favorite Chinese cheap board house. After soldering I sticked it on the Atmel ICE with some double sided sticky tape. The existing 1.27mm programming cable was used to connect to the header board. It works beautiful. I do not use any 1.27mm connectors yet, but I included them in the schematic.

Atmel ICE with header adapter

What can I connect with this board?

  1. 10 pin 2.54mm ISP for Atmega/attiny chips
  2. 6 pin 2.54mm ISP for Atmega/attiny chips
  3. 20 pin 2.54mm SWD/ARM connector for Atmel ARM chips.
  4. 20 pin 2.00mm SWD/ARM connector
  5. 10 pin 2.00mm SWD/ARM connector
  6. 10 pin 1.27 ARM cortex debug connector.

Also nice are the printed status labels. The status leds on the Atmel ICE are not marked with the functions they have. The header board includes the status labels for each led. (Target connected, Power and Programming status).

During preparation I measured each pin on the Atmel ICE and came up with the following matrix describing each pin of the two connector:

SAM AVR JTAG SWD aWire 6-pin PDI 6-pin debugWIRE 6-pin SPI 6-pin TPI 6-pin
1 VTG VTG
2 TMS SWDIO
3 GND GND
4 TCK SWDCLK
5 GND GND
6 TDO SWO
7 nTRST
8 TDI
9 GND
10 nSRST nSRST
AVR
1 TCK SWDCLK 3 SCK 3 CLOCK
2 GND GND 6 GND 6 GND 6 GND 6 GND 6 GND
3 TDO SWO 1 DATA 1 PDI_DATA 1 MISO 1 DATA
4 VTG VTG 2 VTG 2 VTG 2 VTG 2 VTG 2 VTG
5 TMS SWDIO
6 nSRST nSRST 5 PDI_CLK 5 RESET 5 /RESET 5 /RESET
7 n/c
8 nTRST
9 TDI 4 MOSI
10 GND GND

You can download the Eagle schematic and board layout here or add a comment below to ask for a pcb. I have ordered a few extra and send them world wide.

Atmel ice header boards.

118 thoughts on “Atmel ICE header adapter

  1. David Milunic

    Nice board!
    I just got the Atmel-ICE and the little cable it came with doesn’t connect to anything that I have.
    Are you selling these little boards?

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi David,
      I do not actively sell them, however, I have a few extra onces I do not use. Are you interested in the bare pcb?

      Reply
      1. David Milunic

        Yes! I would love one of the bare boards!
        The smell of burning solder is sweet!

        Please let me know what you would like for the bare PCB!

        Thanks!

        Reply
      2. Vladan

        Perfect board !

        This board is better than original triangle board from Atmel πŸ˜‰

        If you still have extra board, I will buy it.
        If it is not possible, I will buy eagle board πŸ˜‰

        Thanks !

        Reply
  2. Robert

    Very nice and useful project! I bought Atmel-ICE yesterday and I’m searching of adapter for that. Can you share project file of PCB, or maybe you can sell bare pcb?

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi Robert,
      I do not actively sell them, however, I have a few extra onces I do not use. Are you interested in the bare pcb?

      Reply
      1. Robert

        Hi! Yes, I’m very interested of bare pcb. Can you send this pcb to me? I’m from Poland. Of course, I will pay all costs. Do you see my e-mail address? If you see, please send me an e-mail.

        Reply
  3. Arash

    What is the part number on the Atmel ICE 10-pin header? I remember seeing it published once but forget where it was.

    Reply
      1. Arash

        That seems to have 2.54mm spacing. I was interested in the one that has 1.27mm spacing, both the one on the Atmel ICE board itself and the female plugs.

        Reply
        1. marc Post author

          I have no idea what the part number is for the female 1.27mm plug. I ordered the male pins on ebay. Search for 1.27mm pin header.

          Reply
  4. Matija

    Greetings Sir!

    Do you still have an extra bord that you dont need?
    I would like to buy it. I have the same problem like the
    sir above. I bought Atmel Ice, and I cant find any adapter
    for this little 50mil devil. Can you help?

    Best Regards.

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi Ashfaque,

      Not it is not an replacement of the cable you get with the Atmel ICE. The include cable is used to connect to the adapter.

      Reply
  5. Pete

    Hi Marc,
    I also would be interested in procuring an adapter PCB for my new Atmel-ICE, if I’m already too late. Thanks.

    Reply
        1. marc Post author

          Hi Anatom,

          Then I believe there is some spamfilter from keeping me to email you.

          I have mailed you on 2016-08-04. I will try again.

          Reply
  6. Andycrofts

    Thanks, Man!! (for the Eagle files)
    I had planned to do the files this weekend from the PNG’s you published. I’ll get ’em Gerbered and see if I can add it to my next Seeedstudio panel.
    That damned 1.27mm cable’s soooo thin, I’m scared to move it – so much so that my project and ICE (and a fake ‘Saleae’ logic analyser) are all velcro’d to a scrap bit of stripboard, then everything held down with ‘duct’ tape…
    Saved me €50 from buying another ICE for the next project!

    Cheers!
    Andy, Oulu, Finland.

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi Andy, good to hear!

      I have no idea what dodo thought using 1.27mm pin-pitch headers was a good idea on a device used to connect multiple times to different boards.

      The second I received my ICE I designed this board and use it to program all my 2.54mm pin-pitch boards.

      Reply
      1. Andycrofts

        Yeah. Atmel needs seroius help πŸ˜‰
        BTW, are you familiar with the shenanigans with Windows-10, Atmel Studio and the AVR Dragon?
        Seems that between the World-and-his-Dog, all the commentators on avrfreaks, and Atmel, I’m the only geezer to have
        a Dragon, an Atmel-ICE, a 32-bit lappie, and a 64 bit machine? Gawd!
        http://www.avrfreaks.net/comment/1665496#comment-1665496

        Anyway, I’ll post the Gerber files when I’ve finished…my Cunning Plan is to make it single-sided. Impossible? Just reminds me of my Physics teacher, 45 years ago.
        “Crofts!!” – he bellowed – “There is no such word in English as ‘Karnt!’ ”
        -Andy

        Reply
        1. marc Post author

          Hi Andy, I have upgraded my laptop to Windows 10, my desktop remains at Windows 7 for exactly the reason that stuff always stops working with a new Windows version. I also have a dragon, blown it, fixed it. Now I have my ICE I only use the dragon to parallel program Atmegas when I mess up the fuses. I am programming the AVR’s since the very first AT90S1200, but still brick some chips now and then.

          Single sided should be possible. I chose the more easy way and used 2 sided and vias.

          Reply
  7. Joaquim Piirainen

    Hi Marc!

    I would kill for one of your pcbs, got my “Atmel-ICE Basic” yesterday and thought the header cable was someones bad joke… so I started to search after solution, like trying to find 10-pol males with 1.27 pitch… when I realized I would never be able to drill so small and close together holes (though I have drills down to 0.2 mm).
    I’ve downloaded your .sch an’ .pcb for Eagle free version, but it still a lot of work to get from a coated PCB to print out the PCB-layout to drilling and soldering .. well I guess I’m lazy πŸ˜€
    No chance you have one more ..(PCB that is…)?
    All the best!
    / Joaquim Piirainen, Sweden

    Reply
  8. Wilson

    Hi There,

    Well. I was wondering if you still have one of your boards available. Otherwise mate, Would you mind to tell me what steps you followed to order your board? I am in Australia so as far as I have read you have given you boards for free..let me know if you want something in exchange.

    Kind Regards,
    Wilson

    Reply
  9. JoeT

    Any boards left?
    If not where did you get the headers for the 1.27 connectors and who did you use to make the pcb’s?

    TIA
    JoeT

    Reply
  10. Belette

    Received 10 of this PCB I ordered at SeeedStudio. The AVR6-2.54 header (classic 6 PIN ISP header) is working great. I’m able to programm Atmel AVR’s without issue. I also wanted to debug an atmega1284 which is having a JTAG built-in interface. I hopped (too optimistic ?) the AVR10-2.54 header would have provided the minimum 7 PINS required for the JTAG interface. No… I’ve tested it on the breadbord and also confirm looking at the schamtics : the AR10-2.54 is just a larger version of the AVR6-2.54 without extra signal available. I might re-use your work since all JTAG signals are available on the PCB in the ICE-AVR header. I might hack the SAM20-2.54 header to directly solder a 10 wire flat ribbon, it will do the trick Thanks for this work.

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Yes, I noticed this also. I wanted to debug an atmega 2560 with it. But it has another pinout for its jtag connection. I soldered simple SAM JTAG to AVR JTAG converter board for that purpose.

      Reply
  11. Christian

    Hi there, I had the same problem but wanted a pinout for JTAG, so I created a similar board, based on your idea. I also referenced your website. Have a look.

    Reply
  12. Benny Smith

    Nice work!

    You have solved an irritating aspect of the ATMEL-ICE, which I purchased ONLY because the AVR ISP Mk II was discontinued.

    Please send me a board and I will make a contribution to your cause.

    Benny Smith

    Reply
  13. Willi

    Perfect board !

    This board is better than original triangle board from Atmel πŸ˜‰

    If you still have extra board, I will buy it.

    Reply
  14. Stefan Nordkvist

    Thanks for taking your time and share this with us all Marc! I am interested in a board, but I wonder if the Jtag issue was solved (atmega1284/2560)? I too have atmega2560s. If its not solved, how would a manual solution be? Please send me an email if you have time , and if you are willing to ship to japan?

    Best Regards

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi Stefan,

      I have designed a new revision of the header board that includes a AVR JTAG connector. But I have not let them made into a PCB (and not tested them).
      For my own atmega2560 (arduino mega) I have soldered a simple converter board which connects to the 20 pin ARM connector, that was the most practical.

      I am willing to send you a pcb to Japan, I will send you an email.

      Marc.

      Reply
  15. Dobro

    Really perfect board, much better than original one from Atmel.

    If you still have some extra board and are willing to ship to Czech Republic, I would buy 2 or 3 boards.

    Dobro

    Reply
  16. vaibhav singh malik

    Hello Sir,

    Do you still have an extra board that you don’t need?
    I would like to buy it. I have the same problem

    Many thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Vaibhav Singh Malik

    Reply
  17. Maxi Rauch

    Hello,

    I’d like to by one pcb so do you have some pcb levt over and send them to germany ?

    Best Regards

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Unfortunately no, I do not have any (version 1) boards left. But, I do have version 2 boards available. Is that OK?

      The difference is that version 2 has only 2.54mm headers (except for the 1.27mm) and it has an 2.54mm JTAG AVR connector for the atmega2560 (or atmega128 etc…).


      Reply
  18. Mike

    Hey Marc,

    Do you still have boards left? I’m interested in buying one.

    I’m from the Netherlands.

    Greetings, Mike

    Reply
  19. Guenter Jung

    Hi Marc,

    just found your page, very nice board!
    If you still have some boards left, I’m also interested in buying one board.

    Thanks,
    Guenter

    Reply
  20. Robert

    Hi Marc, I am interested in buying one piece of pcb. It is possible to send one PCB to Poland?

    Thanks, Robert.

    Reply
  21. JΓΆrg

    Hi, Marc,
    nice Job.
    I’m interested in your version 2 board, too.
    Please send me more information.

    Best regards

    Reply
  22. Hans

    Hi Marc,

    if you have one more board, I’m interested in one. No leftover of version 1? I’ts a pity because it seems to be more universal.

    Reply
  23. Bob Rumford

    Dear Marc

    Hello from the United kingdom !

    I have just found your site and your Version 2 Atmel ICE Header adapter – Great Idea !!
    Do you have any bare pcbs left ? – (I would like Two bare pcbs if you have any left).
    I am intending connecting this to the XMEGA-A3BU Xplained Evaluation board, However, I originally purchased the ICE Basic kit which only has the 6 pin header.

    Where are you based? I could not find any info on your site.

    Thanks in advance for your time Marc, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards

    Bob Rumford
    UK

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Thanks Bob!

      I do believe I have some left. Let me check and I will send you an email.

      I am based in The Netherlands, near The Hague and Rotterdam.

      Kind regards!

      Reply
  24. Sander Baten

    You got to sell your ideas to ATMEL πŸ˜›
    (Or now; Microchip….)
    If you have some PCB’s left, I’d be interested in 2 or 3.

    I’m located in The Netherlands as well.

    Hope to hear from you πŸ™‚

    Regards,

    Sander

    Reply
    1. marc Post author

      Hi Sander,

      Yes, I believe I have some left. But I am in the middle of a move to a new house. Give me some time and I will check and send you an email.

      Reply
  25. Kevin Jesshope

    Hello Marc from Adelaide South Australia,

    Nice work with the adapter. Do you have any of the boards left? I am interested in obtaining one if possible.

    Reply

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