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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 here for the v2 version) 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.

238 replies on “Atmel ICE header adapter”

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?

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!

Perfect board !

This board is better than original triangle board from Atmel ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you still have extra board, I will buy it.
If it is not possible, I will buy eagle board ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks !

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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 โ‚ฌ50 from buying another ICE for the next project!

Cheers!
Andy, Oulu, Finland.

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.

Yeah. Atmel needs seroius help ๐Ÿ˜‰
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

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.

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 ๐Ÿ˜€
No chance you have one more ..(PCB that is…)?
All the best!
/ Joaquim Piirainen, Sweden

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

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

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.

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.

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

Perfect board !

This board is better than original triangle board from Atmel ????

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

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

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.

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

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

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…).


Hey Marc,

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

I’m from the Netherlands.

Greetings, Mike

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

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.

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

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!

You got to sell your ideas to ATMEL ๐Ÿ˜›
(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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Regards,

Sander

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.

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.

Hi Marc,

This is just what I was looking for! I have converted the project files to KiCad, and will get some boards made.

If you like, I can put the KiCad version on github, with your permission of course.

Regards

Hi Atoomnet,
I am interested in the atatmel ice pcba, and therefore is also very interested in your clever pcb.
Is it still possible to get the pcb?
I have seen some converter pcb’s on Ebay but they have an normal 3/10 ” wide row pitch as DIP ic’s have, so they require som measure of violence to a 1/10″ Box header. I might be possible with an angled version, but you pcb is smarter.
So can you sell me one or two such pcb’s?
Yours Niels Stobbe
Denmark

Hi Niels,

Yes, I have some left. I have send you an email with details.

Beware that the pcba version lacks the cable you need with the converter pcb.

Hello Marc,
I would like to buy one of your pcbs … it’s exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you for the time and effort that you have put into this design.
Regards,
Andrew

Hoi Marc,
Heb je nog zo een bordje beschikbaar…. mijn kabel is magisch verdwenen op het werk en nu moet ik even een alternatief zoeken…
Als je nog een bordje hebt dan hoor ik graag van je!
Alvast bedankt!
Groeten

Hello Marc,
I would like to buy one of your pcbs โ€ฆ itโ€™s exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you for the time and effort that you have put into this design.
Regards,

John

Hi Marc,

forme the same. ๐Ÿ™‚
Do you have any boards left? and if so, could I get one?
What is the price incl. shipping to Germany?
Thank you very much.

Best regards
Joachim

Hi Marc,

do you still have boards left?
If so, could you please send 2 boards to me?

Thanks for the effort you put into this!

Hello Marc,

Great article and website – amazing what you’ve been up to here, puts me to shame, I need to write up what I’ve done.

I’ve just ordered an Atmel-Ice-Basic and I wondered if you had any more [1] of these boards?

Thanks
Mark (UK)

Hello Marc
I congratulate you for your work. Thanks for sharing.
I bought an Atmel-ICE and I would like to know if you still have a PCB for me.
Thank you!

Hello Marc,
I had found this website while my search for an adapter for my ICE. Your solution is very good and solves all my problems. Have you one board left for me?

Thanks.

Marc,
Love your expansion board idea, do you have one left? If so please let me know the procedure and I would like to purchase one.
Shipping would be to the US.

Thanks,
Brian

Hi Marc,
If you still have a board of version 2 I also would love to get/buy one, please mail me the details.

Tip: Microchip is having a -50% discount for ICE full kit till end of this month, just got mine ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks,
Grzegorz

Hello, I want to know if it is possible that you can share with me the Eagle files of your Atmel ICE header adapter Version II. Also please, inform me where I can obtain a copy of the eagle library “Arduino_Wifi_shield_v018_tG”. Thank you very much.

Hi Edgar,

Here you go: v2 pcb eagle files

I searched for Arduino_Wifi_shield_v018_tG, I believe that it came from the arduino due reference design. To recreate the library you can export the tiny 6-pin header. There is an export function for that in Eagle.

Hi Marc,
I was wondering if you have any boards left, I just bought an Atmel-ICE because my Dragon isn’t responding normally anymore.
I hope I can poke the dragon back to life, but it stopped working just when I got a hard deadline for a project ๐Ÿ™

I hope you ship all the way to Rotterdam ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hi Martijn! Dead dragon. Not good. I had mine blownup once, apparently you should be very careful connecting a ground connection to a floating ground. I changed some minuscule component to fix that.
Check your email.

Hi Marc,
I was wondering if you have any boards left, I just bought an Atmel-ICE and love the board you made. I am in fear of losing the cables that came with the ICE. Would be nice to be able to make up a cable anytime with your board. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks
Pat

Hello Marc,
Do you still have some boards?
I would like to buy one.

I’m from Slovakia.
Could you ship here?

Hi Marc.

I would like to share with you several photos of my adapter cards, the cards was inspired by your design,
but I have added a + 5V regulator, an SMD LED. I built two individual cards; one for the AVR connector and onother one for the SAM connector.

If you are interested in seeing the photos, please send me your email address.

Hey Marc,

just found your header adapter here.
I’m very interested in one of the boards.
Can you send me the details?

Kind regards

Hello Marc,
i also found just your side. And i also ask for a adapter board.
Can you send me also infos how to get one.
Thanks Ralf

Hi Marc,

A very useful project ๐Ÿ™‚
By any chance are there any PCBs left ??
If so, I would love one having just got an Atmel-ICE “bareboard” ๐Ÿ™‚
I’m in the UK BTW.

Best Regards,
Dave

Thanks Dave! UK no problem. Check your email.
Be aware that you need the little squid cable that comes with the basic version. I believe the bare version is missing all cables?

Perfect solution….. I would be interested in purchasing two , if you have any still available.

Andrew from Adelaide, Australia.

Hi,
just out of curiosity:
Do you still have a V2 board, which you would like to sell?

Marc from Germany ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi Marc,

I also was trapped in the same way – thinking its 2,54mm pitch for the connectors.
For the flat cable I verified that a part of a harddiskcable should be OK – the version with a ground wire between each signal wires.
Then I found this thread and believe I really need one of Your adapter boards.
The connectors I have in stock, the 1.27mm are ordered.
Do You have one more left?

Hi. marc.

Can you send one to Dk ๐Ÿ™‚

when you write “10 Pin for AVR MEGA” is it then the way to use A0 – A7 headers? I wish you had that board as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi Kasper, Yes I can send to DK. Check your email.

Can you elaborate what you mean about A0-A7? The 10 pin on this board is the older 10-pin ISP standard.

Hi

Nice project, thank you for sharing.
If you still have a bare bord left I would prefer to buy one from you instead of ordering ten. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hey Stewart, did you get my email? I noticed you use @hotmail, sometimes hotmail will flag most e-email as spam, or delete the email altogether.

Hi Marc,
If you could set aside a PCB for me that would be fantastic.

I’ll buy you a beer if I ever get a chance ๐Ÿ™‚

Just resend the email using this emailadress.

Looks like it worked.

Jan 8 11:11:43 lithium postfix/smtp[28767]: B7B95262D42: to=, relay=mail.compcom.de[136.243.81.55]:25, delay=1, delays=0.03/0.02/0.61/0.37, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as 93159C83CFA)

The JTAGICE3 Pin layout is the same as for your Atmel ICE pin layout on the AVR (right) port. This is what confuses me a little bit, because you have your adapter board connected to the AVR board on your title picture as well but then also discuss the possibility to connect to SAM devices and you also say
“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.”.

So, using your board you can use the AVR port on the AtmelICE but nevertheless connect to an ARM via JTAG/SWD?

The user manual states:

“The ARM SWD interface is s subset of the JTAG interface, making use of TCK and TMS pins, which
means that when connecting to an SWD device, the 10-pin JTAG connector can technically be used. The
ARM JTAG and AVR JTAG connectors are however not pin-compatible, so this depends upon the layout
of the target board in use. When using STK600 or a board making use of the AVR JTAG pinout, the
standard JTAG connector can be used. When connecting to a board which makes use of the ARM JTAG
pinout, the 10-pin “mini-squid” cable must be used. (There are no adapters available from Atmel to make
this mapping.)” (ref http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/Atmel-42634-JTAGICE3_UserGuide.pdf Section 3.6)

So my scenario would be mainly: I would like to connect with my JTAGICE3 (i.e. == Atmel ICE AVR Port) to a ARM JTAG or SWD port. (Atmel/Microchip SAM3X8E or similar)

That would work only if all the pins on the JTAGICE3 share the same function as on the Atmel ICE. I have no idea if that is the case.

Hello Marc,
I just came across your site and very much like your adapter board.
Do you still have one to sell ? If so, how much would that cost, including shipping to Germany ?
Thank you very much in advance !
Many greetings and kind regards.

Hi Marc,
PCB received ! Thank you very much for the quick shipping !
I designed a little bottomplate to protect the pins on the soldering side from short-circuits, for those who don’t want to stick it to the case of the Atmel-ICE.
I would like to put this part on Thingiverse and make it available to the community, probably with a link to this page.
Any objections from your side ?

Thanks and many greetings,
Holger

Hi,

I’m thinking buying the Atmel-ICE PCBA Kit. If you still have adapter boards to sell, do you have also the 1.27mm programming cable ?

What is the cost for the adapter board and/or the programming cable, including shipping to Greece ?

regards,

Hi Dimitrios!

The pcb was designed to be taped on top of an Atmel-ICE basic, but work with the PCBA also. You do have to source your own 1.27mm cable. I send you an e-mail with details.

Hi marc,

Did you still have any adapter boards you’d be willing to sell? I’m having to replace my AVRISP mkII with an ATATMEL-ICE-BASIC, and the header pitch difference caught me by surprise.

Thanks,
Chris

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