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Bootstrapping yourself into BASIC-52

Once you have the MCU and BASIC-52 ROM image, you somehow need to get this image into that chip before you can start having fun. If you already have a programmer that can do that then you are reading the wrong page. If you don't, then in today's world your options are not that great, except if you have a friend to program the MCU for you. OK for one-off, but not a feasible long-term solution.

A better option is to build yourself a programmer. One of the simplest parallel port programmers I've seen is a by M Asim Khan. This is designed for Atmel 89 series controllers, but probably works for others, too. You do need to have a PC probably running DOS for using it.

Even better option is to switch to AT89S8252 controller, this is serially programmable, in circuit and there is some support for it in more modern software, although avrdude does not have it. Other than being ISP, 8252 is a 8052 with 8K of code EEPROM and extra 2K of DATA EEPROM.

Once you have the MCU, you can program EPROMS with BASIC-52, or you can also build a EPROM programmer to ease the task. Check out my USBtinyISP attached EPROM programmer project for one alternative. You do need a USBtinyISP for building and using this, but this will be useful for anyone tinkering with Atmel AVR series microcontrollers. And you can also use it to read and write EEPROMs.

Here is another design by Andrew J McCubbin, and here is yet another by Andre Bauer.

Some of these are simple enough to be a nice weekend project, and won't cost you a fortune. If you have been tinkering for a while, you may even be able to build any of these programmers out of scrap in your junkbox. For existing stuff, you will probably have to live with MS-DOS software running on an old PC.

Once you have the programmer, download the image (and source code), and program the MCU.

Now that the full documentation is also available here, you can get going right away.

Copyright © Madis Kaal 2000-