The Atmel AVRISP mkII is a In System Programmer (ISP) for Atmels 8-bit AVR microcontrollers.

The AVRISP mkII integrates well with Atmels Studio which is Atmels free compiler suite. AVR studio will also detect if the AVRISPs firmware is the latest version, if it isn't it will prompt you and allow you to update the firmware of your AVRISP mkII, in this sence maintainence of your AVRISP mkII is very straight forward.

One point to note is that the AVRISP mkII does not provide power on the Vcc pin, but uses this pin to sense the voltage on the target circuitry. So you can not power your circuit from the AVRISP mkII, your circuit needs to be powered by external means to operate. Inside the Atmel AVRISP mkII

There are other third party ISP for AVRs avalible, or AVRISP mkII clones, which are cheaper and apparently are detected in Atmel studio just like an authentic AVRISP mkII and work in the same way. I have not tried these third party programers, when I first started programming AVRs I chose to get a genuine Atmel AVRISP mkII because there is good official support documentation in the form of a user guide and I didn't want to spend time trouble shooting the setup of the programmer, I just wanted it to work.


The Atmel AVRISP mkII provides a simple way to get started with programming Atmel 8-bit AVR microcontrollers and is well integrated with Atmel Studio which further adds to the ease of use.

However depending on your needs and budget I would also recommend looking at the AVR Dragon which for a marginal added cost adds significant features, namly JTAG debugging.

Having said that I think the Atmel AVRISP mkII is a solid ISP for Atmels 8-bit AVR microcontrollers and for me it has proven to be robust and easy to use over a number of years.


  • Easy to use AVR In System Programmer for Atmel 8-bit AVR microcontrollers
  • The Atmel AVRISP mkII is an genuin Atmel ISP and hence is well supported by Atmel


  • The Atmel AVRISP mkII does not power your circuit being programed, you have to have the circuit powered