ISP flashing (also known as ICSP flashing) is the process of programming a microcontroller directly. This allows you to replace the bootloader, or change the "fuses" on the controller, which control a number of hardware- and software-related functions, such as the speed of the controller, how it boots, and other options.
The main use of ISP flashing for QMK is flashing or replacing the bootloader on your AVR-based controller (Pro Micros, or V-USB chips).
?> This is only for programming AVR based boards, such as the Pro Micro or other ATmega controllers. It is not for Arm controllers, such as the Proton C.
If you're having trouble flashing/erasing your board, and running into cryptic error messages like any of the following for a DFU based controller:
libusb: warning [darwin_transfer_status] transfer error: timed outdfu.c:844: -ETIMEDOUT: Transfer timed out, NAK 0xffffffc4 (-60)atmel.c:1627: atmel_flash: flash data dfu_download failed.atmel.c:1629: Expected message length of 1072, got -60.atmel.c:1434: Error flashing the block: err -2.ERRORMemory write error, use debug for more info.commands.c:360: Error writing memory data. (err -4)dfu.c:844: -EPIPE: a) Babble detect or b) Endpoint stalled 0xffffffe0 (-32)Device is write protected.dfu.c:252: dfu_clear_status( 0x7fff4fc2ea80 )atmel.c:1434: Error flashing the block: err -2.ERRORMemory write error, use debug for more info.commands.c:360: Error writing memory data. (err -4)
Or, if you see this sort of message for a Pro Micro based controller:
avrdude: butterfly_recv(): programmer is not respondingavrdude: butterfly_recv(): programmer is not respondingavrdude: verification error, first mismatch at byte 0x002a0x2b != 0x75avrdude: verification error; content mismatchavrdude: verification error; content mismatch
You're likely going to need to ISP flash your board/device to get it working again.
You'll need one of the following to actually perform the ISP flashing (followed by the protocol they use):
SparkFun PocketAVR - (USB Tiny)
USBtinyISP AVR Programmer Kit - (USB Tiny)
Teensy 2.0 - (avrisp)
Pro Micro - (avrisp)
Bus Pirate - (buspirate)
There are other devices that can be used to ISP flash, but these are the main ones. Also, all product links are to the official versions. You can source them elsewhere.
You'll also need something to wire your "ISP Programmer" to the device that you're programming. Some PCBs may have ISP headers that you can use directly, but this often isn't the case, so you'll likely need to solder to the controller itself or to different switches or other components.
The Teensy and Pro Micro controllers will need you to flash the ISP firmware to the controllers before you can use them as an ISP programmer. The rest of the hardware should come preprogrammed. So, for these controllers, download the correct hex file, and flash it first.
Once you've flashed your controller, you won't need this hex file anymore.
The QMK Toolbox can be used for most (all) of this.
However, you can grab the Teensy Loader to flash your Teensy 2.0 board, if you are using that. Or you can use
avrdude (installed as part of
qmk_install.sh), or AVRDUDESS (for Windows) to flash the Pro Micro, and the ISP flashing.
This is pretty straight-forward - we'll be connecting like-things to like-things in the following manner.
PocketAVR RST <-> Keyboard RESETPocketAVR SCLK <-> Keyboard B1 (SCLK)PocketAVR MOSI <-> Keyboard B2 (MOSI)PocketAVR MISO <-> Keyboard B3 (MISO)PocketAVR VCC <-> Keyboard VCCPocketAVR GND <-> Keyboard GND
Teensy B0 <-> Keyboard RESETTeensy B1 <-> Keyboard B1 (SCLK)Teensy B2 <-> Keyboard B2 (MOSI)Teensy B3 <-> Keyboard B3 (MISO)Teensy VCC <-> Keyboard VCCTeensy GND <-> Keyboard GND
!> Note that the B0 pin on the Teensy is wired to the RESET/RST pin on the keyboard's controller. DO NOT wire the RESET pin on the Teensy to the RESET on the keyboard.
Pro Micro 10 (B6) <-> Keyboard RESETPro Micro 15 (B1) <-> Keyboard B1 (SCLK)Pro Micro 16 (B2) <-> Keyboard B2 (MOSI)Pro Micro 14 (B3) <-> Keyboard B3 (MISO)Pro Micro VCC <-> Keyboard VCCPro Micro GND <-> Keyboard GND
!> Note that the 10/B6 pin on the Pro Micro is wired to the RESET/RST pin on the keyboard's controller. DO NOT wire the RESET pin on the Pro Micro to the RESET on the keyboard.
After you have your ISP programmer set up, and wired to your keyboard, it's time to flash your keyboard.
The simplest and quickest way to get things back to normal is to flash only a bootloader to the keyboard. Once this is done, you can connect the keyboard normally and flash the keyboard like you normally would.
You can find the stock bootloaders in the
util/ folder. Be sure to flash the correct bootloader for your chip:
If you're not sure what your board uses, look in the
rules.mk file for the keyboard in QMK. The
BOOTLOADER lines will have the value you need. It may differ between different versions of the board.
If you'd like to flash both the bootloader and the regular firmware at the same time, there are two options to do so. Manually, or with the
:production target when compiling.
To do this manually:
Open the original firmware .hex file in a text editor
Remove the last line (which should be
:00000001FF - this is an EOF message)
Copy the entire bootloader's contents onto a new line (with no empty lines between) and paste it at the end of the original file
Save it as a new file by naming it
?> It's possible to use other bootloaders here in the same way, but you need a bootloader, otherwise you'll have to use ISP again to write new firmware to your keyboard.
You can create the firmware, the QMK DFU Bootloader and the production firmware images for the board using the
:production target when compiling. Once this is done, you'll see three files:
The QMK DFU bootloader has only really been tested on
atmega32u4 controllers (such as the AVR based Planck boards, and the Pro Micro), and hasn't been tested on other controllers. However, it will definitely not work on V-USB controllers, such as the
You can flash either the bootloader or the production firmware file. The production firmware file will take a lot longer to flash, since it's flashing a lot more data.
?> Note: You should stay with the same bootloader. If you're using DFU already, switching to QMK DFU is fine. But flashing QMK DFU onto a Pro Micro, for instance, has additional steps needed.
Make sure your keyboard is unplugged from any device, and plug in your ISP Programmer.
If you want to change bootloader types, You'll need to use the command line.
AVRISP device connected or
USB Tiny device connected will show up in yellow
Select the correct bootloader/production .hex file with the
Open dialog (spaces can't be in the path)
Be sure the correct
Microcontroller option for the keyboard you're flashing (not the ISP programmer) is selected
Wait, as nothing will output for a while, especially with production files
If the verification and fuse checks are ok, you're done! Your board may restart automatically, otherwise, unplug your Teensy and plug in your keyboard - you can leave your Teensy wired to your keyboard while testing things, but it's recommended that you desolder it/remove the wiring once you're sure everything works.
Open a terminal (
cmd on Windows, for instance) and navigate to your where your modified .hex file is. We'll pretend this file is called
main.hex, and that your Teensy 2.0 is on the
COM3 port - if you're unsure, you can open your Device Manager, and look for
Ports > USB Serial Device. Use that COM port here. You can confirm it's the right port with:
avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p atmega32u4
and you should get something like the following output:
avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructionsReading | ################################################## | 100% 0.02savrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9587avrdude: safemode: Fuses OKavrdude done. Thank you.
Since our keyboard uses an
atmega32u4 (common), that is the chip we'll specify. This is the full command:
avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p atmega32u4 -U flash:w:main.hex:i
If your board uses an
atmega32a (e.g. on a jj40), the command is this (the extra code at the end sets the fuses correctly):
avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p atmega32 -U flash:w:main.hex:i -U hfuse:w:0xD0:m -U lfuse:w:0x0F:m
You should see a couple of progress bars, then you should see:
avrdude: verifying ...avrdude: 32768 bytes of flash verifiedavrdude: safemode: Fuses OKavrdude done. Thank you.
Which means everything should be ok! Your board may restart automatically, otherwise, unplug your Teensy and plug in your keyboard - you can leave your Teensy wired to your keyboard while testing things, but it's recommended that you desolder it/remove the wiring once you're sure everything works.
If you're using a SparkFun PocketAVR Programmer, or another USB Tiny based ISP programmer, you will want to use something like this:
avrdude -c usbtiny -P usb -p atmega32u4
If you're switching bootloaders, such as flashing QMK DFU on a Pro Micro, you will need to change the fuses, in additional to flashing the bootloader hex file. This is because
caterina (the Pro Micro bootloader) and
dfu handle the startup routines differently, and that behavior is controlled by the fuses.
!> This is one area that it is very important to be careful, as changing fuses is one of the ways that you can permanently brick your controller.
For this, we are assuming the 5V 16MHz versions of the
atmega32u4 (such as the 5V Pro Micro).
For DFU on the
atmega32u4, these are the fuse settings that you want:
The High fuse can be 0xD9 or 0x99. The difference is that 0xD9 disables JTAG, which QMK Firmware disables via software as well, while 0x99 doesn't disable JTAG.
To set this add
-U lfuse:w:0x5E:m -U hfuse:w:0xD9:m -U efuse:w:0xC3:m to your command. So the final command should look something like:
avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p atmega32u4 -U flash:w:main.hex:i -U lfuse:w:0x5E:m -U hfuse:w:0xD9:m -U efuse:w:0xC3:m
For Caterina on the
atmega32u4, these are the fuse settings that you want:
To set this add
-U lfuse:w:0xFF:m -U hfuse:w:0xD8:m -U efuse:w:0xCB:m to your command. So the final command should look something like:
avrdude -c avrisp -P COM3 -p atmega32u4 -U flash:w:main.hex:i -U lfuse:w:0xFF:m -U hfuse:w:0xD8:m -U efuse:w:0xCB:m
If you are using a different controller or want different configuration, you can use this AVR Fuse Calculator to find a better value for you.
If you have any questions/problems, feel free to open an issue!