DIY programming pen


Anthony documented his programming pen build:

One minor annoyance when programming microcontrollers in-circuit, is that often quite a bit of PCB space is lost due to the programming connector. Furthermore, when you have to program many chips, repeatedly reconnecting the programming cable quickly becomes a chore. So when I found an article about constructing a programming pen that would help solve both of these problems, I decided to build one for myself.

Join the Conversation


  1. So why not use Tag-Connect’s $30 cable instead? Standard footprint…alignment pins, etc…14pin cable (or you can use the RJ11 jack version)…

    Just the alignment pins seem worth it…

  2. A few weeks ago I also designed my own pogo-pin based programming header. There were a couple of reasons, why I don’t like most of the existing solutions (not all points apply to all headers):

    * Too symmetrical. It shouldn’t be physically possible to plug the connector in the wrong way
    * Too large.
    * Too many holes. I rather have the connector a bit larger, if it leaves the other side free for routing.
    * Too few / too many pins. I made mine a 6 + 2 combination. 6 ISP pins + 2 optional UART pins
    * Not locking. I want to use the same connector for live debugging, I don’t want to hold it down the whole time.

    I based my design around 2 power pins as plated holes, with all other signals as single sided pads around them. After the debugging is done, the power pins can be used to power the device.

    I’m sure I will discover some major flaws, as soon as my boards arrive from Seeed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.