As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently “lost” an ATmega168 due to flashing the configuration fuses to disable the RESET pin, without realizing that this makes the device impossible to reflash with SPI. This is particularly frustrating because the device is still 100% functional, just completely deaf to ordinary serial programmers. The only way to recover the device is using what Atmel calls “High Voltage Parallel Programming Mode” which very few programmers support, most importantly, not the USBtinyISP I otherwise love.
Fortunately, my trusty Arduino came to the rescue – I created an Arduino-based AVR programmer that uses the high voltage programming mode and can fix pesky fuses like RSTDISBL.
The Arduino has just enough IO to implement the entire HV protocol plus a “go” button. So far I have only implemented setting LFUSE and HFUSE in software, but there is no reason why the code couldn’t be extended to support chip erase and programming the entire flash as well.
Arduino-based AVR High Voltage Programmer - [Link]