Bring your Arduboy back from the dead (burn bootloader)

(Erwin) #1

This is a guide to fully recover your Arduboy from the dead :cross: . I was unable to find any info about this procedure so I decided to document my fixing attempt instead of leaving my Arduboy as a dead weight.

Use this guide as the last resource, first try with the normal recovery options:

If that does not work, try with another USB cable and another PC. If everything fails, you can start below.

You will need:

Check Bring your Arduboy back from the dead (burn bootloader) if you are having problems with the drivers


  1. Turn off your Arduboy and remove the 4 screws at the back of the unit

  1. Lift the cover and locate the ICSP pads, they are labelled near the bottom of the PCB. Compare with the ICSP header of your programmer:

There is a typo in the Arduboy pcb silkscreen, you should connect SCK to CLK.

If you are using the Arduino as the programmer, follow the pins indicated in the ArduinoISP sketch.

  1. Prepare the Arduino IDE, set the board to Arduino Leonardo, select the programmer type, enable Verbose in settings and find the Burn bootloader option

  1. Hold each wire to the corresponding pad and press “Burn bootloader”.

Remember that you can use the battery BAT (-) terminal as GND to free a little space for the fingers:

If you fail to do that, you can try to solder wires to the pads: Bring your Arduboy back from the dead (burn bootloader) but be careful when handling the wires, avoid applying tension.

  1. Stay still for about a minute. If you fail doing this, go back to the step 4)

  2. Reassemble the Arduboy. Enjoy!

Note: Nothing is going to appear in the screen right after doing this, you still need to upload a game or something after this procedure. The Arduboy is going to be completelly empty :floppy_disk:

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(Scott) #2

Well, if you understand Japanese: :wink:

(Boti Kis) #3

Thank you very much, i’ll gonna try this once on my dead boy once i get an replacement battery. :slight_smile:

(Celine) #4

This thread is amazing! Thanks @eried, so i guess we don’t need to send you a replacement? :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

(Erwin) #5

Only a green one now (because it is a zombie :stuck_out_tongue:)

(Erwin) #6

I am not sure if they came to any conclusion (or any simple one at least). I mean, having to make those pin clamps (some guy says that the pads are really weak to solder and he destroyed his Arduboy doing that) or getting an expensive programmer (genuine Atmel) is going to be a bummer when you are repairing your dead device.

I was tinkering on using some pogo pins attached to a 3d printed holder… but holding the pins with an extra pair of hands was the perfect solution.

I am not really sure either why the bootloader was corrupted either but has not happen again.

(Jack) #7

Now this is excellent and amazing!!! Thank you

(koteitan) #8

Yours are the best solution!
Amazon also sales usbasp under $10 and an extra pair of hands are most stable.

I think the bootloader is corrupted when you write the big program (>28672 bytes) because it is in the last 4kb of the 32kb flash memory and it is overwritten then.

(Erwin) #9

Only 10 bucks? That’s only like 7 times more :smile: what a deal.

The thing is the Arduino IDE forbids to upload a bigger code. I don’t really remember what actually broke mine but corruption started trying “.arduboy” loaders and games


My Arduboy is bricked, my PC is not longer detecting the unit.
I uploaded a program that was to big and the whole thing stopped working.

Will this fix my problem?

(Erwin) #11

Yes it will fix that. How did you achieved to do that?


I’m using Visual Studio with the Arduino addon, It does track how big the program every time I compile and upload.
Shows this:
Program size: 26,780 bytes (used 93% of a 28,672 byte maximum) (3.83 secs)
Minimum Memory Usage: 1584 bytes (62% of a 2560 byte maximum)

So I assumed it wouldn’t upload if I was over.
But It only showed
Minimum Memory Usage: 1584 bytes (62% of a 2560 byte maximum)
and uploaded anyway voila bricked…

I checked my program on the regular Arduino editor and it shows
Sketch uses 30776 bytes (107%) of program storage space. Maximum is 28672 bytes.

so ya bug bug… hehe

(Michael Gollnick) #13

@emutyworks did a great job here

I purchased myself a pair of these clamps used in this thread and it works like charm. Just in case you have no helping hands.


Finally received all the parts I needed.
It worked, my Arduboy is ALIVE!!!
Thank you for this guide

(Erwin) #15

Congrats! Fancy clips, where did you get those?



(Erwin) #17

The clamps are 2 times the price of the usb programmer xD

(Pharap) #18

“fancy” never comes cheap.

(Scott) #19

Once the boot loader has been successfully re-burned, you should make sure the bootloader area protection fuses have been set, to prevent the problem from happening in the future.

You can verify that the protection fuses have been set properly by uploading a sketch I wrote:

(Erwin) #20

Strange, my only Arduboy that says OK with your sketch is the one I “repaired” with the method exposed here. The two other untouched units have Lock bits: 0xEF