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I bought a SparkFun AVR programmer from Solarbotics a while ago, but I have been unable to make it work. I have followed the SparkFun hookup guide tutorial exactly, yet the programmer still does not function as intended. Every time, I try to upload the 'blink' example code to my Arduino using the programmer, I always get the error:

avrdude: Device signature = 0x000000
avrdude: Yikes! Invalid device signature.
Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
this check.

I have tried using the programmer with another Arduino Uno and an Atmel Atmega 328P, but got the same result.
Hello and thanks for your post.

A device signature of all zeros would indicate the Arduino and programmer are not communicating. Make sure you have a power source connected to your Arduino OR you have the switch on the programmer set to "Target Power" and that the cable is connected the right way around. The photo below shows the proper orientation.
Also make sure you have "Arduino/Genuino Uno" selected as your board type and that you have "USBtinyISP" selected as your programmer.
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Unless you have a bad cable or a defective Arduino, it looks like you're doing everything correctly.
Solarbotics should be able to help you out with a replacement on this and SparkFun will authorize that. If they need more information, just point them to this forum post and they should get you hooked up.