I bricked my Arduino UNO the other day - it was an accident waiting to happen.
I have been working with GPS recievers, pulling the NMEA $GPRMC time stamp messages from a Garmix. Of course it was bound to happen, I upload new code while forgetting to disconnect the serial data being transmitted from the Garmin into Pin 0, serial RX, of my UNO - double data clash and a corrupted serial transceiver on my Arduino based in the 16U2.
You get lucky most of the time, the upload fails, you unplug the GPS from the GPS, re-upload and voila.....but not this time.
I knew it would take ages to fix, I hadn't used my USBASP for two years and I was rusty
I had a USBASP of questionable firmware : I will come to that I ran Arduino 1.6.5 and libusb-win32 driver 18.104.22.168 for my USBASP from Zadic
TWO lost weekends struggling and I think I have it.......
For ease I copied avrdude.conf to the SAME directory as avrdude.exe