Yes, I suppose it should. Well, it turns out that things aren’t quite as bad as I thought they may be. No electrical problems with the board at all. The reason that it wouldn’t program is that the TTL serial adapter I was trying to use (which is a cp210x) doesn’t seem to like programming arduinos at all. What’s more, the reason I thought the blink sketch was starting immediately after a reset was that I couldn’t easily tell the difference between the LED strobe from the power being applied to the board and the blink from the sketch. :)
If I use the FutureTech board, (even without trying to wire it into the ISP header) it does work exactly as it should. Let me change my question again. Do you think the other FTDI board is hopeless? I’d kind of like to get it working, but I’m not sure where to start. It does apply power just fine. Doesn’t seem to reset the boards — hopefully I can say that with some certainty now since I’ve replaced blink with my own soft PWM fade sketch, so the difference between the twitch from the power-on and the running sketch is obvious. I also haven’t been able to get it to program properly even resetting it manually, nor does swapping rx/tx seem to help. I thought it might have them backwards, but perhaps not.