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Atmel AVR development tools

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by dbvanhorn, Jan 31, 2008.

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  1. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    Frustrated, not knowing where to turn with this.

    I love the AVR processors. Very clean internally, nice to write code

    But, I am on the edge of dumping them due to severe problems with
    their dev tools.
    Some people seem to have no trouble with them, but I've been having
    problems for years, which are inconsistent, unreproducable, and
    totally productivity destroying when they happen.

    The problems happen mostly in emulation with their ICE-50, Jtag Ice
    (and someone's cheap clone) and with their new MkII jtag ice, as well
    as their AVRISP chip programmer.

    Different computers, including ones freshly scrubbed and rebuilt.
    Different processors
    Different date codes
    Different cables
    Different serial or USB ports
    Different versions of Studio
    Different target boards
    Different clock sources, including the internal 1 MHz RC
    Different VCC (within spec)

    Common threads: XP Pro. AVR Studio (though different versions), Me.

    Short version, neither they nor I can figure out WTF is going on.
    I've seen it, in the past week, 1: Decide that all my code is NOPs in
    sim. 2: Ignore CALL or RCALL instructions. 3: Ignore some LDI
    instructions, but not all, just specific ones. 4: Totally refuse to
    talk to the target chip with Debugwire. And tomorrow, it will
    probably be different.

    All that said, for months at a time, everything will be fine.

    Any ideas?
  2. Don McKenzie

    Don McKenzie Guest


    different locations?

    they haven't re-routed the Muncie power grid past your door step
    recently, have they Dave?


    Don McKenzie

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    Parallax Propeller Powered .96" OLED module
  3. linnix

    linnix Guest

    Build your own! Since my Jtag Ice's funnel, I have been programming
    AVRs with an ARM eval board (programmed as AVR programmer). It's much
    more reliable than the Atmel tools. Recently, I am starting to
    program AVRs with another pre-programmed AVR. Once programmed, AVR
    are very stable.
    Dump these as well. I have all the tools avr-gcc and uprog (my USB
    programmer) on a 1G CF drive.
  4. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    ISTM, that you would get a better concentration
    of microcontroller-specific knowledge at comp.arch.embedded.
    Goes doubly for
  5. I too have very occasionally seen the code display in AVR studio show
    silly things for the LDI instruction, usually LDI &h00 when it should be
    a non-zero. Also seen LDS &h0000 when it should be a valid RAM address.
    But the code seems to execute ok in a target system. Never tried it
    in the simulator. Use both JTAG ICE MkII and a USB version of the MkI.
    Suspect its actually a problem in AVR Studio itself, not in hardware.

    As you say, its not consistent, but I never saw it often enough to cause
    a serious problem. My 'fix' is to go on and develop some more code,
    then when I come back to the debugger, the problem has gone away. Some
    fix !

    System here is Windoze 2000 SP 2 and AVR Studio 4.12 SP 4.


    Adrian Jansen adrianjansen at internode dot on dot net
    Design Engineer J & K Micro Systems
    Microcomputer solutions for industrial control
    Note reply address is invalid, convert address above to machine form.
  6. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    Southern Georgia, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Muncie, Indianapolis,
    Philadelphia and Baltimore come to mind.
  7. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    Unfortunately, S+N/N << 1
  8. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    Me too, and I suspect they aren't putting much heat on it because it's
    a "free" tool, nevermind how essential it might be to getting things
    Right, this is the sort of thing that I have going on.
  9. Nice and fast core but poor set of the peripherals.
    The biggest problem is that Atmel keeps dropping and changing the AVR
    lines. That makes the AVR unsuitable for the long term projects.
    Why do you need that?

    The only tools I ever used for AVR are the scope, the byteblaster and
    the debug printout to RS-232. I developed the projects of up to about
    20k lines of C++ code and the home made RTOS.
    Apparently the problem is with you.
    You have to stop playing games with the fancy toys and content yourself
    with the essential.
    The entities should not be multiplied beyond the necessity.

    Vladimir Vassilevsky
    DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
  10. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    I've used other "clone" Jtag ices, with the same reliability problems.

    One of these days, I may have to start using C, but I've been avoiding
    It seems to add yet another layer (or two) of possible problems, as
    well as sucking up system resources and cycles. And it wouldn't
    remove me from the need to run in sim or emulation.
  11. dbvanhorn

    dbvanhorn Guest

    I hear ya. I have in the past, done "crash and burn" with only single
    pin output of many bytes of data.
    It's error-prone and tedious, but it does work. The additional code
    to output the debugging data takes time and space too though, and I
    don't always have that spare.
    :) Yeah. I'm leaning twoard Studio using some memory somewhere
    that's not initialized.
    That's sure what it feels like.

    This would be the second time I've heard someone tell me to just ditch
    the Atmel toolchain entirely.
    Maybe I'm just stuck because it USED TO WORK. It worked flawlessly. I
    delivered apps one after the other, and NEVER had to worry wether a
    tool would work. The sim was great, and very useful. Their ICE-200
    was wonderful. The ICE-50 was great, up till the first official
    release, then it went to hell.
  12. linnix

    linnix Guest

    Oh, yes. My poor spellings.
    The AVR debug core is unreliable, jtag or non-jtag. SPI programming
    is much more reliable. Also, avoid bootloaders.
    I know I am not a normal user, but learned to live with the essentials
    only, as another poster suggested.

    I used the Jtag Ice long enough to develop a set of usable library,
    mostly serial port and LED/LCD drivers. After that, I have not use
    any simulator/emulator at all. But I am only doing a simple project
    of 2000 lines / 8K at most. We will be building thousands of them, so
    a simple compiler and isp loader is more important than fancy
  13. Just had the same problem, I downloaded the latest GCC/studio4 stuff,
    but the thinkulator would not run :

    "AVR Simulator: Invalid opcode 0xffff at address 0x00f000"

    on a "helloworld.c", but simpler


    It worked on a 1 year old "not updated" setup on my laptop.

    MSP430 anyone?

  14. However better than PICs. What other 8-bit uC do you have in mind?

    Marco / iw2nzm
  15. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    simple solution, get a computer with a real RS-232 port on it, and use
    that option, using RS-232 converters or direct USB I find is unreliable
    not just for that process but for other things that really need the
    attention of the PC also.
    I Also find that when I used older versions of windows I have much
    better luck .. 98/W2k is what I normally use for programming the units.
  16. The 16-bit timer of AVR is handy. I wish there could be 3 or 4 timers
    like that.
    I am not familiar with the latest AVRs and PICs. PIC peripheral offering
    used to be far superior to that of AVRs, and I guess it still is.
    The HC12 family.

    Vladimir Vassilevsky
    DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
  17. linnix

    linnix Guest

    Not exactly 8 bits, but who care. What about the coldfire
    MCF51QE128? Price is within our budget, for 2 pennies each. Perhaps
    with another 49 pennies for silicons.
  18. linnix wrote:

    It is marketed as 16-bitter however it looks no different from the old
    good 68xx. In HC12 there is even no penalty for the misalignment.
    Good one. Thank you for the tip.
    Well definitely not worse then the big Mega AVRs.

    Vladimir Vassilevsky
    DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
  19. T

    T Guest

    The Atmel ATMega168 is used in all the Arduino based platforms. I use
    Processing as the IDE.
  20. The way of all software. It gets "improved" until it sucks so much that
    nobody will use it. Then Symantek buys it and sell it under another label
    for another round of grief ;.)
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