Atmel AVR – programmer hardware

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 1:32
Posted in category Microcontroller

The AVR is a microcontroller developed by Atmel. Its an 8-bit RISC µController based on the Harvard architecture which physically seperates the data storage memory (RAM) and the program code memory (Flash-ROM ). AVRs are classified into few family groups which differentiate in the amount of memory, I/O pins, additional instruction sets,… but they are all based on the same AVR core which makes it easier to reuse code (ATtiny, ATmega,…).

Atmel provides AVR Studio, a free development envoirement for writing and debugging assembler applications which includes a software simulator as well.
You can write applications using Assembler, C (avr-gcc) or Basic (bascom) .

For more information about AVR µControllers visit the wikipedia avr article or visit Atmel AVR.

I am using a 40 pin ATmega16 which comes with 16kB Flash-ROM, 1kB SRAM, 256B EEPROM with a price about 3€. There is also an ATmega32 which has more memory than the ATmega16 and it costs just few € more so its better to buy the 32 version straight away.

I am also using the AVR-Ready board from mikroelektronika which is basically a simple prototype board with extension pin headers, an IDC10 connector for the programmer hardware, connector for power supply (8-16V AC/DC), a reset pushbutton, and an external crystal oscillator (per default the µController works on the internal 1MHz clock, which can be changed to an extrnal crystal or crystal oscillator by setting the fuse bits). Of course you can build this by yourself using a breadboard.

Because the programmer hardware was expensive ($59.00 USD) i decided to make one (ISP – parallel port interface) by myself as it didnt seem complicated. I suggest you use the shematic from the PonyProg website which has some improvments to other shematics found on the internet. Btw PonyProg is a software used to read/write the compiled code to/from the µController. I also bought a plastic box and packed everything inside it. Luckiely everything worked straight away :)

Useful links:

Atmel AVR 8bit RISC
AVR Freaks
Links collection – odp
Very good AVR + Assembler/C tutorials (German)

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