Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Programming AVRs using Raspberry Pi SPI interface

Raspberry Pi SPI AVR programmer

Raspberry Pi is a Linux machine. We all know that Linux is fully configurable to develop microcontroller programs and flash chips using open-source tools like AVRDude. With Raspberry Pi there is no problem to have GCC tools running where you can compile AVR programs and then later to flash using AVRDude. To program chips you would normally connected programmer adapter to one of USB ports that are accessed by AVRDude. But Kevin wanted to get rid of need for adapter and use RasPi hardware instead. Among exposed Raspberri Pi GPIO header pins there is a SPI interface that can be used to talk to AVR chips directly. So he added new programmer “linuxspi” in AvrDude that accessed AVR chips using hardware SPI. Other functionality remains pretty same as you’d expect from AVRDude with majority chips supported. IT lack support of TPI programming as TPI seems not working directly from SPI, but future plans may include this functionality as well. Current avrdude with SPI programmer is available at Git. Continue reading

AVR programmer is small as finger tip

small vusbisp programmer

I don’t know if very tiny tools like programmer adapters are very handy to use, but it is always fun to watch how tiny they can get. Philip took a vusbtiny programmer and squeeze it in to smallest PCB he could make. So, he made USB connector directly on PCB by tracing pads on it. But to be sure, on other side he made footprint for Mini USB socket. If one fails there is a way out. Of course all parts are SMD except the 6-pin ISP connector. The board size come to be 12mm x 28mm and I think, there still is a space to squeeze a bit by making ISP header smaller (use 1mm instead of 2.54mm) or choosing smaller passives instead of 0805. But would such tool be normally useable? Continue reading

AVR programmer and debugger in one board

Martin Thomas has this nice tool called Evertool in his collection. It is a AVRISP/STK500 and Programmer/JTAG debugger on a single board. It is compatible with AVRStudio with firmware upgrade-ability. So always new devices are supported.   Evertool has following features: ISP Programmer compatible with Atmel AVRISP, with AVRStudio and avrdude accessibility; JTAG debugger compatible with Atmel JTAGICE, works with AVRStudio and AvaRice; All Atmel AVR devices supported with their AVRISP and JTAGICE.; Easy update of the programmer via RS232/serial port; Rescue clock generation to recover from wrong fuse-bit-settings; Simple hardware, standard parts; Evertool uses bootloader which is free for non-commercial use. Download latest version from here. Project is very well documented. There are also simplified versions of programmer available like JTAG only debugger, or even Evertool-USB version suggestion. Thomas Martin also has a nice collection of microcontroller programming examples including WinAVR and WinARM which is supported by him. Continue reading