College AVR Lab: STK600 or Atmel ICE?

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If a college wanted to start an AVR lab to teach C and microprocessor basics AND could get either a STK600 or an Atmel ICE, which might they choose. Or would there be a better choice?

 

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The Arduino Mega2560 already has the AVR that the STK600 comes with out of the box so no big investment.

 

Therefore my suggestion would be the Arduino Mega with an Atmel ICE.  You can start n the Arduino IDE, then if you want migrate over to Studio and then have the debugger.

 

Just my two pence

 

The STK600 is an expensive investment.  Routing cards are $10.00 each and then there is the socket card.  The STK600 is $215.00 on digikey...and all you can do is program parts for the most part with it

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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Neither.
.
If Microchip are intending to suppy education for free, an XPRO would be a wise choice. Replace when the students have trashed it.
.
If the College is paying, an XMINI-TINY817 will do most things.
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If Microchip is listening, copying the ST Nucleo would be a good idea. i.e. a proper speed EDBG debugger chip compared to the crippled mEDBG chip on the XMINI.
.
David.

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smileymicros wrote:
either a STK600 or an Atmel ICE

Apples and pears if you ask me. Not comparable. Add something to the Atmel ICE so that it can do the simplest thing, load and rin "blinky" and then they that would be something that could be compared to the STK600.

 

The above is not expressing the opinion that the STK600 is better. I'm merely saying - can't compare.

 

The ICE is not enough to do anything at all.

 

If you think the students will need on-chip debugging then STK600 is out. The STK600 is a delicate thing - bend/destroy the card-stack-connectors and/or break the the twisty fasteners. The STK is versatile with all breakouts etc you could ever want. The STK does not follow any "standard" for cheap ready-made expansion boards.

 

Arduino + (eventually) ICE could be an option. With Arduino you get relative sturdiness and relatively cheap expansion boards - removing a lot of risk for frustration due to wiggly/bad connections.

 

An Xplained board is another option. If it is sponsored by Microchip so that you can get, say, an I/O card and an OLED card for each Xplained board then that could be a good choice. If you want to use Arduino shields with XPlained then theres an adaptor available.

 

The one thing I would try to stay away from as much as possible is "solderless breadboards".

 

How old are the students?

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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JohanEkdahl wrote:

How old are the students?

Its all hypothetical, but typical college sophomore age is what, 19?

 

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as already stated, they are apples and pears.

if you have the STK600  with the standard mega2560 you can do almost anything from that. At least for educational purposes. But it has a hefty price tag. Not sure how students (specially in the US) are doing money wise now a days, but it would be a hefty investment (or is school paying ?)

 

With the atmel ICE you only have a debugger, you will need additional hardware. With that you will be able to program every atmel chip there is, so even if later on the students will switch to ARM processors (as long as they are atmel) they can be programmed with it.

Take with that a Mega2560 arduino board and you can program it (note that I do think that there is no jtag interface available so no debugging posibility on that)

 

I know that Atmel has once produced mega168/328 boards were the programming interface was on the board to (not sure here if it was only programming or full blown debugger) need to visit the atmel web page later on so will quick check if I can find those boards again. That might be a cheap alternative.

 

Also justnot sure if the STK600 can program ARM controllers or if it was mere the succesor tot he STK500 were only AVR procesors would fit (8 xmega and 38)

 

lots of things that might influence the best decission.

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meslomp wrote:
if you have the STK600  with the standard mega2560 you can do almost anything from that.
Not on-chip debugging.

 

meslomp wrote:
Take with that a Mega2560 arduino board and you can program it (note that I do think that there is no jtag interface available so no debugging posibility on that)
Think again - or rather, read and cross-reference [1] and [2]. The JTAG pins are available. They are on ATmega2560.PORTF.4..7 which are routed to the ADC4..7 pins on the Arduino PCB. If you have an Atmel ICE then you wire it up to those four pins and you can program and debug away at your liking.

 

[1] http://ww1.microchip.com/downloa...

[2] https://www.arduino.cc/en/upload...

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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19 y.o. is just barely the age where _boys_ will stop breaking things by merely looking at them. For that reason, get something mechanically sturdy. Not the STK-600. See my notes above - and realize that one broken "springy connector" on the STK600 toip or routing card will make that stack more or less unusable.

 

Girls will do just fine.

 

BTW, Joe: Have you ever seen and handled an STK-600 first hand? If not, then make sure you do before opting for it. Play around a bit with changing routing and top cards. Ponder how many students can do this before the STK-600 breaks, perhaps in an ever so subtle way but still rendering it broken.

 

Also: IIRC the nylon twisty fasteners are not available as spare parts (but don't take my word for it - check for yourself). I got a used STK-600 with a lot of those missing and whined here over the lack of spare parts. Magically someone with resources spotted me and I got a spare kit in the mail, but I don't expect that being the standard procedure. I was just lucky - and the first to whine. The 19 y.o. boys will break half of them and loose the other half...

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

Last Edited: Fri. May 12, 2017 - 08:11 AM
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I have never been a Teacher.   I would respect the experience of people that have tought 19 year olds.   But I would guess that anyone can break anything.

 

Ideally you want the students to have something simple and cheap to replace.   One USB cable to make it go.  e.g. XPRO, XMINI, NUCLEO, FRDM, ...

Of course,   if the hardware is "useful",  you will find that the students "acquire" them.

 

It is not essential to have a permanently available hardware debugger.   There is nothing wrong with writing projects a la Arduino.   e.g. with print statements.    In which case the ATMEL-ICE is only available under strict Teacher supervision.

 

Everything will break.    However careful students are.  However much supervision.

 

David.

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david.prentice wrote:

Everything will break.    However careful students are.  However much supervision.

 

'Careful' and 'Student' are not words that ever go in the same sentence. Unless there is a negative in there.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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If you want something that has on-board switches and lights then my vote would be for an STK200 or STK300.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Or an arduino with an LCD/button shield.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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Or an arduino with an LCD/button shield.

Or an Xplained Pro board with the I/O extension board.

 

Simple. Sturdy. On-chip debugging available.

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
If you think the students will need on-chip debugging then STK600 is out.

If the Target on board supports OCD, then the STK600 does as well.  There are connectors on the side for connection to the ICE or Dragon, Etc.  I will agree that natively though the STK600 does not have OCD support

 

JohanEkdahl wrote:
meslomp wrote: if you have the STK600 with the standard mega2560 you can do almost anything from that. Not on-chip debugging.

Yes you can.  See comment above.

 

JohanEkdahl wrote:
The STK600 is a delicate thing -

I agree 1000% as I have popped the voltage regulator chips on two or three of the STK600's I own with no way of repairing them, and in one case the board was just sitting there..  At $215.00 at Digikey to replace thats a hefty bill for a college student to absorb.

 

 

I am surprised Hardware is even thought of anymore as most of the college kids that come here for help are using Proteus.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

Last Edited: Fri. May 12, 2017 - 11:13 AM
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jgmdesign wrote:

I am surprised Hardware is even thought of anymore as most of the college kids that come here for help are using Proteus...

... and seem to be from the sub-continent.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Now now Ross.....

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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I am not a Teacher.   But it seems perfectly reasonable for students to use Proteus.

 

The University or College buys educational licences for Proteus as a one-off.

The students can't break anything or even generate smoke.

 

When their project(s) have been successfully simulated and debugged,  they can transfer their design to real life hardware if they want.

Possibly with some "electrical advice" from their Teacher.   e.g. real LEDs require current limiting resistors.

 

I have never had a Proteus licence.    I just assume that it works "pretty well".

And it is certainly cheaper than a bin full of broken STK600 or ATMEL-ICE

 

The college can afford to supply students with Arduino hardware.   It will stimulate their interest.   The students will walk off with whatever they can fit in their pockets anyway.

The biggest problem is "academic snobbery".   The teacher or professor who wants to make her students "suffer like she did at their age".

 

David.

Last Edited: Fri. May 12, 2017 - 02:48 PM
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Definitely the XPro.

 

 

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smileymicros wrote:
either (sic?)  a STK600 or an Atmel ICE

 

The STK600 page http://www.atmel.com/tools/stk60... makes no mention of having any debug facility;  only ISP - is that right?

 

If it is the case, then you would need both an STK600 and an Atmel ICE!

 

surprise

 

In which case, surely, the XPkained-Pro must be a no-brainer?

 

The STK600 page also says,

  • AVR Studio 4/AVR32 Studio compatible

which suggests that it is rather stuck in a timewarp back in 2011 (or before)

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@awneil: STK-600 is supported by Studio7. If the product page does not mention this then it's a documentation deficiency.

@east coast Jim: The OP stated either STK600 or Atmel ICE. Thus my "no debugging" re STK600.

"He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track. Oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made. People passing by, they would stop and say, "Oh, my, what that little country boy could play!" [Chuck Berry]

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
If the product page does not mention this then it's a documentation deficiency.

True. But, as I said, the fact that it has not been updated at all since Studio 4 does rather suggest that it is stuck in a backwater ... 

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
If you think the students will need on-chip debugging then STK600 is out.

david.prentice wrote:
The biggest problem is "academic snobbery".   The teacher or professor who wants to make her students "suffer like she did at their age".

I think that giving the students anything without on-chip debug could only be described as such  "academic snobbery".

 

I think it would be bordering on criminal not to educate students in the use of on-chip debug. It is inexcusable in this day and age.

 

Of course, also teach then to use LED flashing, pin toggling, serial trace, etc - but do not skimp on the on-chip debug.

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
@east coast Jim: The OP stated either STK600 or Atmel ICE. Thus my "no debugging" re STK600.

 

With the key word being "OR"  I concede, your statement is correct in that context.

 

Jim

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
19 y.o. is just barely the age where _boys_ will stop breaking things by merely looking at them.
Still happening for me mid-50's - are you sure there's a point where it stops?

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Why AVR? There are lots of cheap PIC boards with in-built debugging.

'This forum helps those who help themselves.'

 

pragmatic  adjective dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical consideration.

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These days, just about every microcontroller brand has cheap boards with in-built debugging.

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david.prentice wrote:

The students can't break anything or even generate smoke.

Personally, I don't think anyone should get a degree if they haven't done both many times.

 

awneil wrote:
In which case, surely, the XPkained-Pro must be a no-brainer?

I'm inclined to agree, but I've been away for a while and I need to get my arguments thought out before continuing.

 

Not to be too mysterious, but some of my recent questions are due to discussions I've been having about a possible writing assignment and I'm feeling more than a little rusty, especially about the last several years of AVR progress. So thanks for bearing with me.

 

 

 

 

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david.prentice wrote:
If Microchip are intending to suppy education for free, an XPRO would be a wise choice. Replace when the students have trashed it.
.
If the College is paying, an XMINI-TINY817 will do most things.
An advantage for tiny817 Xplained Mini is the tiny817's voltage can be either 3.3V or 5V by relocating an existing zero ohm resistor.

tiny817 Xplained Pro is only 3.3V.

david.prentice wrote:
i.e. a proper speed EDBG debugger chip compared to the crippled mEDBG chip on the XMINI.
Wouldn't take much to make tiny817 Xplained Pro dual-voltage.

EDBG UC3A4 runs at 3.3V.

The EDBG card that plugs into a tiny817 QTouch Demo is 3.3V only but the level converters are on the main board with the tiny817.

 


http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/attiny817

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Level converters make Evaluation Boards complex and expensive. The equivalent DBG chip from ST has 5V tolerant pins on SWDIO, SWCLK.
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In fact the XMINI-Tiny817 runs reasonably fast on the new debug interface.
.
David.

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or even generate smoke.

That's a big downside of Proteus, it SHOULD generate simulated smoke.......cheeky

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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meslomp wrote:
Not sure how students (specially in the US) are doing money wise now a days, but it would be a hefty investment ...
More difficult than it was thirty years ago.

One who has a graduate degree may have a student payment load that's greater than rent.

The Big 4 from most to least :

  1. Student loan payment
  2. Rent
  3. Automobile
  4. Credit card

A student needs to the cognizant of the source of their university funding (private corporations, public corporations, governmental services corporations) for the attached strings are different.

A USA federal source will have a limited load (monthly payment values, duration)

meslomp wrote:
(or is school paying ?)
Used to be STATE OF that would pay most of the university funding but now it's students.

There's a need for more 9USD Xplained Mini wink

meslomp wrote:
With the atmel ICE you only have a debugger, you will need additional hardware.
Some third party boards have the AVR JTAG, debugWIRE, or PDI connector though seems that only some Atmel boards have the 50mil pitch connector (compatible with Atmel-ICE-BASIC otherwise it's Atmel-ICE Full Kit)

 


https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/comments/32v55l/65k_in_student_loans_for_engineering_degree/

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I would buy Arduinos and Xminis, and the students would have have to do the assignments in AS/Xmini (easier to debug), then port them to Arduino.

The Arduinos would be of the pro-mini type, which don't have USB interface. There would be a few USB to serial adapters available, that the students would have to share.

 

If there was enough budget, no doubt a collective Proteus license would be a good investment, it's an excellent simulator, even though it has a few bugs in the AVR implementation. TINA is also ok for mixed AVR+analog simulation and has a free version from Texas Instruments (TINA-TI).

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El Tangas wrote:
TINA is also ok for mixed AVR+analog simulation

You mean this: https://www.tina.com/ ?

 

 

Quote:
and has a free version from Texas Instruments (TINA-TI).

Does TINA-TI include AVR ??

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awneil wrote:

Does TINA-TI include AVR ??

 

Well, actually I don't remember, I've used TINA-TI a few years ago only for analog, it's quite possible it doesn't include the MCU simulation.

 

I suggested TINA (full version) as alternative to Proteus, just mentioned TINA-TI in case someone needs a good free digital/analog simulator (the digital part exists but may be limited).

Last Edited: Sat. May 13, 2017 - 10:04 AM