Should I buy an STK500?

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I am a complete beginner with all things electronic or programming but I have been reading a lot and trying to put it all together. I am hoping to learn assembly level programming for the AVR. Is the STK500 the best thing for me to test my programming on?

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jerseyguy1996 wrote:
I am a complete beginner with all things electronic or programming but I have been reading a lot and trying to put it all together. I am hoping to learn assembly level programming for the AVR. Is the STK500 the best thing for me to test my programming on?

If the STK500 is not the best, most certainly right up there at the top. Though, it isn't the least expensive.

One thing to consider, while there are all sorts of development boards for experimenting with the AVR, the STK500 is about the most flexible, supporting about every 8-bit AVR in the DIP packaging thats out there.

And... The STK500 is probably the most popular, which means that there is a tremendous amount of help available when you run into the un-expected.

The STK500 development board has been my first choice.

The only real competition to the STK500 would be the STK600. While it supports the newer Mega class devices that don't come in DIP packaging, it is vastly more expensive.

Carl W. Livingston, KC5OTL
microcarl@roadrunner.com

"There are only two ways to sleep well at night... be ignorant or be prepared."

The original Dragon Slayer !

Long live the AVR!!!

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While I can't say that it is best (that would depend on so many things), I can say that it is darn good and very well worth it'sprice. The STK500 come with an AVR or two, and it has the switches and LEDs on board so that you don't have to spend hours or days obtaining and assemblying your first experimental setup. And while you can mess things up on the STK500 it is much less likely than oif you assemble your first setup yourself. This leads to you being able to get into the programming much quicker. That alone pays for half it's price IMO.

Still, in the long run it is more than worth it's price. If you plan to stay with AVR programming the STK500 will serve you for years. You have access to the AVR pins on the STK500 headers, and it will do ISP programming of an AVR on another boars (provided that board has an Atmel-standard ISP header). And whenever you fell like doing a small experiment, or prototype something before comitting to a specific board and design, you will find that you'll drag out the trusty STK500.

My AVR activities goes up and down. When they're on I have a STK500 on the bench continously. If my place would burn and I'd have to start over the first thing I would get would be a STK500.

If you're on a low budget consider the AVR Butterfly. But study what it gives you thoroughly first, and compare it with the STK500.

"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]

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The STK-500 will be a good platform to start from. In addition, a debugging tool would be very helpful if you can afford it. One of the least expensive debug tools is the AVR Dragon. The Dragon supports both JTAG (for larger AVR devices) and DebugWire (for smaller AVR devices). This can be purchased from Digi-Key for about $50.00. You can also check Mouser, Newark, etc.

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Just to make it clear: Thee are limitation on what devices the Dragon supports for debugging. The Dragon documentation in AVR Studio knows more.

"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]

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One think I'd consider is how to think you'll go about. The STK500 has a row of keys and LEDS handy for the first steps (detecting keys, lighting LED's). As you are an beginner in electronics too it will be helpful for you to have those handy. Otherwise you'll start with the problem on how to connect a LED to an AVR and how to get the ISP pins correctly connected. With a STK500 this is taken care of, you'll have less traps and pitfalls to start with.

Markus

Markus

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Thanks everyone. I will definately be ordering an STK500 now. I actually started out a few months ago with an arduino but at some point in the process I got completely frustrated with trying to program in C. After reading some of the assembly tutorials and playing around with some simple assembly programs on AVRstudio 4 I came to the realization that assembly makes more sense to me than C. Unfortunately the arduino doesn't do much for you in anything but C unless you have an external programmer. I figure the stk500 can be both a platform to learn on and a programmer.

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Quote:
I came to the realization that assembly makes more sense to me than C.
..and you will be a great programmer.. :wink:

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly