Production Quantity Programming

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#1
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So far we have been producing AVR-based products in relatively small quantities and have been programming via STK 500s and AVR Studio.

However, we are now moving into real production quantities and need to get the assembly people to be able to program the boards as they come off the production line, hopefully integrating the programming of the device into the PC-based test software.

Does anybody have suggestions for a cheap-and-cheerful programmer?
Our target chip is an AtMega 162.

We would want to buy working programmers off the shelf, rather than build them ourselves, and would be looking for a certain level of support (preferably source code) for the integration of programming capability into in-house test harnesses.

One other thing - we are in the UK and wish to start production on 16th May. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, eh? :)

All suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks in advance,
/Andy

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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Assuming you included an ISP connector or can at least access the ISP pins via a test jig, you can use the AVRISP which is about $30 from Digi-Key.

Smiley

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Thanks for the quick response, Smiley.

I have heard the name "Digi-Key" from the "left pond" contributrs, but know little about them other than that.

Is there a level of confidence that if I order today-ish I will see the goods in the UK in time?

(I understand that you my not be the best person to answer that as a US-resident, but would welcome your opinion.)

What would we get in terms of software support for that?

Cheers
A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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There seems to be a UK branch of digi-key:
http://dkc1.digikey.com/uk/digih...
You could ask them....

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Yeah, thanks Eric, I saw that.

I suspect that it's not as "UK" as it looks (though I may be wrong) at first sight.

Those "freephone" numbers and the address look very American and it does talk about goods being "exported from the United States".

I would be very happy to buy from the US, but am a little dubious about timescale.

I will call them though.

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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Consider purchasing your batch of raw chips pre-programmed by your distributor. In reasonable production quantities, the cost is not excessive compared to the extra programming step on the production floor.

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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A good scheme in general, Lee, but a bit late for this next production run (a week on Monday) I suspect.

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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Hi,

Try going here:

http://www.atmel.com/dyn/general...

Select Distributor and United Kingdom

Should give you a list of UK distributors for Atmel products. My apologies if I am missing something here.

Part number for AVRISP is ATAVRISP (I think).

Regards,
Steve

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BTW, I have not used it myself and maybe I am wrong but maybe take a look at the command line applications of stk500.exe. There should be info in the Studio Help if I am not totally off my rocker :-) .

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No, you're not missing anything Steve. When I started off, I was looking for product recommendations.

Given that common wisdom here says "AVRISP", my hardware guy is now digging out his contact at Atmel UK.

Many thanks to all.

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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Isn't Kanda in the UK? They make little handheld programmers, etc. Look at them also. There are Kanda engineers here at freaks.... speak up folks!

Imagecraft compiler user

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Thanks, Bob. I have now emailed them too.

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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Hey,

Digikey UK will ship via UPS World Wide Express (try ordering something, it will be one of the first things it tells you). According to the UPS website a shipment from Theif River Falls to Manchester UK will be there by May 9th if you shipped today. So the time isn't terrible, though you wouldn't have a lot of time to screw around. And as long as you get enough that you can break a few it should be OK...

Regards,

-Colin

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Just for info. We produces a board with Tiny15 and program with AVRISP.
It is not a very big quantity juste 60 000 years (running form 3 year now). I have a test board to program the panel of 5 board with a patch file to switch the ISP between each board.
Just buy 2 or 3 AVRISP it is happen at they died.
Thierry

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We bought the ATAVRISP to our ATmega supplyer, and within two days we had got it. Anyway, usually I bought a new one when I start a new project with ATmega, since my (old) ATAVRISP is used at the programmer/testbench for the las project. Usually the testbench communicates to the test PC, and the test program launches the command line STK500.exe programmer software that programs the target board.

Guillem.
"Common sense is the least common of the senses" Anonymous.

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So is there any source code available (or a DLL) for the ATAVRISP, so that we could integrate the programming operation into the test software itself?

It just makes the whole operation more "seamless".

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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I would have thought the simplest way would be to write the commands for programming into a .bat file and call it from your software.

Ralph Hilton

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AndyG wrote:
So is there any source code available (or a DLL) for the ATAVRISP, so that we could integrate the programming operation into the test software itself?

It just makes the whole operation more "seamless".

/A

avrdude is open source:
http://savannah.nongnu.org/proje...

It is known to build for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Windows (but you have to use Cygwin and the free GCC compiler that comes with it to build it for Windows.)

But I agree with rhilton, it would be much easier if you could just call the command line from your test software.

Eric

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Easier at one level, but less seamless and consequently morer error prone.

We have a similar problem with "FlashSimple" for H8s, in that (for the moment) we have to launch that and then the test software has to "hang about" while FlashSimple completes.

At that point, we have to trust the guy on the production line to decide whether the programming was successful or not and tell the test software correctly. These guys (respectfully) are not the sharpest tools in the shed and every single opportunity for misnterpretation leads to boards coming back from the customers as rejects.

We were just trying not to end up in the same boat with tthe Atmegas if we could.

/A

If we are not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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I still don't see why you can't automate it. Have the one program launch avrdude, wait for it to finish, and then query avrdude's exit code to determine if successfull. No human needs to be involved.

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I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.of A.

I have used Digi-Key since they first started. I have always had very quick response - even in the days of ordering by "Snail Mail".

I can place an order today, 05/05/2005, and I will have it on Monday, 05/09/2005. I have never had an issue with them, they give you what you ask and pay for and, I rarely ever have things back-ordered - I think twice in something like 20 years.

I get a new catalog every couple of months, and the prices are valid.

I have an account with them and all I have to do is go to their web-site, place the order and it's delivered. Of course, I do have to pay for what I order, but that is always painless.

Digi-Key is my first choice when ordering electronic components.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Equinox Technologies UK Ltd have a range of programmers for development through to high volume production.

I have no experience of their current range but used one of their products 5 or 6 years ago and that was well supported with software updates etc..

They are also supply a distributor for Atmel (I believe) so you could buy your AVRISP(s) from there.

Their website is www.equinox-tech.com

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I am in a similar situation and I wish to purchase a gang programmer compatible with the Atmegas128 chip (not ISP). Can anyone offer a suggestion or some advice?

Cheers.

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A solution I use with the ATMEGA162:

I use the KeyFob from Kanda at the production site. Very easy because you dont need a pc and for speeding up just have more than one keyfob.

With this keyfob I download the bootloader including testsoftware on the PCB.
This testsoftware shows via LEDs on the PCB if the PCB is found to be OK

After this the PCB can be assembled in its enclosure

When the product is completely assembled, a PC is needed to program the final software via the RS-232 (USB) port and serial number setup, calibration etcetera. This final software overwrites the testsoftware.

As bootloader I use PBoot, the AVR and PC sourcecodes for this bootloader are available

PS : I think the Keyfob is now called Miniprogrammer

Good luck

Patrick