The Most Epic Brain-Fart Of 2014 !!!

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A week or so ago, Plons and I had an exchange about clone Arduino boards and the difficulties we had experienced.

 

https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/arduino-nano-ch340-serial-usb

 

Based on that discussion, I ordered a some knock-off Chinese made clone of the Arduino Nano.

 

 

The board seemed to work with the Arduno IDE.  But the problems is that, I don't use 16.000MHz crystals because I'm a speed-demon and opt for 18.432MHz crystals and want the best reliability possible when communicating at the highest BAUD Rate possible.  I have had reliability issues with a critical industrial project at 115.2K BAUD, when using a 16.000MHz crystal.  Also, as I do not use the Arduino IDE and so, the first thing I usually do is disable the boot loader and change the BAUD to 115.2K.  But for the heck of it, I did not change out the 16.000MHz crystal.  Needless to say, it all went down-hill from there... No matter what I did, I could not communicate with TerraTerm - at any BAUD rate.  In the end, I ended up bricking the ATMega328P-AU. on that spiffy new Adrino Nano!

 

So I thought... (what a mistake - thinking, that is!)  Silly me!!!

 

I knew I had some ATMega328P controllers but they are the 9mm x 9mm foot-print and not the 7mm x 7mm variety.  I did, however, have some ATMega128V controllers in 7mm x 7mm foot-print.  And so I cut out the bricked controller, cleaned up the pads and soldered in the ATMega128V.. easy enough to do.  The problem is, AVRStudio seems to no longer support the ATMega128V controller and, no matter which controller I selected in this family, I got a controller type check-sum error.  Needless to say, there are some 18.432MHz crystals and some ATMega328P-AU controllers on order.

 

Well, When I ordered the Adrino Nano, I also ordered an Adafruit Arduino Nano Pro.  This version sports the ATMega328P in the 28-pin DIP.  I soldered up the headers and socket right quick and, while the Nano Pro also worked with the Arduino IDE, it was all about pain and anguish, when moving to 115.2K BAUD and using the original 16.000MHz crystal.

 

So I spent most of my day carefully trying different things.  After all, I did not want that sinking feeling again  You know, that feeling you get when you brick a controller?  I literally tried every recommended BAUD constant that was recommended in the data sheet - I tested EVEARY BAUD rate in the datasheet and, at every BAUD rate listed, I got the same gibberish made up of a mix of Japanese and Western characters.

 

I studied the fuses and all seemed what it should be.  In particular, the 8MHz external oscillator was selected and... the internal CLK/8 was NOT selected.

 

I compared the fuse bits between the Nano Pro and two Duemilanove's until my eyes became blurred.  Everything was seemingly set up exactly the same.

 

Oh!  Wait a minute...  The same gibberish - at every BAUD rate???

 

Warning!

Red flag!

STOP! STOP!! STOP!!!

 

Well, hours of hair pulling and making BAUD rate changes it the 'C' source code, I realized I wasn't seeing any changes in USART behavior or the gibberish across different BAUD rates.

 

OMG!!!  I spent hours attempting to fix a problem that didn't really exist - except for yours truly!  Come to find out... I was using a HEX file from the wrong frigging directory!  Damn!  I know better!!!

 

You talk about a major "Brain Fart!This is the most EPIC Brain-Fart of 2014 !!!

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

Last Edited: Tue. Dec 23, 2014 - 07:58 PM
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It happens.....

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

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

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

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

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Long ago I once spent about four hours of company time debugging an 8051 prototype only to discover that it was one bit in one silly little configuration register that was clear instead of set.

 

Recently l moved code from a Mega328 to a Tiny1634.  The code worked fine when I loaded it into the Tn1634 through the ISP.  But press the reset button and garbage.  After an embarrassingly long time I realized that I was reserving a low register to always have the value 0x00 (called ZeroReg) but had forgot to initialize that register to 0x00 in the reset code section.  I wasn't using ZeroReg in the old mega328 version of the code.

 

This stuff happens.   It happens less with years of experience.   Whenever I apply for jobs now (that I'll never get) I always mention that I've already made all the dumb mistakes on some other company's dime.

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Simonetta wrote:

This stuff happens.   It happens less with years of experience.

Ya, but with 30 something years experience t this?  I must be getting old, senile, or something...

 

Simonetta wrote:
Whenever I apply for jobs now (that I'll never get) I always mention that I've already made all the dumb mistakes on some other company's dime.

I hope you eventually find that dream job.  My dream job is working on the bench, down at the component level.  My wife, for a long time, was jealous because, it was all too obvious that Electronics was my first love.

 

At least my brain-fart was on my dime and so, I can have fun with it without losing credibility with my employer...  Though, it really doesn't embarrass me too much in and among the AVRFreak community, if it helps someone else.

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

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more than once my wife has asked me what I did today and I had to answer I changed a 1 to a 0.

(actually a 10110011 to a 10110010 ) or the like....

 

thats all?

Yep

Well I ate lunch too....

Keith Vasilakes

Firmware engineer

Minnesota

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Thanks for sharing, at least I know I'm not alone......   just spent far too many minutes trying to figure out why my mega would not flash, only to finally figure out the 6pin cable was not hooked up!   palm to forehead slap!

 

 

JC

 

 

Click Link: Get Free Stock: Retire early! PM for strategy

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14.7456MHz crystal is UART friendly

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stevech wrote:

14.7456MHz crystal is UART friendly

18.432MHz is also USART friendly and, is what I typically use.

 

After my little Brain-Fart boondoggle, I'm thinking that the fact that 16.000MHz crystals are used with most of these popular hobby boards, rather then USART friendly crystal frequencies.  It could well be why we get so many requests for USART help.

 

At least with ImageCraft's ICCARV complier, n = (Fosc / (16 * BAUD)) -1 truncated the results, rather than round up or down.  As such, when converting the mixed number result to INT, 7 is used rather than 8.  When using a 16.000MHz (0r 4MHZ or 8MHz, etc...) crystal and say, 115.2K BAUD rate - An 8% error is generated when using the n = (Fosc / (16 * BAUD)) -1, rather than the expected 3.5% error as when the recommended value of 8 is actually been used for the BAUD constant.

 

I think I'd rather have error free communications and work a little harder at deriving timer values.  Because, really, isn't 16MHZ (or 1MHz, 2MHz, 4MHz, and 8MHz) the "Magic" frequency for timers and the primary reason all of these hobby boards use 16.000MHZ, rather than a USART friendly crystal, is that it makes timer calculations easier?  Being a few Nano seconds off is far less important to me, than losing communications or getting a glitch in a data packet and the whole system takes a dump.

 

What would be the best of both worlds would be, Atmel coming out with a controller that had one external crystal setup for primary controller operation and a second external crystal setup, dedicated to the USART.

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

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microcarl wrote:
I was using a HEX file from the wrong frigging directory!

Been there; done that.

Top Tips:

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  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
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You,ve cheered me up with this post, because as a Noobie if you guys make these mistakes then there's hope for me yet.

 

An all to common mistake i make is not to re-load a re-worked Hex into the flash tab, and hence spend valuable time debugging a none existent error when in fact its me who needs the debug !

 

Essef cool

Just like the Thunderbirds, Printf needs "Strings" yes

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just spent far too many minutes trying to figure out why my mega would not flash,

HEY! Please keep this "CLEAN!"

 

You,ve cheered me up with this post, because as a Noobie if you guys make these mistakes then there's hope for me yet.

Oh hell, search the forums, we have a couple of threads regarding our blunders, boo-boo's, and head slappers.

 

while(1)
{
    No one is perfect
    
}

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

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

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

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

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jgmdesign wrote:

just spent far too many minutes trying to figure out why my mega would not flash,

HEY! Please keep this "CLEAN!"

 

You,ve cheered me up with this post, because as a Noobie if you guys make these mistakes then there's hope for me yet.

Oh hell, search the forums, we have a couple of threads regarding our blunders, boo-boo's, and head slappers.

 

while(1)
{
    No one is perfect
    
}

 

Jim

Ya!  Newbie's should seek out the thread on why I am called the original "Dragon Slayer!"

 

Or how I chose to deliberately crank up the incoming voltage on an STK500, just to see what it would endure, before it let the smoke out. 

 

The first screw-up was lack of attention.

 

And while the second event wasn't really a screw-up, I had about 7 STK500s at the time and thought it would be an interesting experiment.  Oddly, I still have and use that same STK500 on the bench and continue to use it, even with a blown Transorb.

 

A really stupid thing I did, back in the 1970s was costly.

 

I had just purchased a Tripp-lite 500 watt inverter, costing about $600.00, at the time.  It so happened that I put the inverter on a chair.  Also, I was making a PCB for some project or other and, thinking nothing of it, used an Aluminum pie pan - stupidity #1.  Well, stupidity #2 was... I placed the Aluminum pie pan on top of the inverter and quickly ran off to do something else. When I got back to the business of the PCB, my heart sunk below ground level because, the etchant had eaten thru the Aluminum pie pan, running down into the inverter thru the perforated cooling plate that was meant for cooling.  The result was, the etchant ate away most of the copper connections inside of the inverter.  That was a very hard lesson learned.

 

So, you'd think that, at sixty two years old, I'd have learned enough to not make such stupid mistakes - NOT SO!!!

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

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Well, add me to this BF class of 2014.  I succeeded in bricking not one, but two, Gravitech Arduino Nano V3.0 boards just the other day.frown It wouldn't be so bad if these were the less expensive Chinese Arduino Nano clones.

 

Luckily most of the pins required for HV parallel programming are brought out except for XTAL1.  Common guys, anyone that does not provide a means for accessing and isolating this pin has never bricked a chip before.  I need to carefully unsolder the pin and connect a piece of nylese wire to it so that I can provide the last missing connection.  What a drag.  It wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that my eyesight isn't quite what it used to be.

 

Anybody want to R & R the chips for me?

 

The HV parallel programming is being facilitated by connecting the Arduino Nano to an Arduino Mega using the circuit of the HV Rescue Shield 2 and the sketch that accompanies it.   The HV Rescue shield 2 Kits can be purchased at mightyohm.com for $19.95.  This is the second time that I have used this circuit with the 12V circuit on a separate breadboard.  I am going to order one now so that I don't have to go through the hassle again.     

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

Last Edited: Sun. Dec 28, 2014 - 09:01 AM
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You don't need to lift the XTAL1 pin.    You can just connect an external clock directly to the existing pcb.

 

The only way to seriously brick a mega328 is by RSTDISBL.    And quite honestly,  no-one in their right mind would set RSTDISBL intentionally.

 

If you have gone through all the palaver of HVPP,   did you read the fuses as first step in the post-mortem?

 

Yes,   I have 'bricked' chips with inappropriate clock fuses but that was in the days of bit-banged LPT programmers.     And since the mega32 has no RSTDISBL,   an external clock recovered it via regular SPI.

 

Regarding wrong wiring,  careless handling of chemicals,   wrong filenames,  ... I have done all of them.

 

I seem to remember pouring acetone from a glass bottle to a convenient plastic pill container.    It dissolved completely!!

 

David.

Last Edited: Sun. Dec 28, 2014 - 12:20 PM
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PCB Etchant + aluminium foil + time = mushroom cloud. Not a good spot to gaze down upon

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Finally got time to do the recovery, all is well now.laugh

 

David, it is hard to do any SPI when all the fuses are set to FF.  I tried every programmer that I have and the chip was unreadable, period.  You were right about not having to lift the XATL1 pin, I just held the HV Rescue Shields XTAL1 signal lead on it and it worked just fine.

 

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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david.prentice wrote:

no-one in their right mind would set RSTDISBL intentionally.

David,

I have done it many times when I needed an extra pin on a Tiny85. Maybe you should call the guys in the white coats for me... laugh

 

Cheers,

 

Ross

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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@valusoft,

 

I bet that you thought first,   before using the RESET pin for GPIO.

The Tiny85 uses HVSP and not HVPP.    Providing your pcb can accept 12V on the RESET pin,   you can program in-circuit almost as easily as SPI.

 

@larryc,

 

If LFUSE was 0xFF on any AVR that I can think of,   an external clock on XTAL1 will get you out of the problem.  i.e. with SPI

RSTDISBL is normally on the HFUSE.

 

David.

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Me? Think first? Why would I want to do anything sensible like that? cheeky

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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david.prentice wrote:
If LFUSE was 0xFF on any AVR that I can think of,   an external clock on XTAL1 will get you out of the problem.  i.e. with SPI

RSTDISBL is normally on the HFUSE.

SPIEN is also on the HFUSE.  It will not do SPI with SPIEN not programmed, external clock or not.  I know what got it into that state, so I tried it again on a well used/abused Nano.  Same story all over again.

 

No biggie, they all work now.yes

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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You can set RSTDISBL with SPI.    You can not clear SPIEN with SPI.

 

I would be interested to hear how you managed to b*gger SPIEN.    (your post did say LFUSE)

 

David.

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david.prentice wrote:
(your post did say LFUSE)

Oh really?  I think I said "all the fuses are set to FF".  That's ok, I need new glasses too.

How I got it there was a mix of using the Arduino ISP to write the bootloader with a homemade LUFA based AVRISP-MKII with some magic voltages mixed in just at the right time. blush

 

I'm pretty sure that these Nanos are only good for bench testing duties now.

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

Last Edited: Mon. Dec 29, 2014 - 09:21 AM
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Oops.   Sure enough,   your post does say 'all' fuses.

 

I am sceptical.   How could you have cleared SPIEN with SPI?

 

It is far more likely that your programmer software was reporting the fuses as 0xFF when they were genuinely valid.

After all,   how could you read the fuse if SPIEN was cleared?

 

Most Bootloaders do not support fuse reading.

Mind you,   you can always read them from an application.

 

Or if you attach all 21 HVPP lines to the ATmega328P on the Nano and read via HVPP.

 

David.

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david.prentice wrote:
Or if you attach all 21 HVPP lines to the ATmega328P on the Nano and read via HVPP.

That's the ticket!  I never said I read the fuses with SPI.

 

That was the post-mortem fuse read with the HV Rescue Shield 2 circuit.  It was the same for both of the Nanos.  As soon as I reprogrammed the fuses they read back correctly, so I am taking the FF values as being real.  Pretty obvious that it needed HV Programming to recover as no other method was working to revive them.

 

I'm sure it was the interaction with the other attached circuitry that caused this anomaly.  blush  I am amazed that the smoke stayed inside the chips.

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

Last Edited: Mon. Dec 29, 2014 - 09:57 AM
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Ah-ha.   It should be relatively easy to connect all the 21 signals from the "HV Rescue Shield 2" to the Nano.    Apart from XTAL1,   everything is available on the module pins.

 

As I understand,   the Nano has got a USB-UART bridge and consequently operates seamlessly with its bootloader.

The Pro-Mini has no bridge.    So you need an external serial adapter.    Hence it is probably easier to scrap the bootlader and use ISP.

 

With the Nano bootloader,   I can't see how you can make anything go wrong.    Or why you would ever use ISP.

With the Pro-Mini ICSP,    you can attach all sorts of inappropriate electronics to the SPI.

 

David.

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valusoft wrote:

Me? Think first? Why would I want to do anything sensible like that? cheeky

 

It's kind of like reading assembly instructions -  before actually spreading dozens of parts across the living room floor and putting that something together, only to find out, as you hold last piece of the assembly in your hand, you've put everything together in the wrong order and now need to disassemble everything to put that final piece in it's correct place.  It's the real "School Of Hard Knocks!" or men's pride...

 

The wife seems to think I've gotten better about reading the assembly instructions - before - I attempt the actual assembly task.  Have I got her hoodwinked!

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

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david.prentice wrote:

.

.

.

With the Nano bootloader,   I can't see how you can make anything go wrong.    Or why you would ever use ISP.

.

.

.

 

Because...some of us don't use the Arduino IDE and so, it's ISP.

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

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microcarl wrote:
Because...some of us don't use the Arduino IDE and so, it's ISP.
Why would using the bootloader require you to use the Arduino IDE?

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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I don't follow.    I don't use the Arduino IDE as a general rule.

 

But I still upload via the bootloader.    e.g. Codevision, Crossworks,  Bascom,   avrdude,   ...

I bet that Imagecraft supports the bootloader too.

 

Yes,   I would connect via the 6-pin ISP header if I am using debugWIRE or if I need the extra 512 bytes.

 

As I said earlier,   ISP is more convenient with a Pro-Mini.

 

David.

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joeymorin wrote:
Why would using the bootloader require you to use the Arduino IDE?

It doesn't, and normally I do use the Arduino bootloader.  However when burning a bootloader what other choices do you have other than SPI, and on that very rare occasion when things go awry, HV parallel?

 

I would like to get my Atmel-ICE integrated into the Arduino IDE though.  I'll start a new thread for that.

 

EDIT: on second thought I won't.  That would require an add on to the Arduino IDE and avrdude having support for the Atmel-ICE.  Anybody know if that's in the works?

 

EDIT2: I started a new thread.

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

Last Edited: Mon. Dec 29, 2014 - 06:09 PM
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It looks as if the current avrdude supports atmel-ice.     So you can just add it to "programmers.txt"

 

That should be all that you need to do.    However there may be some timing considerations for the Arduino IDE.    I seem to remember that adding the Dragon had difficulties with sending the "flash:w" and the "lock:w" commands.    The Dragon was reset between commands (from memory)

 

Try it for yourself.

I can try the Dragon with 1.0.5 on my Desktop and 1.0.6 on my Laptop.

 

David.

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larryvc wrote:
joeymorin wrote:

Why would using the bootloader require you to use the Arduino IDE?

It doesn't,

I know that.  I was asking Carl ;)

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

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I don't use the Arduino boot loader!  I was simply making the point that I do use the ISP header on the Arduino boards.  I use the ImageCraft ICCAVR compiler, and AS6 with an ATAVRISP MKII. 

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

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Does the brand-new ImageCraft support the Arduino ?

 

I really can't see the point of using AS6 with a programmer.

I fully understand using AS6 with a debugger.  e.g. ATMEL-ICE, Dragon, ...

 

David.

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david.prentice wrote:

Does the brand-new ImageCraft support the Arduino ?

I am using ICCAVR V7.xx.  I can't justify another round of cash for V8.xx

 

david.prentice wrote:

I really can't see the point of using AS6 with a programmer.

I fully understand using AS6 with a debugger.  e.g. ATMEL-ICE, Dragon, ...

 

David.

Well, when I moved over to the AVR from the MC68HC11, I was already using ImageCraft ICC11.  12 years ago or so, as the Atmel ASx was free, it was my first choice.  I do, however like the ISP programming environment of AS6 and my trust level of it is pretty high.  But I guess that is because, like a chicken whose had it's legs tied for all of these years, I haven' yet realized that I'm free to move about.

 

I do have to agree, though, AS6 is a bloated boat and I have been seriously seeing if I can use AVRDude thru the ICCAVR IDE.  Heck, I would be extremely happy if Atmel would release a stripped down version of AR6 that only incorporated the ISP part of AS6, getting rid of all of the unnecessary bloat.

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

Last Edited: Mon. Dec 29, 2014 - 07:19 PM
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joeymorin wrote:
I know that.  I was asking Carl ;)

I knew that.  I was just responding to all of you.cheeky

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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ICC needs C++ capability