Newbi questions

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#1
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Hi all,
Although I've done a couple hundered embedded projects using 8051, PIC, ARM, and Coldfire, I've decided to change to AVR to replace the PIC18's from now on. (ATmega640) The banked ram on the smaller PICs isn't much of a problem but by the time you start filling up a 64K-128K part it gets in the way. Mainly because it doesn't allow the use of a good RTOS.

So, after a lot of looking around I've settled on AVR Studio and AVR GCC. I have the option of getting anything such as IAR ($5K) but I suspect it just isn't worth it. Also, I tend to write a lot of projects that share common code and MAKE gives that flexibility.

I've notived that there are a few options when it comes to debuggers. The ATICE50 looks great but it's $3500. The ATJTAGICE MKII is $300 doesn't look too bad either.

Is the ICE50 worth the cost? I think it has a trace buffer where the JTAGICE does not. There are problems once in a while that are a lot easier to find with a trace buffer. Does it allow you to back step in the C source code?

1) What is the best choice for the ICE? I plan on only using the JTAG parts.
2) Is AVR GCC really ready for professional use? I don't have time to deal with a lot of compiler issues.
3) Has anyone here used the uC/OS in an AVR?

Thanks,
Ken

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Sounds like you are anything but a newbi :D However, I assure you that you've likely incited yet another compiler war. I suggest searching on the word 'versus' or some such and you'll see compilers discussed to death. I personally, as do a lot of other folks here, think that the AVR GCC is a great tool with no issues at all, especially for someone who already knows what a make file is. WinAVR provides a tool set for using it, and the new AVRStudio 4.12 incorporates it in the IDE (though I have yet to use that). Fact is, you can't go wrong with any compiler you get and the issues around them are more religious that substantial, and since I worship at the alter of FREE, I choose WinAVR.

It also sounds like you've got plenty of money to spend. I've been very happy with the STK-500 even for professional work and haven't actually needed an ICE yet, but your needs may be different.

Anyway, as a PIC refugee, you'll find AVRFreaks amazing in the amount of support you'll get from folks.

Good Luck,
Smiley

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I agree, avr-gcc(=WinAVR) + Studio is now a great combination and can be relied upon for the most professional of applications.

Personally I think the STK500 and a JTAG ICE mkII also are all you need in the way of hardware for a very nice development setup. (the mkII also has the advantage that if you "downsize" to Debugwire parts it works just as well for those too - an advantage over all other JTAG options)

When I started my current development Atmel gave me an ICE50 but, to be honest, apart from a short experiment to see what it does, I never bothered to use it and have done everything with the JTAG mkII

Cliff

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clawson wrote:
When I started my current development Atmel gave me an ICE50 but, to be honest, apart from a short experiment to see what it does, I never bothered to use it and have done everything with the JTAG mkII

Cliff

Say, I don't suppose you'd send me the ICE50 if I pay shipping, I can think of a good use for a $4k (USD) piece of equipment. Darn FAE only gave me a STK-500.

Smiley

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I've got an ICE50 one of my son's buddies gave me after his sr project. I've never even tried to turn it on. Am I lucky? Want to swap me something for it?

Imagecraft compiler user

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Quote:
I've got an ICE50 one of my son's buddies gave me after his sr project.

???? Does your son's friend's family own oil wells or something?? I can understand an ICE200 perhaps.....

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

https://www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Well, we have an ICE50 sitting here collecting dust too! We now have 4 JTAG-ICE-MkII and probably half a dozen or more JTAG-ICE units around here that get used to death! Our two STK-500's get used regularly, we have 2 AVR-ISP's that are in constant use and we produce a USB based STK500 compatible programmer that we use here as well, there must be five or six of those lurking around. We have an ATmega128 development board which is kinda like an STK500 on steroids (similar to an ETherNUT but with more peripherals and a bigger Altera CPLD for development use) and we have a smaller board for the mega8/48/88/168 family.

The ICE50 belongs to a client, but whenever we go to use the thing we find that we have to re-learn it all again and so we end up using the JTAG as usual! Our preferred software environment is AVR-GCC and we do use AVR-studio. We haven't tried the latest Studio with the integrated GCC yet. We have other compilers as well, but like the ICE50 they belong to clients or are used because they have specified a particular environment.

Today we started job file 2095, since we started contract design work with job #1 in 1984. Of those a quick search on our database indicates that only 4 have used the ICE50, 217 have used JTAG_ICE or JTAG-ICE mkII, 178 have used gcc exclusively, 39 have used AVR-Studio/AVR assembler exclusively. Out of a total of 328 jobs using some sort of AVR processor you can see that the low cost, or free tools, have won out. The rest are either projects where clients dictated tool choice or early projects where we used Keil or IAR tools before we saw the light and went GCC. Of those 328 jobs using AVR's 293 actually went into production at some stage, 174 are considered active, of those 174, 37 have been back through the mill once for an upgrade and 18 have been through the mill twice for updates (major hardware re-designs or processor changes).

The AVR's have been our most successful processor ever - and over the years we have used a lot. As an indication, we have stopped accepting any PIC based work unless it involves migrating it to something else (usually AVR's of course). My only regret is that I employ far too many people/contractors to do the work rather than being able to do it myself.

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bobgardner wrote:
I've got an ICE50 one of my son's buddies gave me after his sr project. I've never even tried to turn it on. Am I lucky? Want to swap me something for it?

How about an engraved picture of Ben Franklin?

Oh, and anybody who wants to sell me and ICE50 for $50 so that I can turn around and sell it on ebay for $1000 is highly encouraged to do so.

Smiley

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(off topic)

johnday wrote:
...a quick search on our database indicates...

Wow, nice database. Care to share the layout sometime?

johnday wrote:
... My only regret is that I employ far too many people/contractors to do the work rather than being able to do it myself.

I hear that comment way too often, most recently from a friend who built up a successful business doing fine (fine!) woodworking. Perhaps the next hire should be a newly graduated (and trustworthy) MBA with negotiating skills to do the drudge work. Got any neices or nephews in business school?

Successful rock stars don't hire people to do their guitar playing for them.

Mike
(hoping to have such problems one day)