Seminar News

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Atmel presented a free seminar on its microcontroller lines in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. on June 19, 2002. I thought the members of this forum would be interested in AVR news.

Bard Pedersen, a marketing manager for Atmel, described the AVR line in glowing terms and claimed that AVR shipments went up 40% in the past year while the rest of the microcontroller market went down 40%. He also predicted that AVR, 2002 shipments are expected to increase 51% over 2001.

Two new parts were singled out – the mega169 and the tiny13. The mega169 will be a large mega aimed at low power applications that require limited LCD support. It will only run at 4 megahertz and at no more than 3.6 volts. The LCD hardware will drive 100 segments configured as a 4 by 25 array. The tiny13 will be an enhanced tiny12 with 4 channels of A/D and 64 bytes of ram. The mega169 is scheduled for “samples” in Q3/02 and “production” in Q4/02. The tiny13 will be “available” Q1/03. Apparently the recent shortage of tiny12s was due to printer manufacturers using too many in their ink cartridges ( Epson? ).

Vaporware, things that might come sometime next year, consisted of AVRs with CAN or USB on-chip. Someone asked if an Ethernet controller would ever be integrated with an AVR and was told that there are no plans for it.

The only other tidbit that is worth reporting is the claim that the mega parts will easily source and sink 40 milliamps as long as you don’t care about logic levels. It was even suggested that 60 milliamps is not unusual and that under good conditions, a mega AVR will source 100 milliamps with would really light up an LED.

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I went to a seminar last week. All who attended are supposed to get an STK500. Any idea when they are being sent out?

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is anybody going to the one in Hoffman Estates, IL on 6/21?

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I was at the one in Woburn (Woo-brn) MA yesterday. It was worth the trip, just. I learned a few things, but had a couple of comments for them.

I was hoping to see more on techniques for using the AVRs. It concentrated on the differences between the AVR and others, or rather, what AVRs do better than others. C-lang design, linear memory, things like that.

Most of that could be culled from marketing or quasi-technical brochures. I wanted more "If you're using I2C, here are a couple of neat tricks" and "Watch out for xyz when using the A/D section"

You had a choice of an STK500 or an ICE-200 as your kit. You also got to choose another kit from three - the STK594 FPSLiC addon module for the STK500 two 8051 kits, tcpip and CAN. I chose the STK594, so now I have no reason not to start seeing what can be done with an FPGA.

What was NOT worth it was the bloody drive back to CT last night from the Boston area. Traffic, more traffic, and understanding of the "MassHole" nickname I've heard applied as a sterotype. Every area has traffic and bad drivers, but that was just amazing.

OK, now I've probably P'd off a bunch of Mass people here ... But I'm certain all of them are like the normal people I saw getting furious at the jerks. There just seemed to be a higher preponderance of holes there than most areas :)

Dean.

Dean 94TT
"Life is just one damn thing after another" Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

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>I was hoping to see more on techniques for using the AVRs. It >concentrated on the differences between the AVR and others, or >rather, what AVRs do better than others. C-lang design, linear >memory, things like that.

>Most of that could be culled from marketing or quasi-technical >brochures. I wanted more "If you're using I2C, here are a couple of >neat tricks" and "Watch out for xyz when using the A/D section"

You have to remember it was actually a sales and marketing seminar despite them calling it a technical seminar. That's why they were trying to always compare AVR to the competition. They figure no one would come to a sales seminar. I did appreciate the seminar and learned some things but when they started talking about prices for quanities of 50,000 or more per year, I felt that maybe I wasn't supposed to be there but only those people in purchasing for big companies who purchase thousands of AVRs were the only ones who belonged there.

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I also attended the Balt seminar and it was worth the day off of real work .. learned a few things ... the last seminar ( what 2 years ago? ) kinda turned me off since on several side discussions I felt that the speakers were kinda BSing me ... so when I had some side discussions about problems with Studio 4 I was pleased with the honesty of the factory folks this time around ... tends to make the factory folks more believeable ... CB

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I too was at the Woburn, MA seminar. I found it to be interesting. It was a long day with getting up at 4am and driving a few hours from CT. By the end of the day I didn't want to hear any more - I only wanted a nap. That was unfortunate as I really wanted to hear about the ARM processors.

I did like the AVR info, including the C-coding tips. I bet some of that info would be useful for GCC hackers.

I found the Studio talk to be too long and boring. I don't fault them for showing off the software but 1.5 hours is too long for "see, I just assembled a file...this is me stepping through the code...this is the watch area..." I think they could have covered the topic in much less time.

The 8051 talk was interesting. I liked seeing the various devices. I would have rather seen the 'other' giveaways and sample projects (CAN, mp3 player, smartcard etc) be more avr-centric and less 8051-centric. I got the impression that most internal projects are 8051 based.

I liked the FPSLIC devices but the 50k pieces talk turned me off too. I'm a small company and deal in low-volume at this point. I was going to try to get the FPSLIC (FPGA) kit too but the recurring fees are just too darn expensive for my hobbyist needs. And with only a 4-month eval period, well the thing will expire before I even get serious about using it.

Why must hardware vendors charge so much for their development software? It sets high barriers to entry. You would think the more developers you have, the more hardware sales you'll make. Take a page from Microsoft's book (I am no MS supporter by any means) - develper tools are relatively cheap which drives applications and sales for their platform.

Overall, for a software guy like me, I found the day to be informative and worth it. I liked seeing the various uses and projects ATMEL had for their devices. If I hadn't gotten up so early though, I'm sure the experience would have been better for me. If you live far away, I recommend you get a hotel near the seminar - man was I beat yesterday.

Now I want my toys to show up. 8) Any idea how long they'll take to arrive?

-joe

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I got up at 9 PM the night before (tried to sleep until midnight but couldn't). Got a rental car at 1 AM and left for the seminar at 2:30 AM. Got there about 7:15 AM stayed for the entire seminar and then drove home and got home about 9:30 PM. Wasn't that tired until 11 PM but glad I went.

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According to the White-haired gentleman (can't remember his name) the kits are supposed to be sent out within 2 weeks. I guess they will wait until they are finished with the seminars before sending out the kits to all attendees. He did mention something about having the kits in stock already. I thought the overall presentation wasn't bad. The tech info was a little thin, but the presenters seemed to know what they were talking about. Bard did help me figure out why my ICE200 wasn't working under Studio 4. Too bad Atmel doesn't seem to be more open to supporting the GNU community. It would be nice to use the ICE200 with GDB on Linux.

Tom

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agreed. considering I don't have a Windows PC of my own to use for development. All my workstations & laptops are Linux-only. GCC works fine for me but I would like to see GDB using an ICE.

-joe

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Went to the seminar in Dallas. Drove 3 hours to get there. OJ was cool and I enjoyed the C programming tips, but I was disappointed that there was not more technical information. He seemed to talk down about GCC which was unfortunate, but it was targeted at large corporations, I suppose. The overview of the tiny line was informative, as I will be selecting several small chips for remote weather applications. I was too tired and bored to stay for the second half, but I came primarily for the AVR show.

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Looks like some people are interested in FPSLICs but don't
like the license policy for the software. Well, the only two things this software does what you can't do eazily yourself is
syntesize a HDL design and to combine the bitstream with the AVR .hex file. I do not have a good solution for the first problem, but I figured out how to solve he second. I am
working on this project for one year now, build my own evaluation board and was able to create and download a design, build from
a VHDL part for the FPGA and a small C program for the AVR.
If anybody is intersted in the evaluation board (eagle) and
the program which does the combination of the bitstream and
the .hex file, let me know. But again, the whole thing doesn't
make much sense until you find a solution to syntesize your
own FPGA designs. I have something in mind, but it might be a while from now until it will work. (gEDA/Icarus-Verilog...)
The thing becomes more and more intersting, since its price drops like a stone. At the moment it is $42.12 each at digi-key compared to $206.94 3 months ago!

Thomas

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Hi,

Is this true? Had Atmel a +40% increase last year in AVR sales?

Oh guys, if this is true I have no doubts that we are finally in front of the new real 8 bits standard for many years to come: AVR.

Semiconductor industry is now in big trouble; layoffs, closed factories, etc. If despite of this, Atmel has such performance, no doubt that must give a raise to its AVR guys: they have found GOLD!

Regards,

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