[HARD] Atmel Tools Overview

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Freaks,

This article gives a brief overview of the official Atmel tools available for AVR development. Please feel free to post your own notes, corrections or the usual discussion.


AVRISP

This is the basic programming device used to program the Flash, EEPROM, Fuse and Lockbytes of the majority of the AVR range.

It supports programming via the ISP protocol only (see my article here on the different programming methods). Available for many years, the AVRISP is considered the basic "bread and butter" official programming tool. It lacks features such as the parallel programming methods offered by some of the other tools, but is a simple and low cost entry level programming tool.

The AVRISP (now retroactively known as the AVRISP MKI) has been discontinued by Atmel, and is no longer being actively updated to support newer AVR devices.

Cheap third party clones of the AVRISP are available from such companies are ERE, usually with a USB bridging chip to modernize the design.

STATUS: Discontinued (available as third party clones)
PRICE: Approximatly US$30 for the clones

PROS:

    Still supported by AVRStudio Easy to use interface - device powered from target board
CONS:
    Discontinued - newer devices not supported Serial interface only


AVRISP MKII

The AVRISP MKII is the latest version of the AVRISP mentioned above. It contains a more sophisticated schematic allowing it to determine connection faults - such as shorts or a reversed connector - to the target AVR without damage (while providing a visual indication to the user).

The AVRISP MKII connects and is powered via the USB interface. With later firmware revisions, it can program via PDI and TPI protocols in addition to ISP.

STATUS: Available
PRICE: Approximately US$30

PROS:

    USB Interface Can detect connection errors without damage
CONS:
    No on-off switch - unplug to turn off


STK500

The STK500 is the end-all-to-be-all of AVR development - it is a virtual requirement of any self-respecting AVR developer. It will exist in conjunction with the new STK600 (previously codenamed "STK500X"), see later in this article.

At approximately US$80 each, the STK500 contains everything required for serious AVR development, with the exception of an on-chip debugger. It supports the ISP programming method as well as the High Voltage Serial/Parallel programming methods, making it suitable for programming the entire AVR line.

The STK500 contains several DIP sockets which are configured for the different AVR pinouts. For AVR devices using a pinout not supported by the STK500's range of sockets, either the programming lines may be brought out to custom (user-made) board, or an "top card" expansion card may be purchased and placed over the target sockets in the expansion headers.

In addition to its programming capabilities, the STK500 contains a bank of eight momentarily-on pushbuttons and eight amber colored LEDs. These may be connected to the currently socketed AVR via a group of pin headers, which also exposes the AVR's ports for possible external use.

A second serial level converter is available on board for convenience so that the target AVR can communicate with the host computer easily if so desired.

Finally, the STK500 contains an on board oscillator and crystal socket, so that AVRs which have had their fuses incorrectly configured may be resurrected. It is possible to repair any fuse bungling solely with the STK500 and a host computer.

STATUS: Discontinued
PRICE: Approximately US$80

PROS:

    Supports the entire AVR range (with adapters) On board oscillator for easy fuse-mishandling recovery
    Second serial channel for target project communications
    Supports ISP and High Voltage Serial/Parallel Programming methods
    On board pushbuttons and LEDs for experiments
CONS:
    Serial interface only


Dragon

The Dragon is a one of the latest development devices to roll off the production line. It is designed to act as a super-low-cost entry level tool. A combination of the STK500 and the JTAG MKII, the Dragon's low price makes it extremely appealing for all AVR developers.

The Dragon supports ISP programming in addition to High Voltage Serial/Parallel programming. It also supports JTAG, PDI and DebugWire (dW) on-chip debugging.

Unlike the STK500, the Dragon contains no target sockets, no LEDs or switches, and no included cables. This is party the reason it is so cheap - when purchased you will need to acquire or make your own leads to connect the Dragon's pin headers to your target AVR.

STATUS: Available
PRICE: Approximately US$50

PROS:

    Supports ISP and High Voltage Serial/Parallel Programming methods Supports on-chip debugging of targets
    Extremely cheap price/features ratio
    USB Interface
CONS:
    No included cables to connect the Dragon to your target AVR


JTAG

The JTAG is an on-chip debugging tool, allowing the interfacing of an AVR (executing a program) to a host computer. When debugging an application via JTAG, the currently executing code can be viewed, as can any aspect of the chip's state or memory contents. Programs can be run in real time and stopped at desired points, or the program can be stepped through an instruction at a time.

Atmel's JTAG requires the use of four IO pins of the target AVR, making it undesirable in some resource-constrained applications. In addition, this first generation JTAG has a very limited device support (only a small handful of devices).

The JTAG (now retroactively known as the JTAG MKI) has been discontinued by Atmel, and is no longer being actively updated to support newer AVR devices.

Cheap third party clones of the JTAG are available from such companies are ERE, usually with a USB bridging chip to modernize the design.

STATUS: Discontinued (available as third party clones)
PRICE: Approximately US$40 for the clones

PROS:

    Still supported by AVRStudio Can debug an AVR running a program in real time on real hardware
CONS:
    Discontinued - newer devices not supported Limited device support - see AVRStudio Tools manual
    Serial interface only


JTAG MKII

The JTAG MKII is the newer version of the JTAG debugging system from Atmel. It has a much larger device support, and contains support for both ISP programming - just like the Dragon, STK500 and AVRISP variants - and the DebugWire on-chip debugging protocol. Unlike the JTAG interface, DebugWire (dW) utilizes only the reset pin of the supported target AVRs for the debugging communication.

The JTAG MKII can be interfaced with a host computer via either USB or serial.

STATUS: Discontinued
PRICE: Approximately US$300

PROS:

    Supports JTAG, ISP and dW protocols Serial or USB connection to host computer
    Large device support
    Can debug an AVR running a program in real time on real hardware
CONS:
    Large price tag


STK600

The STK600 is the new high-end iteration of the STK programming and development board from Atmel, and is designed to be sold alongside the STK500. It allows for JTAG programming (only, no debugging) in addition to the STK500 features, and uses a USB connection.

AVRs are inserted into special top boards, which are then stacked onto routing cards in a sandwich configuration onto the board. This eliminates the need for many individual sockets like the ones used on the STK500.

STATUS: Available
PRICE: $200 plus routing cards

PROS:

    Supports JTAG programming in addition to the programming modes of the STK500 Supports all AVR models, including 32-bit AVRs and XMEGA AVRs
    "Sandwich" configuration allows for easy use with the entire AVR range
CONS:
    Expensive, when the routing boards are added into the mix


AVR ONE!

The AVR ONE! has a simple goal; to be the one debugger to rule them all. It supports every debugging interface ever made for the 8-bit and 32-bit AVRs, including dW, JTAG, Nexus and PDI. It's designed for serious commercial outfits and has a pricetag to match.

STATUS: Available
PRICE: A million, billion dollars (or possibly ~US$600)

PROS:

    Supports every debugging interface ever made for the AVRs, both 8 and 32 bit Will be supported into the far future
CONS:
    VERY Expensive, making it unattractive for hobbyists


JTAG ICE3

The Atmel JTAG ICE3 is a new debugger from Atmel, and is a smaller, faster version of the JTAG ICE-MKII. Sporting a smaller enclosure with a much less fragile ribbon cable, the ICE3 is a complete replacement for those wanting faster debugging and a smaller unit size. USB connection only, but will debug all AVRs with a dW, JTAG or PDI interface.

STATUS: Available
PRICE: $200

PROS:

    Supports JTAG, PDI and dW programming, as well as ISP and TPI programming Small form factor
No external power supply needed
CONS:
    AVRStudio 5 compatible only

- Dean :twisted:

Text (C) Dean Camera, 2007. Not for re-use without prior explicit permission.

Images (C) Atmel Corporation.

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 2, 2011 - 10:46 AM
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Quote:

AVRISP (mkI)

...

Discontinued - newer devices not supported


However, its architecture is sufficiently open-ended that manually adding support for new devices which use ISP techniques compatible with the current AVR lineup is fairly trivial, provided the programming software on your PC supports it. For example, anything supported by the STK500 under AVR Studio can be blindly assumed to work correctly under the AVRISP mkI because they run the same firmware.

In addition, it's fairly certain that any device supported by the AVRISP mkII will work with the AVRISP mkI, because the share an identical open-ended communication protocol in which all part-specific data is communicated as part of the command packets, with the exception of the extensions added to support the short circuit protection in the mkII, and the fact that the protocol is encapsulated in USB packets for the mkII and is raw RS232 serial frames for the mkI.

The same could be said of any AVRISP mkI clones.

It's not the same situation with the original JTAGICE compared with the JTAGICE mkII, because functional differences have been introduced and there is no subset of a compatible communication protocol.

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Nice job! Does STK1000 count?

There are pointy haired bald people.
Time flies when you have a bad prescaler selected.

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I see the STK500 status is listed as 'End of Line'.
Does anyone know when the replacement board will arrive and what features it will include?

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The only reference I've seen for the STK600 was from issue two at http://www.avrtv.com which did not disclose anything about availability. I've be interested if anyone else knows of any published references to the STK600.

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Updated to reflect the current STK600 information, and to add the AVRONE!.

- Dean :twisted:

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

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I found this quote interesting:

"The Dragon supports ISP programming in addition to High Voltage Serial/Parallel programming. It also supports JTAG and DebugWire (dW) on-chip debugging, however this is limited to devices with less than or equal to 32KB of flash memory unless AVRStudio 4.18 or later is used. Only the on-chip debugging is affected by this limitation. "

Does this mean that AVRStudio 4.18+ *will* support flash greater than 32K with the Dragon? What are the new limitations?

Sorry to resurrect an old thread ;-)

Mike

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Quote:

Does this mean that AVRStudio 4.18+ *will* support flash greater than 32K with the Dragon? What are the new limitations?

There are no limitations on the Dragon when used with the new AVRStudio 4.18 versions at all.

- Dean :twisted:

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

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Quote:

There are no limitations on the Dragon when used with the new AVRStudio 4.18 versions at all.

The restriction was lifted over two years ago.

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Dean,
Atmel has leaked info on the new jtag mkIII.
If you download the new avr studio 5 beta you can read all about it in the help section under tools.

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Quote:

Dean,
Atmel has leaked info on the new jtag mkIII.
If you download the new avr studio 5 beta you can read all about it in the help section under tools.

Yup, they're on sale and I've been using one for about three weeks now. I'll update this as soon.

- Dean :twisted:

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

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abcminiuser wrote:
Quote:

Dean,
Atmel has leaked info on the new jtag mkIII.
If you download the new avr studio 5 beta you can read all about it in the help section under tools.

Yup, they're on sale and I've been using one for about three weeks now. I'll update this as soon.

- Dean :twisted:


Wow I didn't know they were available, none of the usual sources (digikey, mouser, arrow) had them on their websites last time I looked. How do you like it?
Does it use yet another weird special hard to find connector on the box to connect the device cable to?

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See the thread on it here: https://www.avrfreaks.net/index.p...

Short answer: I prefer it to my AVR ONE! due to it's small size and comparable speed - the only advantage the AVR ONE! has over it is tracing support (which I haven't used) and possibly LiveDebug, but I can't confirm that just now. The JTAG-MK3 is a heck of a lot smaller and lighter, and doesn't need an external power supply.

The connector's still not quite ideal, as it's a half-pitch IDC ribbon, although that's still probably easier to source than the plastic ribbon of the MKII and cheaper than the probe of the AVR ONE!.

- Dean :twisted:

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

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I checked again and the new jtag isn't to be found on Atmel's site or on Mouser or Digikey. I'm guessing you have a very good friend inside Atmel and your unit is beta
(which is good news since it means they might have got the bugs worked out early).

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Mine's very clearly marked ATMEL INTERNAL which is why I wasn't able to talk about it before now, but it's been released on the Atmel site:

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

- Dean :twisted:

Make Atmel Studio better with my free extensions. Open source and feedback welcome!

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Thanks for the link, I think it might be one of those hidden URLs you can't find from Atmel's home page, I couldn't find it with Google either.

I assume you have to use AS5 with this.

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Quote:

Thanks for the link, I think it might be one of those hidden URLs you can't find from Atmel's home page, I couldn't find it with Google either.

I found it a couple of days ago, like this: Go to www.atmel.com, Products, AVR, MegaAVR. Then pick the Tools tab, and pick eg AVRJYAGICE mk II. Now click the "Buy tool" button and you're in the Atmel web shop, and when you're there the mk III can be found under "Debuggers".

It does not surprise me that Atmel hasn't updated the website to reflect the existence of this thing. :roll: (I guess the content manager takes a few weeks to wrestle down to get this done, and since the pages aren't plain HTML no-one can simply edit the web-page with their preferred editor...)

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

"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] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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They need to add links to the top pages of the atmel store page and to the tools section for devices other than the xmegas. As you said editing web pages isn't simple (though I do remember that many years ago Netscape had a product call the composer that made creating and editing HTML pages rather easy. I created my first website using that).

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I was nagging at the new web design with the opposite "speculation*" - i.e. that editing plain old HTML is really simple, but Atmels new website content manager is so complicated that it can only be used for marketing and changes to the tech pages are hard-to-imposible. Of-course I do not know that for a fact. I do not even think it is actually so. I was only being cynical and, as I said, nagging over the new website.

But who knows - I might be correct... :wink:

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

"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] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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JohanEkdahl wrote:
I was nagging at the new web design with the opposite "speculation*" - i.e. that editing plain old HTML is really simple, but Atmels new website content manager is so complicated that it can only be used for marketing and changes to the tech pages are hard-to-imposible. Of-course I do not know that for a fact. I do not even think it is actually so. I was only being cynical and, as I said, nagging over the new website.

But who knows - I might be correct... :wink:


I bet they hire trolls to update their website.

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A bit OT: Anyone know how to get Atmel to fix my AVRONE!? They keep wanting screen shots etc. It is broken. Even the power connector is intermittant. They will not give me an RMA.

I use:
AS6 (under duress)
WinAvr 20100110
Windows 10
STK 600
AVR ONE!(broken and Atmel won't fix)
JTAGICE3 (only works with AS6)
AVRISP II
So far - '88 '2560
Sometimes my own RTOS