Any Experiences with STK600?

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I have some general questions about people's experiences using the STK600. Most people here are familiar with STK500 and have possibly used STK500 daughterboards.

How does the STK600 compare? Is the routing board method a pain or does it work quite well when swapping between AVRs? Is it true that the STK600 only comes with a ATmega256 on a combined socket and routing card?

Are their any glitches between Studio and the STK600?

Any problems using the JTAGICE with the STK600 or it plug and play? It seems that you have choose the right programmer/debugger option in Studio to make it all work.

The STK600 looks like a very useful tool and pretty much the only game in town if you to work with any of the latest AVRs. I have a older "Rev A" JTAGICE which is incompatible. When I start to price out a suitable setup, it quickly adds up: $199 + $99 x 3 + $299 = $795. Obviously only I can answer the question about cost justification but it does seem a little high to me. Perhaps I should wait for another Atmel marketing tour in the US :)

I am most interested in the opinions and experiences of actual users. If I only get a few responses to this append then that also speaks volumes about the STK600.

--Mike

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I had my one (the first one outside Atmel I think) for about a month. To be honest, while the routing cards were a neat idea my overall feeling at the end of the day (admittedly I didn't pay!) was that it wasn't worth the money. I think the $80 you pay for an STK500 *is* a fair price, I think the $199+(N*$99) you pay for a 600 is simply over-priced. Sure it's a very slick looking piece of electronics but I think it's being priced WELL above cost. I mean how can a socket and a few pieces of PCB be worth $99 for each of the "routing card" packs? I'd also have said the board itself was worth more like $99 than $199 compared to other 8 and 32 bit eval/dev boards I've used.

So unless you are specifically targetting chips with no alternative (UC3 and Xmega) I don't see the point. Even for those the NGW1000 is probably a better way to get started with AVR32 and for Xmega the Xplain board seems like a better bet (if you can track one down - while it's on the Atmel site they specifically say they aren't going to sell them - only give them away - if you have an FAE maybe he could get you one?)

Cliff

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Well, the ZIF sockets are very, very expensive. Try to get one cheaper than $90...

What about the olimex third party development boards? Would they help maybe?

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Quote:

Well, the ZIF sockets are very, very expensive

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/40-Pin-DIP...(2.54mm)_W0QQitemZ290312360328QQcmdZViewItem

£3.99 is about €4.50 is about $6

(sure some of the other routing cards may have more expensive sockets but how do they justify $99 for the one that supports all the DIP packaged AVRs with a 40 pin DIP ZIF?)

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Ok, I've had mine for about a month..

I think it's a very nice system. One big plus is the massive I/O support. The programmable external clock generator is nice, programmable VCC and analog voltages.

The routing card system is a good solution to the problem they faced. One thing to watch, the fingers on the routing cards bend easily. Mine came with an M32, I don't know if that was stock, or someone did me a favour.

I've been working with it pretty much all day every day, and it seems dead solid.

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clawson wrote:
Quote:

Well, the ZIF sockets are very, very expensive

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/40-Pin-DIP...(2.54mm)_W0QQitemZ290312360328QQcmdZViewItem

£3.99 is about €4.50 is about $6

(sure some of the other routing cards may have more expensive sockets but how do they justify $99 for the one that supports all the DIP packaged AVRs with a 40 pin DIP ZIF?)

Nobody designs in parts sourced on ebay..
Try it in digikey. Textool brand, which is what is on my card, $13 or $20 depending on version.
I'm sure they get a bit better deal on the sockets, maybe pushing it down to $8.

The SMD ZIF sockets are even more pricey.
Plus you get to factor in the connectors for the routing boards.

I like my 600 just fine.

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Quote:

Nobody designs in parts sourced on ebay..


Really? Gosh I never knew that. Learn something new every day.

As someone who buys components in 1 million off quantity lets just say that I'm aware of that point - but the fact is that if I can buy something retail at $6 from whoever I know I'll be able to find someone at that price or less - you say $13..$20 - but in what quantity? - try 1,000,000 see what price you then get. Anyway, whether it's $6, $13 or $20 is irrelevant - there's still no way a $99 retail price for a few bits of plastic and copper can be justified.

If the STK500 (which had a lot of the features of the STK600) can retail at $79 I don't see why the STK600 with say one routing card thrown in couldn't be something like $149. I mean look what else $119..$149 buys me: http://beagleboard.org/ http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce... etc.

To get an STK600 version of the $79 STK500 I'd be paying $299. Is it really worth almost 4 times the price? I think I'd prefer to buy four STK500's

Cliff

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Cliff, I have to agree with you. It seems that Atmel have simply priced them all the same regardless of the content. Now the 100TQFP socket is really nice and really expensive in one off quantities.

So the conclusion is that only two people in the world have a STK600. Both like it but think it is probably overpriced, especially the person who got it free :)

Anyone else own one? Would it be more interesting if it was all half the cost? Even if the nice TQFP sockets were not provided and the chip was simply soldered in as it is with the mega2560 that comes with the STK600.

--Mike

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I have a STK600 via a distributor Workshop day. I would pay money for the XPLAIN board. The STK600 is very nice but I would not want to pay money for it.

I have also broken my STK600 by having an external power to a board. There are no schematics. The STK500 does have schematics. I have no intention of making the same mistake with a STK500 but am fairly confident from its published schematic that it would not suffer any serious damage.

David.

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I bought one (STK600 + ATSTK600-DIP) on internet at 111 euro (special offer check on google).
I think it's a good dev kit at this price.
Stefano

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Quote:

I think it's a good dev kit at this price.

Totally agree - at that price it's a real bargain. I think someone posted something about a week ago which suggested that Atmel was planning to reduce the price of some of their dev tools - sounds like it may have started. (Of course if you'd just paid $299 for all that you may not be that happy!)

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There is also a student price of 99.90€ on this site: http://www.eproo-student.de/inde... but only for full-time students of German Univerisities.

That is the second site in Germany where they have cheaper prices. Shipping from http://www.watterott.com/Atmel-S... to the USA is 55€ but only 10€ to the UK.

Why is it that the STK600 is cheaper in Germany? It shows that Atmel have some room on the pricing. Hopefully they will reflect these prices in USA and other countries as well.

--Mike

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Quote:

That is the second site in Germany where they have cheaper prices. Shipping from http://www.watterott.com/Atmel-S... to the USA is 55€ but only 10€ to the UK.

Mike,

We may be in a position to do each other a favour then! There's something I've been wanting to buy (a Wiznet WIZ200WEB) but it's $45 shipping (for a $29 board) to me in the UK but saelig.com have it much cheaper for delivery in the US.

Soooo.. if you want to take delivery of one of those for me and send it to the UK, I'll take delivery of that STK600 deal for you with €10 shipping to the UK and send it the other way.

PM me if interested.

Cliff

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Hi - I own STK600. It's pricey, but I/O options are awesome.
...but it's fairly easy to break. Like david.prentice I've broken myne because there is no schematics or proper docs and power lines are not protected on some fairly obvious pins. (Fairly obvious = easy to break by beginner).
In my case - I've connected JTAG debugger providing 5V to the board when MCU was set to 3.3V. As a result second stage of integrated power supply unit got toasted. It's high-efficiency step-down converter from TI (TPS62040) in tiny 10SON package - replacing it was a pain in the butt... It works now, but one should be VERY careful when attaching anything providing power to their STK600.

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mikeperks wrote:

Why is it that the STK600 is cheaper in Germany? It shows that Atmel have some room on the pricing. Hopefully they will reflect these prices in USA and other countries as well.

The price is a special offer from Atmel because they had some supply problems with the STK500 and the bundle is also limited to a small quantity.
After the STK600 bundle is sold out, the old price will be applied again.

Best regards,
Andreas