AVR Studio crashes

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We are having problems with AVR Studio. It quite often crashes when loading av cof-file. Deleting the .avd file as suggested in the Atmel FAQ does not work. The problem seems to be connected to a specific cof-file, other projects work fine. Sometimes small changes in the program files fix the problem, but not always.

Suggestions, anyone?

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Yeah, my suggestion is to avoid AVR Studio! I've had nothing but problems with it, including the newest version 3.22. There are many major "known problems", documented by Atmel, that have been on the list for well over a year (like it printing in an unusable font).

AVR studio crashes quite often on me as well--especially if anything corrupts communications with the ICE. Like you, I've had problems with certain file configurations causing it to blow up as well. In some cases, these were only solved by uninstalling it, deleting all the files, and starting a new project. It's also extremely annoying in the way it handles multiple source files when debugging and in countless other areas.

In fact, I'm sorry to say, unless you're a hobbyist with lots of time on your hands, and a non-critical application, I'd considering not only avoiding AVR Studio, but AVRs as well. I know that no MCU family is perfect, but Atmel has a long way to go before the AVR line is as mature, well supported, well documented and bug free as most of the competition. The 8535 has been out for 3 or 4 years now and the latest documentation (from last fall) is still marked Preliminary!

There are many well documented problems with AVR parts and tools (like the EEPROM corruption) that never seem to get fixed year after year. Atmel seems far more concerned about pushing their new FPGA devices and other new parts than fixing the long list of problems with the existing ones.

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What is a cof-file?

I have been using AVR Studio with ICE200 for a year now, and both my OS (windows98) and my documentation tool (word and excel) crashes more often.

I use the IAR compiler to generate code. The debug file read by Studio is a d90 file. Is that a cof-file?

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I like Mr. or Mrs. EmbeddedDesign person's answer. Basically, AVR Studio just SUCKS! I find it somewhat incredulous that such a piece of garbage could make it to Rev. 3.22 and still be such a piece of garbage. I love the AVR chips, and am not going to give up on them just yet, but basically Atmel has their head up their ass when it comes to software (like that little toy assembler they offer, for example). I know, I am not being helpful, and am basically just pissin' and moanin', but I am hoping Atmel might one day catch on.

This is just a trivial example of the many, many flaws in AVR Studio, but it is an example that I find downright amusing. I use the ICE200, which you may know, does not have a trace buffer. At one point, I did an "eval" of the ICEPRO, which does have a trace buffer. Do a trace for a few seconds, and of course you have thousands upon thousands of lines of trace data. AVR Studio seems to have the attitude "hey, i let you collect it; what, now you want to look at it too?" Good luck, and I hope you have some spare time on your hands -- the trace window does not even come equipped with simple scroll bars, something the most novice Visual Basic programmer could do. That leaves you with page/line up/down, through thousands of lines of data. Is that not f**king absurd? And Atmel wan'ts me to spend many-multi-hundreds of dollars (I don't remember exactly; I think it was about 1800 USD) on the ICEPRO when they can't even give me a decent interface to use it?

And any Atmel marketing person will rave about their AVR Studio, their ultimate integrated toolkit. What a joke! I hope someone with authority from Atmel reads this. You are making your marketing people look stupid, and digging yourself a hole you might not be able to climb out of.

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The past post tells what I really wanted to say! Atmel really has done a very poor job with their tools. Those of you who think differently are either really tolerant, haven't yet been exposed to better options or haven't done anything very complex yet.

I too hope someone from Atmel reads these comments and actually does something about them. But frankly, I doubt it. In my posts to the e-groups mailing list, someone who claimed to be from Atmel did briefly jump in a try to discredit me as some anonymous person working for Microchip but when I and others asked him to actually address the concerns that were raised, he never posted again.

Atmel has very few people involved with the AVR family in the US. And, it seems that most of the folks in Norway just ignore us over here. E-mails to avr@atmel.com can take a week or more to be answered (and I've had several go unanswered). The support is really weak all the way around. Perhaps they do better in Europe, I don't know.

The one time I did manage to talk to an FAE and brought up some of the more serious AVR Studio problems I was having, he said something like, "I haven't used it enough to comment on any of those problems, have you tried e-mailing avr@atmel.com"? I then explained that I had e-mailed many times, and tended to get canned responses like "try re-installing AVR studio, or uprgrade to the latest version" (when my original e-mail clearly stated I was already running the latest version). He said he'd look into it and I never heard from him again.

I think it's safe to say the AVRs are some of the most poorly supported microcontrollers on the market. Between the vapor parts, unfixed bugs in the chips, lousy tools and weak documentation, it's obvious Atmel is just trying to milk the market for their otherwise desirable parts. I really think it's going to catch up with them.

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This posting should not be read as the absolute truth.

What we now wan't to is a reply from Atmel like
"OK our dear customers, you are right! We have had too little people at the AVR team and haven't been able to give very much support or fix everything that needs to be fixed. We will imidiately put more resources to the AVR and make efforts to fix all bugs in the chips, make heavy development to the AVR studio and more people to the support."

Atmel have been afraid to spend needed money to take the market. I think that most of the AVR microcontrollers have started as a custom product. Maybe they don't do any development if they don't get paid in advance. For example: as no big customer has ordered chips with USB or CAN controller there is still no part with that periferial. Have you noticed that the ATtiny22 is removed? It was much a bug fix of the 2323 i think. And there are other parts that never reach the market.

I wonder if there is some collaboration problems at Atmel between Norway and the US. Maybe Atmel don't like to spend lots of money outside US and the Norwegian will of course keep as much as possible. Atmel has 60 people working in Trondheim, Norway, everyone included, not only development team. What do you think they work with? WAP. Ericsson among others is the customer. By the way, do you think Ericsson, Nokia or Motorola is using AVR Studio? Neither do I, so no suprise Atmel nou put any effort in develping it.

About support, I haven't asked Atmel directly for support for two years but when I did, I got an rapid responce. I did it to avr@atmel.com.

/Bengt Ragnemalm

My favorites:
1. My oscilloscope, Yokogawa DLM2024.
2. My soldering iron, Weller WD2M, WMRP+WMRT.
3. JTAGICE3 debugger.

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Hello Embedded,

I'm one of the guys in Norway (one of the guys receiving the mail at avr@atmel.com), and I'm really intent on helping people. I'm sorry to hear that you've had bad experiences with our devices, tools, and software, but I think these postings really aren't very constructive.

I'd be happy to receive your feedback as it seems you've used a lot of our products. Such experience is highly appreciated. I'll send you my personal e-mail address and can assure you that all your requests will get my utmost attention. If you wish to make your experiences publicly available, which I'd understand, you could perhaps post a separate thread on this particular subject?

I'm looking forwar to hearing more from you by e-mail.

Best regards,

Morten, AVR tech. support, Atmel FAE

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Hello Morten,

I'm afraid your tip send email to "avr@atmel.com" is a joke. In early january I send a mail to Mr. Fredriksen. Two weeks later I got the response that he passed my mail to Mr. Aarrestad which is responsible now for my concerns. After 2 weeks there was no response from Mr. Aarrestad.

Now I send a mail directly to Mr. Aarrestad (Febr. 20). Until now I didn't got any response from him.
This experince with "avr@atmel.com" is not lonely. I had contact to many people who made the same experience. :-((

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Hello Rolf,

I'm sorry that you feel you haven't been given the required support, but Mr. Fredriksen is not a member of the Applications Support Team, e.g. he doesn't receive mail at the avr@atmel.com address!

I must say I'm rather offended bye your "joke" suggestion. e-mails to avr@atmel.com are usually answered the same day they came in. I'm certainly not aware of any delays on the scale of weeks. I think your experience with our mailsupport has been a (singular) misunderstanding, and apologize for the negative effect this has caused on you. Nevertheless, I'm quite sure most people are happy with this branch of our support engine. I'd like your "many people" to whom the support has seemed inadequate, specified to further detail. What's been the nature of their complaints? Are they all dissatisfied with the answering rate, or are there other problems? Please clarify.

Best regards,

Morten, AVR tech. support, Atmel FAE

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Hello Morten,

you are right concerning that my contacts were directly with Mr. Fredriksen with his function of "Third Party Support".

Now Mr. Aarrestad does this job. And he never responded :-( although Mr. Fredriksen definitely passed my mail to him.

I didn't make a list of disappointed "mailers". I only got this information from them and I passed it
to this forum. I for myself never send a mail to "AVR@Atmel.com" :-)

best regards
Rolf Hofmann
E-LAB Computers

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