I need some words of encouragement

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Wonderful people of AVR!

I'm seeking some reassurances that things are going to be ok. My background is that I'm a new graduate in CS with experience mainly with Java. When discovering this new world of AVR I fell in love and have been on a daily quest to master it. Unfortunately, it's been a few months now and I'm starting to become discouraged at my progress. I miss the readily plug and play libraries that add lots of functions. I'm struggling with some TWI and SPI ideas along with PWM and timing subjects.

Please tell me that things will be ok and with a little more effort I'll have these concepts licked?

I'm tempted to go the mikroC for AVR route because of the libraries but don't know if that is the proper way to go.

I dedicate at least 2 ours a day, 7 days a week to reading, coding, testing. What else can I be doing to accelerate my learning? I have several development boards and have all the "tools" I need for success, now I just want to feel some success.

I'm living in Vienna Austria right now, but moving to the coast of Oregon in the USA. Any mentors out there?

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Well, the short answer is, keep at it :)

The Tutorials forum here, is probably the best resource in the world for learning how to program AVR's.

Regarding microC, most peeps would I guess, tell you to stay clear. If you really MUST spend your cash, there are far better compilers.

Regarding Libraries, there are plenty on the net, free to use. Google is your friend. Also, Atmels own 'application notes' are a veritable wealth of information.

Finally, you've stumbled on perhaps the most useful and friendly web site/forum available for budding embedded engineers (even if it's just a hobby).

Welcome!!

:)

--greg
Still learning, don't shout at me, educate me.
Starting the fire is easy; the hardest part is learning how to keep the flame!

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It might be a good idea to try the Arduino. Lots of easy to use libraries are provided, and you will get plenty of support on the Arduino forum.

Leon Heller G1HSM

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Quote:

It might be a good idea to try the Arduino.

+1
Quote:

I'm tempted to go the mikroC for AVR route

-1,000,000

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Quote:
with experience mainly with Java.

I think its important to learn new debugging techniques
that are hardware related and measurement based:

Use LEDs, voltmeters and scope for testing.

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Just do a simple project, where you specify what you want done.
Perhaps stitch together some of the code modules you have already got working.
Arduino is probably the way to go if you don't want to get bogged down with some of the issued associated with compilers.
Buy a logic probe! You may not ever need an oscilloscope, unless you get into more complicated problems.

Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin & Murphy are always lurking about!
Lee -.-
Riddle me this...How did the serpent move around before the fall?

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To be able to help I will ask.
What do you see your self use the AVR for (as first project, a year from now ...).
How much and kind of other hardware do you want to "play" with ?

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I think google is using arduinos as an io device for android phones. Since you already know java, I suggest getting an android phone, download the android developers kit from android.com, recompile a couple of the android examples. What are they using the external IO for? Radios? a/ds? Most of that is already in the phone. (Mic sensitivity is too hi. Mic clips at 105dB. Should be more like 110 or 115. Anyone know what reg to poke to change the gain??)

Imagecraft compiler user

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I'd say you're having to learn on your own things that they should have taught you in university, and that is unfortunate for you and inexcusable for them.

As others have said, keep at it, learn to read and understand the datasheets and use the hardware, and you will be a FAR more rounded programmer/developer, and far more employable too.

FYI:
http://www.adacore.com/wp-conten...
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com...
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com...

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Great responses everyone!

I spent my first month with Arduino and LOVE the ease of use, BUT since there is a lack of "Arduino" powered commercial projects that is my first sign.

Where I see myself in a year is development of automation systems that employ the newer powersaving features of the Xmega and later generations. To me, the future is all about how miserly an embedded system uses its power and resources.

SPI Ethernet, EEPROM and flash memory, TWI(I2C) sensors, and RTC are what I'm working with now. RTOS and understanding ethernet stacks are on the top of my list as well.

The tutorials on the site are GREAT, and my hope is that someday I'll be numbered among those who contribute to the growing list.

As far as education is concerned. As I'm sure most of you in the states are already aware, the collegiate systems are overrun with ill prepared students. They spend the bulk of their time playing "catch up" from the years of education they failed to receive in their high school years. Leaving little quality time for truly important fundamentals. Java and .NET are used for a few reasons. Easy of use and what is perceived as market trends. I can be counted in this group.

I read the articles above and found them.... brutal, but true.

In my favor I stand as a self motivated individual. No mountain I can't conquer, but it does get a little frustrating at times.

Thanks again for the quick responses.

Future AVR expert.

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Quote:
No mountain I can't conquer, but it does get a little frustrating at times.
Exactly why sites like this one came into existence. :)

Current AVR learner ;)

--greg
Still learning, don't shout at me, educate me.
Starting the fire is easy; the hardest part is learning how to keep the flame!

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I don't think we should issue blanket condemnation for the nonstandardness of the microc avr c compiler, because I don't think anyone has used it enough to determine their 'system'. Certainly every compiler has its intended usage, rabbit for example is Pretty Quirky, but highly usable. I think the Freaks should embrace Yet Another c compiler, and tell the microc guys that we will help them with constructive suggestions and error reporting. Anyone else want to reinvite the microc developers to maintain their presence on AVRfreaks?

Imagecraft compiler user

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It sounds like you're just too impatient and got ya hands in too many new things as far as learning the s.ware / h.ware of MCUs. What are you struggling with in SPI ?

To accelerate your learning, stop trying to learn so many things too soon ( It takes away from your focus ). Knock out 1 headache at a time, not many. Concentrate on each ONE until you get it.

1) Studio 4.18 build 716 (SP3)
2) WinAvr 20100110
3) PN, all on Doze XP... For Now
A) Avr Dragon ver. 1
B) Avr MKII ISP, 2009 model
C) MKII JTAGICE ver. 1

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Quote:
It sounds like you're just too impatient and got ya hands in too many new things

Thats for sure. I'm like a kid in a candy store filled with all my favorites.

Good advice.

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This can be used to confirm your calculations when using the Timer systems:

http://www.avrcalc.com/download....

1) Studio 4.18 build 716 (SP3)
2) WinAvr 20100110
3) PN, all on Doze XP... For Now
A) Avr Dragon ver. 1
B) Avr MKII ISP, 2009 model
C) MKII JTAGICE ver. 1

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I would definetely stay away from mikroC AND Arduino and anything else that holds your hand like a baby and teaches you to become a great chef by learning how to use the microwave.

You only learn bad habits.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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Arduino is just a ready-made hardware with bootloader and some software wrapper libraries for avr-gcc. So If you start with Arduino software, you can certainly just gradually stop using Arduino libraries when you have your own code working. You can even examine the Arduino libraries how they do things.

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I think the OP is more advanced than Arduino assumes.

His career goals sound to me like he should be learning either C++ for ARM Cortex or applying Java/VM for Android.

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Wanted to give you an update to my quest of becoming a proficient AVR warrior. Ended up concentrating on the MicroElektronika compiler for its ease of use. (writing my own peripheral drivers from day one is overwhelming)

Absolutely loving embedded development, specifically with the ATMega1284P and some transition work ongoing with the XMega family.

I would encourage anyone taking on the challenge of learning microcontrollers to keep at it. I had the internet as my mentor with nothing else. It is possible.

Thank you AVRFreaks.

Last Edited: Wed. May 9, 2012 - 04:06 AM
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Mikroelektronika hardware = really good
Mikroelektronika software = utter shite

Get yourself a decent compiler before you get very much older.

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I do use the AVRStudio 6, but still enjoy the ease of interface with Mikroelektronika.

I've found using MikroC is a great starting point for students as well.

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Quote:

I've found using MikroC is a great starting point for students as well.

Not if they want to learn C.