AVRDude with Kanda AVRISP

December 11th, 2014

AVRDude is free open source software for programming AVR microcontrollers. It is command line based but can be run from a batch or make file. It is the main programming utility used by Arduino software when the target board does not have a bootloader.

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STK200, STK500, STK600 and Arduino Compared

September 18th, 2014

Kanda have been making the STK200 starter kit for 15 years and it is still proving to be very popular. It was originally designed for Atmel and was the first low cost microcontroller training kit on the market and helped launch the AVR as a popular microcontroller.

Atmel have since moved on to STK500 and STK600 as the AVR portfolio has expanded but the original kit has many advantages, especially for beginners. Arduino has also entered the market but this serves a different purpose and won’t actually teach you much about microcontrollers.

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AVR and PIC Programmers in Windows 8.1

September 12th, 2014

Windows 8.1 is here and more and more people will be forced to use it as they purchase new computers. I do not like it myself as I find it slow and clunky and even more of the system is hidden from you but it is here to stay. A pity, because Microsoft got it pretty damn right with Windows 7.

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Is MPLAB X Any Good?

July 18th, 2014

I am an occasional user of MPLAB because we mainly use AVR microcontrollers in our products but recently we have done a lot with PIC microcontrollers. This gave the opportunity to compare MPLAB 8.70 and MPLAB X to decide which to use in the future, so we thought we would share our findings with you.

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Select the Right AVR Programmer

May 21st, 2014

AVR microcontrollers are all In System Programmable (ISP) so it doesn’t make sense to use a socket programmer for them – AVR ISP is the way to go. But what features should you look for when you are choosing an AVR programmer?

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Firmware Field Updates

April 25th, 2014

It amazes us how many people launch microcontroller based products without giving any thought to how they will update the product in the future. This may need to be done because there was a bug but more likely because of customers asking for new features or competitors producing better versions.

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Which PIC Microcontroller to Choose?

March 25th, 2014

The Microchip PIC microcontroller range looks really daunting at first, with lots of 8, 16 and 32 bit devices to choose from. This article will look at 8-bit PICs as they are adequate for most purposes and far more suited to beginners.

There are different series of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers- PIC10F, PIC12F, PIC16F and PIC18F, all with different features and price bands. The PIC10F and PIC12F are the cheapest and generally have less memory, smaller pin counts and less peripherals.

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UK Engineering Projects

December 19th, 2013

What a mess! The UK doesn’t seem capable of organising any large engineering projects, including power stations, airports or railways. This is not because of a failure of technology or engineering ability, it is completely the fault of the politicians.

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AVRStudio Explored

September 24th, 2013

AVRStudio is the development software for AVR microcontrollers supplied by Atmel to allow users to easily develop code for their devices. It includes project management, code editors, assembler and C compilers, simulator and programmer and emulator support. It has been developed over the years and has reached AVRStudio v6.1 but older versions are available, so which version is the best for you?

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Using the AVR Xmega Microcontroller Family

August 9th, 2013

Atmel have added the Xmega series to their AVR range and we are seeing more interest in these microcontrollers as time goes by, but who should be looking at using them?

Well for a start, it is not a chip for complete beginners and people wanting to learn microcontrollers from scratch would be better off starting with standard AVR ATmega microcontroller kits or PIC Microcontroller Kits.

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