An AVR is a low cost programmable microcontroller that can be used in a wide number of different electronic products. The AVR offers everything that a larger chip provides, including memory, ADC and serial ports but in a much smaller package. Many components can be connected directly onto the AVR microcontroller, saving space and increasing your ability to customise the chip to suit your needs.
Portable PIC programmers allow engineers, developers and technicians to work much faster and with minimal difficulty. They can be pre-programmed with various different programs via a PC, then uploaded to a PIC microcontroller by simply plugging in and selecting the right one.
Atmel have added a new feature to Atmel Studio from 6.2 on-wards including 7. You can now create a single file that contains all the data needed to program an AVR or ATxmega microcontroller. This includes flash, EEPROM, fuses, lock bits and ATxmega User Row. This is called an ELF production file and Kanda AVR Handheld Programmers now support this format.
We often come across a problem where an understanding of Intel Hex file format will help in solving a programming issue or technical point. Intel Hex format is a standard layout for files produced by assemblers or C compilers when they compile your source code. It is used by device programmers to program the target microcontroller with your code.
This is a question we are often asked. I want a genuine Atmel AVR ISP MKII (ATAVRISP2) not a Chinese clone, can you supply it? Unfortunately the answer is no as Atmel have stopped manufacturing their ATAVRISP2 programmer.
Microchip PIC microcontrollers come in a wide variety of types from very old PIC16C family through to the latest PIC16F and PIC18F devices, with several other less common types as well. Apart from some very old chips, they are all In Circuit Serial Programmable, which means that they can be programmed in circuit using a PIC ICSP programmer.
We are all familiar with short range Bluetooth wireless communication as it is commonly used by our smart phones to transfer data or to connect to headphones etc. Computers also use it for communicating with the mouse, speakers or headsets. These are all short range applications but can Bluetooth wireless be used for longer range transfers?
ISP or In System Programming is the best way to program AVR microcontrollers as it allows them to be programmed in circuit. This is easier for development, production and most importantly, for updating the firmware later in the field. The tool used for this is an AVR ISP.
The Wellon VP-290 Universal Programmer is one of the cheapest universal programmers on the market but its build quality and reliability are excellent. It only has a 40-pin ZIF socket unlike other Wellon programmers that have 48-pin ZIF sockets. This means it is really only suitable for devices with 40 pins are less. The only exception is chips in 44 PLCC packages, such as AVR microcontrollers, which are supported by the VP-290.
Microcontrollers are in everything nowadays from simple items like dimmer switches to complex systems such as your mobile phone. Learning microcontroller programming allows you to create a huge range of embedded projects only limited by your imagination.