A common question we get is should I program my microcontroller in C or assembler? This usually means do I bother with assembler or just use C. Sometimes it just means that I do not know the difference. So what is the difference?
An AVR microcontroller is a type of device manufactured by Atmel, which has particular benefits over other common chips, but first what is a microcontroller?
The easiest way of thinking about it is to compare a microcontroller with your PC, which has a motherboard in it. On that motherboard is a microprocessor (Intel, AMD chips) that provides the intelligence, RAM and EEPROM memories and interfaces to rest of system, like serial ports (mostly USB ports now), disk drives and display interfaces.
A microcontroller has all or most of these features built-in to a single chip, so it doesn’t need a motherboard and many components, LEDs for example, can be connected directly to the AVR. If you tried this with a microprocessor, bang!
What is CAN bus? Officially, CAN is a Controller Area Network, which is a network of independent controllers communicating securely. It was first developed by Bosch and Intel in 1990 and has been amended since. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has further defined CAN using their OSI model.
Smart Cards are a bit of a misunderstood subject and no-one is quite sure what they are. Smart Cards are defined in a standard called ISO 7816. This has different sections that cover physical size and characteristics, where the contacts should be (for contact cards) and how to communicate with them.
We have been asked about how you can program an application code file and a separate bootloader into an AVR microcontroller using a Kanda programmer. It isn’t possible to program two separate files but it is simple enough to combine them into one file.
How do you choose a new production programmer? This issue came up in our production department this week, and made us consider again what is important in a production programming system.
So what considerations are important when choosing a new programming system?
Firstly, where possible we use ISP (In System Programming) and all our own products are manufactured using ISP but that is not always possible and ISP will be discussed further in another post. We also carry out contract manufacturing and assembly, and this is where we needed a new socket programming solution.
Continue reading “Help, Production Programmer Needed” »
Just when you thought you had complied with all the EU legislation needed for your electronics business, they dump another one on us and what a beauty!
What does this mean in practice?
AVR Dragon is a low cost In System Programmer (ISP) and also an In Circuit Emulator (ICE) in one package. It operates from Atmel AVR Studio development environment and is great for code development.
What can it do?
Having started your electronics business by doing a bit of trading on Ebay, you now want to be legitimate. In the last post, we discussed raising finance and the aversion of the banks to startups, electronics and risk (except complex financial instruments they don’t understand of course). Having raised money somehow, what other obstacles will the UK government and its bureaucratic allies in Brussels put in your way?
You have had this great idea for a new widget, or can see a gap in the market for an imported product, so how easy is it to set up a new electronics business in the UK? To test the water, you could just make some in your shed or import a few shipments and sell them on Ebay, (although HM Customs and Revenue are now data mining online to try and catch informal business and get more money!) but how easy is it to then create a formal business?