Make: AVR Programming

Make: AVR Programming
Make: AVR
Programming
Elliot Williams
Make: AVR Programming
by Elliot Williams
Copyright © 2014 Elliot Williams. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Published by Maker Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472.
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Editor: Patrick Di Justo
Production Editor: Kara Ebrahim
Copyeditor: Kim Cofer
Proofreader: Amanda Kersey
February 2014:
Indexer: Judy McConville
Cover Designer: Shawn Wallace
Interior Designer: Monica Kamsvaag
Illustrator: Rebecca Demarest
First Edition
Revision History for the First Edition:
2014-01-24:
First release
2014-02-14:
Second release
See http://oreilly.com/catalog/errata.csp?isbn=9781449355784 for release details.
The Make logo and Maker Media logo are registered trademarks of Maker Media, Inc. Make: AVR Programming and related trade dress are trademarks of Maker Media, Inc.
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as
trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and Maker Media, Inc., was aware of a trademark
claim, the designations have been printed in caps or initial caps.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and authors assume
no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained
herein.
ISBN: 978-1-449-35578-4
[LSI]
Table of Contents
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
Part I.
The Basics
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
What Is a Microcontroller? The Big Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
A Computer on a Chip… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
…But a Very Small Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
What Can Microcontrollers Do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Hardware: The Big Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Core: Processor, Memory, and I/O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Peripherals: Making Your Life Easier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2. Programming AVRs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Programming the AVR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Toolchain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
The Software Toolchain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Linux Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Windows Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Mac Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Arduino Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Make and Makefiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
AVR and the Arduino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Arduino Pros . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Arduino Cons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
iii
The Arduino: Hardware or Software? Both! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
The Arduino Is an AVR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
The Arduino Is an AVR Programmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Other Hardware Programmers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Flash Programmers I Have Known and Loved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Hookup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
ISP Headers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
AVRDUDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Configuring Your Makefile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Flash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
3. Digital Output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
blinkLED Redux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
The Structure of AVR C Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Hardware Registers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
blinkLED Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
POV Toy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Building the Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Pretty Patterns: The POV Toy Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Experiment! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
4. Bit Twiddling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Working Through the Code: Cylon Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Bit Twiddling and Cylon Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Bit Shifting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Advanced Bit Twiddling: Above and Beyond Cylon Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Setting Bits with OR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Toggling Bits with XOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Clearing a Bit with AND and NOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Showing Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
5. Serial I/O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Serial Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Implementing Serial Communication on the AVR: Loopback Project 81
Setup: Configuring the AVR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Setup: Your Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Setup: USB-Serial Adapter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Putting It All Together: Test Out Your Loopback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Troubleshooting Serial Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Configuring USART: The Nitty-Gritty Details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
AVR Square-Wave Organ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Making Music with Your Micro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
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Make: AVR Programming
The Organ Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Extra Goodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
6. Digital Input . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Pushbuttons, Switches, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Configuring Input: DDRs, PORTs, and PINs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Interpreting Button Presses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Changing State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Debouncing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Debounce Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
AVR Music Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Boss Button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Desktop-side Scripting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
7. Analog-to-Digital Conversion I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
ADC Hardware Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Light Meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
ADC Initialization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Slowscope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
The AVR Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
The Desktop Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Synergies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
AVR Night Light and the Multiplexer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Multiplexing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Setting the Mux Bits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Part II. Intermediate AVR
8. Hardware Interrupts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
External Interrupts 101: Real-time Button Pressing Examples . . . . . 155
External Interrupt 0 Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Pin-Change Interrupt Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Capacitive Sensor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
The Sensor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Table of Contents
v
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Global, Volatile Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
Debugging the Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
9. Introduction to the Timer/Counter Hardware 175
Timer/Counters: Why and How? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Test Your Reaction Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Using Timer 0 for a Better 8-Bit Organ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
AM Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
CPU Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
AM Radio: The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
10. Pulse-Width Modulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Bright and Dim LEDs: PWM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Brute-Force PWM Demo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Timers PWM Demo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Initializing Timers for PWM Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
PWM on Any Pin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
PWM on Any Pin Demo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Closing: Alternatives to PWM and a Timer Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
11. Driving Servo Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Servos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
The Secret Life of Servos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Servo Sundial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
The Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Ready the Lasers! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Servo Sundial Calibration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
12. Analog-to-Digital Conversion II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Voltage Meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
The Footstep Detector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
The Circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
The Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Exponentially Weighted Moving Averages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
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Make: AVR Programming
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Part III. Advanced AVR Topics
13. Advanced PWM Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Direct-Digital Synthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Making a Sine Wave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
Next Steps: Mixing and Volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Mixing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Dynamic Volume Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Polling USART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
ADSR Envelope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Auxiliary Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
14. Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Controlling Big Loads: Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Bipolar-Junction Transistors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
MOSFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Power MOSFETs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
Relays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
Triacs and SSRs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Switches: Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
DC Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
15. Advanced Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
Going in Reverse: H-Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
Code: Taking Your H-Bridge Out for a Spin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Experts-Only H-Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
PWM and the H-Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
Drive Modes: Sign-Magnitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Drive Modes: Locked Anti-phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Drive Modes: Comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Stepper Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Kinds of Stepper Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Full Stepping and Half Stepping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Identification of Stepper Motor Wires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Too Many Wires! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Dual H-Bridge Chips: The SN754410 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
The Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
Acceleration Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Microstepping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334
16. SPI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
How SPI Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
Table of Contents
vii
Bit Trading Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Shift Registers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
EEPROM External Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
External Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
SPI Demo Hookup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
SPI Demo Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
SPI EEPROM Library Header . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
SPI EEPROM Library C Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
initSPI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
SPI_tradeByte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355
Convenience Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357
17. I2C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
How I2C Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
I2C Demo Hookup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
I2C Demo Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
I2C Thermometer Demo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
SPI and I2C Data Logger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
Pointers in EEPROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
The UART Serial Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376
The Logger’s Event Loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
18. Using Flash Program Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Using Flash Program Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Memory Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
The Address-Of Operator: & . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
Pointers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
Pointers in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
Pointers as Arguments to Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392
Optional: Dereferencing Pointers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Talking Voltmeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394
PROGMEM Data Structures and the Header File . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395
Sound Playback and Voltage Reading: The .c File . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
Generating the Audio Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Differential Pulse-Code Modulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Encoding Two-bit DPCM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 405
Encoding DPCM: wave2DPCM.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
19. EEPROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Using EEPROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Storing in Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reading from Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Saving and Loading EEPROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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414
414
419
422
Organizing Data in EEPROM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423
Project: Vigenère Cipher Encoder/Decoder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
20. Conclusion, Parting Words, and Encouragement
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
Learning AVR: The Missing Chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
The Watchdog Timer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
Power Savings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Crystals and Alternate Clock Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Bootloaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 438
Analog Comparator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439
Debugging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439
Put This Book Down and Build! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441
Table of Contents
ix
Preface
Microcontroller projects are ubiquitous in the hobbyist/hacker/Maker world, and
with good reason. Microcontrollers stand directly in the middle ground between
the hardware world of buttons, motors, and lights and the software world of algorithms, connectivity, and infinite possibility. Microcontrollers are part computer
and part electrical component. They can also be the metaphorical glue between
the real world and the virtual world.
Why This Book?
Are you sending a balloon with a small payload to near space? Need a small bit of
computing power to read your temperature sensors and accelerometer and log
the data to an SD card without using too much power? A microcontroller is just
what you need. Would you like to build your own small robot or a cute interactive
toy for your niece? There’s a microcontroller application there, too. I’m sure that
you’ve seen a million interesting projects online, wondered, “How’d they do that?”
and gotten the answer: a microcontroller. Without their capable microcontroller
brains, the homegrown 3D printing scene would be nowhere. Microcontrollers are
at the center of an emerging culture of people building the previously impossible.
The goal of this book is to get you building projects with microcontrollers and
writing your own firmware (or using libraries from other people) in C. I’ve chosen
the Atmel AVR series microcontrollers to focus on because they have a fantastic
free and open toolchain, easily available programming hardware, and many of you
probably have one or two already on hand in the form of Arduinos. A large part of
the collaborative hacker community uses these chips, so it’s as good a starting
point as any. The ATmega168 chip family that we’ll be using is right now the sweet
spot in price-per-functionality, but it is not hard to port your code to smaller and
cheaper if you want to or move over to other AVR chips if you need to.
xi
I picked the C language because it’s pretty much the standard for programming
microcontrollers. It’s just at the right point, for my taste, in terms of being abstract
enough to read but low-level enough that turning an individual bit on or off doesn’t
require subclassing or overriding anything. Your C code will compile down to
something that is nearly as efficient as the best-written assembler, but it’s a heck
of a lot easier to maintain. There’s also a ton of code examples out there on the Web
for you to look at and learn from. (That said, if you really want a good feel for how
the hardware works, teach yourself AVR assembler when you’re done with this
book.)
On the other hand, this book is really a book about programming and using microcontrollers in general. Though the particular naming conventions and some of
the implementation details are different across different brands of microcontrollers, the basic principles will be the same. More on this in just a minute.
Software Type or Hardware Type?
In a class on programming microcontrollers that I taught at my local hackerspace,
I discovered that the students would identify largely as either hardware types or
software types. Some people coded JavaScript for web applications all day, while
others worked in electrical and machine shops. One guy had never seen a for loop,
and another didn’t know that the red wire is the positive side of a battery pack.
Everyone had something to learn, but it was almost never the same thing for
everyone.
In building your microcontroller projects, you’re going to need to think both like a
software type and a hardware type, even if only one of these initially comes naturally to you. At times you’re going to need to debug code algorithms, and at other
times you’re going to need to figure out exactly what’s going on electrically when
that button is pushed or that motor is energized. This need to put on two different
hats, sometimes even at the same time, characterizes microcontroller and embedded applications.
Throughout this book, there’ll be some concepts that are too obvious to you, but
which may be entirely perplexing to others. I’ll be swapping my software-type and
hardware-type hats accordingly. In the end, you’ll become familiar enough with
both worlds that you’ll be able to navigate the middle ground. You’ll know you’ve
reached embedded-design nirvana when you begin coding with the hardware.
Then you’ll have become a microcontroller type!
Manifesto!
And so we come to my sincerest goal in writing this book instead of simply another
blinky-LEDs-on-an-Arduino manual—to turn you into a true microcontroller
type. Although the Arduino environment is good for getting people hooked on
microcontrollers, it’s a cheap high. Arduino/Wiring goes to great lengths to abstract
away from the microcontroller’s hardware. Here, I want to teach you about the
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hardware—because it’s useful—so getting further away from it won’t help. (My
friend Ash once described working with the Arduino environment as being “like
knitting in boxing gloves.”)
I don’t think that the built-in hardware timer modules are something to be abstracted away from. I believe the timers should be understood thoroughly enough
to be abused to create a small AM radio transmitter that can play the Mario theme
song within a room using nothing more than a wire or your finger as an antenna
(in Chapter 9). And I believe that this code should fit in under 500 bytes of program
memory.
More seriously, many of the hardware peripherals inside the AVR are common to
most microcontrollers, from the “prehistoric” 8051 or the tiniest PIC or ATtiny chips,
through the MSP430s and the ATmegas, to the mighty XMega and ARM chips.
These hardware peripherals have been developed and honed over 40 years of
microcontroller design development, and they’re not going away any time soon
because they have been designed to be helpful to getting your project realized.
The microcontroller hardware has been designed by very clever engineers to solve
your problems. My goal in writing this book is to show you how common problems
are solved. You need to learn the hardware, and apply the hardware, to love the
hardware.
Although every microcontroller design implements things a little bit differently,
once you’ve seen it here, it will make sense there. Every microcontroller that I’ve
ever come across is programmable in C. Almost all of what you learn working
through this book is transferrable to other chips and other architectures, because
what you’re learning here is the way things work rather than an abstraction wrapped around the way things work, designed to protect you from the way things
work. Some of what you learn (for instance bitwise binary manipulations in Chapter 4) might seem boring, but in the end it will give you simple and direct access
to the common hardware bits that are put there to help you, and the techniques
will work with any brand of microcontroller that you choose to use.
In short, almost none of the time you spend learning about how to create projects
on the AVR in C will be wasted. Yeah, it’s a bit harder than just reusing someone’s
shields and code. Yeah, you might need to stop sometimes and leaf through a C
programming book or an electronics text (or just look it up on the Net). But when
you find out that you need more processing power, or a different set of peripherals,
you can just buy yourself a $8 chip in place of the $4 one you were using and bring
most of your code, and more importantly your knowledge, along with you.
This book is meant to be the red pill, and I sincerely hope that you find it worth
your time once you’ve seen how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Preface
xiii
You Will Need…
Before we get too much into detail about the AVR chips and what they can do for
you, let me provide you with a shopping list. Order this stuff now so that you can
be ready to start programming chips in a few days when the delivery truck shows
up.
The Basic Kit
Here is a basic kit of parts that you’ll need throughout the rest of your AVR life. A
lot of this gear is multipurpose, and you’ll have some of these parts on hand if you’re
playing around with electronics. The following is the basic kit that you’ll use for
programming AVRs throughout the book:
• A solderless breadboard or two or three. I like the 800-contact type because
of the extra working space, but a few smaller breadboards can be nice for
building subcircuits on. You can never have too much workspace.
• A number of wire jumpers to plug in to the breadboard. I really like the prebuilt
ones with rubber grips and pins on the end. You can often find these sold in
combination with breadboards for cheap at online auction websites.
• You should probably have a small resistor assortment on hand. You’ll need a
bunch in the 200–500 ohm range for LEDs, a few around 1k ohm, and at least
five in the 10k ohm range.
• An ISP programmer (see “Flash Programmers I Have Known and Loved” on
page 28 for recommendations) or Arduino (see “AVR and the Arduino” on page
20).
• An ATmega168, 168A, 168P, or 168PA. Make sure you get one in the DIP package
if you want to plug it into the breadboard. The parts I’m using at the moment
are called ATMEGA 168A-PU, where the “PU” denotes a DIP part. See “The AVR
Family of Microcontrollers” on page 11 for more on chip selection.
• A USB-to-serial adapter. I’m a big fan of the FTDI USB-Serial cable. Get the 3.3
V-compatible one for maximum flexibility. It works painlessly with all operating
systems, and at all speeds. A variety of online geekery stores have slightly
cheaper options as well.
• At least 10 LEDs (any color) and 10 appropriately sized resistors: 200–500 ohms.
You can never have enough LEDs.
• A source of 5 V DC power (optional). Many of the ISP programmers provide
power to the breadboard. If yours doesn’t, cutting up a 5 V wall-wart power
supply or using a 4xAA battery pack will work. Rechargeable batteries are even
better.
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Make: AVR Programming
For the Basic Projects
• A small 8 ohm (normal) speaker and roughly 10–100 uF capacitor. I got my
speaker from an old keyboard toy.
• Two or more pushbuttons. Normally open. Cheap tactile switches are great.
• At least 5x 2N7000 MOSFETs.
• Two light-dependent resistors (LDRs), but you might as well buy an assorted
pack.
• Two potentiometers. 10k ohms is ideal. Anything above 1k ohms will work.
For the Intermediate Projects
• A piezo disk, preferably with wires attached.
• A servo. Any old hobby servo will do. I get my cheap ones from Tower Hobbies.
• A laser pointer that you’re willing to take apart.
• An I2C device to talk to—my example uses the very common LM75 temperature sensor.
• An SPI device to talk to. Here, I’m using a 25LC256 32K SPI EEPROM chip.
For the Motors and H-Bridge Chapters
• A small DC motor (3–12 V is good). I got mine from a racecar toy.
• MOSFETs for building an H-Bridge. I use two IRF9530s and two IRF530s.
• SN754410 or L293D motor driver chip instead of or in addition to the MOSFETs.
• A stepper motor and a power supply to drive it.
• Random switch-like devices: relays, SSRs, Darlington transistors (TIP120, etc.).
• Random DC-powered devices like LED lamps or pumps or fans or solenoids or
kids’ toys or…
• A 5 V relay.
Deluxe and Frills
• A standalone voltmeter.
• An amplified speaker—computer speakers are ideal.
• A soldering iron and some solder.
• A prototype board for soldering up your circuits permanently.
Preface
xv
• Extras of everything in the first list so that you can create permanent versions
of each chapter’s project that you like. Nothing beats having a bunch of souvenirs around to show off what you’ve learned and to go back to and modify
later on.
Conventions Used in This Book
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
Italic
Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, and file extensions.
Constant width
Used for program listings, as well as within paragraphs to refer to program
elements such as variable or function names, databases, data types, environment variables, statements, and keywords.
Constant width bold
Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.
Constant width italic
Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values
determined by context.
This icon signifies a tip, suggestion, or general note.
This icon indicates a warning or caution.
Using Code Examples
Supplemental material (code examples, exercises, etc.) is available for download
at https://github.com/hexagon5un/AVR-Programming.
This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, you may use the code
in this book in your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact us
for permission unless you’re reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several chunks of code from this book does not
require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of examples from MAKE books
does require permission. Answering a question by citing this book and quoting
example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of
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Make: AVR Programming
example code from this book into your product’s documentation does require
permission.
We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the
title, author, publisher, and ISBN. For example: “Make: AVR Programming by Elliot
Williams (MAKE). Copyright 2014 Elliot Williams, 978-1-4493-5578-4.”
If you feel your use of code examples falls outside fair use or the permission given
here, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
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How to Contact Us
Please address comments and questions concerning this book to the publisher:
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MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful
people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your
will. The MAKE audience continues to be a growing culture and community that
believes in bettering ourselves, our environment, our educational system—our
entire world. This is much more than an audience, it’s a worldwide movement that
Make is leading—we call it the Maker Movement.
For more information about MAKE, visit us online:
Preface
xvii
MAKE magazine: http://makezine.com/magazine/
Maker Faire: http://makerfaire.com
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Maker Shed: http://makershed.com/
We have a web page for this book, where we list errata, examples, and any additional information. You can access this page at:
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To comment or ask technical questions about this book, send email to:
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Acknowledgments
I would like to thank the members of HacDC, and especially those who were subjected to my first couple of classes teaching microcontroller programming. I’ve
learned as much from you all as you have from me. And you’re all the inspiration
for this book in the first place!
Special thanks go out to Gareth Branwyn and Alberto Gaitan for pushing me into
writing this crazy thing. You are truly overlords and enablers. Respect!
To anyone who has contributed to the greater hive-mind that is the global hacker/
Maker community: if you’ve put anything microcontroller-related out there, you’ve
probably contributed to this book in a six-degrees-of-separation sort of way. I hope
you enjoy it.
This book couldn’t have been made without the help of the tremendous folks at
O’Reilly and Maker Media. Patrick DiJusto edited the text with a fine-tooth comb
and provided much helpful feedback. Brian Jepson, Shawn Wallace, and Dale
Dougherty provided high-level direction. Kara Ebrahim helped pull it all together.
Also, much thanks to Eric Weddington for his technical review. Writing a book is a
team effort, and I thank you all.
Finally, my wife Christina has my endless gratitude for letting me see this long
project through. Hab dich lieb, Schatz.
xviii
Make: AVR Programming
Programming AVRs
2
Hello World!
In this chapter, you’ll get set up with everything you need for coding, compiling,
and flashing your programs into the bare silicon of the AVR chips that are sitting
on your desk right now. To do so, you’re going to need some hardware (a flash
programmer) and some software (a code editor, C compiler, and the program that’ll
communicate with the hardware flash programmer). Finally, you’ll need to hook
up some wires from the programmer to the AVR chip and get set up with a power
supply.
In this process, there are a lot of different approaches that will get you to the top
of the same mountain. Ultimately, the different approaches are all basically the
same at some abstract level, but we’ll step through some details of a few of the
most popular options to make things clearer.
On the hardware side, most of the flash programmers work about the same, and
the differences there won’t amount to much more than a few tweaks to a file that
you’ll use over and over again. Flash programmers, after all, are just USB devices
that send bytes of your code across to the AVR chip. On the software side, different
development packages will have different looks and feels, but in the end it all comes
down to editing code, compiling it, and then sending it off to the hardware
programmer.
Programming the AVR
The words “program,” “programmer,” and “programming” are overloaded in the
microcontroller world. We (as programmers) write programs, compile them, and
then use a flash programmer to program the AVRs, which then runs our program.
Pshwew! Let’s step through the actual procedure and see what’s actually going on.
13
Programming the AVR
What You Need
For this chapter, you’ll just need the basic kit as described in “The Basic Kit” on page xiv. For convenience, I’ve summarized that here:
• A solderless breadboard.
• Wire jumpers to plug in to the breadboard.
• An ISP programmer.
• An LED (any color) and an appropriately sized
resistor: 200–500 ohms.
• A source of 5 V DC power (if not supplied by
your ISP); a 4xAA battery pack is nice anyway.
• One 100 nF (0.1 μF) capacitor to smooth out
the AVR’s power supply.
• An ATmega168, 168A, 168P, or 168PA.
Toolchain
It’s a long and winding road from the code you type into your editor to a chip on
your desk that turns a light on and off. Getting from typed letters on a computer
screen to a working piece of electronic machinery requires a chain of tools called,
predictably, a toolchain!
Toolchain overview
1. Write your source code in an editor.
2. Turn your source code into machine code with a compiler (and associated software tools).
3. Using uploader software on your big computer and a hardware flash programmer, send the machine code to your target AVR chip, which stores the instructions in its nonvolatile flash memory.
4. As soon as the flash programmer is done, the AVR chip resets and starts running
your code.
Figure 2-1 sketches out the main steps in AVR firmware development along with
which tools you’ll use for each step.
The first step in your toolchain is going to be a text editor, or whatever you’re most
comfortable writing code in. For the Linux folks out there, gedit is quite nice. On
Windows platforms, you’ll probably find the editor that comes with WinAVR, Programmer’s Notepad, will work pretty well, but I prefer the freeware Notepad++.
Many Mac coders swear by TextMate. If you’ve already got a favorite code editor,
by all means feel free to use it. Nice features to look for include syntax highlighting,
automatic formatting and indenting, parenthesis matching, and maybe even code
folding. (Put your copy of Microsoft Word away—that’s not what we’re looking for
here.)
14
Make: AVR Programming
Programming the AVR
Figure 2-1. AVR programming toolchain
Aside on Windows Editors
Both Programmer’s Notepad and Notepad++ let you
compile and flash code directly from the editor with
a single button push, which is handy because the
Windows command line isn’t very familiar to most
folks.
make flash to open up a command window in the
current directory, compile your code, and flash it to
the AVR. The /K leaves the window open after it’s
done, so you can read any errors in compiling or uploading that may have occurred. You can also run it
In Programmer’s Notepad, there are options for calling with /C if you don’t want to see the output.
your makefile in the Tools pull-down menu, and you’ll With both of these editors, you can also bind these
see the results of your compilation and uploading in actions to a key combination so that compiling and
the “Output” panel at the bottom of the screen.
uploading your code is as easy as it would be in an
In Notepad++, use the Run pull-down menu, and type IDE. Pretty slick.
in cmd /K cd /d $(CURRENT_DIRECTORY) &&
Of course, if you want to get a whole IDE, I won’t stop you, but it’s not at all necessary.
For Windows, Atmel Studio is comprehensive and centered on the task at hand. If
you use Eclipse, there are AVR plug-ins as well. If you don’t know what any of this
means, skip this paragraph: learning a new IDE is itself a day’s work, and too much
detail to get into here. I don’t recommend it when you’re just starting out.
Anyway, once you can write and edit code, you need to compile it for the AVR,
turning your human-readable C code into machine code for the AVR. The compiler
we’re using, avr-gcc, is the AVR-specific version of the popular open source compiler GCC. (In fact, I would argue that the support from Atmel for avr-gcc and an
open source toolchain is the main reason for the chip’s amazing success in the
hacker community.)
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
15
The Software Toolchain
In addition to the compiler, you’ll need a few more software tools from the avrgcc suite to go from source code to machine code that’s ready for uploading. A
script called a makefile is commonly used to automate all of the repetitive, intermediate bits of the process. See “Make and Makefiles” on page 19 if you want to
learn a little more about what’s going on with the makefiles, but don’t sweat it if
it’s too much info—you can do everything you need to by simply editing a few
lines, and I’ll walk you through that.
Once you’ve compiled your C code into machine code in the right format, it’s time
to send the machine code over to the chip and write it into nonvolatile flash memory. The flash programmer is a piece of hardware that sits in between your computer
and the target AVR microcontroller. The AVR microcontrollers, when put into programming mode, listen over their serial peripheral interface (SPI) bus for incoming
data to flash into program memory. The flash programmer’s job is to relay the
compiled machine code to the target AVR over the SPI bus. There are tons of flash
programmers available, and I’ve listed some of my favorites in “Flash Programmers
I Have Known and Loved” on page 28.
A lot of you will have an Arduino sitting around. If so, it turns out to be fantastically
easy to turn that Arduino (temporarily) into an AVR programmer. I’ll walk you
through the steps to do so, and how to wire it up, in “AVR and the Arduino” on page
20. So if you don’t have a dedicated hardware SPI programmer just yet, I’ll get you
up and running with an Arduino.
Now, stepping back to your main computer, you’ll need to run software that feeds
the compiled machine code to the flash programmer. Far and away the most popular software uploader is AVRDUDE, which is available for all platforms and supports a wide variety of programmers. How wide? So wide that almost any way that
you can think of communicating in SPI with the target AVR will work with AVRDUDE,
from a few wires hooked up to your parallel port to dedicated USB programmers
with their own AVR microcontroller brains.
The Software Toolchain
The main feature of the style of software development that we’ll use in this book
is cross-platform compatibility. That is, if you’re used to the whole workflow of
writing code and compiling it on a Mac, you’ll have the same tools available for you
on Windows or Linux, and you can be sure that you’ll always know what you’re
doing wherever you go. After all, the target of all our work here is a little 8-bit
microcontroller that doesn’t know anything about what operating system you use.
16
Make: AVR Programming
Programming the AVR
To Recap:
1. Plan. This stage just requires your brain, some
paper and a pencil, and maybe the AVR datasheet so you can figure out which parts the
onboard hardware can help you with. Think
through what you need the chip to do, and
break it up into functions for each logical step.
2. Code. Write your program using whatever
text/code editor makes you happy. Here
you’re just translating the ideas behind the
functions into valid C code.
3. Compile. Turn your C code into AVR machine
code with avr-gcc and its associated tools,
most likely run from a makefile. Type make and
read through the compiler errors, then go
back and fix them.
4. Flash. Hook up a flash programmer to your
target AVR and then run AVRDUDE to send the
machine code through the programmer to
the AVR chip, which saves it in flash memory.
(Or just type make flash and watch it go.)
Did flashing work?
5. Test. Once you’ve uploaded your code to the
AVR, does it do what you want it to? Test it
under many differing conditions before
you’re sure. You’ll find all sorts of interesting
real-world situations where your sensors
aren’t reporting data as you thought they
would. Now’s a good time to find that out, so
you can recode around it.
6. Debug. There are many tricks for figuring out
what’s going wrong with your code—from
lighting up status LEDs, to transferring variable data information over the serial line to
your desktop computer, to stepping through
the code with a debugger.
Programming the AVR—What’s Really Going On?
AVR microcontrollers are able to write into their own
flash program memory space. All of the ATmega series microcontrollers are set up so that when you reset
them, they start listening for data on the SPI lines, and
with the right instructions can program themselves.
chips store the incoming data in a temporary page
memory and then write it all at once, which is much,
much faster.
After the programming is complete, you can read the
data back out of the AVR’s flash program memory to
A flash programmer works by grounding the RESET verify again that its correct. The -v flag for AVRDUDE
line, which halts the CPU and signals the AVR to start does this for you.
listening on the SPI bus. The programmer then transFor a deep read on programming the AVR chips, for
mits programming instructions over the SPI bus. Afinstance, if you want to implement your own flash
ter each instruction or section of code, the AVR writes
programmer or write your own bootloader once
the received data to flash memory. Some of the tiny
you’re done working through this book, see Atmel’s
AVR chips flash the data to program memory after
“Application Note AVR910”.
every few bytes, which can be slow. Larger and newer
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
17
The Software Toolchain
Linux Setup
Setting up the toolchain for programming AVRs on Linux is tremendously simple.
If you’re using a Debian-based distribution (like Ubuntu or Mint or, heck, Debian)
you can simply type (all on one line):
sudo aptitude install avrdude avrdude-doc binutils-avr avr-libc gcc-avr
gdb-avr
Red Hat and Fedora users type:
sudo yum install avrdude avr-gcc avr-binutils avr-libc avr-gdb
All other Linux users will find that it’s easy enough to find source packages for all
of the above. See http://www.nongnu.org/avr-libc/user-manual/install_tools.html
or http://avr-eclipse.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/The_AVR_GCC_Toolchain for
details.
Windows Setup
Windows users have two options for the software toolchain, one based on the
(huge) Atmel Studio and one based on WinAVR. Weighing in at 1/20 the file size
and 9/10 of the functionality, I’d choose WinAVR. The current download link is from
SourceForge and is a little bit old, though I’ve had no troubles with it. It’s very well
tested and fully debugged.
A hackerspace in Australia has taken up the task of making a more-recent WinAVR
clone, and you can try your luck with http://www.makehackvoid.com/project/
mhvavrtools if something in WinAVR doesn’t work for you. (That said, I’ve never had
any problems with WinAVR.)
During the installation, WinAVR will offer to change your PATH variable so that all
of the binary files (importantly make, avrdude, and avr-gcc) are available without
typing the full pathnames in. Be sure that you allow this.
Mac Setup
AVR CrossPack is the way to go for Mac. It includes all the compile tools, AVRDUDE,
and more. It’s kept up to date and should just work.
Arduino Setup
As a fourth option, the Arduino IDE is available for all three OS platforms. Heck,
most of you will have it installed already. If you’ve got Arduino up and running,
there are some modifications you can make to turn your Arduino IDE into a working
generic AVR C-language environment. See “AVR and the Arduino” on page 20 and,
in particular, “Writing C in the Arduino IDE” on page 24 for details.
18
Make: AVR Programming
The Software Toolchain
If you’d like to use your Arduino as a hardware flash programmer, but don’t plan to
use the Arduino IDE, you can do that too. In addition to the Arduino install, install
the software toolchain for your OS.
Make and Makefiles
The C programming language lets you split up one big program or task into a bunch
of individual functions, and lets you keep collections of functions together in their
own files for easier maintenance and portability. That way, if you want to frequently
reuse some serial-port input/output functions, for instance, all you have to do is
include the serial library code files (by name) in your main code, and then tell the
compiler where to find these files. Separating your code into functionally different
files is good software design, but it means that you need to remember all of the
dependencies among the different files in your codebase and type out potentially
many filenames each time you compile.
Keeping track of all of these dependencies manually can quickly become unreasonable, and it was only a few years after C was invented that the make utility was
designed to help. Instead of compiling your files together manually, a file called a
makefile contains a bunch of dependency rules and instructions for processing
them, and then you just run the make command and everything compiles. (That’s
the idea, anyway.)
So, for instance, you can explicitly compile all of your source files together like this:
gcc main.c another_file.c serialLibrary.c -o main
which makes an executable file, main, from all of the listed .c files. Or, you can write
a makefile that maps out these dependencies:
main: main.c another_file.c serialLibrary.c
and then simply type make main or even simpler, make. The make program knows
that names on the left side of the “:” are targets, and on the right, their dependencies. If you need to run special commands to make the targets from their dependencies, these commands are listed on the next line, indented with a tab.
Dependencies can, in turn, have other dependencies, and make will keep digging
deeper until it can resolve them. Things get complicated with makefiles when you
add in variables and wildcards that match any filenames. You can start to write
generic rules that compile any .c files together, for example, and then you only have
to change the variable definitions when you move a makefile from project to
project.
I’m including a preconfigured makefile for each project in this book’s code repository. You may be able to use them as is, but we also might have different AVR
programmers and different serial ports, so you’ll eventually want to at least modify
some of the definitions. We’ll step through configuring the makefile to fit your
setup in “Configuring Your Makefile” on page 38.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
19
AVR and the Arduino
Now that you’ve got the software set up, all you need is to connect up a flash
programmer to the chip and test it out. Here, you’ll have two choices. If you don’t
have a dedicated AVR flash programmer yet, but you have an Arduino lying around,
the next chapter is for you. If you’d like to buy a dedicated AVR flash programmer,
I have some advice in “Other Hardware Programmers” on page 28. Otherwise, if
you’ve already got a flash programmer, you may proceed straight to “Getting Started: Blinking LEDs” on page 29 and get started.
AVR and the Arduino
A bunch of you are going to be used to the Arduino programming environment.
That’s great! In this book, I’ll be teaching you all of the powerful nitty-gritty that
Arduino hides from you in the name of easy accessibility. But that doesn’t mean
that there’s any reason to let your Arduino gather dust—in fact, the Arduino platform can be a great generic AVR playground, once you know how to (ab)use it.
Arduino Pros
One very real advantage of the Arduino hardware setup is that the chip comes preflashed with a bootloader, which is code that enables the chip to communicate
with your computer over the serial line in order to flash program itself. This means
that you can do away with the requirement for an external bit of hardware to flash
the chip—there’s a tiny bit of bootloader code already running in your Arduino
that’ll flash the chip for you!
The second highlight of the Arduino package is that it comes with a built-in USBto-serial converter, so you don’t have to buy a separate one just yet. I personally
get a lot of mileage out of my USB-Serial cable, and you will too if you want to play
around with freestanding microcontrollers, GPS units, old terminals, hacked WiFi
routers, and other devices. If you’re going to get serious about embedded electronics hacking, you’re going to want a standalone USB-Serial adapter eventually,
but it’s sweet that the Arduino lets you get away without buying one for the time
being.
And finally, although it’s not such a big deal, the Arduino is powered by your computer’s USB power supply. This is handy if you’re developing code on your laptop
in a park or on a plane. You don’t need to find a wall plug for your power adapter
or remember to bring batteries along with you—all you need for flashing, communications, and power is a USB cable.
Arduino Cons
As good as the Arduino hardware is as a generic AVR development platform, it’s
not perfect. For use with this book and our examples, there are a number of disadvantages to using an Arduino instead of just plugging an AVR chip into a
breadboard.
20
Make: AVR Programming
AVR and the Arduino
Probably the first among these disadvantages is the lack of the breadboard itself.
Shields are great for finished products, but when I’m building up a hardware section
for the first time, it’s nice to test it out on something more flexible like a breadboard.
I find that the more complicated my external circuitry gets, the less suitable working on the Arduino becomes. The Arduino is great for plugging a few LEDs or a
couple of sensors into. But when things get interesting, I end up having to jumper
the Arduino into the breadboard with 10 or more wires like some demented spider,
and then my dog knocks something loose, and it takes a long while to debug the
problem, and that’s when I wish I’d just stuck a chip into the breadboard in the first
place. (True story.)
Another downside to using an Arduino as an AVR development platform is that a
few ports and pins are already irreversibly wired up and unavailable for use. For
instance, when we make an eight-LED POV toy in Chapter 3, you’ll discover that
two of the pins that I’d like to use for LEDs are already hard-wired up to the crystal
oscillator. It’s a design trade-off—because it’s clocked with a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, the Arduino is able to run twice as fast as an AVR using only its internal
timebase.
But because the Arduino ties up two of the pins in PORTB, you’ll only be able to
make a six-LED cylon without having to do some elaborate coding as a workaround.
If you want to display a byte’s worth of data on PORTB, you’ll be missing the most
significant two bits.
Arduino boards aren’t cheap either; just compare an Arduino Uno with the AVR
ATmega328p chip that powers it. You can buy 8 or 10 AVRs (or 20 ATtiny 45s) for
the price of one Arduino. This is because the Arduino has extra hardware—power
regulation, USB-to-serial, and other circuitry onboard—which makes them overqualified for many trivial applications. This also makes an Arduino too expensive
to commit to a one-off quickie project, and that’s a real shame because nothing in
the world is better than giving your young niece a goofy microcontroller-based
toy that you made for around $5 in parts. (That said, if you can prototype the toy
faster because everything’s wired up for you on the Arduino, go for it. A goal of this
book is that you’ll be able to move fluently between the “Real AVR” world and
Arduino.)
More trivially, it’s a minor pain to be always going back and forth between the pin
names in the datasheet (”PB5" and similar) and the Arduino’s pin names (“Digital
13” and so on). Figure 2-2, which is similar to the sweet ASCII art in arduino-1.0.4/
hardware/arduino/variants/standard/pins_arduino.h, should help.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
21
AVR and the Arduino
Figure 2-2. AVR pinout and Arduino labels
So if you’re working along with code from this book, and you need an LED connected to pin PB0, for instance, you’ll want to hook up the same LED to your Arduino’s Digital 8 pin. (And see how the Arduino doesn’t use pins PB6 and PB7?)
Finally, the Arduino bootloader needs to use the watchdog timer, which is a timer
that effectively reboots your AVR chip automatically if your code gets hung up and
doesn’t check in every once in a while. We won’t even use the watchdog timer in
this book, but if you need to make a very robust design, it’s a nice trick to have up
your sleeve.
But don’t let these gripes overshadow the main point—an Arduino can also be
turned into a fine C-language AVR-programming platform. And besides, if you’ve
got one sitting on your desk, you might as well use it.
22
Make: AVR Programming
AVR and the Arduino
The Arduino: Hardware or Software? Both!
In the next two sections, I’ll show you how to use the Arduino—both the software
IDE and the physical hardware—as an AVR learning platform. The first section covers programming the AVR chip that’s inside the Arduino (as you normally would)
but using standard C instead of the strange Arduino dialect. This way, if you’ve
already got an Arduino in hand, but AVR chips and a breadboard in the mail, you
can get started working through this book by programming the Arduino board
directly.
The second section treats the case where you’ve already got your AVR chip on a
breadboard, and you want to use your Arduino as a hardware flash programmer
to transfer the code to the target AVR. Following some simple steps, you can (temporarily and reversibly) use the Arduino as a hardware programmer to flash your
code into the bare AVR. And then you can decide to continue using the Arduino
IDE to compile and send your code, or you can use any other code editor and the
standard AVR development toolchain. The choice is yours.
Choices, Choices!
From my perspective as an experienced coder and
microcontroller user, I like to use my own favorite development tools rather than the Arduino IDE. It’s also
a lot easier and faster to prototype circuits with a bare
AVR on a breadboard than using the Arduino
hardware.
However, using the Arduino as a hardware programmer is tremendously comfortable, even if you’re used
to more advanced tools. With just six wires between
the Arduino and your breadboard, you’ve got a
source of power and a flash programmer that’s just
as good as any other.
If you’re willing to learn a bit more about the nonArduino toolchain—programming in standard C, using makefiles, and all that—you’ll be learning some
transferrable skills that will work on other hardware
platforms and microprocessor architectures. And
then if you eventually swap out the Arduino-asprogrammer for dedicated hardware, you won’t even
notice.
The Arduino Is an AVR
If you’re shy about leaving the comfortable Arduino IDE, you don’t have to. With a
few tweaks, the Arduino compiler can be fooled into compiling standard C code,
which you can then flash directly to the AVR that lives inside the Arduino hardware.
So if you’re coming from the Arduino world and you’d like to get started with this
book right away—you can!
The reason that this all works is that the Arduino environment is really just a thin
GUI layer that ties together the standard AVR toolchain—GCC as a compiler and
AVRDUDE to talk to the flash programmer. In short, you can start off with the full
Arduino IDE and slowly migrate over to doing everything manually, or vice versa.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
23
AVR and the Arduino
Writing C in the Arduino IDE
If you’re used to the Arduino IDE and don’t want to try out another code editor, for
instance, the following steps will enable you to compile and flash valid C code with
minimal changes to your old workflow. Follow these steps whether you’re programming for the Arduino’s onboard AVR chip or for an external AVR target on a
breadboard—anytime you want to write straight AVR C code within the Arduino
environment.
To get running in C with the Arduino IDE, there are two things that you’ll have to
do only once, before you even start the IDE:
• Copy over whatever libraries you need to go with your code. In writing the
code for this book, I ended up using a few bits of common code in almost every
project. It makes more sense to put all of these common files in one place. To
use this “library” of common code, create a directory in your libraries folder
(~/sketchbook/libraries on Linux and Documents/Arduino/libraries on Windows) and copy your common code here. Now you’ll be able to use it within
any other program by simply by importing the library. So copy the AVRProgramming-Library folder out of the code directory and into your sketches
library right now.
• If you’re going to be coding for an ATmega 328P, either in an Arduino (the Uno,
for instance) or as a standalone chip, fix up your portpins.h file. See “portpins.h
and the Arduino IDE” on page 25. If you’re going to use an ATmega168 or other
chips, you don’t have to follow this step, but it won’t hurt.
Now that your Arduino IDE is set up, it’s time to get coding. In this example, I’ll
assume that you’d like to copy some code out of one of the book’s projects, but
the same basic steps apply for when you’re writing it yourself:
1. Start the Arduino IDE.
2. Import the header files into the project using the Sketch → Import Library
pulldown, where you should find the AVR-Programming-Library folder at the
bottom of the list. Notice that the Arduino IDE adds include lines for each
header file in your directory.
3. Save this (mostly blank) sketch with a descriptive name. This will create a directory for you to put your code in.
4. Outside of Arduino, copy the C code file that you’d like to use into the sketches
directory. If you press Open and reopen the sketch, you should see this newly
added code in a new tab.
5. Alternatively, you can write new C code in the sketch by opening up a new tab
(Ctrl-Shift-N, or from the arrow menu in the top-right corner) and then entering
the code directly.
24
Make: AVR Programming
AVR and the Arduino
6. To make sure that all works, click on the Verify button. If it does, then you’re
ready to flash the code.
portpins.h and the Arduino IDE
The code compiler that the Arduino IDE uses is the
same GCC as you’d use if you were compiling manually. As such, it doesn’t care if you pass it code written
in C for the AVR, or in C++, using the Arduino libraries.
Along the way, though, I found a gotcha.
If you want to compile for an ATmega 328P chip (as
is found on the Arduino Uno, for instance), you’ll want
to replace the portpins.h file with a more recent version. On my system, I found the file in arduino-1.0.4/
hardware/tools/avr/lib/avr/include/avr/portpins.h.
Replace this file with the version that I’ve included
For whatever reason, the portpins.h include file that with the book’s code library, and you should be able
comes with Arduino 1.0.4 and previous is old (2006!) to just write C.
and doesn’t conform to modern usage. The end result
is that standard pin-name macros like PB1 don’t end If you see errors like PB1 undeclared (first use
up getting defined for the mega328 chip, while the in this function), that’s the portpins.h bug.
old-style PORTB1 macros are.
Flashing the Arduino as target
This is super simple from within the Arduino IDE, because programming the Arduino is what it’s meant to do. The only difference here is that you’re writing your
code in real, portable C rather than Arduinoese:
1. Verify that your board type is selected in Tools → Board.
2. Make sure you’ve included your library using Sketch → Import Libraries, and
that the #include lines appear in the first sketch tab.
3. Click Upload (or type Ctrl-U) to flash your code into the AVR inside the Arduino
hardware. Easy.
The Arduino Is an AVR Programmer
Or at least it can be. In this section, you’re not going to be writing your code into
the Arduino as a target, but rather using it as the middleman. You’ve got an AVR
chip that you’ve stuck into a breadboard, and you’re going to use the Arduino as
the hardware programmer, thanks to example code that converts the Arduino into
an Arduino In-System Programmer (ISP). You can do this either from within the
Arduino software IDE, or you can use an editor and the avr-gcc toolchain
independently.
Wiring your Arduino as a flash programmer
The first step toward using your Arduino as a flash programmer is hooking it up to
your breadboard. The essential six connections are power, ground, RESET/PC6, SCK/
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
25
AVR and the Arduino
PB5, MISO/PB4, and MOSI/PB3. (You’ll find these pin names in Figure 2-5 on page 2
of the AVR datasheet, or you can also just refer to Figure 2-3.)
Figure 2-3. Arduino as flash programmer
The single red LED hooked up to pin PB0 on the target AVR is the LED in question
if you’re uploading this chapter’s blinkLED code.
The three (optional, colored) LEDs hooked up to the Arduino are status lights. Green
will pulse while the ArduinoISP is waiting for input, yellow will light when it’s transferring code to the AVR, and red will light if there’s an error. You can leave these
out, but they make everything look so professional, no?
Resistor values for the LEDs aren’t too critical, but something over 200 ohms is a
good idea for normal LEDs, which commonly have around a 1.7 V threshold voltage,
and are rated for around 20 milliamps: (5 V – 1.7 V) / 220 ohms = 15 milliamps.
Flashing AVR chips using the Arduino as a programmer
Now that the hardware is wired up, let’s use it to program the AVR chip! Following
these instruction will turn your Arduino into a flash programmer. (When you want
your Arduino back as an Arduino, you can just reprogram it as usual.)
1. Verify that your Arduino board type is set up correctly (Tools → Board → Uno
in my case).
2. Flash the example code “ArduinoISP” into the Arduino hardware the usual Arduino way.
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Make: AVR Programming
AVR and the Arduino
3. If you don’t have a sketch ready to upload yet, go back to “Writing C in the
Arduino IDE” on page 24 and set up blinkLED.c.
4. Select Tools → Programmer → Arduino as ISP to program through the Arduino
hardware instead of programming the Arduino itself.
5. Select Tools → Board → Arduino Pro Mini (8 MHz) w/ ATmega168, because we’re
targeting an ATmega168 running at 8 MHz. (Nobody will know it’s not inside
an Arduino Pro.)
6. Shift-click on the Upload button (Shift-Ctrl-U) to flash your code into the AVR
target. If you’re too accustomed to just clicking the Upload button and forget
to press Shift here, you’ll get an error like avrdude: stk500_disable(): pro
tocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x10.
7. If you want to see what’s going on in the background, click File → Preferences
→ Show verbose output.
8. Otherwise, sit back and watch your AVR target get programmed. Does it blink?
Sweet!
Using Arduino as hardware programmer without the Arduino IDE
Because it’s possible to use your Arduino as a flash programmer from within the
Arduino IDE, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to flash arbitrary AVR chips
without using the Arduino IDE as well. Of course it is!
First, make sure that your Arduino is wired up as in Figure 2-3 and that you’ve
uploaded the ArduinoISP sketch to the Arduino. Once you’ve done that, you won’t
need to touch the Arduino IDE again if you don’t want to.
Open up the blinkLED directory from the software that accompanies this book.
Because you’re using makefiles to configure and compile your code, you’re going
to need to edit Makefile by hand so that it knows how to use the Arduino programmer. In short, you want to use programmer type “avrisp” at 19,200 baud on
the correct serial port.
For Linux, try:
PROGRAMMER_TYPE = avrisp
PROGRAMMER_ARGS = -b 19200 -P /dev/ttyACM0
For Windows, try:
PROGRAMMER_TYPE = avrisp
PROGRAMMER_ARGS = -b 19200 -P com5
For Macintosh using the Uno or Mega 2560, try:
PROGRAMMER_TYPE = avrisp
PROGRAMMER_ARGS = -b 19200 -P /dev/tty.usbmodemXXXXXXX
For Macintosh using any other Arduino, try:
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
27
Other Hardware Programmers
PROGRAMMER_TYPE = avrisp
PROGRAMMER_ARGS = -b 19200 -P /dev/tty.usbserialXXXXXXX
You can figure out which port name the Arduino connects to from within the Arduino environment, under Tools → Serial Port. On Windows systems it will be a COM
port, and on Linux or OSX systems it will be /dev/tty-something.
Once your makefile is configured for the Arduino-as-programmer, you’re all set to
flash the code over to your chip. If you’ve got a terminal window open, and you’re
in the blinkLED directory, typing make flash should do it.
Other Hardware Programmers
If you don’t have an Arduino handy, or if you’d like the convenience of a dedicated
hardware flash programmer, you’ve got a lot of good choices. If you’ve got the
software already set up, a flash programmer is your missing link. (If you already got
your firmware flashed by following the previous Arduino instructions, you can skip
this section, or read on for curiosity’s sake.)
Flash Programmers I Have Known and Loved
You have a large number of choices for hardware flash programmers. A programmer can be as simple as a couple of wires, but most of them actually use an AVR or
other microcontroller to interface between your computer and the AVR that you’d
like to program. Here is a shortened list of some of the good choices you have
available:
Parallel port
The first programmer I ever used was not really any programmer at all, but
instead just a cable with five wires soldered to a parallel port D-sub connector.
This works because AVRDUDE knows how to toggle the lines of a parallel port
to program your AVR chips directly. Unfortunately this programming method
requires a parallel port on your computer, which is a luxury that fewer and
fewer of us have. On the other hand, if you’d like to go this route, search the
Web for a DAPA (Direct AVR Parallel Access) cable. Many of the schematics will
include “safety” resistors—feel free to ignore them unless you’re hooking up
your AVR to voltages higher than 15 V. If you’ve got an unused parallel printer
cable lying around, you’ve got your first programmer.
Atmel AVRISP mkII
Atmel’s current official USB in-system programmer, the AVRISP mkII is a very
nice programmer that’s capable of programming the whole AVR line, including
the newest XMega devices. It’s a bit more expensive than other programmers,
but it’s rock solid and is quite a bargain all in all.
USBTiny and USBasp
These two USB-based AVR programmers have super simple hardware designs
with open source firmware. You can make one yourself, although you will iron-
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Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
ically have to find a way to flash the firmware into the AVR in the programmer
(an Arduino ISP is perfect for this). You can also find these designs for sale all
over—I’ve got a USBasp-based programmer that I bought for $5 online, and
it’s just fine. Both of these designs have a jumper that allows you to power your
breadboard off of your computer’s USB port, which is handy for most applications in this book.
LadyAda’s USBTinyISP
This is an improved version of the USBTiny, with input and output buffering.
I’ve used one of these for a few years. They come in kits, don’t cost too much
money, and have very good build instructions and support. Like the USBTiny
project that it’s based on, LadyAda’s programmer can power your project off
the USB bus. If you’d like an easy kit to solder together that builds a useful tool,
this is a good way to go.
A family portrait of some of my programmers can be found in Figure 2-4, from
center-top and going clockwise:
1. An Arduino and six wires makes a totally workable flash programmer.
2. USBTinyISP
3. USBasp, from BaiTe in China
4. USBTiny, tiny version from ehajo.de
5. A homemade programming spider, which plugs into a breadboard around the
AVR chip and connects up the programming, power, and reset pins the right
way every time. If you’re at all handy with a soldering iron and perfboard, you
should make one of these.
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
OK, let’s get down to business and compile, flash, and test our first AVR microcontroller project. This is not the coolest, most interesting project in this book. The
point is to verify that all parts of the programming toolchain are working for you
before we start to get a little fancy. In order to minimize the possible ways to mess
up, we’ll build up the simplest possible project that puts the software toolchain
together with the flash programmer, an AVR chip, and the most minimal possbile
feedback—a single LED.
To download the code for this project—and for the rest of the book—visit https://
github.com/hexagon5un/AVR-Programming and click the “Download ZIP” button.
The blinking LED example is in this chapter’s folder.
Please double-check that you’ve installed an appropriate software toolchain for
your OS, or modified the Arduino environment to work with C language code. If
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
29
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
you’re using an Arduino as a hardware programmer, make sure that you’ve flashed
ArduinoISP. Fasten your seatbelts—here we go!
Figure 2-4. Some programmer options
Hookup
The overview of wiring for this chapter is that we’re going to be hooking up the
programmer (including its power-supply pins) to the AVR chip. Each of these pins
has a specific function, and they’re labelled in Figure 2-5. The whole point is to
make sure that the programmer’s MOSI pin is connected to the AVR’s MOSI pin (PB3)
and so on. We’ll also wire up an LED for display purposes, and optionally wire up
another as a power-on indicator.
If you’re using an Arduino as your programmer, your wiring will end up looking like
Figure 2-3, but you can also assemble the circuit piecewise as we’re doing here.
First hook up the power and verify that it’s working, and then move on to the MOSI,
MISO, SCK, and RESET wires. The principle is exactly the same.
For the first step, let’s set up the power rails of your breadboard to double-check
that we’ve got the pinout from the programmer’s connector right. You’re going to
need some red wire for 5 V and some black wire for GND. If you’re using an Arduino
as programmer, the 5 V and GND connections are nicely labelled on the board. Use
red and black wires to hook them up to the breadboard’s power rails.
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Make: AVR Programming
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Figure 2-5. AVR ISP programming pins
If you’re using a programmer that ends in a standard 6-pin or 10-pin two-row IDC
connector, getting the pinout correct can be a little bit tricky. For orientation, set
the connector on the table so that you’re looking down into the holes, and notice
the location of the plastic tab. The cable should also have a red stripe on the same
side that has the VCC pin, which is a very helpful mnemonic. Hook up the power
pins so that they look like Figure 2-6.
If you’re going to use a power-on LED, now’s the time to plug it into the board to
verify that you’ve got power. Wire it up as in Figure 2-7. Note that LEDs are polarized, and you’ll need to make sure that the positive side is connected to VCC and
the negative to ground. You can recognize the negative side of an LED by its shorter
pin (think of it as the “minus” side having something subtracted from its length), or
by the slight flat spot on the flange of round LEDs, or by the larger structure inside
the LED itself. Connect the resistor up to the negative pin.
Plug your USB programmer into your computer. If the LED glows, the power supply
is ready to go. If not, and you’re using a programmer like the USBTiny, you may have
to install a jumper across two pins to enable the power-supply passthrough. (See
the instructions that came with your programmer for how to make the programmer
supply power to the AVR.) If this still isn’t working, double-check your 6-pin connector again. After you’ve gotten the power-on LED light working, you know for
sure that you’re getting power on the breadboard’s supply rails.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
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Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
Figure 2-6. AVR programmer layout—no chip yet
Now plug the AVR somewhere in the middle of the board. Locate pins 7 and 8,
which are power and ground for the chip, and plug a 100 nF (0.1 µF) capacitor
across the two power pins. Using a red wire, connect pin 7 to the VCC rail. Wire up
pin 8 with a black wire to the GND rail. Now you’ve completed the setup in Figure 2-7.
Figure 2-7. AVR programmer layout—power
Now hook up the rest of the programmer’s pins. Look carefully at Figure 2-5 if it’s
not clear which pins are which. Double-check that MOSI on the connector is wired
to MOSI on the AVR, etc. Finally, connect up the demo output LED and its resistor
as shown in Figure 2-8. When you’re done with this, we’re ready to test it out.
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Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
Figure 2-8. BlinkLED full setup
ISP Headers
The Atmel-standard 6-pin and 10-pin headers are nice for manufactured boards
because they’re compact, but they’re not at all breadboard-friendly, and that’s why
we end up with all these wires all over. Sparkfun (and probably others) sell adapters
that convert the 5 × 2 and 3 × 2 layouts into a 6 × 1 inline layout that plugs nicely
into the breadboard and labels the signal lines as well. If you’re ever placing an
order with them, these little tools are well worth a dollar.
Alternatively, you can take some perfboard and wire up a similar breakout yourself.
You’ll need a bunch of breakaway header pins, a bit of wire, and some patience.
Make sure you test and label the outputs when you’re done.
For the long run, I’d recommend making yourself a programming adapter of some
kind. The idea is to hardwire up a connector that either plugs into a breadboard or
sits on top of the chip that you can use to replace the multiple wires that connect
the programmer to the chip. Figure 2-9 demonstrates a variety of ways to simplify
connections between your AVR and programmer.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
33
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
Figure 2-9. Programming adapters for ISP 6-pin headers
From the top, going clockwise:
1. A USBTiny programmer with the standard 6-pin ISP header.
2. A zero insertion force (ZIF) socket that I wired up to connect to the 6-pin ISP
header and the ATmegax8 series chips. For fun, I also added a power-on LED
and an external power connection so that it can work with nonself-powered
flash programmers. You can find ZIF sockets cheap at online auction sites. The
underlying perfboard came from Radio Shack.
3. Next is a (deluxe!) custom board that I had made as a precursor to a board I
used in teaching an AVR class. This one breaks out all the ports into banks, has
a 6-pin SPI header, an external power connector, on-board capacitors and
power lights, and a 6-pin inline header that’s compatible with the FTDI USBSerial cable pinouts.
4. On the bottom is an experimental 6-pin ISP adaptor that just barely squeezes
on top of an AVR chip, holding itself in place by bending the pins a little bit. I
got the idea from http://elm-chan.org/works/avrx/report_e.html, but I added
on a serial interface as well. It’s hard to maintain contact with all the pins at
once, and I only use this connector in emergencies.
5. Last, on the far left, is the homemade programming spider that I use almost
all the time. It plugs into a breadboard just around the AVR and connects up
everything you need to flash the chip. It’s the bee’s knees, and if you’re handy
34
Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
with a soldering iron or looking for an excuse to learn, making a connector like
this is well worth your time.
AVRDUDE
After you’ve gotten the circuit breadboarded and the AVR connected up to the
programmer, you’re ready to start talking to the AVR to test the connection. And,
believe it or not, the easiest way to do this is to type a little bit.
Open up a command-line window. If you’re in Linux or Mac OS, open up Terminal.
For Windows, open up a Run dialog from the Start menu, type in cmd, and hit Enter.
You can then type avrdude to double-check your installation. You should see a
helpful listing of all the command-line flags and arguments that you can use. You
can read up on the most useful ones in “AVRDUDE Options” on page 35.
If you don’t get AVRDUDE running from the command line, you’re going to need
to make sure that it’s installed and that your OS knows the correct path to find it.
If you’re on Windows, the easiest way is probably to uninstall WinAVR and reinstall,
allowing it to set up the PATH variable for you this time. Linux and Mac people
should not have this issue.
Drivers and Windows
If you’re running Windows, you may not automatically have the correct drivers for your programmer installed. This is notably the case with Windows Vista and Windows 7 and the
USBTiny and USBasp type programmers. If you get a warning message like “usbtiny device
not found,” it’s very likely that your drivers aren’t set up right.
You should probably follow whatever instructions your programmer comes with. For me, I
had to download a newer libusb from LadyAda’s website, install it, and then do a manual
install of the USBTiny drivers through the Device Manager. This step is no fun, but you only
have to do it once.
Now let’s try to talk to the programmer directly. Type something like avrdude -p
m168p -c usbtiny to interrogate the chip (only substitute your programmer in
place of the “usbtiny”) and optionally add a serial port and baud rate. If all is hooked
up well, it will respond with something about the chip’s signature and fuses and
say OK. Success looks something like this:
avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions
Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.01s
avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9406
avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK
avrdude done. Thank you.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
35
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
AVRDUDE Options
Whoa! That’s a lot of choices. Let’s look at a few of the
ones that we’ll use:
-n
Write-nothing mode. This one lets you test out
commands without worrying that you’ll accidently mess up the chip.
-c <programmer>
Here you specify the type of flash programmer
that you’re using. Many serial programmers, including the ArduinoISP, use the generic av
risp type (not the arduino type, which programs the Arduino itself ). There are also configurations for both usbasp and usbtiny programmers. If you’d like to see the full list, type
avrdude -c ?.
-p <partno>
Here you specify the type of AVR chip that you’re
programming for. In our case “m168” is an ATmega168 chip or “m168p” if you’ve got that
version.
-t
Terminal mode. This mode lets you talk to the
AVR chip directly. After the programmer has
connected, type sig to read the AVR’s device
signature, which makes a quick test of basic
communication between the programmer and
chip. Type help to see all the options.
-C <config-file>
This lets you use a nonstandard configuration
file. If the version of AVRDUDE that you’ve got
doesn’t support a particular chip or programmer, you can often fix it by getting a more recent
configuration file. I’ve included mine in the
book’s software bundle.
-P <port>
If you’re not using a native USB programmer (for
instance, if you’re using an ArduinoISP), you’ll
need to know which serial port the programmer
is connected to. See “Common AVRDUDE Configurations” on page 38 for details. On Windows,
it’s usually something like COM3; on Linux and
Mac OS, it’s in the /dev/tty* lineup.
-b <baud>
-U
This the command that reads or writes to memory. You’ll almost always be calling this from a
makefile, but if you’d like to dump the memory
of an AVR chip to a file, or flash in a .hex file that
someone has already compiled for you, this is
how you’d do it.
This sets the baud rate if you’re using a serial
programmer. You’ll have to know what speed
your programmer wants, or use trial and error.
AVRDUDE errors
On the other hand, you might get an error. There are basically four possible errors
you’ll get, depending on whether you’ve messed up the wiring, specified the wrong
chip or programmer type, or don’t have adequate permissions to use the interface.
Let’s break them down into cases.
You get an an error that reads:
avrdude: initialization failed, rc=-1
Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override
this check.
The dreaded rc=-1 error message means that your wiring is messed up. Despite
what it suggests, using -F won’t help you—99.9% of the time when you see this
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Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
error, your problem is that the six wires connecting your programmer to the AVR
chip aren’t hooked up right. This error can occur when you don’t have power to
the chip, when any of the RESET, MISO, MOSI, or SCK lines aren’t connected properly,
or even if you’ve got something else plugged into any of these pins that’s interfering with your setup. Double-check everything until the problem is fixed; maybe
even unplug and replug your USB programmer.
You get an an error that reads:
avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9406
avrdude: Expected signature for ATmega168P is 1E 94 0B
Double check chip, or use -F to override this check.
This probably means that you’ve got the AVR chip type wrong. In the previous
example, I used a mega168 but told it I had a mega168P. In this case, you just need
to change the chip type that you’re passing as an argument to AVRDUDE. If AVRDUDE doesn’t have a configuration for the chip you’re using, you should try using
a newer (or custom) configuration file with the -C flag (see “AVRDUDE Options” on
page 35).
The other source of the Expected signature error is that there’s something wrong
with the communication channel. If the programmer sees a signature like 0xffffff
or 0x000000 or the signature changes from one trial to the next, you’ve most likely
got something wired up to your ISP lines that’s blocking the communications, or
you’ve got a loose wire. Fix these problems and try again.
You get an an error that reads:
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude done. Thank you.
or:
avrdude: error: could not find USB device with vid=0x16c0 pid=0x5dc
vendor='www.fischl.de' product='USBasp'
or:
avrdude: Error: Could not find USBtiny device (0x1781/0xc9f)
This means AVRDUDE is having trouble finding your programmer. In the case of a
serial programmer like when you’re using the Arduino, double-check the serial port
and baud-rate flags that you’re passing to AVRDUDE. If you’re using a USB programmer, make sure that it’s recognized by the system. On Linux you can type
lsusb and look for the programmer in the list. On Windows, check for it in the Device
Manager.
Finally, if you’re on Linux and you receive a permissions error, you can fix it by typing
sudo avrdude instead of avrdude. When you get tired of the extra typing, you can
give yourself permission to write to USB serial ports. In Ubuntu-like distributions,
this means adding yourself to the dialout group. For all flavors of Linux you could
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
37
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
alternatively write a udev script for the specific programmer. You’ll find specific
directions online if you search “avrdude udev” and your programmer type.
Common AVRDUDE Configurations
AVRDUDE supports more than 70 programmers and
Mac OS with ArduinoISP, ATmega168p
100 chip types, and runs on three different operating
avrdude -p m168p -c avrisp -P
systems, so the number of possible configurations is
/dev/tty.usbserial-A5307bQf -b 19200
ridiculous. Here are some examples of the types of
ArduinoISP needs the -P flag for the serial port. To
configurations that you’ll encounter to get you
find out which serial port you need, open up the Arstarted:
duino IDE and look under Tools → Serial Ports with
Windows, Linux, or Mac OS with USBTiny,
the Arduino plugged in. (The Arduino plugs into USB,
ATmega168P
but it’s got an onboard serial emulator that makes it
avrdude -p m168p -c usbtiny
show up as a serial port device.)
(Because USBTiny and USBasp programmers don’t
need any additional options, the command is the
same across all three operating systems.)
Windows with parallel port programming cable, ATmega88
For the following, you need to type the commands
all on one line:
Linux with parallel port programming cable,
ATmega168p
avrdude -p m88 -c dapa -P lpt1
Windows with ArduinoISP, ATmega168p
avrdude -p m168p -c avrisp -P com5
-b 19200
Linux with ArduinoISP, ATmega168p
avrdude -p m168p -c avrisp -P
/dev/ttyACM0 -b 19200
avrdude -p m88 -c dapa -P /dev/parport0
I hope these examples get you squared away, or at
least put you on the right path. If not, an Internet
search will probably yield results. In most all situations, just a couple of tweaks to the same basic command options will work.
Configuring Your Makefile
Playing around with AVRDUDE by itself is good for debugging and making sure
everything works, but you’d hate to have to remember all this, much less type this
all out every time. And that’s where the makefile comes in.
As mentioned in “Make and Makefiles” on page 19, most of the makefile is generic
info for the compiler about how to compile and link program files for the AVR, and
you’ll never need to modify these generic bits. On the other hand, the top few lines
include some definitions that are specific to the project at hand and to your compilation and flash programming setup. We’re going to need to edit some of these
by hand. Copy the blinkLED folder from the book’s source code library and open
up Makefile with your programming editor. Let’s step through the bits you’ll need
to change:
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Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
MCU
This is the type of AVR chip you’re using. In our case, we’re using an ATmega168,
so it reads atmega168. For a complete list of supported chips, type avr-gcc -target-help and about halfway down you’ll find a list of “Known MCU names.”
F_CPU
This definition tells the compiler what clock speed your chip is running at. If
you don’t have an external clock source, like a crystal, this is either 1,000,000
or 8,000,000 for the ATmega chips—one megahertz or eight megahertz. Getting this right will matter for the timing of serial communication, and anything
else where timing is key.
BAUD
This is the baud rate that you’re going to use for computer-to-AVR serial communications, and 9,600 baud is a good conservative default.
MAIN
This entry is just the name of the program that you’re compiling and flashing
—the code that contains the main() routine. I’ve filled this in for you in the
book’s projects, but if you want to start a new project from scratch but reuse
this makefile, you’ll need to change the MAIN.
LOCAL_SOURCE
Here you have the chance to list any other .c files that your main code section
needs to run. Again, I’ve filled these in for the book’s projects, but I mention it
here in case you’d like to see how to include multiple files in your compilation.
EXTRA_SOURCE_DIR and EXTRA_SOURCE_FILES
This is an option to include code that lives in another directory or folder somewhere on your system. We’ll use this a lot for including my USART.h standard
serial library.
PROGRAMMER_TYPE
The two “programmer” options are for AVRDUDE, along with information
about what chip we’re programming from MCU. Here, you enter the type of flash
programmer that you’re using, and the makefile passes it to AVRDUDE using
the -c option. If you’re using a USBTiny or USBasp, for instance, you enter that
here. If you’re using the Arduino as a flash programmer, enter avrisp.
PROGRAMMER_ARGS
The other “programmer” option is for any of the other necessary AVRDUDE
options. If you’re using a USBTiny or USBasp, you won’t have to enter anything
here; just leave the line blank. If you are using a serial-based programmer, you’ll
need to specify the serial port and baud rate using the -P and -b options,
respectively.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
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Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
See “Common AVRDUDE Configurations” on page 38 for hints, or scroll down
to the very bottom of the makefile to see some examples for common programmers and configurations. And remember, this is just passing these options
on to AVRDUDE, so whatever it took to get AVRDUDE working on the command
line (except for processor and programmer type), you’ll need to add in here.
Flash
OK, by now you’re dying to see some blinking lights. I can’t blame you. If you’ve
already got a command-line window open, change directory to the blinkLED
project and type make flash. If all of the preparations up to now went well, congratulations! Your sweet reward is a slowly blinking LED on the breadboard!
You want more? Open up the blinkLED.c file in your editor, and read through. Try
changing the delay times to change the blink rate of the LED—for instance, make
it blink on for just a very short time between long periods of being off. Each time
you edit the code, save it and then type make flash again. Or if you’re using an
editor that lets you compile and flash from within it, it’s even simpler.
Take the time now to get used to the “edit-compile-flash” cycle, while the toolchain
is unfamiliar but the code is simple. Once the code and/or the circuits start to get
complicated, you’ll be glad to have faith in the toolchain.
Troubleshooting
We did most of the troubleshooting for this project as we went along. Is the power
working? It should be, as long as the power LED is lit. Does the AVR receive this
power? A quick way to double-check is to put an LED across the AVR power pins,
where you’ve got a capacitor.
The next things to check are the connections, because it’s easy to get these wrong.
But because we tested them using AVRDUDE, we know that the programmer is
able to communicate with the AVR chip, so all should be well.
So with the hardware all debugged, that only leaves the software, and in this case,
it’s about as simple as can be. What’s more, I’ve double-checked it about a billion
times, so it should compile just fine. (Barring the pindefs.h problem if you’re using
an Arduino IDE for compiling, in which case see “portpins.h and the Arduino IDE”
on page 25.)
Because everything’s working just fine, a good exercise at this point is to break the
code and see what happens. C compilers are great when it comes to complaining
that something’s wrong, but not as helpful as you’d like when it comes to pinpointing the cause of the error. For instance, pick a line of code that ends with a “;”
and delete the semicolon. Save the bad code and type make to see what happens.
All sorts of errors, no? But none of them tell you “you deleted a semicolon.” Learning
to deal with the error messages is an important part of coding.
40
Make: AVR Programming
Getting Started: Blinking LEDs
If you deleted a semicolon as suggested, you’ll probably see an error like:
blinkLED.c: In function ‘main’:
blinkLED.c:22:5: error: called object ‘_delay_ms(1.0e+3)’ is not a function
The compiler is telling you that something went wrong around line 22 in the code,
specifically something that starts at line 22, column 5. It doesn’t know there’s a
missing semicolon, but it gets you in the right neighborhood. This is where you
have to do a little detective work. (The meaning of the error is that lines that look
like something() without a semicolon at the end are supposed to be function definitions, but in this case it’s not. The compiler can’t know that you meant use a
function rather than define one if you don’t add that semicolon on the end.)
It could be worse. Sometimes there will be a string of many errors all in a row. Don’t
give up! It’s not necessarily the case that you made many errors, but maybe the
first one caused a bunch of follow-on problems to arise. If the compiler gives you
multiple errors, it’s often a good idea to start fixing the first one (by line number)
and then see if that resolves the rest.
Anyway, fix up that semicolon and reflash your valid code with a make flash. Notice
what a successful flashing looks like. Heck, if you’re feeling nerdy, scroll back up to
see the exact string of commands the makefile ran on your behalf and revisit “Make
and Makefiles” on page 19. If you just want to get on with more programming, and
everything worked, we’re done here.
Chapter 2: Programming AVRs
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