Things I Learned

The Make book “AVR Programming” is fantastic. In an attempt to serve as many people as possible, they provide advice and many different paths to get setup. Here are some lessons that I learned that might save you some time:

  1. Using the Arduino as an AVR programmer (Sub-Optimal). While the book says that it is “easy” and “straightforward”, my experience was that this was not the case. I found that other smart engineers had similar experiences. So while using an Arduino is possible to program a chip, it is “not worth the time” and “an experience in forcible hair removal.”
  2. So if using an Arduino is out, what should I use?

This Thing:


While it is developed to put ATTinys directly on it, I soldered some female headers on the end, and it works like a charm! It follows the book really well, so if you are a newbie to the programming of AVRs, this is a quick path to success.

The book also discusses different toolchains. I was working with a Windows machine, and hat worked for me:

  1. Program in the Arduino IDE – I was familiar with this so this was my first step. I could make sure that I didn’t have any errors in a familiar environment.
  2. Migrate programs to the Programmers Notepad
  3. Download avrdude, and flash programs using the “make flash” comamand in the cmd prompt.
    1. If you are following the book, this will make sense. If not, this might be Swahli to you.

Word of warning:

This thing is twice as expensive, and harder to use than the product above. As I advance my skills, maybe I will realize what I am paying the extra money for, but as of now it has been relegated to the far reaches of my desk.

Playing with AVR Programming

My friend Professor Soltys invited me to a talk at a local Hacker Space, the Solid State Depot. The subject of the talk was intermediate AVR programming, but it was pretty advanced, and just the spark to light my afterburner for a deeper dive into the world of microcontrollers.

During this talk, I was able to meet with Electrical Engineers, Robotics Professionals, and hobby makers and learned about a new Rabbit Hole… programming the brains of Arduino (ATMEGA 328p chip), with C. This book was recommended to me, and so far has been fantastic. There are some intricacies that might trip up some other people, so I will try to highlight what I have learned in my following posts.