AVR Development Board – Assembly Instructions

A well designed development board is always essential for smooth development/experimentation with microcontrollers. Every hobbyist must have some kind of development setup. Some people use breadboard while others use veroboard to fabricate their development system. Many also use ready made off the self development board. Development is not very easy if you use only bread boards or veroboard. If you use bread board, after few days of use the wire will become loose or come out of hole. While making large circuit in a veroboard is a tedious job. To solve these problem I decided to make a low cost development board that has the following features. Low Cost All Basic connection required for developing application with AVR MCUs A Serial Port Prototyping area (like a veroboard) Incircuit Programmable with USB AVR Programmer Supports 40 PIN MCUs like ATmega16 and ATmega32. Buy Fully Assembled and Tested AVR Development Board So if you use this board, its lots easier. The basic circuit for MCU (like power supply,reset,ISP,serial port etc) are already done on a high quality PCB and some space is left for you to add other project specific components. You can also design other part of your project in bread board. But this time your bread board will be lot cleaner as major tested circuit is on the development board. […]

RF Communication Between Microcontrollers – Part II

Hello Friends, Welcome back to the Part II of RF Communication tutorial. Here I will show you the basic working of RF modules and how to send and receive data. Please see the Part I of this tutorial for basic introduction. You should also be familiar with RS232 communication. If you are new to it please see RS232 Serial Communication Tutorial. I also recommend using wireless link only after you have successfully tried wired RS232 communication. Here I will not go deep in how RS232 works because it is already discussed in RS232 Serial Communication Tutorial. I will use my interrupt driven fully buffered USART library for communication. How RF Module Works Working of RF Modules is simple but with a little trick. The working is shown in figure below. Fig- Working of RF Modules.   Here what ever digital data you input on "Data In" of TX is available on "Data Out" of RX. Say, if you set "data in" high, the "data out" will become high as well. But here lies the trick! The fact is that you cannot Keep Logic HIGH or LOW for a Long period of time, say for a few millisecond second. If you apply a logic low on "data in" the "data out" will become low but only for few millisecond and it […]


Programming in C – Tips for Embedded Development.

Here I will highlight some features of C language commonly used in 8 bit embedded platforms like 8051, AVR and PICs. While programming microcontrollers in C most of the time we have to deal with registers. Most common tasks are setting and clearing bits in a register and check whether a bit is 0 or 1 in a given register. So here I will give detail on those topics, it will help you if you are new to embedded programming in C and if you get confused when you see some codes. A Register A register is simply a collection of some bits (mostly 8 bits in case of 8bit MCUs). Either each different bit in a register has some purpose or the register as a whole holds a value. Registers serves as connection between a CPU and a Peripheral device (like ADC or TIMER). By modifying the register the CPU is actually instructing the PERIPHERAL to do something or it is configuring it in some way. And by reading a register, the CPU can know the state of peripheral or read associated data. Fig.: CPU writing to Peripheral Register   Fig.: CPU Reading from Peripheral Register Binary Numbers in C When you write a=110; in C it means you are setting the value of variable"a" to "one hundred and […]

RF Communication Between Microcontrollers – Part I

In many situations a communication link between to devices becomes essential. This communication can be wired or wireless. If two devices are close to each other (like a MCU and a Memory) a wired link is preferred. How ever in many situations two devices are reasonably far apart. In that case a wireless link is preferred. Two popular wireless communication technologies are IR Communications Used in IrDA, and Remote controls Short Range Requires two devices to be in line of sight. There should be no Opaque Obstacle in between the devices. Easy and low cost to implement RF Communication Widely used, including Bluetooth,Radios,Cell phones, Satellite etc Wide range, from few meters to millions of kilometers (Can be Used to control Robots in Mars) Does not requires two devices to be in line of sight. Can cross many obstacles Circuits can be complicated and costly. In this tutorial we will learn how to practically implement a wireless link between two MCUs. This link will be used to send and receive digital data. We will create a Radio Frequency link. How ever as I said the RF circuits are little complicated so we will use ready made RF Modules. These are easily available and low cost. What is a RF Module ? A RF Module is a small circuit pre built and […]

AVR Project – Digital Stop Watch with ATmega8

Hello Friends, In this tutorial we will make a "Digital Stop Watch" using an AVR ATmega8 Microcontroller. This will help you learn many concepts like Multiplexed Seven Segment Display Interfacing Using AVR Timers Using Interrupts And many others too. The code is written in C language for avr-gcc (WinAVR) . Fig.: Digital Stop Watch Prototype Steps to Build the "Digital Stop Watch" using AVR ATmega8 MCU Make the circuit according to the schematic on general purpose PCB or a BreadBoard. Make a project in AVR Studio and add a new file to the project. Copy/paste the "c" code. Set optimization as "o2" and CPU frequency as 16000000Hz. Save and Build the project. You will get a HEX file. Burn this HEX file to an ATmega8 MCU using a tool such as eXtreme Burner AVR. Set High Fuse = C9(Hex) Low Fuse = FF(Hex). How to do this depends on you programmer software. I have use a xBoard MINI development board for fast and easy prototyping. The Displays+Transistors+Key are on the Veroboard while the Core CPU unit + power supply is in the xBoard MINI. It can be programmed "In System" over USB Port using eXtreme Burner – AVR software toolkit. Fig.: Digital Stop Watch made using xBoard MINI   How to Use the "Digital Stop Watch" When initially powered up […]

PIC Development Board – Expansion of Board

The PIC Development board from eXtreme Electronics has the feature of connecting add-on boards, like user interface board or a motor controller board. You can also make your own expansion board. Actually the board has the ability to connect a prototyping area where you can create your project specific circuit while the "basic" environment for PIC resides on the Development board. Fig.: Replaceable Prototyping Area   In this way many project can be created and kept for future use. Each project resides in its own board when you need that simply pair it with development board and the project is up and running! No messy wiring! Preparing a Veroboard for connection Take a general purpose PCB (veroboard) and solder a 40 PIN right angled burg strip connector in one end. Fig.: Replaceable Prototyping Area Now the it is ready to plug into the Development Board. Fig.: Replaceable Prototyping Area   After you connect your prototyping area to the Dev Board all PORTs of PIC MCU and Power Supply becomes available in the veroboard. Here you can connect all sort of components required by your project. It is very easy to remove the prototyping are and replace it with a fresh new one for another project. Thus a single development board can be used for many different projects. The 40 PIN […]

PIC Development Board – Hello World Project

Hello friends, welcome to this exciting tutorial were we will begin our journey with latest PIC18F micros from Microchip Technologies. This tutorial will give you information on what software/hardware you will require and basic steps on how to get, install, configure and use them. After going through this tutorial you will have a complete setup and knowledge to experiment with these powerful chips !           What you will learn ? MPLab as a powerful IDE. HI-TECH C for PIC18 MCUs as a powerful C Compiler. Creating a new HI-TECH C project in MPLab. Write a C Code to blink LED and compile it to get a HEX code. Configure the MCU for proper oscillator selection. Basic Use for PIC development board from eXtreme Electronics Burn the HEX code to MCU using eXtreme Burner PIC from eXtreme Electronics. Use the programmed MCU to actually blink the LED ! So lets get started !!! First get these stuffs Microchip’s MPLab IDE or Integrated development Environment. This is the central tool from where you can access most of other tools, like the C Compiler. This also lets you create and edit program files and projects. Download this from Microchips Web site and Install it in your computer. Download MPLAB IDE Free. HI-TECH C Pro for PIC18 MCUs – This […]

PIC Development Board – Programming

The PIC Development Board can be easily programmed INCircuit by using our eXtreme Burner – PIC, a PIC Programmer with USB Connectivity. The firmware of a Microcontroller is normally stored in HEX files. This HEX file is generated by an assembler or a Compiler. In this section we will show you how you can transfer a HEX file from your PC to the Microcontroller. NOTE: It is assumed that eXtreme Burner – PIC (hardware) is installed as described in its documentation. It is assumed that eXtreme Burner – PIC (software) is installed as described in its documentation. Connect the PIC development board with the programmer using a six pin female to female cable as shown below. Power on both development board and the burner. Fig. Six pin female to female cable for ICSP.   Fig. 6 PIN ICSP of Development Board.   Fig. 6 PIN ICSP of eXtreme Burner – PIC. Launch eXtreme Burner – PIC from Windows Desktop or Start Menu. Fig.: eXtreme Burner – PIC, Main Screen.   The software is easy to use. First you need to load the HEX file which you want to burn to the MCU. So select Open from File Menu or From the Toolbar. Then select the hex file. Now the HEX file will be loaded and the contents (FLASH,EEPROM,Chip Settings) will […]

PIC Development Board – Introduction

Thanks for selecting PIC development board from eXtreme Electronics. Now lets get familiar with this powerful and easy to use system. Introduction This board will help you build and test any project with PIC microcontroller quickly and easily. It can be used to work with any 40 PIN PIC micros. The board provides the basic environment for the PIC to run. The great advantage of the design is replaceable prototyping area. All ports and power supply is available on 40 PIN female connecter. You can easily attach a normal veroboard with help of 40 PIN male headers. Now all PORTs of MCU is available on the veroboard where you can design the rest of your project. In this way you can create many different project with same development board, you just need a blank veroboard. By using this technique the "rest" of your project and the development board are paired firmly, both electrically and physically, yet flexibly separable! Features Incircuit Serially Programmable with eXtreme Burner – PIC. PIC 18F4550 Included USB 2.0 Support Running @ 48 MHz (12MIPS) with 20 MHz crystal. (Using on chip PLL) Inbuilt 5V regulator with reverse voltage protection Power Switch (on/off) Power LED Reset Button RS232 Interface with DB9 male connector. 2 x Extra 5v Out All ports on linear 40 pin female connector. Replaceable […]


GUI Software for USBasp based USB AVR Programmers.

When I started using USBasp (a great programmer for AVRs), I soon realized that the avrdude (the software for driving USBasp) is not much usable. Sometimes it irritates me a lots because of its command line interface. Also the avrdude-gui is not much helpful as it was just calling the real money slot machines avrdude in background. It cannot write/read the fuse bytes easily and reading the chip content was impossible. I made many changes to the software to make it more useful but Finally I decided to write a fresh new software from scratch and eXtreme Burner – AVR was born! The eXtreme Burner- AVR has full graphical user interface (GUI) and can be used much more easily. Screen shots Fig.: GUI Software for USBasp   Fig.: GUI Software for USBasp – Burn Progress.   Fig.: GUI Software for USBasp – Task Complete ! Easy AVR Clock Source Configuration AVR series of MCU supports several types of clock sources for various applications. For example a cheap RC Oscillator or a perfect high speed crystal oscillator. You can select from the following clock sources easily using a drop down menu. External Clock. Calibrated Internal RC Oscillator. (DEFAULT) External RC Oscillator. External Low Frequency Crystal. External Crystal/Ceramic Resonator. Fig.: Selecting AVR Clock Source Fig.: Selecting Clock Option Linux Version ! Finally […]

General Purpose Digital IO with PIC Microcontrollers.

GPIO( General Purpose IO) is the most basic method of communication between MCU and external world. These are done with what is called a PORT. Ports are nothing but a set of bits physically connected to PINs of Microcontroller and available outside the chip. As we are working on PIC micros and they are 8 bits so the maximum size of a PORT is 8 bits. Some PORTs have fewer than 8 bits. You can turn each bit in a PORT on and off under program control. The bits which you set as 1 becomes HIGH and the physical PIN of Micro is at Vcc(supply voltage, usually 3.3v or 5v). And the PINs which you clear (=0) becomes low and physical level is 0v(GND). Fig.: PIC IO Port example, PORTB.   Fig.: PIC IO Port example, Using PORTB, Turning BITs on and off. You can test the operation of an IO port by using LEDs as shown below. Fig.: When the bit is set to 0 the LED remains off. When you write a value 1 to corresponding bit the LED starts glowing. Fig.: When the bit is set to 1 the LED starts glowing. PORTs are Named like PORTA,PORTB,PORTC etc. The PIC we are using PIC4550 has the following PORTs PORTA(8bit wide) PORTB(8bit wide) PORTC(7bit wide) PORTD(8bit wide) PORTE(4bit […]

Hello World Project With PIC Microcontroller – Part II

Hello Friends, Welcome back. In the last tutorial we started working with MPLab and HI-TECH C Compiler and written our first C program to blink LED. After compiling the program we got the HEX file. Now, in this tutorial we will see how to transfer(burn) the hex file to our Microcontroller chip and then power it up to actually blink the LED. We will use eXtreme Burner – PIC , which is a easy to use GUI programmer for PIC18 MCUs. The burner supports USB connectivity with PC so it is very easy to install and use. Launch eXtreme Burner – PIC from Windows Desktop or Start Menu.   Fig.: eXtreme Burner – PIC, Main Screen.   The software is easy to use. First you need to load the HEX file which was generated by MPLAB+HI-TECH C in previous tutorial. So select Open from File Menu or From the Toolbar. Then select the hex file. Now the HEX file will be loaded and the contents (FLASH,EEPROM,Chip Settings) will be available. Now connect the programmer with your PC by using standard USB Cable the programmer will be automatically detected by software (provided drivers are installed previously) . Apply power to programmer using a 12v DC adaptor. Place a PIC18F4550 chip in the ZIF socket and lock it.   Fig.: eXtreme Burner […]