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Re: [avr-chat] Re: Programmer for everyone!

From: Graham Davies
Subject: Re: [avr-chat] Re: Programmer for everyone!
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 07:55:27 -0400

David Kelly wrote:

You know Graham designed, built, and sells the ...
ICE Cube JTAG ICE tool?

Yes, I did this at a time when the only other JTAG ICE clone available was the Olimex one. Having purchased that, I discovered it was so badly designed I decided not to use it. They may have improved the design and, anyway, there are many other JTAG ICE clones out there today. The AVR ICE-Cube remains unique in "perching" right on top of the JTAG connector, thus having no ribbon cable and working well in poor EMI situations.

what can be lifted from Atmel's designs in order to produce
enhanced products both freeware and commercial?

The AVR ICE-Cube and other clones were possible because Atmel made the JTAG ICE design generally available. You can find the schematic on the Web. Also, it is very simple.

Graham's (and others) JTAG programmer looks exactly like an Atmel
JTAGICE mk-I to AVR Studio, and as such run Atmel's firmware which is
loaded by AVR Studio on first use.

I read the AVR Studio license agreement and couldn't find anything thay prohibits this, but I don't ship the AVR ICE-Cube with the Atmel software pre-loaded because that would be splitting up the AVR Studio distribution package. Other clone makers are not so pedantic. Atmel probably don't care about this, but Atmel's attidude to cloned interfaces in general remains a mystery to me.

I really would like to see the AVR Dragon enhanced to support the full
range of 8-bit AVRs.

Oh, yes. I think there is general agreement that the limitations are artificial and intended to protect sales of the much more expensive JTAG ICE MkII. So, we probably won't get our wish. I would not criticise Atmel for this. It would definitely be looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Am about to put ATmega48/88/168 in 3 different
designs all because the customer wants to be able to edit the product
after its delivered and was impressed with the $50 Dragon. Avr-gcc, AVR
Studio, and AVR Dragon make quite a combination on $2.50 MCU's.

While we're on the subject and since I've already alienated any no-advertising-on-the-list people, I'm working on a new product that works in combination with the AVR Dragon to provide STK500-like functionality. I thought the AVR ICE-Cube would be dead after word of the Dragon got out. (Enthusiast sales are indeed off, but corporate sales are still up.) I stopped work on this new product when Atmel were selling the Dragon and STK500 together, but now it seems that was just a temporary thing so maybe there's a place for a permanent solution. Anyone who is interested can find more information here:
I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to beta-test the prototype.


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