AVR on the MAC

By | February 25, 2009

7C0C36AB-CBD4-4652-9631-C533CE111905.jpgAfter many hours playing with the new iMac, it is time to get something ‘proper’ done with it. By proper, I mean, of course, some microcontroller development. To start with, I have been looking at the AVR.


Probably the easiest tool to get going with is the popular Arduino. Ready-to-go packages exist for the Mac which install in the proper way and give you a delightfully simple GUI to write simple, and not-so-simple programs. The various flavours of Arduino board mostly have a USB to serial converter on them and the arduino talks to a bootloader on the chip through this port. From what I can see, arbitrarily complex programs can be written for the target hardware, subject to the processor memory constraints. More on the Arduino another time.For now, look at this site: http://www.arduino.cc/For more general purpose AVR development, there are a few places to go to get ready-built sets of tools similar to the WinAVR package for Windows. These gather together everything you need to compile for the AVR using one of the various GCC packages. Downloading is generally by means of AVRdude which can talk to a variety of hardware. After a lot of hunting around and a couple of mistakes, I have chosen the AVRMacPack.The main reason is that it installs neatly and has an uninstaller. The other popular package is ASX-AVR. The main disadvantage of this is that it scatters several packages around your /usr/local/ folder and has no uninstaller so getting rid of it, and presumably upgrading it, looks to be a bit of a pain.AVRMacPack details can be found here: http://www.obdev.at/products/avrmacpack/index-de.htmlTo program my processsors, I will be using the ASBasp. This open-source programmer is supported by the version of AVRdude in the tools and would be very easy to build. Except, of course for the chicken and egg business of getting the programmer programmed. Thus I have ordered a ready-made one from an eBay seller. Once that arrives, I can make some more.All this sound very well but I have not yet tried any of it so more later…

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