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Free your Arduino code from the Arduino board

Atmel AVRISP mk II programmer is getting ready to burn some Arduino bootloader code

Atmel AVRISP mk II programmer is getting ready to burn some Arduino bootloader code

Arduino as a system is a great development tool that makes it incredibly easy for a beginner to start programming microcontrollers and for a seasoned programmer to whip up a quick code in a hurry or keep a large embedded project organised when needed. I think it is very valuable for a user-friendly development environment to have a familiar setting to work in: a familiar IDE, set of libraries and a well-known hardware configuration, all of which Arduino provides splendidly.

However, the hardware – the Arduino boards, all 150,000 variations of :) – may not necessarily work very well for every occasion. Depending on your application there may simply be no space for a 2″x2.5″ board. Additionally, there’s always the question of cost: an MCU chip and a couple of extra components that you actually need for the project may not always justify the cost of the whole Arduino board, voltage regulators, LEDs and all of the extra goodness it provides.

I set out to figure out what it’s going to take to create an MCU development environment in which the code could be developed using all the familiar Arduino tools and then transferred to a stand-alone Atmel MCU so the Arduino board could be reused for future projects, along with all the above mentioned savings. My item of particular interest was to make all this work in Ubuntu Linux – my OS of choice for the last 4 years.

The quest has been helped in no small part by Newark – an electronic components distributor – who has generously provided an Atmel AVRISP MKII programmer – an essential tool for moving the code to stand-alone MCU chips. They carry a whole line of MCU development tools for your MCU family of choice and the AVRISP is one of the most economic ways to get you started programming Atmel chips. Check them out! Read the rest of this entry »

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