Atmel AVR

Atmel® AVR® microcontrollers are very easy to use. In fact, you can get started in just three easy steps. Here is a quick guide: to get you started.

 

Step 1: Download Atmel Studio 6

All Atmel AVR microcontrollers require some software to be useful. To create and debug this software, you can use an integrated development environment (IDE), such as Atmel Studio 6. This IDE contains everything you need to create, compile and debug code, and it will let you download your code straight into the on-chip Flash of the AVR microcontroller - without any other software components.

Atmel Studio 6 is available free of charge.

 

IDE for all Atmel AVR and ARM® Cortex™-M based Microcontrollers

 
 

There are also other IDEs available from 3rd party partners, including IAR. 

 

Step 2: Look at Some Examples

Creating a software program from scratch can be hard, so we provide hundreds of example projects right here on the site. These are called application notes, and they cover various aspects of programming and using the AVR microcontrollers. Just visit any device page and click on the and browse to the "Documents" tab where you will find all relevant application notes for that particular device. A great place to start will be the 8-bit ATmega2560, or the 32-bit AT32UC3A3256.

Atmel Software Framework
The Atmel Software Framework (ASF), integrated in Atmel Studio 6, is a collection of production-ready source code, including 1,600 ready-to-use project examples, written and optimized by experts and tested in hundreds of production designs. Use these peripheral drivers, communication stacks and application-specific libraries to quickly and easily complete your projects.

For more information on ASF, refer to Atmel Software Framework (ASF).

 

Step 3: Get Some Hardware Tools

In addition to AVR Studio, you will also need some hardware tools. The two most important categories are the debugger and the development kits.

In-circuit Debugger
The most essential hardware tool for any software developer is the in-circuit debugger. It connects the microcontroller to the PC via a special debug and programming interface, thus opening a window into the internal workings of the microcontroller. Programming your software into the microcontroller only takes a few seconds, and there is no need to remove or resolder any components. Once programmed, the debugger can control the CPU to run, stop, or single step, and it will read out real-time data from all the microcontroller memories and I/O registers.

There are 3 in-circuit debuggers available for AVR, ranging from the entry level AVR Dragon to the high end AVR ONE. Which one you select is mostly a question of what kind of budget you have. They all support the basic programming and debugging, but the more expensive versions offer faster programming and additional debug modes.

 

In-System Debugger for Atmel 8-bit and 32-bit AVR Microcontrollers with OCD

 

Mid-range In-System Debugger and Programmer for Atmel 8- and 32-bit AVR Microcontrollers

 

In-System Debugger for Atmel 8-bit and 32-bit AVR Microcontrollers

 

STK600 Starter Kit
In addition to the debugger, many customers choose to start their development work on a development board. Atmel offers a wide selection of such boards, ranging from small evaluation kits to complete turn-key reference designs for selected devices. The most popular development board for beginners is the general purpose STK600 starter kit.

 

Starter Kit for Atmel 8-bit and 32-bit AVR Microcontrollers

 

Evaluation Kits and Reference Designs
For engineers who do not need the flexibility of the STK600 starter kit, any one of the evaluation kits and reference designs will be a good alternative. These are device specific, and come with the AVR microcontroller surrounded by selected components.

Two great evaluation kits for beginners who are new to AVR are the AVR Xplain and UC3 EVK1104 kits.

 
AVR XplainedDetails

MCU board for Atmel AVR XMEGA. It features an ATmega128A1 and additional components demonstrating the features of the device.

 

Evaluation Kit for 32-bit Atmel AVR AT32UC3A3256 with Communication Interfaces

 

Optional development kits
If you like to have buttons, sliders and wheels with touch functionality in your design, we recommend the QT600 Development Kit. This development platform allows designers to experiment with Atmel's touch technology, and is the easiest way to analyze and validate Atmel's touch solutions.

 

QT600 Kit Including USB Bridge, MCU Cards, and Touchpad Cards

 
 

Additional Resources

Knowledge Base with FAQ and Online Tools Help
A comprehensive FAQ database gives answers to many of the questions you may have. The FAQ is organized into product groups and sub-categories for easy browsing. Online versions of many tools user guides are made available for easy browsing.

Application notes and other documentation
Get the most out of your microcontroller with the free application notes and datasheets containing detailed and application specific information. Here you can get quick-start guides, migration notes, design considerations, peripheral drivers, and other useful code examples.

Discussion Forums
There is no need to re-invent the wheel! Users world wide are constantly discussing new topics and inventions using Atmel microcontrollers. Be a part of the communities, participate in discussions, and get valuable feedback on any issue you may have.

Training and Events
Learn even more! By participating on trainings, seminars, tradeshows, workshops, and conferences worldwide you will learn about the latest news and hottest topics. Atmel visits places all over the world to show you new products and features.

Third Party Support
Atmel AVR products have an extensive Third Party Support from leading companies worldwide. They offer hardware and software development tools and AVR consultancy services. They can efficiently help designers develop their application in a timely manner and provide their expertise in their projects if needed.

Detailed information and contact for these companies are listed in this section.