Very Gnu AVR P rogramming - eXtreme
A project to simplify AVR Microcontroller programming

What is VGAP-X?

Very Gnu Avr Programming by eXample (yes, I still haven't decided on what the X should stand for)

SUMMARY:  To make AVR programming nearly as easy for the newbie hobbyist as a "Stamp" setup.

I have very recently started working with the AVR family of microcontrollers, and microcontrollers in general.  I was initially looking into some of the various "Stamps" or other PIC setups.  But, found that they were very expensive for someone like me, who wanted to set up several, have them interconnect, try different devices, and do lots of experimenting.  These kits are neet, clean, and easy to use.  While learning about how to use the AVR family, I discovered that one of the AVR features also caused a weekness for a newbie like me.  There are so many variants of the AVR that the tools can be confusing to set up and learn.  Sample code for one or a schematic for another didn't mesh.

So, to make things easier for a newbie like me, I thought a "standard" setup that was inexpensive and had examples specifically for that setup would be perfect for a new hobbyist.  Using the free software and harvesting various code in the internet jungle, I could assemble a library that would serve as a starting point for the most commonly used tasks a hobbyist would want to start using from the begining.

What will this project do?

-    Pick a set of processors to "support".  Currently the  8515,mega163,mega323 set of processors are the easiest to start with.  Their 40 Pin setup and price range($8-$15 USD) seem to make the most sense and give you a range of 8K to 32K programming space.  Easily meets, and exceeds the currently available set of "Stamp" setups.
-    Pick a board platform to use for the main "brains".  The above set works on the SIMM100 stick as available from Dontronics for about $5.00 USD.  Very reasonable!
-    Pick a programming platform.  I would think FREE IS GOOD, so we'll use AvrFreaks' avr-gcc setup for Windows(Linux will come later).  This, along with AvrX for a real-time OS, makes an excelent setup.
-    Put together a comprehensive library of routines for LCD, DC Motor, Stepper Motors, Keyboard/Keypad input, I2C,  Digital Compass, IR Ranging, Servo Control, Async. RS-232, Poloroid Sonar, Ultrasonic Ranging, etc.
-    Standardize on an ISP(In S ystem Programming) setup.  Today the widest used interface is the Kanda/STK200 10-pin interface.  I'll post pictures of a setup I will build using parts from Radio Shack, so it's easy to find the necessary parts.
-    Create a very easy to follow set of step-by-step instructions to put together this setup and start using your AVR microcontrollers, even if you have never used a microcontroller before.

Joe(Project Manager)

Links to People and Products used in this project
Dontronics    Larry Barello(AvrX)    Atmel    AVRFreaks Logo