What is VGAP-X?
ample (yes, I still haven't decided on what the X should
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
- 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,
- Standardize on an ISP(I
rogramming) 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
- 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.