Tutorial: Using Atmel Studio 6 with Arduino projects

The Atmel Studio 6 start screen.

In our previous Atmel tutorial, we talked about how to set up the powerful AVR Studio 5 IDE to incorporate Arduino libraries and projects. As flexible as AVR Studio 5 is, it had a few issues, and Atmel has been hard at work hustling the next major version out the door. Now, rebranded as Atmel Studio 6 (no longer just for AVRs!), the new version promises to be better, faster, and easier to use. Here, we’ll show you the quickest way to get up and running if you want to use Arduino code with all of the new features.

Note: This article explains how to set up the Atmel Studio 6 IDE for use with Arduino projects, step-by-step.  It also notes on general setup for working with Atmel devices, background on the pros/cons of working with AVR Studio, and a few other tips.  A table of contents is below; feel free to skip to any section that interests you.

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Using a CMOS camera to replace conventional light sensors

Little did we know, that quarter is the size of a dinner plate.

A post on Embedded Lab that discusses using a CMOS camera for sensing applications caught our eye today. Traditionally, to process the output from a CMOS you need some serious number-crunching power, and common lore holds that most 8-bit microcontrollers aren’t up to the task. However, Ibrahim Kamal from IKALOGIC has written an article that explains how you can use a CMOS to replace rudimentary image or light sensors such as photo diodes.

By reducing the captured resolution, discarding color data, and potentially converting the pixel values to binary information, you can still receive useful input but can parse it with a low-cost, low-power processor. In this way, an 8-bit chip can open the door to basic image processing, allowing for lots of possibilities in robotics or other projects.

The article includes an example that hooks up a CMOS available on Sparkfun (the TCM8230MD) to an AVR XMega. For $10, you have no excuse not to try it in your next sensing project.

Article: IKALOGIC
Source: Embedded Lab
Image: Sparkfun

How to solder like a pro

Soldering is a skill that electronics newbies often find intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Jeff Keyzer, Mitch Altman, and Andy Nordgren put together an excellent guide called Soldering is Easy. It’s packed with information on how to make good solder joints. Better yet, it’s illustrated in comic book format, so every explanation comes with clear pictures on exactly how to do things.

If you’re new to electronics and circuits, check out the guide to get up and running in no time. Even if you’re experienced but feel like you could shake off some rust, give it a glance. Good soldering technique is a lifelong skill that saves time and energy by creating cleaner, more reliable projects.

Source: MightyOhm via Tinkerlog

Data logging with Arduino

Super sweet sensor sexiness over the serial stream.

Tom Igoe’s blog code, circuits, and construction has posted a tutorial on how to log data from your Arduino and put it into your platform or format of choice. As Tom explains, there’s a few common pathways once you’ve read a sensor or accepted some other form of input:

  • Serial transmission to a personal computer, and serial capture to a file.
  • Saving data to an SD card mounted on the Arduino.
  • HTTP upload to pachube.com via an Ethernet shield or Ethernet Arduino.

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Microcontroller tutorial series: AVR and Arduino timer interrupts

Tick tock goes the Arduino clock.

Does your program seem like it’s trying to do too much at once? Are you using a lot of delay() or while() loops that are holding other things up? If so, your project is a good candidate to use timers. In this tutorial, we’ll discuss AVR and Arduino timers and how to use them to write better code.

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Project setup to develop and debug for AVR

Atmel AVR ATMega 1284 in a DIP socket.

Pete Brown, the lead of the Developer Guidance Community Team at Microsoft, has written a great post on how to properly prepare for a new AVR project. He covers how to choose a microcontroller, collecting necessary datasheets and information, setting up your hardware development environment and software IDE, and how to properly test and debug your code.

If you’re looking to make the jump from Arduino or another processor family but aren’t sure where to start, this should help get you off the ground. You can also cross-reference our tutorial on using AVR Studio 5 with Arduino projects if you want to mix and match environments.

Changes in the Arduino 1.0 release: How to migrate

Splash screen for the Arduino 1.0 IDE.At long last, the Arduino team has released Arduino 1.0 – an update to the development environment and core libraries that make the Arduino hardware do its thang.  The 1.0 update has been in the works for a while, and covers a lot of changes, including some you’ll notice and some you won’t.  How does all this affect your Arduino projects?  Read on to find out.

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Tutorial: Using AVR Studio 5 with Arduino projects

AVR Studio Welcome Page

This article explains, step-by-step, how to set up the AVR Studio 5 IDE for use with Arduino projects.  It also includes some background on the pros and cons of working with AVR Studio, notes on general setup for working with Atmel devices, and a few other tips we’ve picked up along the way.  Feel free to skip around to the sections that interest you.

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How to turn your breadboard rat’s nest into a badass circuit – PCB manufacturing tips

Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is a black art among the DIY community.  If you’re putting together a prototype circuit, the process is very well established: get an Arduino or your microcontroller of choice, pick out some components, get a breadboard and wires, and then string everything together.  Easy, low cost, and accessible.

However, what if your project becomes more complex?  You can extend breadboard or perf-board work to a point, but the likelihood of making an error grows exponentially with project complexity.  Nobody wants to end up with a circuit that looks like this:

Now THIS is a rats nest of wires.

Image credit: Big Mess o’ Wires

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Extreme AVR power savings – the quest continues

At Engblaze, we’re somewhat obsessed with squeezing every possible bit of performance out of our circuits.  Ok, really obsessed.  Like beyond Facebook-stalking and into restraining-order-territory obsessed.  To that end, we consider it our duty to bring news of other intrepid performance squeezing pioneers in the DIY electronics world.

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