New AVR development tool - AVR Dragon

The Atmel ® Corporation this month released a new low cost development tool for AVR ® Microcontrollers - the AVR Dragon.

(AVR, Atmel, 8 bit Microcontrollers)

It supports In-System Programming, High Voltage Serial Programming, Parallel Programming, JTAG Programming.

While this is a welcome addition to the toolset available for development of AVR 8 bit microcontrollers, a couple of issues should be considered.

It would appear that this tool is in response to the TI eZ430-F2013 tool previously mentioned on this website some months ago. At $49, it is more than TI tool, though still not prohibitive for an entry level tool, if this is the market either of these manufacturers is aiming at. The STK500 development system is still offered, so it is unlikely that Atmel is offering Dragon as a replacement for that. Unlike the TI offering this tool connects via a USB cable and not in the form of a USB stick. The TI tool supports only one microcontroller, while the Dragon supports many of the AVR series of 8 bit microcontrollers.

From a marketing point of view, this is a less aggressive introduction than the eZ430-F2013, which was available directly from TI for direct shipment in a DVD case sized package. The Dragon is ordered through normal AVR channels.

Software support for the Dragon is AVR Studio v4.12, with SP4. Unfortunately, as with the TI unit, the development platform is limited to Microsoft Windows. It would be nice to at least see some porting of this software to Mac and possibly to Linux. AVR Studio already supports the popular gcc compiler most often used on unix based platforms such as these. Perhaps AVRdude or other open source programmers will include Dragon in their supported tools shortly.

Strangely, there doesn't appear to be any detailed specifications on the Atmel website, pdf or otherwise, and the technical information offered is limited to a small text file.

Sat, 30 Sep 2006 23:10 Posted in