AVR fuse programmer for OS X

For anyone who works with AVR 8 bit microcontrollers, the programming software used is an important part of the development process. Atmel provides AVR Studio 4, which operates on the Windows operating system, but does not provide an equivalent environment for other operating systems such as Linux, BSD or OS X.

Fortunately there are several excellent open source tools available for these other operating systems such as the GNU toolchain, UISP, AVRDUDE etc.

One area that is lacking on AVRDUDE is the handling of fuses. While they can be programmed, and read back, this is a messy process and a mistake can render the processor useless for further serial In System Programming unless a parallel programmer is available. Also an adaptor may be required for the parallel programmer if it is a surface mount device, and the removal of the chip from the circuit. It is much better to get the fuses set correctly in the first place.

AVR Studio does this by offering a GUI interface with check boxes for each item such as clock speed, type of oscillator, brown out detection, etc. Now there is a useful tool for those who develop on Apple Macs that allows AVR fuses to be programmed in a GUI manner similar to the AVR Studio method - AVRFuses.

AVRFuses is written using the native OS X Cocoa interface. The look and behaviour of the fuses section of the program is just like same section in the AVR Studio application. AVRFuses requires AVRDUDE to be installed to work properly as its backend, but this will usually be installed already on an OS X machine used for AVR development, or can be easily installed from Macports. It also has a section similar to AVR Studio for reading and writing flash and EEPROM memory on the microcontroller, although this feature is probably less interesting than the fuse manipulation.

In the open source spirit, AVRFuses is free of charge.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 23:06 Posted in , ,