Tag Archives: embedded debugger

HackADay talks Arduino Zero with Atmel’s Bob Martin

On May 15, Arduino and Atmel debuted the long-awaited Zero. The 32-bit development board packs Atmel’s versatile SAMD21 microcontroller (MCU), which is built around ARM’s Cortex M0+ core.

Key hardware specs include 256kb of flash, 32kb SRAM in a TQFP package and compatibility with 3.3V shields that conform to the Arduino R3 layout.

 The Arduino Zero board also boasts flexible peripherals along with Atmel’s Embedded Debugger (EDBG) – facilitating a full debug interface on the SAMD21 without the need for supplemental hardware.

In addition, EDBG supports a virtual COM port that can be used for device programming and traditional Arduino bootloader functionality.

During Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, the HackADay crew had the opportunity to go hands on with the new board, discussing the Zero with Atmel’s very own Bob Martin.

“There are two USB connectors; one let you access the board as a device or a host while the other connects the debugging hardware. If you’ve never used an On Chip Debugger before it’ll change your life so do give it a try,” writes HackADay’s Mike Szczys.

“When you do move past the initial prototyping phase of your project you can still use the Zero as a debugging tool. There’s an unpopulated 10-pin header (not sure if the small pitch header comes with it or not) which can be used to interface with a target board. Bob also spent some time talking about the configurable 6-pin header which allows you to choose from a range of hardware protocols (SPI, TWI, etc.)”

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered Arduino Zero? You can check out the development board’s official page here.

Who’s talking about the Arduino Zero ?

The Atmel-powered Arduino Zero dev board was officially announced on May 15th, 2014. The board’s debut has already been covered by a number of prominent tech publications, including Ars Technica, HackADay, EE Times, Electronics Weekly, CNX SoftwareUberGizmoGeeky Gadgets, SlashGear, PC World, SemiWiki and Makezine.

Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica



“The Zero is a 32-bit extension of Arduino’s flagship Uno board, developed jointly by the Arduino team and Atmel, targeted at helping developers prototype smart devices. Based on the Atmel SAM D21 ARM Cortex-based microcontroller, the Zero includes Amtel’s Embedded Debugger—allowing developers to debug their projects without having to wire up another interface.

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“It gives developers a huge boost in storage and memory over the Uno, providing 256KB of onboard Flash storage (compared to the Uno’s 32KB) and 32KB of static RAM (compared to the Uno’s 2KB). It can also emulate an Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) of up to 168KB, while the Uno only supported 1KB of EEPROM.”

Brian Benchoff, HackADay

“The Arduino Zero uses an Atmel ARM Cortex-M0+ for 256kB of Flash and 32k of RAM. The board supports Atmel’s Embedded Debugger, finally giving the smaller Arduino boards debugging support.

“The chip powering the Zero features six communications modules, configurable as a UART, I2C, or SPI. USB device and host are also implemented on the chip [and] there are two USB connectors on the board.”

Max Maxfield, EE Times



“I’ve become a huge supporter of the Arduino, from the concept to the hardware to the software (IDE) to the ecosystem. I’m now using Arduinos and Arduino-compatible platforms for all sorts of projects, including my Infinity Mirror, my Inamorata Prognostication Engine and my BADASS Display.

“Each Arduino and Arduino-compatible platform offers different features, functions, capacities, and capabilities, which makes it possible to select the optimal platform for the project at hand using criteria such as size, cost, performance, and number of input/output pins. As of this morning, there’s a new kid on the block – the Arduino Zero, which has been jointly developed by Atmel and Arduino.”

Alasdair Allan, MakeZine

“While it shares the same form factor as the Arduino Leonardo—with 14 digital and 5 analog pins—all of the digital pins except the Rx/Tx pins can act as PWM pins, and the analog pins have a 12-bit ADC instead of the Leonardo’s 10-bit ADC, giving significantly better analog resolution,” writes Makezine’s Alasdair Allan.

“The new board comes with 256KB of Flash memory, and 32KB of SRAM. While the new board doesn’t have EEPROM, it does support 16KB by emulation, so Arduino sketches relying on this feature will still run without issue.”

Arduino Zero – official specs:

  • Microcontroller ATSAMD21G18, 48pins LQFP
  • Operating voltage 3.3V
  • Digital I/O Pins 14, with 12 PWM and UART
  • Analog input pins 6, including 5 12bits ADC channels and one 10 bits DAC
  • DC current per I/O Pin 7 mA
  • Flash memory 256 KB
  • SRAM 32 KB
  • EEPROM up to 16KB by emulation
  • Clock speed 48 MHz

Interested in learning more? You can check out the official Arduino Zero page here.

The Atmel Xplained platform is going Pro

By: Eirik Slettahjell – Sr. Development Engineer Atmel

Having been on the team that created the new Atmel® Xplained Pro platform,  let me share some more details about these new boards and the platform we are providing. Xplained Pro is the result of Atmel’s engineers aiming to make life easier for designers working with Atmel MCUs. In other words: designed by engineers for engineers:

“The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human needs and quality of life.”1

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SAM4L Xplained Pro MCU board

The Atmel Xplained Pro platform provides the full Atmel microcontroller experience, combining hardware and software. It equips you, the engineer, with a smart platform that makes it easy to excel with the complete application prototype up and running an hour after your boss discusses a new product idea. We want the Atmel Xplained Pro platform to inspire and enable new ground breaking designs and applications.

SAM4L Xplained Pro MCU board details

SAM4L Xplained Pro MCU board details

“How is this possible?”

Atmel Xplained Pro platform is capable of being a product prototype. With the evaluation kits, Atmel Studio and Atmel Software Framework you can put together the complete application prototype – really fast.

Start Atmel Studio and connect the Xplained Pro kit to your computer. You will discover the kit and its capabilities since Atmel Studio knows exactly which Atmel Xplained Pro evaluation kit you connected and what extensions are plugged into the kit. Download applications examples or software building blocks from Atmel Software Framework and build the prototype.

You also get direct access to datasheets and board documentation by connecting your kit to your computer.

Thanks to the embedded debugger, Xplained Pro are easy to use, yet provide powerful debugging capabilities.

You do not have to connect any external debugger or programmer. With only a USB cable connected to your computer you get:

  • Device program and debug with all the same capabilities as Atmel’s standard programmers and debuggers
  • Data Gateway Interface (DGI) for enhanced application data streaming and debug through standard interfaces
  • Virtual COM port (USB CDC) to easily allow printf-style debug and data logging directly into Atmel Studio

The Xplained Pro platform has been designed for flexibility. A standard Xplained Pro header makes it easy for anyone to design extension boards that connect to the Xplained Pro evaluation kits. Available boards can be found here, including IO, prototyping, OLED and segment LCD extension boards.

If you can’t wait for the extension that you want – just make your own.  The Extension Developer’s Kit (XDK) gives you a design guide that tells you everything you need to create an Xplained Pro extension board.

Xplained Pro Extension boards

Xplained Pro Extension boards

The Xplained Pro offering will continuously expand, covering the latest MCUs and technology available. More information about boards and kits is available on Atmel’s web site and can be purchased from one of Atmel’s distributors or at store.atmel.com.

References

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (2006). “Engineers”. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition. Retrieved 2006-09-21.