AVR32 Projects

Atmel AP7000 CPU and Nexus 1 trace port

Atmel AP7000 CPU and Nexus 1 trace port

Atmel MkII Jtag probe

Atmel MkII JTAG debug probe

AVR32 evaluation board

The AVR32 would be ideal for an industrial terminal with dual 100 Mbps Ethernet, a large number of general purpose I/O, serial ports with RS-485 control, a graphical display, DRAM refresh, debug support and internal trace capability that could theoretically be saved to the SD card socket. We wanted to use the AVR32 for the aisle controller in the warehouse application, but the screen was a bit small (also cost). The AVR32 was described in an Atmel Whitepaper, MCU Architectures for Computer-Intensive Embedded Applications (233kb) by Jo Uthus in December, 2005. We were researching tracing, and a link from Ashling Microsystems in Ireland described their part in defining the Nexus debug trace port. The AVR32 AP7000 board was available in 2006, which we ordered. There was a low-cost JTAG debugger and a special promotion of two boards for the price of one. That would make life easier if someone could share development, or to program and test remotely, then download to the client to test on identical hardware.

We used IAR tools, (which were either time- or size locked), until Atmel’s tools and Eclipse-based IDE improved. We wrote to the LEDs, read the buttons, tested the serial ports, Ethernet and the graphics display. The multi-colour LEDs were really fun! Two interesting features were tracing into user visible memory, and the programmable delay after the serial transmitter buffer emptied for RS-485 control, see serial.c (22kB).

During a MK-II JTAG pod upgrade, the board/ pod was “bricked”. By this stage we had tested the board and excellent Linux port. The roadmap was around 133 MHz to 150 MHz while Atmel’s ARM offerings were 200 MHz and shortly afterwards 400 MHz. It was a really nice chip, however, customers were looking for ARM. The AP7000 was considered “mature” in 2011. Newer AVR32 family members boast impressive power dissipation figures. ARM raced ahead well past the 1 GHz barrier from multiple vendors in 2009/ 2010.