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(Real) Debugging of Arduino Sketches with debugWire

  • Dec 17, 2013 · 6:30 PM
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This is an intermediate to advanced level Arduino topic. Contact me if you want to get up to speed on basic Arduino operations or have any questions. Who should attend?

• Developers that have used professional C/C++ development environments on heavier platforms and miss the advantages of source-level debugging while writing code for Arduino

• Arduino hackers that have a number of projects under their belt, but find themselves running into the limits of the Arduino IDE

• Electronics gurus who can set up the hardware for their projects, but struggle with the software side of their projects

Do you write perfect code for your Arduino sketches?  I don’t.  So after many hours of frustration using the official recommended Arduino debugging techniques (read: print statements!), I bit the bullet and figured out how to set up a hardware debugger in order to do “source-level debugging” of Arduino sketches, including breakpoints, watchpoints, and live data inspection.

In this tech talk, I will share the motivations, process, and results of setting up the debugWire form of debugging.  What is debugWire?  It is the on-chip debugger (OCD) mechanism built into every Atmel AVR processor used on the Arduino boards.  Once enabled, an external tool can communicate with the inner workings of the microcontroller by manipulating the RESET pin, leaving all other pins available for use by your project.

A special thanks to Atmel for supplying the ICE in support of the IPSO alliance contest. 

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  • Allan H.

    Brett...while a JTAG debugger may be useful for working with more sophisticated systems, debugging an Arduino or AVR Mega series microcontroller will require a tool that specifically supports debugWire. If the tool you found supports this, I'd definitely be interested in it...

    December 27, 2013

  • Brett W.

    I found a source for a JTAG interface for around $20. It is a off sourced unboxed interface that everyone seemed to ask about.
    Contact me for info. I am still experimenting with it to make sure it is 100% compatible with AVR Studio.


    1 · December 27, 2013

  • Brett W.

    Just what I needed to learn, presented in an informal and easy to understand manner.

    December 17, 2013

    • Arman B.

      Please let us know what other topics may be of interest and/or useful. It would be great to plan ahead for next year :-)

      December 18, 2013

  • Arman B.

    Thanks again everyone for attending, Allan H for Presenting, and Wess G for Hosting. Good to see some new faces as well.

    December 18, 2013

  • Arman B.

    Our friends at Edtric are hosting several classes for Arduino beginners, this is a great way to get hands-on instruction to get the basics down.

    Crash Course Arduino:
    This is a short but intense 4 hour introduction to Arduino aimed at those who already have had a brief exposure to electronics and software. The price includes your very own limited edition "Made in the USA" USAduino.
    Classes on December 18, 19, 20, 21.

    Young Learners Introduction to Arduino:
    A 5 week introduction to Arduino aimed at particpants between ages 10 to 13.
    January 6th 2014 through Februrary 5th 2014 from 4:00 to 5:30pm.

    1 · December 11, 2013

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