Design Automation


In-circuit-emulator targeted at reducing development costs

19 May 2004 Design Automation

A new powerful development tool for on-chip debugging of all AVR 8-bit microcontrollers with IEEE 1149.1 compliant JTAG interface or debugWIRE Interface has been announced by Atmel. According to the company, the JTAG ICE mkII represents a groundbreaking new approach to debug low cost 8-bit microcontrollers in system, an approach previously only cost-justified on larger CPUs.

The AVR JTAGICE mkII and the AVR Studio user interface give the user complete control of the internal resources of the microcontroller, helping to reduce development time by making debugging easier. The tool performs realtime microcontroller emulation while it is running in a target system and provides the exact electrical and timing characteristics of the micro in the system. Atmel says this capability is not available on a traditional in-circuit emulator, where the characteristics of the emulator probe will differ from the characteristics of the real device. By using the real device as part of its own debug platform, this problem is removed.

The JTAGICE mkII provides emulation capability at a fraction of the cost of traditional emulators, according to the company. The on-chip debug interface allows high-speed communication with the target device, eliminating the bottleneck associated with other on-chip debug methods. It communicates with the on-chip debug block and can execute code and monitor results in the AVR microcontroller. The emulation interface is independent of clock frequency, which will result in faster communication and debugging when the device is clocked at any frequency between 32 kHz to 24 MHz.

The megaAVR JTAG interface is an IEEE 1149.1 compliant four wire test access port that provides a standard way to implement boundary scan and on-chip debug. Atmel has extended this capability to include full in-system programming and on-chip debug support. Cost is reduced by off loading expensive SRAM and emulation circuits from the in-circuit emulator to using existing resources on the chip. DebugWIRE enables on chip debug of AVR microcontrollers in small pin count packages, using only a single wire for the debug interface.

For more information contact Avnet Kopp, 011 809 6100, Arrow Altech Distribution, 011 923 9600, EBV Electrolink, 021 421 5350, or Memec SA, 011 897 8600.



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