Project Setup For Atmel Studio6.2

Alden Hart edited this page Sep 4, 2015 · 17 revisions

This page provides in instructions to set up an Atmel Studio 6.2 project for TinyG. TinyG is maintained in this environment so all the project files are available.

Setting Up TinyG as an Atmel Studio 6.2 Project

Get a Windows Environment that will Support this

We use VMware running Windows 7 on Max OSX (10.9 or 10.10). Here's what we've learned about this setup:

  • If you can, build a dedicated VM for this application.
  • Allocate at least 2 Gb of RAM to the W7 OS. We use 4 Gb
  • Allocate about 40 - 60 Gb of disk, and select the option to break the disk into 2Gb chunks.
  • Do not snapshot as it bloats the VM image. Make offline backups instead. Or snapshot, then remove it once you are satisfied with the results.
  • Make sure the VM is set to the number of cores on your machine or it may run excessively slowly. There's some kind of bug in the communications if the cores are mismatched. This may have been fixed in later VMware.
  • Use the C: drive only for installing the Studio6.2 and the rest of the tool chain
  • Mount the Mac filesystem as an external filesystem and use this for all your project files. See note below:
  • Note that if you are installing under VMware and have your project files in a shared volume (//vmware-host/...) you will need to map a network drive so that AS6.2 can see a windows path as opposed to a UNC path. You can tell by looking at the full filepath in the directory window to see if it contains Z:... (or Y:...) If not then the IDE will not be able to compile.

Get The Studio6.2 Complete Install Kit

  • Go to Atmel and sign up to download the entire Atmel Studio IDE 6.2 production install package, including the .NET Framework 4 part. It's about 800 Mbytes. Current build is build 1563, service pack 2 (as of Sept, 2015).
  • Walk through the entire installation process. You will not need the Atmel Solutions framework when asked. You will need the USB drivers when asked.

Get a Hardware Programmer

You will need a programmer that supports the ISP protocol used by Atmel. ICSP programmers such as your garden variety Adafruit AVR programmer will not work. The unit to get these days is the new Atmel-ICE, which programs AVRs and Atmel ARMS, and supports real-time debugging. All for about $50 (you only need the Basic one). Buy it directly from Atmel on their site. The older AVRISP mkII will also work but does not support real-time debugging.

Clone the TinyG Github Repository

  • Run git clone to set up TinyG working directory. First you must install git. See github for instructions to do this if you haven't already.
From a command line navigate to the directory where you want the tinyg git directory to exist, then run:
git clone
  • You should have a directory with all the source files and the Atmel project files for both Studio4 and Studio6. Some of the project files are ignored by git so they don't cause havoc. You will need the AtmelStudio6 project files, which are tinyg.atsln and tinyg.cproj
  • If you are on a mac, you may want to get Gitx. It's a GUI that makes git management much easier.

Atmel Studio6 Bugs, Workarounds, and Other Topics

Here are some known bugs that we have had to work around

Can't compile under -Os optimization

This seems to be a known bug with AVRGCC 4.8.1. The fix is to compile under -O2. Find this in the Properties (TinyG) / Toolchain / AVR/GCC Coplier / Optimization window. In the flags box that follows add: -fno-align-functions -fno-align-jumps -fno-align-loops -fno-align-labels -fno-reorder-blocks -fno-reorder-blocks-and-partition -fno-prefetch-loop-arrays -fno-tree-vect-loop-version

Can't view ASCII strings in the debugger

The problem is that ASCII display are shown as decimal or hexidecimal numbers. There is a way around this documented here:

  • Add the variable as a quickwatch and append ",c" to it. If the var is part of a struct you need the entire reference, e.g. tg.inbuf,c Then add the quickwatch to the watch. Of course this is impractical if you have a lot of ASCII vars to track. Once you have made these time-consuming changes you will want to save your project.

See also from the Studio6 Help Pages:

  • While debugging you might want to track a value of a variable or an expression. To do so you can right click at the expression under cursor and select Add a Watch or Quickwatch
  • To add a QuickWatch expression to the Watch window
  • In the QuickWatch dialog box, click Add Watch.

Floating point numbers appear as unit32's in the debugger

Use GDB as the debugger. Select the AVR8 version. FRom the ADVANCED tab of the TINYG properties page.

Debugger won't set breakpoints

They disappear into little open circles with tiny triangular warnings. You must compile in Debug, not Release profile.

AtmelStudio6 fails verification when programming the xmega

We've seen this with earlier versions and Studio6.0 builds. We have not heard of this yet for AS6.2. Make sure you are up to Studio6.2 build 1563, service pack 2. See the help tab. Also make sure you are on the latest firmware for your programmer (Atmel-ICE or AVRISP mkii).

We've found that even though the verification failed the programming is good. You can either turn off verification or chose to ignore the warning. By the way - we've never seen this failure on Studio4. I actually think this is a bug in Studio6 rather than and actual failure. I have not seen any code die or act erratically when I get these errors.

Simulator won't start - Cannot find debugger message

Who knows why this happens. The get the debugger (simulator) back do the following

  • Plug in and select an AVRISP mkII in the tinyg/tools tab
  • Hit Debug and stop to try to debug. It will fail
  • Go back to the tools tab and now select simulator for the tool
  • Try to debug again. 60% of the time it works every time

(1) It gets worse. If you mess up and do things wrong studio6 will remember your paths in "recents" and fail the next time you try to set something up because things aren't where it thinks they should be. You have to go to the File/Recent Projects and Solutions, try to open the old paths, then remove them when they can't be found (you must have deleted the directories beforehand)

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