Tag Archives: AVR

HV Rescue Shield Update #3

A quick update on the HV Rescue Shield:

About a week ago, I completed testing on a new switching circuit that allows me to leave the DC-DC converter on full-time and switch the RESET signal very quickly (risetimes in the microseconds).   Now there shouldn’t be any more  issues getting parts with zero SUT to enter HVSP/HVPP mode.

It’s taken a lot longer than I expected to get to this point, but the results look very good. I have had 100% success reading/writing all parts I have tested.

PCBs are on order and due to ship by the end of the week.  Assuming the layout is good and I didn’t just order a large batch of stylish (but small) coasters, I should have kits in stock again by the end of next week.

Watch here for updates, and my apologies to everyone who has been waiting on a kit – new and improved kits should be available soon.

Update 2/1: PCBs came in while I was away last week, and are currently being held at my local Fedex office, which is closed due to the power outages that are affecting Austin today.  Apparently Austin does not handle prolonged sub-freezing temperatures very well.   As soon as I can get my hands on the boards, it should only be a day or two before kits are available again.

New Product: HV Rescue Shield 2.0

HV Rescue Shield 2.x

The HV Rescue Shield 2.0 is a high voltage parallel mode fuse programmer for Atmel AVR microcontrollers.

It currently supports a wide variety of AVR chips, including the 28-pin ATmega48/88/168/328 series, the 20-pin ATtiny2313, and many 8-pin ATtiny devices (such as the ATtiny25/45/85 and ATtiny13A).  A list of supported devices is in progress, but the Rescue Shield supports many more devices than those listed on the wiki.

The HV Rescue Shield 2.0 is in stock and ready to ship today!  Scroll down to place an order.

New in release 2.0:

  • Support for 8-pin ATtiny devices that use High Voltage Serial Programming (HVSP) mode!
  • Mode selection at startup so you don’t have to recompile the Arduino sketch to change parts.
  • More reliable HFUSE burning on all HVPP targets.
  • Numerous minor bug fixes and speed improvements to the code.
  • Reduced price, kit is now only $19.95 (was $24.95).   This means the kit is lower cost, but with more supported parts!


  • A working Arduino (tested with Arduino Uno, Duemilanove and Arduino NG)
  • A computer with USB and the Arduino IDE installed (tested with Arduino 0021)
  • A soldering iron and basic electronics assembly skills

What you get:

  • A high quality printed circuit board with the DC-DC converter preassembled, as shown below.
  • All other components needed to build the kit
  • An Arduino sketch, assembly instructions, Eagle schematics and layout files.

Here is a snapshot of the components included with the kit.


How to Order:

Visit the HV Rescue Shield 2.x product page to place an order.

Atmel AVRISP mkII working in Virtualbox

In the past I have had problems getting the Atmel AVRISP mkII to work with Virtualbox.  This can be really irritating if, like me, you want to write code in Linux but are forced to run Windows for Skype and various closed-source development tools (ugh).

Today, it seems to be working.  I can talk to the AVRISP with avrdude and program devices.  Cool!

I’m not sure what I changed.  I’m using Virtualbox 3.2.10 r66523, running on a Windows 7 64-bit host.  The VM/client OS is Ubuntu 10.10.  I created a USB filter for the AVRISP in the Virtual Machine settings; it doesn’t seem to work without it.  That might be what I was missing before.

To avoid having to run avrdude with root priveledges, I created the file /etc/udev/rules.d/10-avrisp2.rules with the contents:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="03eb", SYSFS{idProduct}=="2104", GROUP="adm", MODE="0666"

Pretty simple.

Oh, I should add that there is no guarantee other combinations of host/client OS will work.   If you’re getting different results, leave a comment.

AVR Toolchain Installation Instructions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Mitch Altman and I are in the process of writing a book about Making Cool Things with Microcontrollers (for people who know nothing.)

The book features several DIY projects that use AVR microcontrollers.  We’re aiming to teach absolute beginners how to solder, basic electronics, and the process of turning a cool idea into reality by using microcontrollers.

I wrote these instructions about setting up a working avr-gcc environment in Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.  Mitch and I felt that they could use some beta testing in the real world before bring included in the book, so we decided to make them available here.  We also felt that they might help some people get started with AVRs before the book is available.

We want to make the process of writing and compiling code for the AVR simple and accessible, so we’re not using any fancy IDEs (eg. no AVR Studio).  We also wanted to use the same software on all three operating systems, so Windows-only tools were out.  Instead, we’re using avr-gcc, the compiler behind WinAVR, CrossPack, and Arduino.

I would appreciate any feedback on these instructions.

Here they are:


Mac OS X


Update: I totally rewrote this post after getting feedback that I didn’t properly identify my target audience and explain why I chose avr-gcc.  Sorry!