AVR Toolchain Installation

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


2 thoughts on “AVR Toolchain Installation”

  1. I appreciate these instructions, and will be testing them shortly. My goal is to learn how to program micros in C and assembly. My first choice was PIC (everyone knows about them), but it seems that it is impossible to program with the Mac. Now, after I have installed the compiler and avrdude on my mac, I would assume that there is a cable and a board involved to actually program/download to the mC, right? Do your instructions work for a specific programmer? Do you have a recommendation? Also, is your book out?

    1. The instructions here include the information you need to get the Adafruit Industries USBtinyISP programmer working on each operating system. I recommend starting with that programmer. Another good one is the Atmel AVRISP mkII.

      The book won’t be out for another few months. There’s a signup page to be notified when the book is released at the bottom of this page http://mightyohm.com/soldercomic

      I hope the tutorial helps you get started having fun with AVR microcontrollers! 🙂

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