Installing AVR Toolchain

From HacDC Wiki


There are a few pieces of software you'll definitely want for AVR programming:

  • A compiler and/or assembler (avr-gcc) to convert human-readable code to binary
  • Manipulation of binaries (binutils-avr). You'll need to convert from the ELF file to something your chip will like.
  • Something to talk to your AVR programmer (AVRDUDE), that is the piece of hardware you plug into both your computer and the chip you want to program.
  • Not required, but something to make your life easier: (GNU make)

Note that both avr-gcc and binutils-avr come from the avr-libc project. avr-libc itself isn't software per-se; it's a library that implements standard C functions for AVRs.




Install the following packages:

  • avrdude
  • avrdude-doc
  • binutils-avr
  • avr-libc
  • gcc-avr

You can get them in one shot using:

sudo aptitude install avrdude avrdude-doc binutils-avr avr-libc gcc-avr


Install the following packages:

  • dev-embedded/avrdude
  • sys-devel/crossdev

Run (as root):

crossdev -t avr

This will install cross-avr/gcc, cross-avr/binutils, and cross-avr/avr-libc (pulled from an avr portage overlay).

Finally, the following command is necessary to make the linker happy (again, as root):

ln -s /usr/lib/binutils/avr/2.21/ldscripts /usr/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/avr/binutils-bin/2.21/ldscripts

You'll want to adjust the path above to match your architecture and binutils version.


NOTE: In trying to program the AVR without using CrossPack (below), we were unable to get OS X to recognize the FTDI device until we installed FTDI USB Serial drivers. The easiest way to do this is to download the latest Arduino installer archive and installing the FTDIUSBSerialDriver_10_4_10_5_10_6.mpkg (its name as of 3/27/11) from it.

CrossPack Will take care of you. It doesn't require you to have Xcode installed, but if you do, you can do your development in Xcode and run your makefile from that IDE. If you have an open session open when you install it, you'll need to reload your .profile to use crosspack.

You don't have to use the crosspack tools to manage a build projects, you can use elliots makefile as well. You'll need to modify it appropriately

When you install crosspack, you'll be presented with documentation in your web browser. These docs are also located at /Applications/Crosspack-AVR-Manual.html. This is important, as the Crosspack docs are not on the site :\

Making Crosspack projects work with Elliot's boards

Follow the crosspack 'getting started' section to create your first hello world project.

First, make a demo project.

 bash$ cd ~/Documents
bash$ mkdir AVR
bash$ cd AVR
bash$ avr-project Demo
bash$ open Demo 
bash$ cd Demo
bash$ ls -l
drwxr-xr-x   5 cs  cs  170 Nov 19 13:58 Demo.xcodeproj
drwxr-xr-x   4 cs  cs  136 Nov 19 13:58 firmware
bash$ cd firmware
bash$ ls -l
-rw-r--r--   1 cs  cs  4139 Nov 19 13:58 Makefile
-rw-r--r--   1 cs  cs   348 Nov 19 13:58 main.c

You can see, your code lives in the projects' firmware folder. You can replace the code (*.c) as you please with whatever blinkenlights project you see fit. You'll want to open up the Makefile and edit two lines - the DEVICE and PROGARMMER line. The device we are using is the "atmega88". The programmer needs to be set to avr109, the baud rate to 9600, and the port to whatever your /tty.usbserial device (read: FTDI cable) is called. Mine shows up as /dev/tty.usbserial-FTEA4CYY, yours may very well show up with a different name.

DEVICE     = atmega88
CLOCK      = 8000000
PROGRAMMER = -c avr109 -P /dev/tty.usbserial-FTEA4CYY -b 9600
OBJECTS    = main.o
FUSES      = -U hfuse:w:0xd9:m -U lfuse:w:0x24:m\

One you've edited your make file, you can run the following commands

make flash

Make will compile the c code into object code and then to the correct HEX code for the device. Make flash will try to program the code. Make sure you've held down reset and button A in order to let the device reset into programming mode! Grab Elliots blinking led code and try it out!



WinAVR has everything you need.

For the programmer type, select AVR109 or Butterfly. For the serial port, select the USB device.

Special-Needs Hardware

Atmel Dragon Hardware Programmer with avrdude on Ubuntu

Apparently there are two bugs that get in the way when trying to use avrdude with the dragon.

  • avrdude 5.8 (via apt-get) segfaults after writing 1 byte: - there is a patch for 5.8 posted there
  • avrdude 5.9 (via the official site) source apparently has some other bug that prevents the build from completing

First, get the dependencies for building the code.

sudo apt-get build-dep avrdude

The solution (aside from applying patches to the above versions) is to use the patched 5.10 SVN code. The instructions are from this link:

That seems to have worked for me! I'm on 9.04 32bit and I also installed bison/flex/autoconf --obscurite