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Tutorial Update - Firmware Downloading on AVR USB MCUs With a Mac | Print |
Written by Akiba   
Monday, 07 June 2010

One of the interesting things I've been seeing is that Macs are starting to become very common in the tech industry. Strangely enough, there is almost a majority of Mac users in Tokyo hackerspace which is heavily dominated by techies. I also see a lot of Macs in other hackerspaces and at events like the Make meeting in Japan. So it seems kind of strange that there is still very little support for embedded development on the Macs. In fact, I'd have to say that a lot of the info on how to set up embedded development environments on that OS is coming from the open source software and hardware communities. This is probably because they're widely used for Arduino development.

So I finally gave in and went out and bought a used Mac at a local second-hand computer equipment store. It was kind of sweet because it had an 2 GHz Intel Core2Duo CPU and quite a nice screen. It set me back about $400 which was really good considering how well Mac notebooks retain their value. The reason for the low price was that it had a US keyboard which is not very desirable in Japan, except for foreigners like me. 

After having used the Mac a bit, I can say that I understand why people like it. Apple obviously paid a lot of attention to usability and aesthetics. The GUI blows away the Windows XP GUI (I haven't tried Vista or Windows 7) and you can drop down to the command line and go straight into Unix. It's like the best of both worlds!

Anyways, enough gushing. The main reason I got the Mac was to figure out how to develop on the boards I'm making using that OS. It's becoming too important to ignore. Along the way, I can hopefully help others figure out how to set up their Mac environments for development on other boards and platforms. My first attempt at using a Mac for development was very basic. I wanted to access the bootloaders on the AVR USB microcontrollers to perform the fundamental operation of downloading code. It actually is very similar to Linux, however you need to do a couple of extra steps to get dfu-programmer to run on that OS. Once the setup is out of the way, downloading code is extremely easy.

And so, with no further ado, here's how to download code on AVR USB microcontrollers using a Mac. It's at the bottom of the original tutorial. Hope it's useful...

Tutorial Link

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