Having spent a lot of time working with AVR microcontrollers I decided a number of years ago to invest in a dedicated In Circuit Emulator (ICE). At the time Atmel had just released their new Atmel ICE device. This seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Not only did it support traditional JTAG debugging but also debugWIRE. Atmels own propriety debug protocol aimed at low resource devices such as the ATMega88/168/328 family. I purchased the Atmel ICE basic kit. The kit consists of the Atmel ICE and a 10 pin ribbon cable to 10 to pin JTAG (0.05″ pitch) and 6 pin (0.1″ pitch) SPI connector. The full kit available at a much greater cost shipped with a number of different cables and adaptors. As debugWIRE uses the RESET line for debugging I deemed the 6 pin SPI cable would be all I needed. Or so I thought.
Moving on a few years I find myself now working with the ATmega32U4 again (I needed USB functionality) and to my surprise this device does not support debugWIRE only JTAG. What!!! How can this be?
I was wondering if Atmel sold those additional debug cables separately? Turns out they do but they are almost £50. After shelling out just shy of £100 in the first place I wasn’t prepared to spend another £50 on cables.
So I set about building my own adaptor. The main problem I faced was the Atmel have used 0.05″ (1.27mm) pitch connectors rather than the more readily available standard 0.1″ (2.54mm) pitch connectors. What I needed was some form of breakout board or even something to convert from the 0.05″ pitch connector to something more manageable. After trawling the net it turns out Adafruit have a Cortex SWD adaptor which in essence is a 0.05″ pitch to 0.1″ breakout board. The pin mapping is one to one so assuming you ignore the silk screen it should be easy to interface to the ATmega32U4. The best thing about this solution is the price, I managed to get two of these boards from a local supplier for just £3.
The development board I am currently using is an OLIMEXINO-32U4 an Arduino Leonardo type design from Olimex. The table below shows the Cortex SWD to AVR JTAG pin mapping. Also shown is the JTAG connections of the 32U4 (or Arduino Leonardo if you prefer) development board.
Olimex 32u4 Pin
Below you can see a picture of my setup. I am not sure if they are needed but I did add 10K pull ups to all of the control lines TCK, TDO, TMS and TDI.
One thing that had not dawned on me was the fact JTAG is not enabled by default. The pins designated to the JTAG interface PF4-PF7 are used as analog inputs. So in order for JTAG to work you need to ensure the JTAGEN fuse is programmed. This can be done through the ISP interface in the normal manner. Once I had that programmed I could successfully download and debug my code on target. Result.
I love Dave Jones and his no prisoners approach to video blogging. For those who haven’t seen his electronics blog EEVblog be sure to check it out. One video that did slip through my net was a review Dave did back in 2009 of the new (at the time) Microchip PICkit 3. Dave was shall we say less than enthusiastic about it. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video.
But what followed in the days after is magic. Microchip responded with their very own video.
It is really refreshing that a company the size of Microchip not only addresses the concerns of individual users (all be it users with some influence) but also has a sense of humour about it.