Category: Debugging

Everything about debugging

Debugging 2.0

The featured image of this blog post is based on vector graphics by captainvector at 123RF.

What keeps people from using a debugger? Well, it is mostly that one has initial costs in terms of setting up the debugging environment and of learning how to use the debugging tool. Hopefully, the next iteration of my hardware debugging tool dw-link, which is able to debug classic ATtinys and ATmegaX8s, will somewhat ease that burden, in particular, because you can buy the accompanying hardware now at Tindie.

I sell on Tindie

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Make it Fail

(David J. Agans)

The quote is from Dave’s book Debugging: the 9 indispensable rules for finding even the most elusive software and hardware problems, which I recommend to everybody who has to debug a technical artifact.

dw-link: A New Hardware Debugger for ATtinys and Small ATmegas

As mentioned in an earlier blog post this year, hardware debuggers are the premier class of embedded debugging tools. However, until today, there were only very few relatively expensive tools around supporting the debugWIRE interface that is used by the classic ATtinys and a few ATmega MCUs.

The good news is that now you can turn an Arduino UNO, Nano, or Pro Mini into a debugWIRE hardware debugger that communicates with avr-gdb, the AVR version of the GNU project debugger.

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Surprise, Surprise!

The featured image of this post is by Albert Guillaume – Gils Blas, 24 d├ęcembre 1895, Public Domain, Link

When you develop a tool for a protocol that is undocumented, it is not surprising that you will encounter situations you will not have be anticipated. This was exactly what I experienced developing the hardware debugger dw-link, which connects debugWIRE MCUs to the GDB debugger. Although a substantial part of the debugWIRE protocol has been reverse-engineered, I encountered plenty of surprising situations: Split personality MCUs, stuck-at-one bits in program counters, secret I/O addresses, half-legal opcodes, and more.

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