The Missing Bit

Using CMake to deploy to avr microcontrollers
July 11, 2018

While working on a project that started with an arduino, I ended up having to make my own PCB for size and power consumption.

I moved to the Atmel atmega328P which is a pico power microcontroller that is mostly Arduino compatible.

While digging into the documentation, I realized that the Arduino libraries, while being really handy, have a few limiting factors (for example changing pins at the same time) and I started to look on how to code for the avr microcontroller without the Arduino IDE and libraries.

There are many resources online on how to use the avr CPU with minimal wiring, but I will concentrate on the toolchain here.

First you need avr-gcc and avrdude. You will also need cmake as it is what I use to manage my makefiles.

Here is the complete CMakeLists.txt I use for the project, with comments inline:

# I target a recent cmake, it shouldn't be a problem on a dev machine
cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.11)
# Project name
project("My Firmware")

# Product filename
set(PRODUCT_NAME my_firmware)

## AVR Chip Configuration
# 8Mhz, this should match the crystal on your board,
# I use 8Mhz and 3.3V for the lowest power consumption
set(F_CPU 8000000UL)
# CPU, you can find the list here:
set(MCU atmega328p)
# Default Baudrate for UART, read avr include/util/setbaud.h for usage
set(BAUD 9600)
# The programmer to use, read avrdude manual for list
set(PROG_TYPE avrispmkII)

# AVR Fuses, must be in concordance with your hardware and F_CPU
set(E_FUSE 0xfd)
set(H_FUSE 0xda)
set(L_FUSE 0xfd)
set(LOCK_BIT 0xff)

# Use AVR GCC toolchain
set(CMAKE_C_COMPILER avr-gcc)

# Pass defines to compiler
# mmcu MUST be passed to bot the compiler and linker, this handle the linker

    -mmcu=${MCU} # MCU
    -std=gnu99 # C99 standard
    -Os # optimize
    -Wall # enable warnings
    -funsigned-char # a few optimizations
file(GLOB SRC_FILES "src/*.c") # Load all files in src folder

# Create one target
add_executable(${PRODUCT_NAME} ${SRC_FILES})

# Rename the output to .elf as we will create multiple files

# Strip binary for upload
add_custom_target(strip ALL avr-strip ${PRODUCT_NAME}.elf DEPENDS ${PRODUCT_NAME})

# Transform binary into hex file, we ignore the eeprom segments in the step
add_custom_target(hex ALL avr-objcopy -R .eeprom -O ihex ${PRODUCT_NAME}.elf ${PRODUCT_NAME}.hex DEPENDS strip)
# Transform binary into hex file, this is the eeprom part (empty if you don't
# use eeprom static variables)
add_custom_target(eeprom avr-objcopy -j .eeprom  --set-section-flags=.eeprom="alloc,load"  --change-section-lma .eeprom=0 -O ihex ${PRODUCT_NAME}.elf ${PRODUCT_NAME}.eep DEPENDS strip)

# Upload the firmware with avrdude
add_custom_target(upload avrdude  -c ${PROG_TYPE} -p ${MCU} -U flash:w:${PRODUCT_NAME}.hex DEPENDS hex)

# Upload the eeprom with avrdude
add_custom_target(upload_eeprom avrdude -c ${PROG_TYPE} -p ${MCU}  -U eeprom:w:${PRODUCT_NAME}.eep DEPENDS eeprom)

# Burn fuses
add_custom_target(fuses avrdude -c ${PROG_TYPE} -p ${MCU}  -U lfuse:w:${L_FUSE}:m -U hfuse:w:${H_FUSE}:m -U efuse:w:${E_FUSE}:m -U lock:w:${LOCK_BIT}:m )

# Clean extra files