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AVR ICE-Cube - Loading Software

Before you can use the ECROS Technology AVR ICE-Cube, you need to load software into it.  This software is supplied with Atmel's AVR Studio.  This page describes the simple process of loading the software.  Additional information about how a JTAG ICE interface works and why it is necessary to load Atmel software can be found on the Technical Details page, but it is not necessary to read that to use your ICE-Cube.

You will need to come back to this page if you update to a newer version of AVR Studio which wants to replace the JTAG ICE interface software.  Although this should work according to Atmel's instructions, in practice the new software is not always correctly located, see Automatic Software Updates below.

By starting the AVR ICE-Cube's software loader manually, you can load a particular version of the Atmel software or erase the software entirely.  Most users never need to do this.  Detailed instructions are given on a separate page.

Loading the Software before the First Use

The AVR ICE-Cube is shipped to you without software loaded.  This makes sure that you start with the right software for the version of AVR Studio you are using.

When the ICE-Cube does not contain the software, it runs the flash loader as soon as you turn it on.  You will need to have a target system ready in order to supply power to the ICE-Cube.  A separate page discusses connecting the ICE-Cube to a target system.  If you don't have one, put away the ICE-Cube until it is ready.

Connect the AVR ICE-Cube to the target system.  Turn on the target system power.  When power is turned on the yellow/green LED (LED2) on the ICE-Cube lights up.  The flash loader is now ready and waiting to receive the software.

Starting AVR Prog

Connect the serial cable of the ICE-Cube to your PC.  Launch AVR Studio.  On the Tools menu, select AVR Prog...  If all is well, the AVRprog control dialog will appear (see screen shot at right).  If it doesn't, check that AVR Studio is looking at the right COM port (refer to the AVR Studio User's Guide in Help).

Finding the JTAG ICE Interface Software File

On the AVRprog control dialog, click the Browse... button in the Hex file pane.  A Browse dialog will appear.  Navigate through the file system on your PC to the folder in which you installed AVR Studio (click here for a screen shot).  If you have multiple versions installed, be careful to select the right one.  From the installation folder, go into the JTAGICE folder.  The file you are looking for is called Upgrade.ebn.  In order to see it, change the Files of type: pick list to All files (*.*).  Double-click the file or select it and click Open (click here for a screen shot).  The Browse dialog will close and the file is now selected for programming.  Its name will appear in the static control in the Hex file pane, although there isn't usually room for the full path.

Programming the AVR ICE-Cube

Click the Program button in the Flash pane on the AVRprog control dialog.  Using the flash loader, AVR Prog will transfer the software to the AVR ICE-Cube.  You will see the status of the process just above the Flash pane as briefly "Erasing" and then "Erasing ... Programming".  The progress indicator will fill from left to right.  When programming is complete, you will see "Erasing ... Programming ... Verifying" and the progress indicator will start again, this timing moving a little faster.  Finally, you will see "Erasing ... Programming ... Verifying ... OK", which means that the software has been properly programmed into the AVR ICE-Cube.  (This reassuring message disappears after just a few seconds, so don't be perturbed if you went to make coffee and it's not there when you get back.)  Click Exit....  All the controls on the dialog grey out, but for some reason the dialog stays up.  Click the system Close button in the very top right corner.

Testing the AVR ICE-Cube

The AVR ICE-Cube is ready for use at once.  You already have it plugged in to a target system, right?  On the Tools menu, select STK500/AVRISP/JTAG ICE and then STK500/AVRISP/JTAG ICE... or click STK500/AVRISP/JTAG ICE on the STK500 toolbar.  The JTAG ICE control dialog appears (see screen shot at right).  From here on in, the documentation for the Atmel JTAG ICE will be your guide.

Automatic Software Updates

When AVR Studio does not like the version of software it detects in a JTAG ICE interface, it pops up a message box with more text than a message box should rightfully contain.  Basically, it is offering to give you a head start in the software loading process described above.  If you were to accept this help, you would jump in at "Programming the AVR ICE-Cube", above.  The flash loader has been activated, AVR Prog started and, according to Atmel at least, the right software file located.  However, it is recommended that you actually start at "Finding the JTAG-ICE Software File" and check that the correct file has been located.  This does not always happen automatically, especially if you have multiple versions of AVR Studio installed.  When you are satisfied with the software file, click Program to complete the process.

Click this button to go back to the AVR ICE-Cube introduction.