When trying to take some screenshots of the tools I mentioned in my last post, I got a few “urlmon.dll ordinal 459s” error messages and empty windows instead of a running application. Apparently they are using the activex controls of MS IE. Since I prefer Firefox, I uninstalled the IE right after setting up my system. I also realized that the extended pane of the “services.msc” was not displaying anything, which seemed to refer to the same issue. I tried quite a few things I found on some forums when looking for a solution (like registering the urlmon.dll and a few others, no need to go into more details, though), but it did not help, so I kinda gave in and installed IE back again. That apparently was not enough and I had to upgrade to version 11, but then all was good.
Long story short, I should’ve gone for Avrdude for uploading the binaries in the first place, but I found the point and click tools much handier as a start and they came with a nice fuse calculator. Frustrated about the above error and how it made me re-install IE, I rembered that there was a command line tool for uploading the binaries to the MCU. Then I checked out the AVR tutorial by Lady Ada (gotta love her for the tools and tutorials she and her team come up with!) and decided (once more) not to re-invent the wheel and just refer to it. She has everything you need in there, starting from setting up the environment on different OSes, how to use the programmer and applications and she even got a few lines on the fuses. A one stop shop for newbies and those who want to refresh their memory.
I have to say that I did not try the box myself, but my friend told me it was working fine. Only his customer decided to go for the much more expensive OEM solution in the end. For me it was worth trying and I still have the board, which I am going to use on my brand new Android car radio or rather the CanBus Decoder BOX, which is mediating between the radio and the car and definitely has some space for improvement (e.g. keeping the radio on when starting the engine). But this will be the topic of another post…