5.a. Firmware Support for Mac OS X

Mac OS X compatibility: we have confirmed that the programmer works on Mac OS X and we can assist with advanced technical issues, but most of our tech support staff does not use Macs, so basic support for Mac OS X is limited.

Changing the firmware (if necessary)

The standard USB AVR Programmer firmware works with Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and later. There is a special, modified version of the firmware that should work on all versions of Mac OS X. To install the modified firmware you will need to use a Windows or Linux computer, but after that all further work can be done on the Mac.

  1. Follow the steps in Section 3.a to install the Windows drivers and configuration utility for the Pololu USB AVR Programmer.
  2. Download the following file to the Windows computer: Firmware version 1.07nc for the Pololu USB AVR Programmer (29k pgm).
  3. Using the downloaded file, install the firmware modification by following the procedure explained in Section 9, starting with step 3 under the heading “Upgrading Firmware”.

Note: If you have OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later, you don’t need to change your programmer’s firmware. The modified firmware only allows programming of AVRs; it does not support the bonus features of the programmer (the TTL-level serial port and the SLO-scope).

Checking the installation

To check the installation, plug the Pololu USB AVR Programmer into a USB port on your Mac. Click “Cancel” if you see the following dialog:

In a Terminal window, type ls /dev/tty.usb* and press enter. You should see one or two new entries of the form tty.usbmodem<number> (e.g. /dev/tty.usbmodem00022331). These entries represent virtual serial ports created by the programmer.

If you are using Mac OS X 10.7 or later and have not changed the programmer’s firmware, there should be two new /dev/tty.usb* entries. The entry with the lower number is your programmer’s Programming Port, and later you will need to pass its name as a parameter to AVRDUDE. The entry with the higher number (which should be two plus the lower number) is the TTL Serial Port, and you can use a terminal program such as screen to send and receive bytes from it.

If you are using an older version of Mac OS X, you will need to install the modified firmware as described above, and you should only see one new /dev/tty.usb* entry. This is your programmer’s Programming Port, and later you will need to pass its name as a parameter to AVRDUDE.