Spark Loader is a small software application designed to work as a boot loader for AVR microcontrollers. The utility can be used for programming flash and EEPROM using a serial link between your computer and microcontroller with the aid of any COM port.
It works with the following devices: ATmega8(L), ATmega32(L), ATmega128(L), ATmega16(L), ATmega8535(L) and AT90PWM3(B), as well as ATmega48(L) and ATmega169(L).
This is a Java-based program so you need to previously deploy the working environment on your computer.
The tool sports a simple design that implements an intuitive set of features. There’s support for a help manual that presents information about the program’s capabilities in case you don’t manage to decode its settings on your own.
The tray icon automatically changes according with the current task. For example, it is blue if the selected COM port is open and red if a file is loaded. The green color is used for signaling that a file is programmed into the chip’s memory, while the gray one stands out for no connections.
Spark Loader gives you the possibility to import data from HEX and EEP file format using the built-in browse button. Additionally, the tool integrates a floating window (which can be moved to any area of the screen) for dropping HEX and EEP files directly into its panel. What’s more, you can show or hide the floating window and make file associations for HEX and EEP files.
Information and memory usage panels
The app embeds a built-in information panel that delivers data about the microcontroller (chip and boot size), currently opened HEX file (page and file size), as well as EEPROM file (page size and EEPROM size).
In the Memory usage window you can check out details about the program size (in bytes), percentage of flash memory occupied by the program, as well as EEPROM data size and usage.
Several configuration settings
The program comes with several tweaking parameters that help you automatically open the last loaded HEX and EEPROM files at application startup.
Furthermore, you can check out a list with all available COM ports and pick the desired one, refresh the port list, select the baud rate as configured in the on-chip boot loader code, and connect/disconnect to/from the selected serial port.
You can make the application automatically disconnect from the serial port at the end of the programming task and reset the chip in case of power fails during programming.
All in all, Spark Loader implements a straightforward and handy suite of features for helping you work with AVR microcontrollers. Its intuitive layout makes it suitable for rookies and professionals alike.
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