Using a debugger

How to:

With the Arduino IDE, you can use Serial prints to debug, but it’s a bit like using a flashlight to explore a cave. For real debugging, you might want to step up your game with something like the Atmel-ICE debugger which integrates with the Arduino environment. Here’s a taste of pseudo-debugging using Serial:

void setup() {
void loop() {
  int sensorValue = analogRead(A0);
  Serial.print("Sensor Value: ");
  // Imagine you're expecting 512 here, but get 0.
  // Time to inspect sensor connection
  delay(1000); // Wait for a second before reading again

Run this with the Serial Monitor open, and you’ll see what your sensor spits out in real-time.

Deep Dive

Before debuggers, it was a print statement’s world – you could only guess what was happening by printing everything out. Debugging with prints is still common, especially in simpler environments or on constrained hardware like the Arduino.

Alternatives to in-circuit emulators like Atmel-ICE include software debugging tools like avr-gdb. You can pair it with avarice to create a bridge between GDB and your hardware, which is super handy for more advanced debugging right on the chip.

Using a debugger, you can set breakpoints to stop execution at certain points. You can step through your code line by line, inspect memory, registers, and variables. This lets you pinpoint issues instead of taking shots in the dark. When implementing a debugger, ensure your environment is set up correctly - mismatched versions or poorly configured tools can lead to frustration.

See Also

Ready to go deeper? Dive into these: