Beacon Keyer: Further Memory Optimisation

On the week-end I managed to further optimise my Beacon Keyer's memory use. It now looks like this:

AVR Memory Usage
Device: attiny13
Program:     712 bytes (69.5% Full)
(.text + .data + .bootloader)
Data:          6 bytes (9.4% Full)
(.data + .bss + .noinit)

The big item here is that 'Data' is now down to just 6 bytes! That is, the only data being represented is the string VK1IS plus it's null terminator – and also it happens to be using 2 byte alignment. This is due to placing all the look-up tables in PROGMEM.

Doing so is meant to add a little extra code, so in theory 'Program' should've also gone up (compared to back here when it was at 838 bytes). But at the same time I also removed a function I was using to control the PORTB pins and replaced it with two simple one line macros (one for key up, and one for key down). This simple change resulted in a good reduction in program size, and was an exercise is focusing on writing the code in the context of an MCU – rather than say a monolithic system. (Oh, and also included in this was a small bit of code to add an indicator LED for when the system is transmitting.)

Now in theory I can have the full string of "CQ CQ CQ DE VK1IS VK1IS VK1IS K". However I seem to be encountering an odd problem with the null terminator disappearing once the string gets to about 25 bytes long, so I need to look into this a bit more. Debugging MCU code is proving a learning experience in itself – as in this case the emulator does not seem to be working.

Anyway, once I sort that all out then I will consider it complete. Then hopefully I can return to my plans to play with the Arduino for a bit. 😉

Oh, and helping with all this (now being rigged up on a breadboard) is the little Sparkfun AVR Programming Adapter breakout board. For under $2, this little building block is gold!!

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