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I am looking at creating a USB host devices to talk to a standalone printer. Basically my devices would feed out commands to the USB chip and the pritner would print it without interaction of a PC.

What chips would you recommend for the USB/MCU? I am leaning towards an ATMEGA micro with a Vinculum USB interface. Would it be easier to use a all in one chip or have a seperate MCU and USB chip?

Thanks

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I've never used one, but I'd look into the AT90USB1287 chip. It even comes in an handy evaluation board called the AT90USBKey. While the chip itself is supposed to be able to act as a USB-OTG Host, it isn't clear to me that the demo board supports that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The UsbKey has a special cable that is marked with usb otg, so I think it can... (but I never tried it) \$\endgroup\$ – Johan Apr 13 '10 at 11:30
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You might be able to use an MCU with USB OTG to drive the printer. It will be a lot cheaper than using a separate chip like the Vinculum.

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Have a look at LUFA, it has some support for USB host on MCUs. However, I expect that the printer driver you create might end up being tied to one particular model of printer.

Depending on your project requirements, it might be easier to drive a serial or parallel printer interface than USB.

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My experience is primarily with Microchip, but Atmel may have chips with integrated USB as well. Microchip has a few products with integrated USB. You'll want one that supports USB on-the-go or embedded host. Microchip also provides the USB host stack that will help get you up and running with a few basic device classes.

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Atmel provide host and device firmware for their AVR32B family of processors. These have built in USB 2.0 OTG hardware. The EVK1101 development board is a good hardware target and the AVR studio is a free GNU development environment. FreeRTOS has been ported to this platform and is a good stable base to work from.

There are also ARM Cortex-M3 parts that have the same capability and cheap/free tools.

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