Tag Archives: tinyAVR

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You may need a magnifying glass for this mini ATtiny10 breakout board


“I lost one in the carpet and I’m hoping to find it before the vacuum does.”


The super small ATtiny10 is a high-performance, low-power 8-bit MCU that combines 1KB of Flash memory, 32B SRAM, four general purpose I/O lines, 16 general purpose working registers, a 16-bit timer/counter with two PWM channels, internal and external interrupts, a programmable watchdog timer with internal oscillator, an internal calibrated oscillator, a four-channel A/D converter, and four software selectable power saving modes. The device operates between 1.8-5.5V.

attiny10brkout_fig1

But what really makes this chip stand out is its minuscule size. Because of this, the ATtiny10 doesn’t use the normal in-system programming port like its much larger siblings. Instead, this particular AVR employs a Tiny Programming Interface (TPI), which only requires power, ground, data, clock and a reset pin. Connecting these pins to the proper programming header is fairly straightforward, and with the right layout, you can cram everything into a breakout board that’s tinier than a typical 8-pin DIP.

Well, this is exactly what Dan Watson has done. The Maker has created a mini breakout board for the ATtiny10 that’s so small, you’ll lose it. “Literally,” he adds, “I lost one in the carpet and I’m hoping to find it before the vacuum does.”

attiny10brkout_fig2

The PCB itself is 0.25” x 0.325″ and uses 0.050″ header pins. The breakout could actually be made smaller, but turns out, Watson ran into the minimum PCB size limit on OSHPark. Despite its form factor, he was able to include a 100nF bypass capacitor, a power LED and a user LED on pin PB1 — that pin is also the clock pin for the programming interface, so it flashes when the board is being programmed.

Admittedly the board was a bit difficult to use and program, and is “certainly not breadboard compatible due to the small pitch headers.” To overcome this issue, Watson built a small landing pad for it, which adapts the 0.050″ headers to 0.1” headers. The landing pad has a 6-pin TPI programming connector, which enables the ATtiny10 to be configured using the Atmel-ICE development tool.

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In any case, Watson is now the proud owner of a shrunken-down board that can fit pretty much anywhere. And since you can do plenty of things with 1KB, it’ll be interesting to see what the Maker comes up with. Some possible ideas include designing a pint-sized drone, building a swarm of cybernetic bats, showing off your fine soldering skills to friends, making digital fireflies, or simply incorporating it into a project’s PCB by adding 0.050” male headers to the board. Intrigued? Head over to the project’s page here.

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tinyAVR in 8- and 14-pin SOIC now self-programming


The ATtiny102/104 retain the AVR performance advantage — still a 12 MIPS core with 1KB Flash and 32B SRAM — and upgrade many of the features around it.


At this week’s Embedded World 2016, Atmel is heading back to 8-bit old school with their news, straight to the low pin count end of their MCU portfolio with a significant upgrade to the tinyAVR family.

According to Atmel’s briefing package, development of the ATtiny102 and ATtiny104 has been in progress for some time. We got a peek at the company’s roadmap for AVR where these are labeled “next generation tinyAVRs,” and all we can say is this is the beginning of a significant refresh — alas, we can’t share those details, but we can now look at these two new parts.

What jumps out immediately is how the AVR refresh fills a significant gap in Atmel’s capability. The existing tinyAVR family is anchored by the ATtiny10, a capable 8-bit AVR core running at up to 12 MIPS with 0.5 or 1KB Flash and 32B of SRAM. The pluses of extended availability are obvious at the beginning of the lifecycle, but by the midpoint of a long run, the technology can start to seem dated.

 ATtiny102/ ATtiny104

ATtiny102/ ATtiny104

That is certainly the case for the ATtiny10 introduced in April 2009. At that time, the ATtiny10 was a shot straight at the Microchip PIC10F, with much higher CPU performance and a competitive 6-pin SOT and 8-pin DFN package offering. Outside of the CPU itself, the ATtiny10 and PIC10F line up pretty closely except for two areas: self-programming, and the accuracy of on-chip oscillators and voltage references. ATtiny10 parts require pre-programming from Atmel or a distributor, and its rather wide accuracy specs need help from product calibration and external componentry – however, cost and code compatibility still have a lot of sway, and the popularity of the ATtiny10 was unshaken.

The ATtiny102/104 retain the AVR performance advantage — still a 12 MIPS core with 1KB Flash and 32B SRAM — and upgrade many of the features around it. First and most noticeable is a packaging improvement. The ATtiny102 comes in an 8-pin SOIC (with the 8-pin DFN option still available). For a generation of applications needing more I/O in a low-cost part, the ATtiny104 comes in a pin-compatible 14-pin SOIC with 6 extra I/O pins.

Features for ATtiny102/ ATtiny104

Self-programming of Flash has been added to both versions, and with the same core footprint a single production image for both parts is achievable. Fast start-up time is available as an option as well. The internal voltage references are now highly accurate, with calibrated 1.1V, 2.2V, and 4.3V taps at +/- 3%. Internal oscillator accuracy is now +/- 2% over a 0 to 50 degrees C temperature range at fixed voltage. Those changes prompted expanding successive approximation ADC resolution to 10-bit, and channels are doubled to eight. Two of the I/O pins can now be configured for a USART, adding serial communications capability. A new 10-byte Unique ID provides a serial number.

Those features translate to customer satisfaction with intelligent devices using the ATtiny102 and ATtiny104. The more accurate internal oscillator improves the precision of motor control in personal care devices such as toothbrushes and electric shavers. The calibrated voltage references enable applications where rechargeable battery management is a primary function, for example in the d.light family of portable solar-powered lighting.

For more information on the ATtiny102 and ATtiny104 MCUs, you can check out Atmel’s recent post here.

This announcement, and what I think will follow from Atmel later this year, reaffirms just how important 8-bit is for the future at Atmel. The AVR architecture is beloved because of its simplicity and ubiquity with over 7B cores now shipped. The advances in the ATtiny102 and ATtiny104 are aimed at reducing BOM and manufacturing costs and enabling further innovation in intelligent consumer devices.

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ATtiny102/104 are self-programmable, 8- and 14-pin tinyAVR MCUs


New tinyAVRs deliver industry’s smallest and lowest power 8-bit MCU on the market today with 1KB Flash.


Making its debut at Embedded World 2016, Atmel has returned to its old-school ways with the world’s highest-performance, low-power, 8-bit microcontrollers boasting 1KB Flash memory. The all-new ATtiny102/104 run up to 12MIPS and integrate features previously only available in larger more expensive MCUs, making them ideal for smaller applications including logic replacement and the latest cost-optimized applications in the consumer, industrial and home automation markets.

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The majority of today’s 8-bit market growth is coming from applications that previously only required discrete components. With many of these requiring simple intelligent functions such as timing, motor control or on/off functionality, 8-bit MCUs are becoming an essential feature for the personal healthcare, small kitchen appliance and consumer markets.

The ATtiny102/104 provide all the necessary features to help spur the growth in these applications with its small, cost-optimized low-pincount package with just 1KB of Flash memory. These features include self-programming for firmware upgrades, non-volatile data storage, accurate internal oscillator to provide more reliable motor control, high-speed serial communication with USART, operating voltages ranging from 1.8V to 5.5V 10-bit ADC with internal voltage references, and sleep currents at less than 100nA in power down mode with SRAM retention.

“Atmel has already sold more units of its 8-bit AVR core-based MCUs than the 7.4 billion people on Earth,” says Oyvind Strom, Atmel’s Senior Director of MCUs. “We continue to expand our AVR portfolio with the new ATtiny102/104 8-bit MCUs. These are the first two devices in our new tinyAVR portfolio that are packed with features optimized for tiny, compact MCU systems such as LED lighting, fan control and other small applications.”

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Key specs of these tinyAVRs include:

• 1KB Flash / 32bytes SRAM
• 8- and 14-pin packages down to 2mm x 3mm in size
• Up to 12 MIPS at 12MHz
• Self-programmable Flash
• Accurate (±3%) Internal oscillator
• Multiple calibrated internal voltage references (1.1V, 2.2V, 4.3V)
• 10-bytes Unique ID (serial number)
• USART
• 10 bit ADC and analog comparator
• 1.8V to 5.5V voltage range
• -40°C to +105°C and -40°C to +125°C temperature ranges

The ATtiny102/104 engineering samples are now available with mass production samples slated for May 2016. The latest tinyAVRs are fully supported by Atmel Studio 7. Additionally, designers have access to the company’s embedded software, including the Atmel Software Framework and application notes, as well as the Atmel Gallery ‘app’ store.

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Check the time on an ATtiny 85 ring watch


One ring to rule them all, one ring to tell time!


Watches come in all shapes and sizes, but this DIY ring watch featuring the ATtiny85 is quite a feat of miniaturization! It’s based on two previous posts by Maker Chen Liang, explaining how the watch guts work on a breadboard and how he put a similar design together in a more traditional wrist watch. As he had to use a smaller battery than the breadboard version in his ring, he expects battery life to be around half a year.

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The ring’s ATtiny85 was programmed using a Digispark (as outlined here), and the device’s circuit was set up on three tiny boards for physical flexibility. The circuit board sections included one for the chip, another for the display, and another for three tightly-spaced buttons. These buttons were able to share one analog input pin on the tinyAVR MCU by using a clever technique involving resistors across two of the button circuits. The three buttons were wired into an analog input, giving different voltage reading depending on the button pushed. Since the ATtiny85 could differentiate between these readings, only one pin was needed for control.

Side View

The watch band was 3D-printed, and covered with a clear thermoplastic layer. Although impressive by itself, Liang has plans to “research sync time method, GPS, Wi-Fi + Internet, BLE + mobile phone, and more.” Maybe we’ll see this project expand to a variety of rings that can be worn and linked via Bluetooth depending on what is needed in a particular situation. Do we sense a Kickstarter? In the meantime, check out the Maker’s entire build here.

 

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Building a power switch for Chromecast


This Maker built a power switch for his Google Chromecast with the help of an ATtiny85, Bluetooth and Tasker.


The Google Chromecast device is a neat media player that simply plugs into your TV to play media. One thing it doesn’t have, though, is a way to turn it off remotely. This might not be a problem for most people, but Ilias Giechaskel was using it as an input for a computer monitor which didn’t have a “remote off” function. It did, however, have the ability to go to sleep when no input was received, so turning off the Chromecast would serve a useful function in his setup.

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Gichaskel decided to accomplish this task with “hardware that he already had available,” and opted for an ATtiny85 with its small physical footprint and number of I/O pins to control everything. He also used a Bluetooth chip for communication with his smartphone. The module receives an “on” or “off” command from the phone, then the ATtiny switches power to the Chromecast appropriately.

Originally, this setup meant that the user had to manually turn Bluetooth on, connect it to the Arduino, send the appropriate commands, then turn Bluetooth off. Doing all of this manually wasn’t what Giechaskel had in mind, so he wrote a Tasker plugin which takes care of this for him.

Tasker

Of course, this isn’t Giechaskel’s only ATtiny85 hack. Be sure to check out how he replaced the guts of a bathroom scale using one!

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Light the menorah with an ATtiny85 and LEDs


Add some colorful LEDs to your Hanukkah celebration!  


The Evil Mad Scientist’s Mega Menorah 9000 is an updated take on the traditional hanukkiyah, a nine-armed Hanukkah candelabrum. But instead of candles, this DIY kit swaps out flames for ultra-bright LEDs capable of producing all kinds of colors and flickery effects.

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The Mega Menorah 9000 has an Adafruit Trinket (ATtiny85) at its heart, and is powered by either USB or a 5V DC source. The device is USB programmable via the MCU’s built-in interface.

“No additional hardware is needed (other than the computer and standard USB cable), and you can use the Arduino IDE or avrdude (with some config changes). Our example code (standard firmware) is available for download and is written as an Arduino program, making use of the Lightweight WS2812 library,” EMSL writes.

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When turned on, the menorah displays the correct configuration of LED “candles” (just without all that wax) for each night of Hanukkah. Every time that a user presses the “night” button or plugs it in, the ATtiny85 based candelabrum will trigger one more light than it had the previous time. The LEDs are lit up in the traditional sequence, each with a candle-like fade.

The Menorah Mega 9000 features a candle lighting sequence, which allows a user to adjust the brightness level and dim intensity, turn on/off flicker mode, as well as enhance its beauty with one of 24 built-in color combinations. And for the more elegant folks, despair not! This DIY hanukkiyah is equipped with blue/white blinky modes. To change the tone, simply press the “color” button.

“From a control standpoint, it’s awfully nice that they’re managed by just a single pin of the microcontroller, and have the built-in ICs to handle colors and dimming,” EMSL notes.

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The Mega Menorah 9000 ships as a soldering kit and includes a pair of circuit boards: an oval-shaped one that holds the MCU, USB jack and control buttons, and another carved in the likeness of a menorah with nine RGB LEDs and connectors.

When completed, the accessory makes for an excellent holiday centerpiece. Measuring just 6” tall and  7.5” wide, the menorah can rest easily on any window sill, mantel or wherever else its creator desires. But perhaps one of, if not, the coolest things about this unit is that it boasts a unique “Trompe-l’œil” PCB design. Although it is actually flat, this gives the illusion of a rounded 3D surface.

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Interested? Head over to Evil Mad Scientist’s official page here. In the meantime, happy holidays!

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Artist releases his EP as a tiny circuit board


One artist has released a set of EPs as a circuit boards that generate and play tracks in real-time.


Whereas some musicians will throw a hidden track or two in their albums, Norwegian artist Captain Credible has taken that a step further by releasing a series of EPs that are actually printed circuit boards capable of composing and playings songs in real-time.

Cats

The Dead Cats EPs (don’t mind the name) are based on an ATtiny85 along with Captain Credible’s Arduino sketches. Not only will the boards come with a downloadable set of five songs for each respective EP, but the final track is generated through a special code that’s used as input for a complex algorithm running on the tinyAVR. The result? A unique and seemingly infinite 8-bit beat.

Aside from the ATtiny85 at its core, the board is fairly simple with a CR2032 button cell battery, three resistors, an LED and a power switch embedded inside its audio socket. A user simply plugs their headphones into the 3.5mm jack to begin playing, or unplugs and reinserts their buds to restart the pretty much never-ending tune.

“The code fills an array with a melody, and a few others with drum patterns. Using a randomly selected key, time signature, subdivisions for individual notes and tempo. It then proceeds to play the melody and drum sequences while occasionally switching out notes, subdivisions and percussion sounds and sequences,” Captain Credible writes. “It also inserts ‘drum breaks’ and occasionally goes into ‘free jazz mode’ where it comes up with random ‘one liner sound generating algorithms.’”

Following the release of his third EP, the prototyping board will be made available for others to enjoy. Those who don’t feel like waiting can also build their own. Although it may not the most usual or euphonic video you’ll ever see, you can get a glimpse of it in action below!