The Smallest ATtiny85 Based USB Board

Nanite 86

“Possibly the smallest ATtiny85 based ‘duino derivative”. Indeed! When Olimex announced the Olimexino 85s as the smallest Arduino ever, [Tim] took that as a challenge. His very small Arduino based USB devboard is quite a bit smaller than the Olimexino!

The Nanite 85 was carefully designed to be both small and functional. Not only is it 20% smaller than the Olimexino, but also sports a reset button! One of the coolest aspects of this design is that it has the same pinout and size as a DIP ATtiny85. This means that you can use the Nanite 85 for developing your code with the USB bootloader, and then you can directly replace it with a standard (pre-programmed) ATtiny85. The major downside to using this device over the aforementioned devices, is that it does not include a voltage regulator for powering the device via USB (or battery), the device is simply hooked directly to the 5V rail from the USB connector.

We can’t help but be impressed with this well-thought-out design. It is also easy to assemble since it uses larger surface mount components. If smaller components were used, even more features (such as a regulator) could be included. Do you have an even smaller USB Arduino? The race is on for the smallest Arduino ever!

41 thoughts on “The Smallest ATtiny85 Based USB Board

  1. “”””The race is on for the smallest Arduino ever!””””
    Is it? Well in that case, try using an ATTiny5 (that’s five, not eighty-five) and lose the gigantic 0.1″ headers :)

    1. Can you provide a better alternative for a USB-reprogrammable microcontroller with a free C/C++ compiler (to compete with gcc-avr and avrlibc) and a novice-friendly IDE?

      1. I think those are key issues that keep other platforms out of contention. Some fans of the other chips don’t mind that though. There also seem to be plenty of AVR purists that get ornery about the Arduino platform making things easy enough for the unwashed masses to use them.

        1. Yep that’s the first problem with purists of all sorts. The moment they bestow expert status in themselves they immediately forget they once where a member of the unwashed masses. The second problem with purist is shared with conservatives. In the event they had won the day over the years we would never seen anything new of great value. [sigh]

      2. The Texas Instruments MSP430 launchpad.
        There is user-friendly arduino IDE clone called Energia.

        Also, the board is way cheaper. (With high priority free shipping) It’s 16-bit compared to the 8-bit arduino. It’s far lower power. It doesn’t have the ugly io-pin layout that the arduino shield system uses.

    2. LOL… are you willing to pick up the entire tab? :) Those of us who can’t give a sheet how many @#&$Duino(s) are developed are reported here at Hackaday aren’t likely to donate a penny.

  2. Well, it would be pretty hard to make a notably smaller breadboard-friendly part without further compromises. I wouldn’t want to go without the USB jack, for one.

  3. Except the fact that I see no purpose for trying to make these things smaller….

    There’s no point in implementing reset with a poll. It won’t be too much use if your code gets stuck somewhere in an infinite loop. Implement it with an interrupt…there’s a bigger change(still no guarantee) to make it reset the chip in mode difficult circumstances.

    1. From the blog: “This is possible by periodically polling the state of the button and activating the watch dog timer if it is pressed. If the watch dog times out, the device resets.” Why not have the watchdog poll the reset button periodically, or at least poll the reset button to reset the watchdog? That way if something breaks, the watchdog will (hopefully) get you.

      I have to say though, this is way more aesthetic than any of the other small ‘duino85s linked to on the page. I like it.

      1. I guess you are confident about your computer power supply putting out accurate voltages with little to no ripple. Many don’t. This is especially true of the cheap junk they stuff into name-brand computers.

  4. I would suggest round pin headers and not those square ones. round allows you to use cheap and available 8pin dip sockets. they are lower profile than headers and the module might as well look like a dip8 module if it fits that size profile.

  5. I can never understand why folk want to hem themselves in with such a limited chip… get a surface mount 1284 chip and for only slightly more real estate you keep compatibility and yet get much more space.. as for cost, Atmel are not averse to giving away free samples on their site. You can still keep the board small as you don’t have to bring out all the lines if you don’t want to… and as for the reset button I never bother. The IDE resets the chip when you start the serial port or load a new program.

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