Breaking Out The ATtiny10

Atmel’s ATtiny10 is the one microcontroller in their portfolio that earns its name. It doesn’t have a lot of Flash – only 1 kilobyte. It doesn’t have a lot of RAM – only thirty two bytes. It is, however, very, very small. Atmel stuffed this tiny microcontroller into an SOT-23 package, more commonly used for surface mount transistors. It’s small, and unless your ideal application is losing this chip in your carpet, you’re going to need a breakout board. [Dan] has just the solution. He could have made this breakout board smaller, but OSHpark has a minimum size limit. Yes, this chip is very, very small.

Because this chip is so small, it doesn’t use the normal in-system programming port of its larger brethren. The ATtiny10 uses the Tiny Programming Interface, or TPI, which only requires power, ground, data, clock, and a reset pin. Connecting these pins to the proper programming header is easy enough, and with a careful layout, [Dan] fit everything into a breakout board that’s a hair smaller than a normal 8-pin DIP.

The board works perfectly, but simply soldering the ATtiny10 to a breakout board and using it as is probably isn’t the best idea. The reason you use such a small microcontroller is to put a microcontroller into something really, really small like ridiculous LED cufflinks. A breakout board is much too large for a project like this, but SOT23 test adapters exist, and they’re only $25 or so.

Either way, [Dan] now has a very, very small microcontroller board that can fit just about anywhere. There’s a lot you can do with one kilobyte of Flash, and with an easy way to program these chips, we can’t wait to see what [Dan] comes up with.

24 thoughts on “Breaking Out The ATtiny10

  1. You may also take a look at my DIL-Duino Project which also acts as a glorified breakout board for an ATTiny85.

    Much more powerful than an ATTiny10/9 and also available in a DIP-8, but this Project takes the TSSOP Version and adds USB bootloading, some LEDs and a reset circuit/switch and ends up with the size of a DIP-8 (you can break off the USB header when your done). It also is pin compatible with the DIP-8 ATTiny85 to make it kind of hot-swappable.

    For the prototypes I build so far, I did not have the great IC pins that OSHchip uses but it is definitley planned for the future, as soon as I find out where I can order them…

  2. I guess it’s okay for breadboarding. Otherwise, if you plan to stick that breakout board in your project it’s better to go with some other much more capable ATTiny in DIP package which is smaller than breakout board for SOT-23.

  3. PIC10F322 has more interesting peripherals. And there are even more interesting ones in a bit bigger packages, like SO8 or DFN8. There are limits to structure size after all…

    1. overall size of PIC10F322 in DFN8 is 2x3mm
      Attiny4,5,9 and 10 are also available in UDFN8 format 2x2mm. These are the smallest MCU I know off.

      that said I’m a PIC guy so the PIC10F322 is my favorite in this class of MCU.

    2. 12F1572 for example, it’s SOIC8 with 32kHz-32MHz internal oscillator, 4 PWMs, 4 ADCs, internal vRef, UART, 3 timers, 3.5kB flash, 256B RAM, 128B EEPROM … And in real world applications you’ll rarely have space considerations where SOIC8 can’t fit, and SOT23 can.

      1. I use the Tiny9 to transmit IR codes. Sure, it’s only blinking an LED, but it’s doing it at 38kHz in a particular pattern. (I have a second, visible LED on there too.) The Tiny9 is a cool little chip, and cheap too!

  4. I don’t see why you would want a break-out board for such a small processor. Perhaps for R&D, but I’d say you should instead build the board you actually need and test with that, or just solder it on cables for the one time you need.
    Also “The TPI interface which only requires vcc, gnd, clk, data and reset”. The programming interface used in xmega (PDI?) doesn’t need a dedicated reset. It uses the reset pin as clock while programming.

  5. Definitely a good choice for learning these tiny chips. I took a look and they’re still the smallest I’m finding, although the KL03 is pretty close in WSCP format (2 x 1.6mm). I’d not want to do the board design for that one, though.

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