Description: The ATtiny45 and 85 are a couple of really cool little MCUs but did you know you can program them in Arduino? That’s right, now you can shrink your Arduino projects down to “tiny size” by moving your code straight over to these small but capable ICs. The standard method for programming the ATtiny ICs involves a breadboard, lots of jumper wires and a hardware programmer, but David Mellis over at MIT Media Lab has simplified the process by laying out this handy USB programmer.
The Tiny AVR Programmer plugs directly into your USB port and provides a programming socket for the ATTiny45 and 85. Just slot an ATtiny with a DIP footprint into the socket, plug the programmer into your USB port and start up the Arduino IDE. After installing the proper board definitions, you simply program it the same way you would any other Arduino board. The programmer even breaks out the IC pins to female headers so you can easily prototype around the ATtiny without pulling and plugging it over and over. There are two ISP headers that have also been broken out so you can use the programmer of solder in a 6-pin header for other AVR microcontrollers!
Note: You’ll need to install the USBTinyISP drivers if you don’t have them yet, you can find them in the documents below!
Based on 62 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This tool just works!! One caveat I found relative to I2c: If you leave the ATTiny85 plugged into the board while trying to debug I2C, the board holds the SDA signal on Pin 5 HIGH during the acknowledge clock cycle which results in not being able to detect an Acknowledge (LOW) from a slave device. The SDA pin during the acknowledge clock cycle is configured as an Input. The ATTiny85 worked just fine when removed from the programmer.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This seems to work flawlessly, even when I have a hard time getting my other programmers to “play nice” with the ATTiny85.
4 of 4 found this helpful:
Super handy. Buy a chip extractor to go with it.
If you want to program an ATTiny84 with this, here are the pin connections:
ATTiny84 ---> Tiny Programmer 1 ---> + 14 ---> -- (minus sign) 4 ---> (unlabeled) 7 ---> 0 8 ---> 1 9 ---> 2
( find more info here )
1 of 1 found this helpful:
To Member #6938: use the links to the driver on the product page, not the hookup guide (they are different for 64 bit). If that still doesn’t work, try this link (it worked for me): https://mightyohm.com/blog/2010/09/fixed-usbtinyisp-drivers-for-64-bit-windows-7/
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This is a very handy programmer. Works great for general ISP programming as well. One drawback on the design are the female header pins for prototyping. They are of the machined type headers and components or wires do not hold very well in them. So they are mostly useless for prototyping. They should have been female header like they use on the Arduino boards.
Hi, Thanks for the feedback. I would like to see this revised to run standard female headers as well. I will share your feedback with the engineers for the next time this gets a revision. Thank you
1 of 2 found this helpful:
I wish this came assembled and in an enclosure. One small bump and the USB connector is likely be easily ripped off.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
The schematic shown is for REV 14, however I was sent REV 13, board I designed to match the pinouts at JP10, doesn’t match now I’m forced to connect each pin individually to program each my board. Grrrr.
Hi, From my records, we haven’t revised these in years. I’m not sure why your board doesn’t match what you expected. I’m very sorry for the issue.
Greetings from Germany. I bought this item and it arrived in Cologne in less then 2 weeks, great! I used the shipping time to prepare my Arduino IDE and alter the blink-sketch, so when the programmer arrived, I put it into the USB-Port, installed the drivers, one click and the LED startet blinking. You get what you see and it does what it should do, so there is no reason to grumble. Nevertheless I wonder why did they not solder in the pins for the ISP-headers. I think it would not rise the price that much and would prevent me from messing around with the valuable PCB. Driver-installation on win 8 is really a pain in the … Here in german language: Treiberinstallation für deutsches win 8.1: win-Taste+C: öffnet Charms-Menue (rechte Seite) - EInstellungen - PC-Einstellungen ändern - Update/Wiederherstellung - Wiederherstellung - Jetzt neu starten - Problembehandlung - Erweiterte Optionen - Starteinstellungen - Neustart dann die 7 wählen, der PC startet und endlich kann man die Treiber installieren
DIese Abfolge am besten ausdrucken, damit man sich nicht verirrt.
It works exactly as expected and I love it. Makes simple projects even easier.
A great little device. Works great programming my ATtiny85 chips. Super easy and quick. A wonderful tool in my pile of electronics.
Like I said in the title…
Easy to use and (thus far) works perfectly!
I got this to program ATTiny85s and I expected to use the breakout headers to program it in-circuit with jumpers to the breadboard circuit for rapid prototyping. The circuit used I2C with an external EEPROM. The circuit did not work with the chip installed on the programmer, but with the chip in-circuit without the programmer it worked correctly. I believe this may be due to this programmer not being able to allow I2C communication when the chip is installed on the programmer unfortunately - I suspect this due to a comment left by a previous customer. I am forced to move the chip back and forth to the programmer to use it correctly. If I knew this I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Can you please fix this problem? Thanks.
Super easy to use with the latest Arduino.cc IDE and the sparkfun link to the driver for ATTiny85. Working great on win8.1 and win10.
Have not got it to work with an Atmega328p yet. Could be the chip I’m using has already been fused to 16 MHz. Not a biggie as I could always plug the chip into an UNO and re-fuse it. ;)
I like this easy device for 8 pin at85. I approve this review. LOL.
Would be nice if this had a USB-B port so this could be connected by a cable, as currently I have to use it in an awkward position on my PC. Otherwise works well. Proto headers are a nice touch
Easily programs the attiny 85, both on board or breadboarded, but having difficulties doing a breadboarded 328 using Arduino IDE 1.6.4 following the hookup guide. Will persevere!
I’ve used it on Windows and Mac so far. Well integrated into Arduino IDE. AND It’s inexpensive.
Win7 works great, fast easy way to program chips. See ‘comments’ for my photos on adding legs to the socket to help with breadboard and in project usability.
Now I have a quick and easy way to program ATtiny85, using the Arduino IDE 1.6.6. I have followed Hookup Guide.
Very quick to set up and easy to use. Had my ATtiny85 controlling an LED array in no time.
Great little tool for programming an attiny85 chip with. Have used it for small scale police cars!
Would have been nice to have a link to the drivers.
Very convenient and easy to use. headers make prototyping simple. The pins on the back make it simple to program other AVRs, just make sure to use right angle pins or it won’t plug into a laptop.
What I like about this programmer is that it programs without requiring a preloaded bootstrap loader. It is also small and self-contained (does not need a separate power supply). Naturally, the Arduino IDE port is a great asset as well. I bought 25 of them and handed them out for free when I gave an invited lecture to high-school students recently. It was very appreciated! I´m just worried that they may ask me to give this lecture to many more classes… /Robert
This worked as expected. The windows 8 driver issue was a bit of a pain.
Thanks SparkFun for the excellent tutorials for getting started programming attiny chips with this device. Below is a video of some music I programmed to play from the attiny. As a testament to the robustness of the tiny avr programmer, if you look closely you’ll see a crater in the middle of the chip socket. Yep, I put one in backwards and it got quite hot. The chip was toast of course, but the tiny avr programmer still works! (I later ordered a spare programmer given the price is so reasonable).
About 30 seconds long, a little Bach. A link to the C source is on the youtube page.
I used it at first to program some ATtiny85 ICs but soon added a 3x2 male header and with six male-to-female jumpers, I now program my 328P ICs on the motherboard. Great value.
I love that you can quickly and easily flash an ATTiny45 on this thing. It’s so nice not having to wire up a breadboard to flash the chip. This is about as convenient as you can get. Got it working very quickly on Mac OS X with avr dude
Great for most projects where you only need a couple of inputs and outputs.
Hardware: Great simple programmer with plenty of options! The female headers hold jumpers quite well. Nice that other programming pin options are offered. Good form factor: won’t hog USB space from another port next to it and fairly sturdy (with no intermittent connection issues).
Software - Drivers: I know that the drivers aren’t the product, but without them the product doesn’t function. First, is anyone else using Chrome getting a security error when trying to download the drivers? I keep getting the red danger page stating “The site ahead contains harmful programs. Attackers on cdn.sparkfun.com might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit).” I know Sparkfun isn’t evil, so I just used another browser to remedy this. Now my homepage is Sparkfun.com….jk. Drivers work with Arduino 1.6.1 (with Tiny add-on) and Win7.
Software - Arduino: There are frequency options for the Tiny85, but changing from the 1MHz internal clock does nothing. I tried using the 8MHz internal even when the Tiny AVR Guide warns me that things will slow down. It seems that the scaling settings for correct timing get changed but not the clock selection or prescaler. I’ve checked a few things to verify the clock not changing. Might have to dig in to figure out clock selection or directly write to the clock registers.
I had used Arduino to program the tiny one but since I used this Tiny AVR programmer, it makes my live more easier. Thanks Sparkfun for having this product
I believe the update screws up the tiny avr process.. I had my attinys working.. updated to the new one… now they dont work.. Back to the previous one and it is back on… KNowing my newbieness…it is probably just me but still the error is
Arduino: 1.6.1 (Windows 7), Board: “ATtiny85 (internal 8 MHz clock)”
Selected board depends on ‘arduino’ core (not installed).
This report would have more information with “Show verbose output during compilation” enabled in File > Preferences.
so I guess for now Ill stick with the previous version…
Thanks to this board, the ATtiny85 has become my favorite chip for projects. I only wish I knew half the features this board offers.
A word of caution, and some praise for durability: I have melted 3 ATtiny85s by plugging them in backwards. Each time I just desoldered the melted socket, soldered on a new one, and went back to work. I love that this board could take that kind of clumsy abuse.
As this was going to be my first time dabbling into AVRs, I didn’t want something that required too much wiring. This little guy does the trick. The instructions and support given here made it well worth the money over cheaper solutions.
Getting it to work with Windows 8.1 is a pain, what with having to boot windows into a non-signed driver mode, but other than that minor, infrequent annoyance, this has been a pleasure!
I was using the Arduino and a basic breadboard for programming ATTiny85, but now, with this Tiny AVR, which works perfectly with Arduino studio, it is easiest, faster & reliable.
Absolutely awesome little programmer!
Works as advertised. Driver installation was easy but not seamless. Directly plugging in to a usb port causes unwanted mechanical strain. I recommend using with a usb extension cable.
Otherwise an excellent tool.
Tried in vain to get this thing to work on the newest release of arduino. (1.6?) Used the old arduino programmer and it worked. Wish there were better instructions for beginners.
When i first received the Tiny AVR programmer i was able to program an Attiny85 in a breakout board without any issues. It was a blank IC from Digikey now i got a new shipment of ICs from Digikey and im able to burn the bootloader on to them without any issues but every time i try to upload a program through arduino i get a content mismatch error.
I’ve tried to use this programmer with Arduino IDE and I get, “avrdude: verification error, first mismatch is at 0x0080.” The board is set as ATtiny 45, 1 Mhz clock. The programmer is set to USB tiny ISP. I can program the same chips just fine using an Arduino UNO as programmer. Just bought this programmer. Could it be bad out of the box?
Hi, Make sure you follow the directions in the hook up guide, there are some steps and add ons that you must follow to get this operating in the Arduino IDE - https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/tiny-avr-programmer-hookup-guide/?_ga=1.214497687.1851504437.1417041706
When I ordered this I was having problems with my Macbook Air attaching to some Chinese Arduino’s. When this programmer came in I resigned myself to having to slog through debugging usb communications on the Mac. Imagine my surprise when It worked the very FIRST TIME! Awesome sauce! Bravo on this product. I’m very happy.
It’s easy to use and very effective. I think it’s pretty near excellent. I’ve been working on a project with several folks and each of us has been prototyping with our own Tiny AVR Programmer.
A couple of things to watch out for. Be sure all the pins of your ATTiny are very securely inserted. It’s very sensitive.
And if the USB port is not working, just slightly giggle it around a bit.
Your guide is pretty good. I’m working on a blogpost that covers a few small issues that can confuse beginners and also how to use ATTiny85s with servo motors, which can be challenging! I will share when I finish.
Wow this baby works great and is so small.
0 of 2 found this helpful:
Publicity should make it clear that this device cannot accommodate surface mount I.C’s
The Tiny AVR Programmer is an excellent device for programming and testing Atmel 8-pin MCUs. It beats Arduino boards which need leads as well as a 10 uF capacitor by lengths… Great work from Sparkfun!
Great little device, does exactly what I wanted, I am very happy with it and the on-line instructions required on getting it going initially.
Works great with my ATtiny85 bought from sparkfun.com. I’m using the Arduino IDE to program the chip. I installed the IDE following the hookup guide also on sparkfun.
This programmer is great. If you need to utilize all of the 8K of flash on the ATtiny85, definitely buy this. It allows you to program the ATtiny85 without needing a bootloader, saving around 2K of flash.
Love it, simple as that. Worth every penny of the twenty bucks.
I used it to create a one-off simple game timer. It worked flawlessly, once I got both the correct and current software for both this device and the Arduino IDE. My Mac did not show it as an attached USB device, but the on-board LED let me know the two were conversing. Off I go now to do some more stuff with these terrific little ATtiny85s!!
programs ATTINY85, super easy to set up and use, no more messy jumper wires from my Arduino Uno, plug and go!
It works as advertised. It is nice that we can program little ATtinys!
Simple and light. Used to begin C/assembly without arduino IDE. Maybe a little difficult for beginners but with a lot of documentation on internet (perfect for programming the sunday in sofa ^^).
I’m still using Windows XP. The Tiny Programmer works fine with Arduino 1.0.6 but I could not get it to work with Arduino 1.6.1 or 1.6.3 even though I followed the Sparkfun and High Low Tech. tutorials and downloaded the files for 1.6.1.
Every time I attempted to upload a sketch I received the error message “id.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close”.
If anyone has a suggestion, I’ll try it.
So much more convenient than using an Arduino Uno as an ISP Even my SOIC ZIF adapter fits on it ( http://c.shld.net/rpx/i/s/i/mp/38124/prod_3367361926?hei=245&wid=245&op_sharpen=1&qlt=85)
My only complaint was shipping - it took forever to get here.
If you want this thing to last, and you will, because it’s so much more useful than any other incarnation of AVR programmers - install additional headers first and then cover the entire stick in epoxy. Put a little loop of scotch tape around the chip socket to make sure glue doesn’t get into it and cover RST/VCC jumpers with a cutout from a pencil eraser if you ever plan on messing with the bootloader. The rest can use a layer of epoxy as thick as the USB plug.
FIX: The links to the drivers are for an old Adafruit code base. The folk over at Adafruit have a signed Windows 8 - 10 driver on their site; https://learn.adafruit.com/usbtinyisp/download
It works and is verified with the 64 bit Windows 8 / 10
The AVR programmer is simple and easy to use. The price seems a tad high for what it is but it works and it works well.