New products you already know

Yesterday I released two “new” products. They are both revisions of projects you’ve seen on the blog before.


They are both the second revisions. They are the Attiny85 Programmer & Breakout Board and the Atmega328p Breakout Board. They’ve both been completely redesigned (ie. manually routed this time) with new features!


Remember this clunky old thing? This is the original Attiny85 Programmer & Breakout. I really wanted to go for something more compact and breadboardable.

1I really like how the new one turned out because my measurements worked out! The board can sit on the edge of an 830-point breadboard so that the programming and breakout pins fit into the prototyping area, with the input power pins fitting nicely on the side power rails.


To the right is the old Atmega328p Breakout. There’s not much change to the way it looks but the new board does have a few nice changes to it.

1The new board now breaks out the reset pin so that you can add an external reset.

Both boards now have LED power indicators, SMD components, and 6-pin ISP headers.

Head on over to my Tindie store to check them out!

So that’s what’s been going on. I’ve been meaning to do a new light show (possibly sans fountains for now). I mostly just want to use my new shift register boards with the PWM control it now allows… Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!


Attiny85 Programmer/Breakout Rev B3 Preview

Let’s go back to basics, shall we?preview1_frontI decided to throw out the whole breakaway section idea. It complicated things and there’s always the chance of a bad break. I put everything back on one board, which is now down to a 3x3cm footprint, 38% smaller than Rev A. The space savings come from less silkscreen text (removed the word “Pin” for the pin numbers) and using SMD components for the power LED indicator and resistor. I would have gone with an SMD capacitor but it costs more than the usual through-hole electrolytic capacitor, at least from where I get my components for these boards. With the price appearing to go up to get these boards manufactured, I’m looking for savings.

preview1_backAnother thing that changed with this sub-revision is that all of the pads are circles and are bigger than they have been on previous boards. They were kind of a pain to solder because any circular pads were really thin. I’m still working out the right size but I’m happy that I know  out how to address that issue now.

To date, the Attiny85 board was my most “Watched” item on eBay so I take that as an indicator of interest for this kind of thing so I’m set on getting these made. Being 3x3cm, I can’t fit two on one 5x5cm board which is what I have to work with to get manufactured. I’ll probably do something simple with the rest of the space but I want to nail down this one first. Thanks for reading!

Attiny85 Programmer/Breakout Rev B – Negasilk Test

2I finally got the negasilk ULP working properly, thanks to this YouTube video. This is still somewhat of a mockup and a test to see how things should be laid out. I like the look of the bolder labels with the inverted text.

The thing that’s bugging me is the consistency of the label directions. It’s fine that the Program label is different since that part of the board will eventually become separated. I’m not sure how to add the label for the Power In or the microcontroller, and then there’s the resistor and LED that don’t really deserve a label, though it could probably file under Power In. Again, it’s just a mockup so things will probably be moving around. I’ll eventually figure it out.

Thanks for visiting!

The Attiny85 Programmer & Breakout Board Rev A is available on eBay!

Manufacturing Session

There’s something satisfying assembling a PCB, even more when you assemble and end up with multiples of the same design. I received the last parts to assemble the remaining 5 Attiny85 Programmer/Breakout PCBs.

IMG_20140908_150710While waiting for the parts to arrive, I bagged each board with its components and headers. The headers are not part of the assembly in case you wanted to solder wires directly to the board. Soldering on the other parts was simple enough.

Once the boards were complete, I did a simple programming test with each one. They were all able to upload and run the blink sketch.

IMG_20140908_150658In other news, I decided not to assemble the shift register boards. If people are interested in them, I’d just cut my losses with this version and get the new one manufactured, though it wouldn’t really be a complete loss since I can always find a project for them in the future.

So that’s it for now. Another blog milestone is coming up next… See you then!

Attiny85 PCB Rev B Preview

Moving along with some revisions to my first two PCB designs, I’m working on some changes to the Attiny85 programmer & breakout board. The following is sort of a mock up as I’m just trying to figure out the form of the board right now.

1So the first thing that you’ll notice is that it’s not a square. It has rounded corners this time! But really, the form of the board has changed a lot. I want to design it so that you can break off the programming area when you’re ready to use the board in your project. The benefit to that is the breakout takes up less space in your project… and it’s kind of neat, IMO.

Something else I did new this time is that this board is actually completely manually routed. I’ve relied mostly on the autorouter up to this point. The Design Rule Check isn’t coming up with any errors so that’s positive.

Some parts should be coming in any day now that will let me assemble and sell the first version of the Attiny85 Programmer & Breakout on eBay, along with the other things I’m currently selling. People buying them will show me how much interest there is in this kind of thing. I really like this design I’m going for so hopefully there’s enough interest to get the new version manufactured when it’s ready (Rev A buyers may get a discount). Stay tuned! Thanks for visiting!

Attiny85 Programmer & Breakout board GIVEAWAY!

pcb_bareWhen I made the post celebrating the blog’s first birthday, I originally wanted to do this giveaway but I didn’t have the boards yet. Now that I have them and they work, I am giving one away!

The prize is just for the Attiny85 Programmer/Breakout PCB; No components are included. This is mostly a test to see if I can mail a bare PCB in the cheapest way (letter mail). I believe it should work. Either way, you have nothing to lose!

Enter now!

1st PCB assembled!

Earlier today, I received my first PCBs in the mail. I assembled one of the boards so I can finally see what they look like put together and to see if they work.IMG_20140805_165250~2The size of the boards are actually smaller than I envisioned them. I was worried about the text being too small and/or unreadable but even the smallest text on the board is perfectly fine.
IMG_20140805_203120The green LED is a power indicator. This is what it looks like connected to an Arduino Uno to program the Attiny85 microcontroller. It worked just fine after setting up the Uno for programming the Attiny85. Those extra steps are the reason I printed a URL on the board so I have a place to put the instructions if and when the boards end up in the hands of someone else.
IMG_20140805_203727I was incredibly happy to see that the breakout side also works.

Unfortunately, at this point, the 74HC595 shift register breakout doesn’t work. Some poking around causes weird effects. I’ll spend some time debugging it tomorrow. I really hope it’s just this board and not all the others too. We’ll see what happens.

Thanks for reading! As always, stay tuned for more. I have more packages incoming for more fun!