/ tuesdaytooling

Tuesday Tooling: Teeny Tiny ATtiny85

A hardware themed Tuesday Tooling this week!

So what is it?

A tiny microcontroller that is compatible with the Arduino IDE. It comes in many different forms, some connect via micro USB, some direct into your USB port.

This version of the ATtiny85 is a clone board connects via micro USB to your computer
This is a Digispark clone board that connects directly to USB, note that sometimes these can be wobbly in your USB port.

What can it do?

My crude pinout created in Inkscape

The ATtiny85 may only be tiny, but it can provide many of the functions found in much larger microcontrollers.
From the total 6 IO pins we have a combination of

  • 6 Digital
  • 3 Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
  • 3 Analog
  • I2C
  • SPI
  • USB


This is plenty to use for many applications, in fact I recently made a quick hack to show how WS2811 LED (Neopixels) could be used with the board to illuminate a boring old LED cinema sign from #Pounderland (write up for that will be a Friday Fun project!)

I bet they aren't cheap?

You are sooo wrong, these retail for about £2! You can purchase them from Abx Labs, a UK based seller who travels from Maker Faire to Maker Faire selling cool and cheap electronics.

Where can I learn more?

Warning: Self promotion detected!

I've written an introduction to using the ATtiny85 for the Electromaker website. In the guide I show you how to configure the Arduino IDE to use the board, then we create a simple demo project using a few LEDs.

Pick one up, have a go, it'll cost you less than a skinny macchiato latte with those posh little biscuits.