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Author Topic: I'm looking for the cheapest micro ever.  (Read 972 times)
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Hello, people!
I'm currently working on some simple little projects that seem to be liked quite a bit, and I'm thinking of selling them.
The target is people who wouldn't normally buy a DIY kit online because "they don't trust the Internet" and wouldn't make their own projects because they're new to electronics.
It's stuff that lights up: Kraftwerk ties, POVs, LED "dolls" that and blink when hugging each other; really simple.
The microprocessors I'm using right now are the MSP430s value line ones, which come at about 1.50€ each. That's OK for personal use, but it would be nice to cut the cost a bit and keep the gadgets cheap...
Can we go any cheaper without having to buy huge quantities?
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1.5 euros = 1.9456 US dollars  (ala Google)

http://www.mouser.com/Semiconductors/MCU-MPU-DSP-DSC-SoC-Processors/Microcontrollers-MCU/_/N-6hpeg?P=1z0z63x&Keyword=attiny13&FS=True
$1.09 each in low quantities.
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Wow, that is inexpensive! Can do a lot with  6 IO - or very little, depending on your project smiley

Digikey has ATTiny10's for even less, $0.80
http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ATTINY10-TSHR/ATTINY10-TSHRCT-ND/2136158
Just 4 IO, 6-pin SOT23 package.

It appears that ATtiny4, ATtiny5, and ATtiny9 exist also for a few pennies less:
http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ATTINY4-TSHR/ATTINY4-TSHRCT-ND/2477315
http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ATTINY5-TSHR/ATTINY5-TSHRCT-ND/2477320
http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/ATTINY9-TSHR/ATTINY9-TSHRCT-ND/2477356

Device     Flash           ADC   Signature
ATtiny4   512 bytes    No     0x1E 0x8F 0x0A
ATtiny5   512 bytes    Yes    0x1E 0x8F 0x09
ATtiny9   1024 bytes  No     0x1E 0x90 0x08
ATtiny10 1024 bytes  Yes    0x1E 0x90 0x03
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Even at $2 each, "other" costs tend to dominate an actual project :-(

The cheapest micro ever was the Atmel ATtiny11, which sold (rather briefly) for $0.25 each in quantities as low as 50 or so.
It was not a particularly pleasant thing, requiring a special programmer, and it only had 512 bytes of flash.  Alas, these are no longer available (I think Atmel was basically selling off stock at fire-sale prices...)

For approximately $0.50, there are a number of choices, including some of the PIC16F chips that started (sort of) the whole "tiny microcontroller" craze.  PIC16F54 is an 18pin chip with 512 instructions of flash, and there's a pretty broad range of pincounts available at similar prices.

Freescale is also a contender with some of their MC9RS08 chips, though they don't have a very good reputation in the hobbyist venue (they look like nice chips, though.)
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