Suggested new Arduino: Arduino Piccolo?

I really like the increasing capabilities of the Arduino. They keep getting better, with more memory and more speed and what's not to like about that?

But for a lot of what I do with Arduini, I don't need so much. For many projects, I need maybe 2-4 i/o lines, 1-2 PWM at most, and only rarely an ADC. It offends my sense of efficiency to take a microcontroller with 32k of memory and 20 i/o lines and, for example, build it into a carved pumpkin to turn on glowing red eyes (1 output) for two minutes any time the PIR sensor (1 input) trips.

I sometimes find myself using a PICAXE-08M for this sort of thing. It's smaller, lighter, cheaper, and has a built-in resonator that's accurate enough for timing pumpkin functions. But I don't like using the PICAXE. I dislike programming in BASIC in the first place, the PICAXE implementation of BASIC is annoyingly inconsistent, the supporting software (on a Mac, at least) is buggy as a cheap New York hotel, it's not open-source, and the user community is nowhere near as vibrant and helpful as this one.

Would it be possible to make a minimalist "Piccolo" platform from an ATtiny or some similar chip? Something with a removable (not surface-mounted) 8-pin DIP? Yes, something in direct competition with the PICAXE 8-pin proto-kit; but all open-source and Arduino-y.

I suppose the immediate solution for me would be to get a programmer and start learning how to roll my own ATtiny13 applications; but the ease of programming on the Arduino platform is addictive.

Anyway, it's a suggestion. I'll go back to lurking now. :)

And you haven't tried an ATtiny25/45/85 why??? Just program a regular Arduino as an ISP programmer and plug a tiny[248]5 into a breadboard, as a few wires, and program.

Check out:

It has worked pretty good for me.


Why? Unfamiliarity. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into it right away!

I'm a physicist, not an engineer, and all this stuff is new to me and self-taught besides. It's fun learning new things: thanks for the helpful link.


I'm a physicist, not an engineer, and all this stuff is new to me and self-taught besides. It's fun learning new things: thanks for the helpful link.

Being a physicist shouldn't discourge or disadvantage you TOO much from learning to use an Arduino. ;D


You could also go with these for a little more versatility and ease of programmability via FTDI adapter.

Oh, I do fairly well, considering my physics "handicap". ;)

I had a spot of trouble with the directions on the website that Rusty suggested, though. The .zip file has a folder (attiny45_85) and a text file (boards.txt), and in order to make the arduino program list the ATtiny45 and ATtiny85 as board options that file has to go inside the folder. At least that was what I found to be the case on a Mac. It works now, I'm just saying if anyone else has this problem, give that a try.

And thanks again. If anyone needs me I'll be standing by the mailbox waiting for a package from Digikey.

Sheeesh! Physicians... ::)

The zip file contains a top-level directory called attiny45_85. You should unzip that file so that the attiny45_85 directory is created in your sketchbook/hardware folder and look like this:

boards.txt  cores


Makefile      WInterrupts.c  main.cpp        wiring.c          wiring_private.h
Print.cpp     WMath.cpp      main.cxx        wiring.h          wiring_pulse.c
Print.h       WProgram.h     pins_arduino.c  wiring_analog.c   wiring_shift.c
WConstants.h  binary.h       pins_arduino.h  wiring_digital.c

This is how it unzip'd for me on Linux and it works just fine since I've already compiled several programs for my Tiny45's. I didn't have to move anything about.

Maybe MacOS did something "strange" for you? :-)


You’re right – my bad. My Mac helpfully opened the outer folder for me, so I ended up installing the inner “attiny45_85” folder in my hardware folder, rather than the outer one.

Still standing by the mailbox, waiting for a package of ATtiny85s…