the DEFINITIVE tiny core package - an impossible dream?

I do a lot with tinies of every shape and small size. 13,24,45,85,24,44,84,2313,4313,261,461,861 to name but a few.

I have cobbled together a parallel ide installation with a tiny-only boards.txt and customised programmers.txt to include my avr dragon. I am reasonably competent at hacking this stuuf around abd writing my own libraries etc.

the various bits have been collated form a variety of sources...there seem to be numerous incompatible variants of tiny cores...

if I have to add my own for rare cpus, im ready to do that, but id like the best possible starting point.

Q1 which / where is the best, most complete, most up2date package that includes the majority of the above? Q2 my current setup includes only 8 and 14pin variants, I want to start adding 20pin 2313/4313. in the absence of a total solution to Q1, same question for a tiny20 variants bolt-on? Q3 I cant seem to find the latest documentation for ALL options and range of possible values in boards.txt, programmers.txt. for example I have recently discovered protocol=arduino where previously id seen protocol=stk500v2 or suchlike...whats the difference/advantage/new features etc?

any help suggestions welcomed

BareMetal:
I do a lot with tinies of every shape and small size. 13,24,45,85,24,44,84,2313,4313,261,461,861 to name but a few.

Cool.

BareMetal:
there seem to be numerous incompatible variants of tiny cores…

Yep.

eg. There’s no consensus on which timer should be the ‘system’ timer. Timer0 or Timer1?

BareMetal:
Q1 which / where is the best, most complete, most up2date package that includes the majority of the above?
Q2 my current setup includes only 8 and 14pin variants, I want to start adding 20pin 2313/4313. in the absence of a total solution to Q1, same question for a tiny20 variants bolt-on?
Q3 I cant seem to find the latest documentation for ALL options and range of possible values in boards.txt, programmers.txt. for example I have recently discovered protocol=arduino where previously id seen protocol=stk500v2 or suchlike…whats the difference/advantage/new features etc?

The thing is…it all seems a bit pointless since the arrival of the $3 Pro Mini. Why wrestle with non-working libraries and stuff when you can get a $3 board that’s 100% compatible with an Uno and fits in the same space as a 14-pin DIP? (more or less)

The Tiny 85 is still useful for making really small things but most people use the V-USB installations for that. People with ISP programmers are in the minority these days.

Just my $0.02…

The Arduino IDE is useful, but it is not nescessary. If you are comfortable with ISP programming your chips, then simply using straight C or C++ and your own configuration is far better than trying to rely on 'cores' that someone else put together to satisfy their needs. Straight programming of these chips is really pretty easy, and certainly less complicated when one starts using a variety of non-standard chips, particularly the smaller ones. JMO

thanks gents. some interesting points. must check out the $3 option, suits my budget!

I actually like the ease of the duino ide, I also use atmel studio occasionaly, but I find it a bit sledgehammer/nut gor whst I do. I also like the builtin libraries etc.

I accept I may bd behind the curve in isp-land, but im fairly new to the field anc trying to learn all I can. your replies hsve helped.

I will search for the pto mini, but if you have a link handy...

ps I found a lot of good info on this topic in the developers mailing list

BareMetal: thanks gents. some interesting points. must check out the $3 option, suits my budget!

I will search for the pto mini, but if you have a link handy...

My bad...they're now down to about $2.60: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=arduino+pro+mini

The pro mini is quite a bit larger than a 14-pin dip... more like a 28 pin dip (0,6" wide)

Still may be a reasonable option for the OP though.

wanderson:
The pro mini is quite a bit larger than a 14-pin dip… more like a 28 pin dip (0,6" wide)

No…the Pro Mini PCB is shorter than the chip on my Arduino Uno.

A 14-pin DIP on a piece of perfboard will most likely end up bigger than a Pro Mini once you add a programming header and a nice capacitor.

BareMetal: Q1 which / where is the best, most complete, most up2date package that includes the majority of the above?

Probably Tom Carpenter's fork... https://github.com/TCWORLD/ATTinyCore

Q2 my current setup includes only 8 and 14pin variants, I want to start adding 20pin 2313/4313. in the absence of a total solution to Q1, same question for a tiny20 variants bolt-on?

Probably Tom Carpenter's fork.

Q3 I cant seem to find the latest documentation for ALL options and range of possible values in boards.txt, programmers.txt. for example I have recently discovered protocol=arduino where previously id seen protocol=stk500v2 or suchlike...whats the difference/advantage/new features etc?

For which IDE?

if I have to add my own for rare cpus, im ready to do that, but id like the best possible starting point.

Well, if you're very patient, I would certainly welcome another participant for Tiny Core 2.

@codingbadly

I meant the latest ide...I hadnt realised there were such changes between the 1.0.3 im using for tinies and the 1.5.x . my bad, I was out of date. I found exactly what I need in the developers mailing list, which seems like a better place for hardcore tech stuff like this.

tell me more about tiny core 2...whats involved etc. methinks you are the one thst will ned to be patient! I got all day

fungus:

wanderson: The pro mini is quite a bit larger than a 14-pin dip... more like a 28 pin dip (0,6" wide)

No...the Pro Mini PCB is shorter than the chip on my Arduino Uno.

A 14-pin DIP on a piece of perfboard will most likely end up bigger than a Pro Mini once you add a programming header and a nice capacitor.

Yes it is shorter (not by much, about 2mm), but it is twice as wide as a standard 14-pin DIP package, which is 0.3" and the Pro is 0.6" wide.

A 28-pin AVR328 (DIP) takes about 350 sq. mm of board space. The Mini Pro takes about 600 sq mm. Now that added space gets you crystal, reset button, FTDI header, etc... but it is much larger than the 14-pin chip you mentioned.

wanderson:
Yes it is shorter (not by much, about 2mm), but it is twice as wide as a standard 14-pin DIP package, which is 0.3" and the Pro is 0.6" wide.

Yes, but we’re not comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP, we’re comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP on a PCB.

Here’s a PCB I made for using Tiny84s, it has a Tiny84+ISP header pins. It’s 4mm shorter than a Pro Mini and 1mm narrower. In practical terms they’re about the same size.

I still use Tiny84s for jobs that need more pins than a Tiny85 and don’t rely on any “Uno-only” libraries, but … that’s just to use up my stock of chips+PCBs. I’ve got about a dozen left. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I don’t think I’ll be buying any more.

Edit: Forgot the image, duh!

IMG_20140517_130305.jpg

fungus: Yes, but we're not comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP, we're comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP on a PCB.

But a 14-pin DIP (not on a PCB) is precisely the comparison you made earlier,

fungus: The thing is...it all seems a bit pointless since the arrival of the $3 Pro Mini. Why wrestle with non-working libraries and stuff when you can get a $3 board that's 100% compatible with an Uno and fits in the same space as a 14-pin DIP? (more or less)

My point is that someone who is not familiar with the size of the Pro mini might take your statement at face value. A 14-pin dip requires about 160 sq mm of board space (and the ISP can be included in that space on the reverse side of the board), the Pro mini requires about 600 sq mm or more than three times the board space. And that doesn't take into account the 8 pin devices or using smd devices, which can make the difference even more significant.

I don't disagree that the Pro Mini makes a useful substitute for nearly all hobbiest uses they would put the tiny series to work; however, not everyone is a hobbyist, and there are many reasons that the Pro mini would be inappropriate to replace the tiny series.

fungus: Here's a PCB I made for using Tiny84s, it has a Tiny84+ISP header pins. It's 4mm shorter than a Pro Mini and 1mm narrower. In practical terms they're about the same size.

I still use Tiny84s for jobs that need more pins than a Tiny85 and don't rely on any "Uno-only" libraries, but ... that's just to use up my stock of chips+PCBs. I've got about a dozen left. Once they're gone, they're gone. I don't think I'll be buying any more.

Edit: Forgot the image, duh!

BTW, that $3 pro mini is very misleading....

Quoting the price of a small quantity EBAY purchase is not really applicable. What matters is the price for a reliable source that can provide the quantities you need. Even if the $3 is close to what you can get it for from a reputable supplier, the price of tiny chips is still much lower (and far easier to obtain in production quantities) for instance I can get 100 8KB at tiny chips for 50 cents a piece from Mouser, much less for larger quantities. And for a number of uses, that single chip is all that is needed for the entire application.

wanderson:

fungus: Yes, but we're not comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP, we're comparing the Pro-Mini with a 14-pin DIP on a PCB.

But a 14-pin DIP (not on a PCB) is precisely the comparison you made earlier,

If we're being precise, I qualified it with "more or less" - because I was thinking of real world use by hobbyists. In real world use they both occupy approximately the same space.

wanderson: My point is that someone who is not familiar with the size of the Pro mini might take your statement at face value.

The real danger in my imprecision wasn't that a newbie might read it, the real danger was that a curmudgeon might read it.

wanderson: the ISP can be included in that space on the reverse side of the board

Doubling (or tripling) the 3D volume?

wanderson: I don't disagree that the Pro Mini makes a useful substitute for nearly all hobbiest uses they would put the tiny series to work; however, not everyone is a hobbyist, and there are many reasons that the Pro mini would be inappropriate to replace the tiny series.

If you're a professional who makes stuff by the thousand the size comparison doesn't apply because you won't be using a Pro Mini or a 14-pin DIP.

The surface mount Tiny84 is a lot cheaper than the surface mount Mega328 (less than half the price) so that's obviously the chip to use for things that are manufactured by the thousand.

OTOH, would somebody who uses surface mount chips and makes stuff by the thousand be using the Arduino IDE? (which is sort of what the original question was about...)

PS: I still think trying to support every Atmel chip isn't a very practical goal. There's simply too many variants. The "Tools->Board" menu wouldn't fit on screen.

Surface mounted chips are used by hobbyists all over the world... They aren't much more complicated to use than DIP chips and are much easier to find now a days.

PS, why would someone create a PCB for a 14-pin dip chip to house the chip, an ISP header, and breadboard pins??? It is perfectly easy to breadboard a dip chip and use a ISP header on a breadboard...

PPS, Hobbyists don't usually worry about the physical size of the boards they are using...

fungus: PS: I still think trying to support every Atmel chip isn't a very practical goal. There's simply too many variants. The "Tools->Board" menu wouldn't fit on screen.

aha! not true! the 1.5.x ide has cascading menus to solve that very point, which is the subject of another thread I have. while agree that supporting ALL is impractical, im only after the families that I have in my toybox, ie x4, x5, x313, x61 and a couple of others.

BTW gents, in fungus' defence, I think his comments were a) fairly off the cuff b) Unlikely to mislead noods as I cant see too many being interested in a thead like this! As the original thread starter, may I respectfully request we park that part of the discussion?

ironically, I had actually bought one of those pro minis off ebay a few months back and forgot about it. this thread may prompt me to usemitmat last!

wanderson: A 14-pin DIP on a piece of perfboard will most likely end up bigger than a Pro Mini

its true that a 14pin dip CHIP is bigger than a 32pin qfp CHIP but to imagine a 14pin dip BOARD would be bigger than a promini is ridiculous. specially considering the pin duplication, unnecessary parts, and wasted space from the sparkfun moron designer of promini. bringing out 14 pins to headers would end up much smaller than promini even with the single cap, crystal, and led circuit required. it looks like somebody has never bothered to actually measure either device or even glanced at the mechanicals.

bringing out 14 pins will always take a fraction that of bringing out 28 regardless of chip package all else equal.

hmmm...fasinating as the size issue is, it it entirely irrelevant to my original question!

any recommendations for definitive tiny cores other than tom carpenter's?

wanderson: PS, why would someone create a PCB for a 14-pin dip chip to house the chip, an ISP header, and breadboard pins???

It is perfectly easy to breadboard a dip chip and use a ISP header on a breadboard...

Simple answer: Try making a dozen of them. You'll soon get tired of stripping wire and cutting PCBs.

It's much quicker (and more foolproof!) to put them together on a PCB that has built-in tracks for the ISP header, capacitor, power LED, etc

john1993:
its true that a 14pin dip CHIP is bigger than a 32pin qfp CHIP but to imagine a 14pin dip BOARD would be bigger than a promini is ridiculous. specially considering the pin duplication, unnecessary parts, and wasted space from the sparkfun moron designer of promini. bringing out 14 pins to headers would end up much smaller than promini even with the single cap, crystal, and led circuit required. it looks like somebody has never bothered to actually measure either device or even glanced at the mechanicals.

bringing out 14 pins will always take a fraction that of bringing out 28 regardless of chip package all else equal.

Take a look at the picture I posted…

Even if you take the Tiny84’s 14 pins directly to the edge of the PCB you still can’t make a PCB which is exactly 7 holes long. You need to make it longer for the other components + connectors.

(OK, I guess you could make it double sided and put stuff on the back…but that would make it twice as thick - not good)