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Table of Contents

DIY AVR in the Arduino IDE

Included here are a large set of convenient boards.txt and bootloaders to handle many Atmel AVR Microcontrollers in the Arduino IDE for people making their own DIY Arduino based stuff.

⚠️ Arduino Version 1.0.x support has now ended in this package, 1.0.x users should upgrade to 1.6.x+ without further delay, download for free here.

⭐️ Arduino IDE 1.8.5+ (or 1.6.13) Recommended

The current release was made using IDE version 1.8.5 so that's the recommended, but you should be ok with anything 1.6.13 or newer, and MAYBE older versions.

💥 ** Do not use Arduino IDE 1.6.10 due to major bugs in that version of the IDE. 💥

⭐️ Make sure your "Arduino AVR Boards Built-In" is updated

It is often a problem that people have updated their IDE version but it is using for some reason an old "Arduino AVR Boards", this can cause a problem (usually with avrdude configuration).

Go to "Tools > Board > Board Manager" and look at the (usually) first item which is called "Arduino AVR Boards", it should show version 1.6.15 or higher installed, note that this number is not the same as your IDE version (usually).

Especially if it is lower than 1.6.15, click the item and select/install the highest available version.

Supported Chips

Presently the list of included chips is as follows:

ATmega x8 Series (8,48,88,168,328)

Board Manager JSON for ATmega 8/48/88/168/328

⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram (DIP) ⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram (SMD-32) ⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram (SMD-28)

This series of chips are pin compatible in both 28 pin DIP (through hole) and 32 pin surface mount packages. Consult the datasheets for the specific differences, but for most people the biggest difference is simply the amount of memory.

  • ATmega8, ATmega8A,
  • ATmega48, ATmega48A, ATmega48P, ATmega48PA, ATmega48PB
  • ATmega88, ATmega88A, ATmega88P, ATmega88PA, ATmega88PB
  • ATmega168, ATmega168A, ATmega168P, ATmega168PA, ATmega168PB
  • ATmega328, ATmega328P, ATmega328PB

Note at current time only 8A, 48P and 328P have been tested, but the others should work too, open an issue if not.

ATtiny

Board Manager JSON for ATtiny 25/45/85/24/44/84/13/10/5

The ATtiny series of chips use (installed automatically for you with the JSON above) a fork of ATTinyCore which has further optimisations for core code size reduction so you can fit (considerably) more useful code into your ATtiny and still maintain all the functions you are used to.

💥 Because it doesn't use the "official" Arduino core files (which really don't support ATtiny at all properly) there may be some differences you will notice along the way, and some libraries may not be available. The main issues will be when using the very small ATtiny13, 4, 5, 9 and 10 which have to sacrifice some functionality.

⚠️ It is recommended that you only use the A0, A1 ... An constants with analogRead(). Doing something like digitalRead(A0), may not do what you want (especially in releases of this core prior to October 2017, after October 2017 it's less of a problem). Consult the pinout diagrams for each chip and it will show you clearly which numbers to use for each pin!

ATtiny25, ATtiny45, ATtiny85

⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram

  • ATtiny25
  • ATtiny45
  • ATtiny85

Note only 85 has been tested, but the others should work too, open an issue if not.

SPI Pin Inversions

Note on the pinout diagram above that the MOSI and MISO pins have two "orientations" on the x5 Series, when Programming (Slave) use the Programming orientation, and when using SPI devices connected to your chip (Master) use the SPI orientation. The reason for this inversion is that the SPI Master implementation uses the "USI" function of the x5, which does not have a hardware SPI system.

ATtiny24, ATtiny44, ATtiny84

⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram

  • ATtiny24, ATtiny24A
  • ATtiny44, ATtiny44A
  • ATtiny84, ATtiny84A

Note only 84A has been tested, but the others should work too, open an issue if not.

SPI Pin Inversions

Note on the pinout diagram above that the MOSI and MISO pins have two "orientations" on the x4 Series, when Programming (Slave) use the Programming orientation, and when using SPI devices connected to your chip (Master) use the SPI orientation. The reason for this inversion is that the SPI Master implementation uses the "USI" function of the x4, which does not have a hardware SPI system.

ATtiny13

⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram

This series of chips is pin compatible with the ATtinyx5 series, but have only 1K of flash and 64 Bytes of SRAM, as a result they are a tight squeeze for the Arduino environment. There is no room for bootloaders so you need an ISP programmer.

  • ATtiny13, ATtiny13A

Remember that although there is no bootloader, you still want to "Burn Bootloader" in order to set the fuses for your chosen clock speed etc.

A number of examples are available in File > Examples > ATTinyCore > Tiny13 which will help you to get the hang of special considerations about writing code for the Tiny13.

SPI / Wire (I2C, TWI) On Tiny13

SPI is supported at least for writing to SPI devices, reading is not tested. Writing has been tested with an SPI Digital Potentiometer, and there is enough space to use that, at least semi usefully.

I2C/TWI (Wire Library) is not presently supported on the Tiny13, at this stage I don't think there is sufficient space on a Tiny13 to offer a Wire library and actually have any flash left to use it in any way usefully.

ATtiny4, ATtiny5, ATtiny9, ATtiny10

⭐️ See Arduino Pinout Diagram

These chips are extremely small 6 pin chips and use TPI to upload, please read this extended information about how to use the Tiny4/5/9/10 for more information and troubleshooting.

The 4 and 5 only have 512K of Flash, and all of them only have 32 bytes of SRAM, you can forget about anything to do with Print (that includes Serial) as it's not practically useful in such limitations. But all the basic functions, that is, digitalRead/Write, analogRead/Write and pinMode are good.

The 4 and 9 do not have an ADC, so analogRead() is not available on those chips.

You will find it useful to select Tools > Millis, Tone Support > No Millis, No Tone when ever possible on these chips, as that will save a lot of space - you can still use delay() even if you don't have millis() enabled so it's not entirely useless!

Due to these chips being what Atmel calls "Reduced Core TinyAVR" the compiler can not make the code as efficient on 4/5/9/10, so even code that fits for example in a Tiny13 may not fit in a Tiny10 even though they have the same amount (1024 bytes) of code space. Think small!

Installation & Usage

Note that this has been tested with 1.8.5, older versions your milage may vary.

Automatic Installation through Board Manager (Recommended)

Manual Installation (Not Recommended)

  • Download the following zip file(s) as you desire
  • Unzip the file(s)
  • Move the folder you unzipped into a folder called "hardware" inside your Arduino Sketchbook (create one if it doesn't exist) - see the README.TXT in the file for full instructions on where to find your sketchbook folder
  • Restart your Arduino IDE

Usage

  • Select Tools > Board > [the chip you want to program]
  • Select Tools > Processor Version > [the specific version of the chip]1
  • Select Tools > Processor Speed > [the speed to run the chip at]
  • Select Tools > Bootloader > [ if you want/have a bootloader or not ]
  • Select Tools > Link Time Optimisation > [ if you want LTO or not ]

If you need to burn a bootloader (if it hasn't already been done on your chip or you want to change the chip settings) or set fuses, you can then use the "Burn Bootloader" option to do so, if you selected to use a non-bootloaded setup, then Burn Bootloader will set the appropriate fuses for that too, so make sure you still do it!

The ATtiny series also include additional menus under the Tools which allow you to trade-off certain features for more code space.

1 Not all "boards" have a Processor Version menu.

Tunable Bootloaders

The 8MHz and 1MHz versions of the bootloader include an "oscillator tuning" function which is active until you first upload a sketch using the bootloader, this is useful because the internal oscillator of AVR chips is not that accurate and a reasonable degree of accuracy is required for reliable serial communication.

You can try uploading a sketch right after burning the bootloader, and if it works, it works, great, you probably didn't need to tune your oscillator.

If however you do need to tune it, typically evidenced by not being able to upload, or getting garbage when trying to print stuff to serial, then immediately after burning the bootloader, open a serial monitor at 9600 Baud, and repeatedly send the letter x to it with say half a second between them. x<enter>x<enter>x<enter>x<enter>... and so forth.

After each x you send you should see some, possibly garbage, output from the serial, eventually (12-20 x's) it will start making sense as the oscillator "homes in", and finally it will tell you that it is complete and save the calibation.

Once you get the complete message, you can upload a sketch and work as normal, you don't need to do anything else the calibration data has been saved into the bootloader forever (or until you wipe out the bootloader).

Upload Using Programmer - EEPROM Auto Uploading

Did you know that you can generate an EEPROM initialisation file right from your code? Well you can, imagine you have this code...

#include <avr/eeprom.h>    
uint8_t MyVariable EEMEM = 42;    
void setup()  
{  
  Serial.begin(57600);
}

void loop()
{      
  Serial.print("The EEPROM has the number: ");
  Serial.println( eeprom_read_byte(&MyVariable) );
  delay(5000);
}

GCC will create for you as well as the normal code a file called sketch_name.eep in the compilation directory.

Normally however the Arduino IDE doesn't do anything with that file, and your EEPROM will be blanked so when you read it, it will be 255 instead of 42 like you wanted.

However after installing this system you will find that in the Tools > Programmers menu there is a new option for some of the programmers marked as + Upload EEPROM (Not For Burn Bootloader), if you select this option and then Upload Using Programmer the *.eep file will also be uploaded automatically to initialize your EEPROM to those initial values.

It is important to note that you can not use a + Upload EEPROM programmer selection when you are burning the bootloader, you would get an error, so just switch back to the normal programmer in the menu to burn your bootloaders.

Remember this only is for Upload Using Programmer, normal serial (bootloader/usb) uploading will not upload EEPROM!

This is a super cool feature! Think about how you can be crafty and stash some stuff in your EEMEM like you would your PROGMEM, mmm, memory.

💥 Upload Using Programmer - Important Note!

Currently the below does not apply (because avrdude and gcc in the current Arduino IDE is modern and up to date instead of years out of date like it used to be).

Due to a bug in Arduino if you Upload Using Programmer you may need to choose an alias of your Programmer from the Tools > Programmer menu, you will find there that aliases are present, for example if you normally use "USBAsp" as your programmer and it isn't working then you may need to choose instead one of the aliases, "DIY ATmega: USBAsp" or "DIY ATtiny: USBAsp" (depending if you are programming an ATmega or an ATtiny).