ATTiny 85 Programming with USBtinyISP 1

ATTiny85 Overview —

In some projects, we don’t need the amount of I/O that is supplies with the Atmega 328 MCU, so we can use a cheaper alternative….   The ATTiny85!  In many projects, space can be limited as well, but this little processor does a great job!  We have 5 I/O pins available for use, a reset, VCC, and GND.    Because there is not as much capability as an Atmega 328, it can be a little more challenging to program, though.

In this document, we will make the connections and program the ATTiny 85 with a USBtinyISP programmer.

ATTiny85 Picture


For this example, I’ve used prototype paper, an ISP header, and an 8-pin socket to build my own board to program the ATTiny 85.    The wiring for this programming board is as follows:  (diagram created with Fritzing)

ATTiny Program Wiring


Step 1 — Install the ATTiny 85 Board

Before we program the processor, we need to add the board into our Arduino IDE.   To do this, we will click on File | Preferences, and add the following URL to the boards manager.

Now go to Tools | Boards | Boards manager.   If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you should see the ATTiny boards that you can install.

ATTiny Boards Manager


Step 2 — Select the ATTiny 85 board

Under Tools | Boards, select the ATTiny boards.

Under Tools | Processor, select the ATTiny 85

As long as you didn’t change the processor’s clock speed, we will leave this speed at default (1 MHz) for this example.

Step 3 — Upload your program

In this example, we are using the USBtinyISP programmer, so we will go to Tools | Programmer, and choose USBtinyISP

If you are using the blink program as an example, you can change the digital output to pin #2 for testing.

Click Sketch | Upload using programmer

You are now ready to remove the ATTiny 85, and place it in on the breadboard, or in your circuit!


ATTiny85 pinout

You must take the RESET pin LOW to reset the processor.  Pins 5 and 6 (Digital 0 and 1) will also support PWM, and pins 7, 2, and 3 are for analog 1, 3 and 2 respectively.  For the size and the price, I’ve been amazed with this small MCU, and hope you enjoy experimenting with it too!

— Ricky Bryce

For Customized automation training, visit my employer's website at!

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