Monday, May 18, 2009

ATtiny header board

I've been programming my AVRs using the SparkFun set-up since I started. This is fine for the odd bit of tinkering, but it's a pain having all those wires poked into the programming cable and getting in the way on the breadboard. With an 8-pin dip, there's not a lot of room around the chip for my fat fingers to add wires.

I'd seen these breadboard headers over at and fancied having a go at making my own using the components I'd got lying around (well, ok, I bough the male/female header pins from eBay).

First a rough idea of how I thought it should look:

Then I tried to figure out where the wires should go based on my original set-up (pic of wire mess above) and the ATtiny13 datashet.

Finally I gave a little thought as to where the physical wires were going to go on the perfboard. I decided to swap the position of the 6-pin programming header to make the wiring a little easier. I'm sure there's a better solution, but I was impatient and wanted to get on with it.

Then it was a matter of soldering everything together. I am not an accomplished solderer - this is only my 3rd real soldering project and I'm sure most people wouldn't even consider the ones I've done so far 'projects'.

First off I soldered the headers, push switch (cannibalized from a broken kids toy) and IC socket. This is pretty much how the finished project looks from the top.

Then I realise that I could bridge pins 1 and 8 using the 10K resisitor and have the resistor out of the way of the rest of the wires by having it on the front of the board.

After that it all got a little messy... I need to give myself more time to figure out wiring/routing! I guess this is all a learning experience :)

I kept the insulation on the long wires to prevent short circuits, unfortunately I also ended up melting a lot of the plastic which caused a few issues around pin 5 of the IC socket hence the blackened mess and excess solder around there... I think I managed to sort out my technique a bit better after than and the remaining solder bridges are ok (tips on creating these gratefully received!).

Here it is in action (note that I have to bring in power from the breadboard with my particular programmer).

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