How to Get FREE Atmel Chips


Introduction: How to Get FREE Atmel Chips

About: Exploring the cosmos one synapse fire and one mouse click at a time.

The popularity of the Arduino development platform has brought the world of micro controllers out of engineering labs, and onto the kitchen table or garage workbench. It has also made Atmel AT chips infamous among electronics enthusiasts such as myself, as well as those who's primary interests are in software development. Atmel, like many electronics component manufacturers, will provide free samples of their products to interested parties. However the primary intended recipient is a business or university considering buying large quantities of the product. That said, I recently decided to find out if I could acquire some free samples from Atmel and I'm sharing my experience in this article.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Ethics

I think this is an important recommendation as a first step because understandably some may initially feel this is unethical. If so, please consider the following.

  1. I did not lie during the sample request process.
  2. What is your intent behind acquiring free samples? Do you have an idea that could develop into a business that utilizes the products you're sampling?
  3. Have you ever sold something? If so, then you have acted as a business entity.
Now, if your still with me, please do read on.

Step 2: Create a MyAtmel Account

You can see the information required to register in the screen shot.

  1. The first caveat to ordering free samples stipulates that this benefit "(requires a company or educational/university email address)". I don't have a company, or university email address, I successfully used the email address provided by my ISP.
  2. A Company name is required. I operated a small business in the past and used a "doing business as" name, however the business was not licensed or officially recognized by any authorities. I successfully used this as my Company name for registration with Atmel. If you don't already have such a name I suggest using something generic like **** Technology, or **** Research.
Here is the URL for the account registration form:

Step 3: Login & Add Samples to Your Cart

Here is the Login URL:

Once you're logged in you can search for products that you're interested in acquiring samples of. Some chips popular for Arduino development are the ATmega328 and the ATTiny85.

Step 4: Submit Your Request

Once you've added all items of interest to your cart, click the "Submit Request" button and you will be directed to the page shown in the screen shot. You are required to complete this form before you can submit your sample order. Again, I did not lie when completing this form. I did indeed have an idea for a product utilizing the chips I requested samples of so I filled in the information accordingly. I entered my name, phone number, and email address as the "Project Engineer", because I am. Once I submitted the completed form I was able to enter my shipping information, and at last submit my order.

Step 5: Appreciate & Enjoy Your Free Samples

Atmel generously uses 2nd day air shipping, so you won't have to wait long for your samples that were in stock to arrive.



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    EVERYBODY SHOULD ALWAYS READ THE USER AGREEMENT/TERMS OF SERVICE! “Free” might be enticing, but, be careful of what you say and who you say “what” to. Atmel lets you “sample” the chips in order to gain access to your rights for intellectual property. Just thought you should know.

    Thank you


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    Come on, those very cheap MCUs can be bought from ebay.

    I work for Atmel...
    thanks for this... Now we know how to shut down requests that are not legitimate :)

    3 replies

    i think you really work for Microchip, and you really just want to steer novices students and young professionals away from Atmel :)

    In my opinion every chip soldered in an entertainment project is legitimate.

    Or, just order them - you can get 10 on ebay for < $15, shipped. If you can't afford $1.50/chip - you're in the wrong hobby.

    1 reply

    True but eBay is rife with fraud, and even if the part is legit, you won't know if it's been handled correctly (static). Free samples are often US only, and in the U.S. It's easy to setup a DigiKey account.

    i'm an electronics student from Slovenia and i can't seem to get free samples of anything, i wanted an attinny45 for a project

    any suggestions?

    What email do you recommend if you do not have an ISP email? I have tried 4 different emails with no luck. I put in my honest information (minus email) to stay on the ethical side of things.

    What email do you recommend if you do not have an ISP email? I have tried 4 different emails with no luck. I put in my honest information (minus email) to stay on the ethical side of things.

    Excellent work - now ATTINY85 can't be ordered as samples anymore.
    I don't see the point in providing a step-by-step tutorial for requesting samples,
    thereby encouraging people to abuse the service.

    By the way: Atmel checks the orders manually and in some cases, declines them.

    1 reply

    You seem to be implying that this article, and the inferred actions of those who may have followed it, are solely responsible for the ATTiny85 allegedly being removed from sample availability? Unless you have first hand knowledge supported by proof confirming this implication it's a weak theory at best.

    I did NOT encourage readers to abuse the service. In point of fact I encouraged readers to evaluate their ethics, and to be conservative with their requests.

    Additionally this is certainly not the first, nor only article bringing this information to the attention of those interested.

    cool and informative instructable!
    although i have a few doubts:
    -did you pay for shipping
    -if you did how much did it cost you?
    -how long did it take to reach you?
    -i'm a hobbyist and i do not own a company,can i type in independent hobbyist instead?
    -what is the maximum quantity they allow you to sample?
    -is the sampling limited on only some chips?

    1 reply
    • Shipping was free & my samples that were in stock arrived within 3 business days.
    • It's your choice to try entering whatever "company name" that your since of ethics and creativity dictates.
    • I do not know if there is a maximum sample quantity limit. Regardless I suggest being conservative with your request.
    • I do not know if sampling is limited on some chips.

    Cool and informative instructable!
    i have a few doubts about it:
    -did you pay for shipping?
    -how long did it take to reach you?
    -how much is the maximum quantity they allow you to order?
    -since i don't own a company and am a hobbyist can i type independent hobbyist instead of company name?
    -do they require a number?
    oh and that's it.Once again nice instructable!

    where did you find air mail shipping?

    1 reply

    My samples were shipped UPS 2nd day air.

    Thanks! Just need ideas for company name...