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.
- I did not lie during the sample request process.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: https://secure.atmel.com/forms/secure/user-registration.aspx
Step 3: Login & Add Samples to Your Cart
Here is the Login URL: https://secure.atmel.com/forms/Secure/verifylogin.aspx?target_url=EN
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.