Instructables
Picture of How to get FREE Atmel Chips
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.
 
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Step 1: Evaluate Your Ethics

Picture of 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

Picture of 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: https://secure.atmel.com/forms/secure/user-registration.aspx
Squidyman4 months ago

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.

Squidyman4 months ago

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.

schlabotnik7 months ago

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.

Hi,
I work for Atmel...
thanks for this... Now we know how to shut down requests that are not legitimate :)
technovative (author)  sylviebarak1 year ago
De Nada, I think that illegitimate requests should be shut down. Here are some URL's you may find of interest:

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/33130
http://www.ladyada.net/library/procure/samples.html
http://www.instructables.com/id/Free_Electronic_Samples/#intro
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.
technovative (author)  digitalengineer1 year ago
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.
Strontium1 year ago
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?
technovative (author)  Strontium1 year ago
  • 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.
Strontium1 year ago
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!
backis1 year ago
where did you find air mail shipping?
technovative (author)  backis1 year ago
My samples were shipped UPS 2nd day air.
Thanks! Just need ideas for company name...
technovative (author)  Callyfornia1 year ago
De Nada
Kiteman1 year ago
What are you going to make with them?
technovative (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
I designed a simple logic circuit for testing transistors that I want to automate.