For my soft-circuit classes, we have been using either a pre-programmed Attiny85 circuit (https://www.instructables.com/id/SnapNsew-An-Educational-Soft-Circuit-Platform/), or the more expensive Arduino-compatible Lilypad USB. I wanted something in between those two extremes that would be:

  • Easy to build by beginners
  • Low cost for large workshops
  • Programmable with the Arduino IDE
  • Modular so it can be installed in a soft-circuit with conductive thread or other projects using jumper wire.
  • No special hardware or programmer cable.
  • Fits in an empty Tic-Tac container. Because, Tic-Tacs!

After finding the Paperduino project, I learned that a bootloader could be placed on the inexpensive Attiny85 chips so that they could be programmed like a regular Arduino. This method was developed and made popular by the Digispark Kickstarter project.

The Tacuino (think Tic-Tac Arduino), is an extension of my SnapNsew project. It now includes the necessary hardware so that they project can be easily re-programmed by a student after the circuit is built.

The Tacuino is self-contained in that it includes:

  • An inexpensive, commonly available CR2032 battery power source.
  • Two inputs (touch and light sensors).
  • Two output (sound and LEDs).

This is a just enough "umph" for a reasonable beginning project while demonstrating some of the amazing abilities of an embedded circuit!

Note: An Arduino is nearly bullet proof. This circuit is not. From the bootloader developer:

"[At]tiny85 does not offer any hardware bootloading support, and does not protect the bootloader from being accidentally overwritten by a misbehaving app."

If you are developing a circuit, it may be advisable to use an IC socket and have an extra Attiny on hand.

Step 1: Gather the Parts, Tools, and Supplies

You can build this circuit with a number of various parts, but these are the ones I've used and found to work well:


Digikey Parts:

  • 1 - Baterry holder, BAT-HLD-001-THM-ND1
  • 1 - Attiny microcontroller, ATTINY85-20PU-ND
  • 1 - Optional 8-pin IC socket, AE9986-ND
  • 1 - Photo transistor, 160-1988-ND
  • 1 - Slide switch 401-2000-ND
  • 1 - Piezo speaker 445-5229-1-N
  • 2 - 5MM LED (red for power and one of your choice)
  • 1 - 0.1 uf Capacitor, 399-9776-ND
  • 1 - USB B-type socket, ED2983-ND
  • 1 - 1N4001 diode, 641-1310-1-ND
  • 2 - Zener diodes, 3.6V568-7951-1-ND
  • 1 - 1.5k resistor, CF18JT1K50CT-ND
  • 2 - 22 ohm res, CF18JT22R0CT-ND
  • 1 - 10 uF capacitor, P997-ND
  • 2 - 330 ohm resisotr, CF18JT330RCT-ND
  • 1 - Header right-angle, 929500E-01-36-ND

Other parts you supply:

  • CR2032 coin cell, Digikey P189-ND or local store.
  • USB A/B cable.
  • A Tic-Tac case (optional).

Tools and Supplies:

For my workshops, I use SparkFun's Beginner's ToolKit which has most of what you need:

  • Soldering iron.
  • Solder
  • Wire nippers
  • Desoldering braid (hopefully not needed, but you never know)

A kit for this project is available on Tindie.com. Purchasing the kit will save you the time and expense of ordering from several different vendors and avoid the minimum PCB order premium. You will also be helping me develop and share other projects in my workshops!

hey dude... i am just aa beginner can u pls tell me ... what is the use of this module...
Ah, that is the golden question. A night light? A musical greeting card? Lights &amp; siren for a Pinewood derby card? Your favorite stuffed animal with a blinking heart or glowing eyes. <br><br>Right now I am thinking of the blinking light and sound the TARDIS makes!<br><br>The actual answer is &quot;anything an Arduino can do&quot; and is limited only by your imagination!
I believe it will be the &quot;Digispark 16.5 MHz&quot;. They must have labeled them slightly different between the Linux and Windows version.
<p>Great first project, and thanks for your AWESOME service at Tindie. I'm a teacher, so once I get this figured out, I hope to buy some for my students. Q: &quot;Digistump (Default 16.5 Mhz)&quot; is not a choice and the sketch does not proceed after plugging in the Tac. Any updates to these instructions I should know about?</p>
Do you have any &quot;Digistump options under boards? If not, I suspect you are using a standard Arduino installation and need to head over to http://digistump.com/wiki/digispark/tutorials/connecting to get the Digistump version. Let me know how it goes.
<p>Yes, it's the Digistump version downloaded from that site (Arduino 1.5.8). Under Board, the only one active is Digistump DigiX. There is also a Digispark 16.5 MHz. </p>
<p>newbie questions: which direction on the switch is on, and do I bend the pins to get the right angle in your picture?</p>
<p>The silk screen for &quot;ON&quot; was a little unclear on the first set of PCBs. The switch should go toward the USB port to turn the board on. </p><p>The right-angle header is only needed if you want to program it after you break the board in to separate sections. Just bend it so it is close to the speaker and out of the way for now.</p>
Can't wait to program it. I just finished assembly.
<p>Hi, How long will this run on the coin cell.</p>
<p>That depends directly on what you use it for. If you have an LED on continuously, it will last days. With just the microcontroller running, weeks. If you use sleep routines when it is idle, which the stock firmware has, months or more.</p>
<p>Is this available or currently out of stock? I would like to purchase it.</p>
They went like hotcakes. A little overwhelming actually. I'll have another batch ready on Tindie.com by February 9th (I hope).
<p>If purchased on tindie today, is shipment guaranteed?</p>
<p>Yes, I'm making more. Just can't guarantee when they will be ready. Tindie doesn't bill you until it ships.</p>
<p>I made one last night and it was fun!</p>
<p>This is lovely. Unfortunately, my UAS seems to work at speed of a glacier, so I'll be long graduated, hopefully, when something like this shows up.</p>
<p>Nice build. Looks completely professional and I am partial to every project in a tic-tac box, having made one myself. :)</p>
I thought I was pretty clever when I saw my USB connection would fit through the lid. You had that figured out years ago!
Yeah I felt that giddy satisfaction too when things happen to fit together perfectly.<br>But I'm sure someone must have found this out before me, and someone else before him, and someone else before him, and the Simpsons before everyone else... :)
<p>Tacuino is the best name ever!!! I totally need to do this. Good stuff!!!</p>
This looks cool but my question is those 90 degree headers. It looks like they are essentially unusable because the speaker is in the way. Is that accurate? Do you have a work around.?
Good question. Those are used if the board is separated into pieces. It plugs in next to the Attiny when you are programming it.
I was just thinking. you might be able to switch those 90's for verticals that have the short end up and trim the long sides on the bottom. if they ate only for programming and you don't want to separate the board that should work. not necessarily doable from a production perspective but when someone was assembling them as a kit, very doable. I've done that on a couple of projects where I had a tight fit, like those mini Altoids tins.
<p>very good job, thanx!</p>
<p>I'm not a big fan of Arduino, but this one is great! Brilliant design, congrats!</p>
<p>Nice work. Very impressive 'ible.</p>
<p>Hi, i'm author of Paperduino. Super project! Congratulation. Is this project Open Source ? Can be PCB downloaded for modification ??</p><p>Thanks..</p>
<p>Yes, it is open source and open hardware. Send me an email at 648.ken@gmail.com. I'd love to send you kit seeing how you were the inspiration for this.</p>
Hey - this is amazing!!!<br>is it possible to get a board from anywhere?<br>I'd love to habe one of these guus in my pocket in a tic tac box - awesome!!!
I've got a kit together at https://www.tindie.com/products/MakersBox/tacuino-a-low-cost-modular-arduino-compatible-educational-kit/<br><br>Or you can just buy the PCBs from OSH Park (3 board minimum):<br>https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/D67bN8eX
<p>I really like how it looks and it will be great for beginners. I love the quality of your photo's.</p>
Nice idea...<br>Maybe better than Arduino!!!

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