8-Pin Programming Shield




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

The 8-Pin Programming Shield allows you to program ATtiny series chips using the Arduino itself as the programmer. In other words, you plug this into your Arduino and then you can easily program 8-pin chips. These small microcontrollers can then be incorporated into any project that you want. Follows are instructions for assembling your own 8-Piin Programming Shield.

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Step 1: Go Get Stuff

What you will need:

- Shield circuit board (download the source file: 8pinshielf.pcb)
- ATtiny chip
- 8-pin 0.3" socket
- SPST tactile switch
- 10uF 16V electrolytic capacitor
- 5mm LeD
- 220 ohm 1/4 watt resistor
- 6-pin male header
- 8-pin male header
- (x2) 2-pin male header
- (x2) shorting blocks

Step 2: Headers

Solder the 6-pin and 8-pin male headers to the circuit board such that they are pointing down from the underside of the board.

These headers will plug into the Arduino sockets.

Step 3: Resistor

Solder the resistor to the board in the spot that kind of looks like a resistor outline right below the bottom of the chip's footprint.

Make sure to solder this to the top side of the board and not the bottom like the headers.

Step 4: Switch

Solder the tactile switch atop the large square footprint that is in the shape of a tactile switch.

This is the chip's reset switch.

Step 5: Socket

Solder the socket in place.

Make certain that the notch in the socket aligns with the notch on the screen printed footprint.

To be more clear, the notch should be pointing towards the tactile switch and 6-pin male header.

Step 6: Dual Headers

Solder the 2-pin headers to the top of the board as shown.

Step 7: Sockets

Next solder the two 4-pin female sockets on each side of the chip's socket.

Step 8: LED

Make certain that the flat notched side of the LED lines up with the flat side of the LED footprint and then solder it in place.

Step 9: Capacitor

Electrolytic capacitors are polarized, which means they can allow electricity to flow in one direction, so you don't want to wire this backwards.

Carefully align the side of the capacitor without the minus stripe label with the + sign that is labeled on the circuit board. The minus stripe aligns with the hole without the plus sign.

Step 10: Short

Put the shorting blocks onto the 2-pin header.

You may want to consider removing the shorting block next the LED during programming (and circuit depending). This shorting block basically connects the LED to Digital Pin 0 and is used for testing. If you are using that pin for anything else, you probably want to keep the LED disconnected.

The other shorting block is for connecting the 10uF capacitor between resistor and ground. This capacitor is largely needed when working with the Arduino Uno. Earlier versions may or may not need this capacitor connected while programming the ATtiny.

Step 11: ATtiny

Insert an ATtiny chip into the socket such that the notch in the chip lines up with the notch in the socket.

Step 12: Plug It In

Plug the programming shield into the Arduino such that the labels on the shield align with corresponding pins on the board.

Step 13: Program

Plug the whole thing into your computer and program the ATtiny chip using the programming directions found here.

*Note: You can skip ahead to Step 3 of that Instructable, as the circuit is already built.

Step 14: Get Your Own

I started with 50 of these 8-Pin Programming Shield Kits to give away.

I have no more kits to give away! Thanks to everyone who participated.

I will be sending them as thank you gifts to the next 9 people that post Instructables that meet the following criteria:

- Was posted on or after October 12th, 2011
- Uses an Arduino or ATtiny
- Has 4 or more steps
- Has full original written and photo documentation

Simply post a link to your project in the comment section of this Instructable and I will compile a list of the first 50 people to properly complete a project and respond. All of these people will receive one one of these kits as a thank you gift.

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    298 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    i will buy right now if it will program 8-pin 16-bit i think 93c56


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Here is an alternative for this You can program ATtiny13/15/25/45/85 with these shield also. I found one here its very cheap and easy no jumpers and breadboard needed.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    1st of all a very nice instructable and a cool board.

    Unfortunately I can't buy the kit so I'm trying to make the kit myself.

    I have no problem with connecting the pins, thanks to your PCB layout. but for using the led and capacitor (2 jumpers) and also the reset switch, correct me if I'm wrong, all they do is to ground the corresponding pin, right? cause on your PCB layout the other side of jumpers and push button are not connected to anywhere, so i figured they need to connect to ground. If this is true the ground pin next to 5v on Arduino is OK?

    Thanks again for your helpful instructable.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    What do you mean? The actual part spacing? Whatever standard header pins are. It is also the same as most DIP pack ICs.


    6 years ago on Step 14

    where do you get your pcb's manufactured ? everywhere i have tried seems outlandishly expensive . i have noticed that small kits for sale are pretty cheap
    but when i try to get a pcb manufactured (3" x 4") it costs like 300 bucks. any help would be great, thanks.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What are some examples of projects that use this board? and When with they be back in stock for purchase?

    5 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You can use this board to program the ATtiny chips. These chips are smaller than ATmega328 which is used by Arduino. This chip uses less power but does not have as many pins. So if you have a small project that will use only a few pins you can use this shield to program the ATtiny chip.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Okay,... I don't have a small project.... that is what I'm asking for some examples of. Sorry if the question was unclear. I am looking for examples of "small projects" that use this ATtiny chip.

    In other words, if I buy this kit and solder it together and put it on my arduino and load it up with some code; Where can I find some examples of fun code to use?




    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes! Thank you. That is what I was looking for. Is there anywhere on the web that has a collection of projects like this one? Projects written specifically for the 8-pin ATtiny microcrontroller?