AVR and tool price rise

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I'm probably bursting into an open door AND stepping on some sore toes... but it seems to me Digikey and Mouser have really gone to town lately on AVR prices. $4.8 for a DIP ATtiny85? $95 for Atmel ICE Basic? Is it a Microchip policy, some short-term supply/demand thing, or someone else's call?

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There's been complaints of price rises in other products. Someone needs to get the lowdown from Atmel directly. Here, we have no idea.

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I recommend buying AVR Arduino module boards from eBay instead of stand-alone chips from DigiKey or Mouser.   The UNO and Nano both use the mega328P and sell for about $3 for the Nano and about $5 for the UNO.  These boards include the new highly-reliable and super-cheap USB-to-serial interface IC CH340G, along with a low-dropout +5 voltage regulator.   There is also a reset switch and all the necessary surface-mount capacitors, resistors, and LEDs to make up the Arduino system.   These module "break-out" boards are cheaper than the individual AVR stand-alone ICs because they are made in quantities of tens-of-thousands by pic'n'place robots.

 

I've found that the mega328P can handle nearly all of my applications.  For larger projects, the Arduino Mega standard PCB (using the Mega2650 AVR) is now selling in the $6-$8 range.  You aren't going to get anywhere near these prices from electronic component distributors.  Plus all these boards have a bootloader pre-programmed into the AVR. 

 

Plus, by using the Ard system instead of stand-alone AVRs, you get to take advantage of all the libraries and web support that all the thousands of other Ard users offer.  For example, the line:

    Serial.print(1);    will compile fine, but   Serial.print(0);  generates a weird stupid undocumented C error.    Without the Arduino web support, you'd go crazy trying to understand that it is necessary to use the form:    Serial.print( (byte) 0);   for this particular value.   Who knows why?   More weird stupid C language nonsense.  But having the web and the Arduino community support lets you know that many people have had this same problem before.  Someone has determined a solution and uploaded it.  This is "knowledge amplification" that using a microcontroller hardware standard makes possible.

 

And AVR is getting, well, a little long in the tooth.  It's been around for about 20 years.  The fact that, as the Arduino foundation microcontroller, the AVR is the most popular and widely-used microprocessor training tool in the world seems to be lost on Atmel/MicroChip executives.  Who seem to be still thinking in 20th-century paradigm of "design-wins" that sell semi-custom microcontroller versions in 1000-100000 quantities per individual design.   As the AVR-based Arduino fades into the ARM-based Arduino in the next 5-10 years, all the training and coding done for the AVR Arduino will migrate effortlessly (hopefully) to the $5 ARM boards of the future that will be as powerful as the Raspberry PI is today.

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Simonetta wrote:
I recommend buying AVR Arduino module boards from eBay instead of stand-alone chips from DigiKey or Mouser.   The UNO and Nano both use the mega328P and sell for about $3 for the Nano and about $5 for the UNO. 

 

I thought these ebay chips were cheap knock-offs of the genuine avr micros?

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Kartman wrote:
There's been complaints of price rises in other products. Someone needs to get the lowdown from Atmel directly. Here, we have no idea.

 

Yeah, except there's a chance I won't get a 100% honest answer :-/

 

Simonetta wrote:

I recommend buying AVR Arduino module boards from eBay instead of stand-alone chips from DigiKey or Mouser.

 

It's true that not all suppliers raised their prices, but eBay? Who knows where these sellers dug up those chips. Anyway most of my serious projects these days require stand-alone MCUs.

 

Simonetta wrote:

Plus, by using the Ard system instead of stand-alone AVRs, you get to take advantage of all the libraries and web support that all the thousands of other Ard users offer.  For example, the line: Serial.print(1);    will compile fine, but   Serial.print(0);  generates a weird stupid undocumented C error.    Without the Arduino web support, you'd go crazy trying to understand that it is necessary to use the form:    Serial.print( (byte) 0);   for this particular value.  

 

So essentially, the Arduino crowd solved the problem Arduino itself created? Remember the Serial object is not a feature of C or AVR, it's an Arduino-specific thing.

 

Simonetta wrote:

And AVR is getting, well, a little long in the tooth.  It's been around for about 20 years.

 

Unlike the young and energetic PIC architecture? smiley

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Kartman wrote:
There's been complaints of price rises in other products. Someone needs to get the lowdown from Atmel directly. Here, we have no idea.

I am already going through this both in component prices AND bulk programming costs as some of you may know.  If I get any valuable information I will post.

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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The AVR mega range has been getting more and more expensive when compared to the competition. I reckon you can get a newer comparable chip from a different manufacturer for about 40% of the price.

 

Whilst my AVR usage is only in the order of 1k to 1k5 pieces per annum it's enough to make me look at a redesign to use a cheaper uC the next time I need to do any board mods.

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
it's enough to make me look at a redesign to use a cheaper uC the next time I need to do any board mods.

 

+1

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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I did exactly that so +2

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Brian Fairchild wrote:
The AVR mega range has been getting more and more expensive when compared to the competition. I reckon you can get a newer comparable chip from a different manufacturer for about 40% of the price.
Out with the old and in with the new.

http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=0virtualkey0virtualkeyATMEGA324PA-AU

http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=0virtualkey0virtualkeyATMEGA324PB-AU

For quantity 100 about -59%

Did not compare the popular megaAVR 8-series.

Will there be an XMEGA refresh?

Create some competition for TI MSP430 (MRAM XMEGA versus FRAM MSP430?)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I have started using 328PB.

 

It seems that some of the old designs is on the way out, but others seems to take over.

 

And face it DIP is out!

So perhaps my 200+ DIP tiny85 end up being a good investment ;)

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Raising Atmel-ICE Basic from$50 to $95 is going to be a real barrier for new people to get into AVRs. Looks like a deliberate tactic on Microchip's part.

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sparrow2 wrote:
I have started using 328PB.

...

And face it DIP is out!

http://static.watterott.com/logo.jpg

Watterott electronic

Wattuino Pro Mini PB 5V/16MHz (ATmega328PB)

http://www.watterott.com/en/Wattuino-pro-mini-PB-5V-16MHz

...

Advantages over the Arduino mini pro:

  • all pins with 2.54 mm pitch
  • ...
  • pin headers are included (but not soldered)

Features:

  • ...
  • Made in Germany

...

Able to quickly get most of the mega328PB pins onto a solderless breadboard; small size and very reasonable pitch for a protoboard.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Some second party AVR JTAGICE mkII function-alike debuggers are somewhat close to 95USD; possible opportunity for those second parties.

Atmel-ICE is still a value because it's one box for AVR and Cortex-M SAM though now less of a value.

Might not be a big loss if there's more mEDBG and EDBG on new boards; those might only be by Atmel and Arduino / Genuino.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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That's a big jump.  THe 'pro' model is $133.00.  OUCH!!

 

By comparison the PicKit3 I bought for a service call situation cost me under $50.00 and is essentially similar in function to the Atmel-ICE but may not be able to handle the bigger Microchip devices, but I am not sure on that.

 

JIm
 

 

 

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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PICkit 3 is suitable for all PIC and dsPIC devices:

 

http://www.microchip.com/Develop...

Leon Heller G1HSM

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Yes and an Atmel ICE is available for all tiny/mega/xmega/AVR32/ARM and was a fairly reasonable $50 and now the bastards at Microchip have taken over and virtually doubled that over night. Seem fair to you?? :-/

 

I love company takeovers where they always come in initially saying  "nothing changes, terms and conditions just as before" then within 6 months they've decimated things. I suppose there's no reason to believe that Microchip are worse crooks in this respect than anyone else? You do wonder what their thinking is though. The very fact that they have PicKit3 at about $48 doing a similar job for their range of chips that the Atmel ICE at $50 was doing for the AVR+ chips suggests they know that such a device needs to be around the $50 (or less) mark. So why move in then double Atmel ICE? Either they are just plain money grabbers or this looks like some kind of spoiling tactic to make the Microchip route more attractive than the Atmel/AVR route. I suspect the latter (with a smattering of the former).

 

"Sharp business practice" springs to mind.

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I can see them halving our pay soon also. devil

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Carful Cliff, lest Mr. Sanghi accuse you of complaining that someone moved your cheese... What was that he said about jelly beans?

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Looks like a worst-case scenario, where Microchip doesn't want to continue developing AVRs, so it's just milking the existing ecosystem for all it's worth. The 328PB is an anomaly - is there anything similar for any other older AVR? Even the new ATtiny102/4 are "coming soon" to inventories for far too long.

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igendel wrote:
Even the new ATtiny102/4 are "coming soon" to inventories for far too long.
It's about a month late (so far).

Mouser did recently place an order for the 105C version in addition to the pending order for 125C.

http://www.mouser.com/Semiconductors/Embedded-Processors-Controllers/_/N-6hpef?Keyword=attiny104&FS=True

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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joeymorin wrote:
... What was that he said about jelly beans?
Am curious though my Google Fu is off; the best I could come up with :

Discovery

Dirty Jobs

Worse Than Vomit

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/dirty-jobs/videos/worse-than-vomit/

(show more details)

At a Jelly Belly factory, Mike Rowe sends his Dirty Jobs crew reeling -- REELING -- from the smell of his Dirty Boot jelly-bean concoction.


Jelly Belly Candy Company

Welcome

https://www.jellybelly.com/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Am curious though my Google Fu is off; the best I could come up with :

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/edited-transcript-mchp-earnings-conference-083657875.html

 

Full transcript appears to have been withdrawn, no copy in the wayback machine:

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13559031/12/microchip-technology-mchp-earnings-report-q4-2016-conference-call-transcript.html

 

So as Microchip starts to put that discipline in place and there are common customers where we do business with, and they're the same customers that Atmel does business with, and that's something in paper where some ex-executives are blathering about and being pissed off or whatever because they no longer have a job or the cheese has been moved. But all these customers are doing business with Microchip, and they are doing business with Microchip. We're able to position our products at a much higher value, and we have substantially higher gross margin at the same customers where Atmel has a very poor gross margin.

This was linked in a prior thread I haven't tried to locate.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Tue. Jul 19, 2016 - 08:20 PM
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In my country, also prices for PIC micros  (PIC18F46K22) are increasing at an alarming speed. And Europe is stripped of technology! 

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Its really a shame, but I dont see much of a future on Atmel, at least for the AVR Series. Microchip might continue to stock them just for the sake of keeping 'legacy devices' but eventually they will want to price them not to sell, at least not for new applications. But perhaps Atmel themselves were envisioning this before. Some of you might remember the AVR MKII ISP being phased out. I would say that would be the most direct candidate to PIC KIT 2/3 Series and that too was considerably cheaper than the latter.

 

I remember years ago, for the same price as an atmel, the offerings from microchip were terribly worse in specs (memory/flash, etc).

Last Edited: Sat. Jul 23, 2016 - 06:55 PM