I have a project I've been working on for a few years. I resumed working on it after a few years (~3) break. It's based on the 14-pin ATtiny841-SSU chip, and I have a PCB designed for it and assembled some 3 years ago.
The problem is I have a tube of ~50 ATtiny841 chips remaining and I can't program them, I've tried 4 so far. I'm using Arduino IDE and the error is:
avrdude: initialization failed, rc=-1 Double check connections and try again, or use -F to override this check. An error occurred while uploading the sketch
I am able to program some of the original PCBs (2 of 4) with chips soldered on them through a ICSP programming header. The 2 that don't program also didn't program 3 years ago so I think there's other issues with those PCB assemblies. I have a fixture for programming the raw ATtiny841 chips, and I'm using a USBTinyISP programmer, one from AF and one from Sparkfun, they both work. Any chip I take from the tube of chips and place into the programming fixture will not program or accept a bootloader and give the above error when programmed from Arduino IDE. However, I desoldered the chip from one of the PCB assemblies that programmed through ICSP and it did program when placed into the programming fixture so I know it's not the programming fixture setup that's causing a problem.
It appears that the remaining 'new' ATtiny841s I have will no longer program. Is this something that would be 'expected' after sitting in the original shipping tube in an airconditioned room for 3 years?
P.S. I also soldered the ATTiny841s to prototyping DIP adapter boards and could not program those, but I was able to do that with the chips 3 years ago. I attached some photos of the setups.