RIP ATTiny11?

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I notice ATTiny11 has been dropped off the Atmel web site, but is still available from suppliers, who have not yet marked it as "end of life". I wonder if that's because it's sooooooo cheap (hardly any more than a TTL logic IC)!

Atmel must still sell them in quantity, but at the price they are, you can't blame them for not encouraging companies to use the ATTiny11 for new designs.

Does anyone here actually use ATTiny11s?

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What part of the web site did it drop off of?

If you mean the AVR 8 bit RISC device page, it just moved to the mature devices page.
http://www.atmel.com/dyn/product...

The data sheet has not been moved to the mature device page, most likely because it is combined with the ATtiny12 which is not gone yet.

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I'm very interested in the concept of using inexpensive microcontrollers to replace clusters of TTL and 555 timers. I've even raised the concept with my employers, which is quite dumb and not recommended since most companies are right out of Dilbert comic.
While this is feasible in some circuits, I've come to the conclusion that it's not realistic in most of those cases. I would be interested in hearing other opinions and suggestions from the readers here on this subject.

First of all, the circuits are already designed and they work (hopefully). The parts are still available. Most electronic technicians can figure out how these circuits work and can repair them should a component fail. Most electronic technicians that I have worked with could care less about microcontrollers and wish that they would disappear from the industry, as they complicate their job. I haven't found a single coworker in about a hundred that I'm met over the years who would take the time and effort to learn how to program and debug microcontrollers if they weren't being paid to do so through a company-sponsored training program. Company sponsored training in MCUs for technicians is non-existent in any of businesses that I have worked for. Actually company-sponsored training in any technical field is rare for anyone below the senior engineer level. So self-study is a necessity. But every time I bring up the subject with fellow technicians, they regard me as a freak and a threat. Has this been your experience?
Companies refuse to accept employee self-study in technical fields as legitimate. You may study AVRs for five years and write thousands of lines of code and master complex interfacing, but the company will still hire outside consultants at $100/hr to do the exact same design and coding that you are offering for a tiny fraction of that cost. Most of my technician jobs have paid in the $12-$15 hr range, regardless of experience or skill-set. Should Atmel or even AVRfreaks.com offer a certification program, test, or certificate that can be used to show the world that a person has mastered a level of competence in this area?

Finally there is problem of using microcontrollers in electronic assembly. These devices have to be programmed and the code has to be maintained and be verified. Most assemblers seem have a difficult enough time telling a resistor from a capacitor. Most people who actually make electronics know nothing about electronics and could care less. You couldn't pay them to learn more about what they do. They just take parts from a bin with a long number on it and attach these parts together according to drawings and photos that may or may not be accurate. A lot of technicians work this way also.

In my last job, I was assigned to test and repair thousands of PCBs loaded with late 1970's circuitry and designs. Each board required multiple adjustments of function generators and oscilloscopes to inject and measure signals. Each board took about thirty minutes to test.

I studied the schematics and designed, coded, and debugged small AVRs to create the exact signals used for test and to measure quickly and accurately the results. I got the time per board down to less than three minutes with the same level of accuracy and precision as the old way. I did all this on my own time. I keep logs and records.

I submitted the results to my employers and got fired. It turns out that I was on 'double-secret probation' as a result of talking with co-workers about how much they studied outside of the job.

In summation, I would be hesitant to recommend anyone suggest to an employer to do anything to improve their company profit by implementing new technology, especially anything in microcontrollers. In the USA at least, no one cares and wants to know about new technologies like AVRs.

Has this been your experience? Have you had similar problems and situations?

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Quote:

Most people who actually make electronics know nothing about electronics and could care less.

I cannot quite agree with that one. Also, many/most designs have had programmable devices on the circuit boards for many years. Any decent board house will be set up to do many kinds of programming, whether micros or PLDs or EEPROM or FPGA or ...

One thing that we still find in the industrial area, and it may apply to the devices that you are describing--the function of that old device can, indeed, be handled by a micro. There are many reasons for us to get a project of this style. One is, indeed, part obsolescence. Sometimes it is cost, if the micro can take the place of many components even if inexpensive. The new design can be much more flexible, handling a wide range of parameter setups. And it can be greatly enhanced over the old way--say, a display of setpoint and measured, vs. LED and pot(s). Often we find that we can replace a number of "modules" in a control system with a single micro-based design.

But, yes, sometimes you just have to demonstrate the benefits. When presenting the modern design, the biggest company nay-sayers are often the ones that follow-up: "Hmmm--if it can do THAT, then can we also do THIS and roll-in another function?"

Quote:
new technologies like AVRs

Kind of interesting in itself. Tho AVRs are relatively new--about 10 years--and many new refinements and models are appearing, it still is after all just an 8-bit micro running at a very sedate few MHz. Many new app areas want RF connectivity and the other stuff where one might add a module.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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Luckily I'm not in your situation, Simonetta.
The central office of the company plant where I'm working does even forward calls of headhunters to the employees. Noone would be fired because he/she talks about visiting educations outside the company, my team leader would be thinking how our team could take advantage of the new skills.
In fact our company offers (and sometimes demands) many trainings for the employees. Periodically our team meets to an "improvement meeting" where one or several persons of our team presents new tools or explains details of their actual work and which problems they had to face.
I as a student enjoy a lot of freedom. Usually I get told the problem and I make some suggestions how it can be solved. Noone cares about details as long my solution does what it should do and as long everything is well documented. If I say I would do it with an AVR noone would say I have to use a PIC.
I know that this situation is not a matter of course, so I try to do my best to support our team. I know a good team is fragile. Sometimes a little change is enough to change everything.

I'm telling this not to increase your frustration but to give you a small example that not everywhere employees get kicked like you. Hope you'll soon find a similar pearl like my company (where of course not everything is perfect).

Regards
Sebastian

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It is very sad and demoralising but I have encountered a lot of the negativity described.
One company took a fellow geeks (used as a derogatory term used to isolate us from 'normal' techs) code, sent it out to a consultant for verification, paid him $500. The original tech (geek) was criticised by the consultant because the code was "ASM" not "C". The company took the concept of the program, gave the consultant a further $3000 to write the program in "C".
The tech wrote the original unsolicited code in his own time, not as part of his normal duties. Offered it in good faith as an improvement to the company product.
Result. Bugs introduced by the consultant, because he did not understand the original application and tried to cut down the code were heavily blamed on the original geek!
But when the original code, in it's (ASM) beta mode worked perfectly in the new boards the geek was accused of being lucky beginner. The company continued on with the consultant because he could 'professionally support on going development"!

I have been told to "$%#@*&^" by fellow techs because I was showing off, making them look bad, introducing more 'Stuff' they have to learn.
Yes I know people don't like change, and we work in a technology that changes daily but some techs still resent (fear) change.
My bosses (three grades up) have banned any 'home grown, in house' software because it is written by unqualified (no university degree) personnel and so may cause problems.

Very very sad and short sighted.

73's
Roy
VK5ASY

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Heh - many years ago (8080 days) I persuaded my company to release me - in writing - from the usual 'all your invention are belong to us' part of my contract in relation to microprocessor hardware and software.

My argument? I'd *asked* for microprocessor training and not received it. So I bought the books, the hardware, and taught myself. I then built several projects using micros for them (including a couple which the project department felt were impossible...) Three years later, when I finally got on the course, I stood in for one of the instructors. I suspect that my writing a disassembler on the dev kit while the rest of the class was getting around AND and OR might have been a hint.

Convinced the boss, anyway...

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I used a tiny11 as a double input window watchdog... the tiny11 is perfect bare bones uC for this, now I have to use a tiny13. The little extra cost is no problem at all, but the extra stuff like PWM and ADC (and 64Kbytes of SRAM) are not needed and overkill.

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You got me all excited about that 64K of RAM for a second there :P (its only 64 Bytes).

It seems that the end of life of the ATTINY11/12 is leaving a hole at the bottom of Atmel's lineup. There will always be a place for very low-end controllers.

For now, it seems that Atmel has given that space back to Microchip.

--
"Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?"
-Paul Simon

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What about the ATtiny12? It appears to me that ATMEL has not abandoned the so called bottom of the lineup.

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I have been using the 11 on a few products (low production) over the past few years. I've ported one already to the 13 and I couldn't be more disapointed with the decision. My code was written in ASM and was fairly timing sensative (decoding specific inputs on a matrix). Because of the timing difference between the 11 and the 13 I had to retime the timing windows.

It was a great processor for very basic applications.

--------------------------------
Kevin Pierson

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On Atmel's website, it says that the ATTINY12 "Not recommended for new designs." Though it is not shown as a "mature part."

--
"Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?"
-Paul Simon

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Simonetta wrote:

I studied the schematics and designed, coded, and debugged small AVRs to create the exact signals used for test and to measure quickly and accurately the results. I got the time per board down to less than three minutes with the same level of accuracy and precision as the old way. I did all this on my own time. I keep logs and records.

I submitted the results to my employers and got fired.

I had a job once which was 99% menial, repetetive stuff that needed no human intervention. One of my responsibilities was to copy new versions of applications to all of the file servers. No biggy, right?

Well, if anyone had the app open on that file server, I couldn't overwrite the executable. And the file servers were located all over several states, and some only had 56k lines between the offices. I had to sit and retry the copy operation throughout the day, every day, until it succeeded.

So, I coded up some stuff to take care of that and the rest of the job functions. Suddenly, I had next to nothing to do. I would get in in the morning, spend an hour doing my work, then walk around the department looking for other work to do. Once I was so bored, I took a bottle of Windex and some paper towels, went down two floors, and washed everyone's monitors for them.

When my supervisor saw that I had so much free time, she changed me from salary to hourly, and started getting pretty bitchy. I kept asking her what she would like me to do, but she couldn't really come up with anything. So, I left.

In that, I learned a lesson: Never automate yourself out of a job. Always leave at least *something* with which to fill your time.

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You guys should be more like the engineer in this story.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the midst of the French Revolution the revolting citizens led a priest, a drunkard and an engineer to the guillotine. They ask the priest if he wants to face up or down when he meets his fate. The priest says he would like to face up so he will be looking towards heaven when he dies.

They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from the priest's neck. As was teh custom, the authorities take this as divine intervention and release the priest.

The drunkard comes to the guillotine next. He also decides to die face up, hoping that he will be as fortunate as the priest. They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from the drunkard's neck. Again, the authorities take this as a sign of divine intervention, and they release the drunkard as well.

Next is the engineer. He, too, decides to die facing up. As they slowly raise the blade of the guillotine, the engineer suddenly says, "Hey, I see what your problem is ..."

--
"Why am I so soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?"
-Paul Simon

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barnacle wrote:
Heh - many years ago (8080 days) ...

22 years and 44 days?
barnacle wrote:

I persuaded my company to release me - in writing - from the usual 'all your invention are belong to us' part of my contract in relation to microprocessor hardware and software.

Neil,

I did something similar. Got my prospective employer to allow me formally to continue to support past customers in my own time before I signed their employment contract. Both parties knew where we stood and it helped to maintain cordial relations. There are sensible employers...although some of the stories told here so far seem to indicate they are in the minority.

Cheers,

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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farang wrote:
You got me all excited about that 64K of RAM for a second there :P (its only 64 Bytes).

It seems that the end of life of the ATTINY11/12 is leaving a hole at the bottom of Atmel's lineup. There will always be a place for very low-end controllers.

For now, it seems that Atmel has given that space back to Microchip.

The datasheet really says 64K :)

I like the PIC10F 6 pin controllers, in SOT23-6. I have a little starter kit, but never got round to actually doing something with them (maybe because it's a PIC after all).