The Arduino Nano has been a staple for projects since its launch back in 2008. The tiny board packs an ATmega328P microcontroller, 2K of SRAM, 32K of Flash, 22 digital I/Os, and costs around $20. Mechanical engineer Clyde D. Corpuz is no stranger to the Nano but felt the ATmega328P was showing its age, so he decided to create an alternative using Microchip’s newer ATtiny1616, which has nearly the same features of the Nano (albeit with fewer pins), only it’s 20MHz faster, has true analog out, and has a much lower cost of just $2.
Beyond the microcontroller, Corpuz outfitted the Launchpad (he gave it the name before figuring out TI has one of the same) with 18 I/O pins (one is currently configured as the reset pin), eight PWM outputs (8-bit resolution), 12 analog inputs (10-bit resolution), and one true analog output (0 - 4.3V). The board is also equipped with a UPDI programming interface, UART, SPI, I2C, CCL (Configurable Custom Logic) pins, CH340G USB to serial converter, and AMS1117 5V LDO voltage regulator. The board uses the OptibootX bootloader for Arduino and Microchip AVR microcontrollers.
Corpuz admits this is his first time designing a PCB, which is quite impressive given he also wanted to keep costs down to only two bucks in parts, but he points out it’s due to buying components in bulk. That said, he stated he would probably sell them if there is enough of a demand, but don’t count on buying one for $2, as it won’t include the labor and assembly in the final price.