How do I program those Chinese ATtiny85 Digispark clones? Are they programmable via USB or do I have to use a USB to serial converter to program them?

For example, this unit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ IIRC some have commented that the el-cheapo ones are not preloaded with the code that makes them easy to program, so getting that in may be an initial challenge. With it they are supposed to be USB programmable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, thanks for your answer. That's bad news. Do you i think it would be possible to flash the bootloader with a USB to UART converter? Or do i need smth like this? aliexpress.com/item/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's only a comment, wait for some response from folks who know more. I was looking into these a few months ago and recall finding something about the described behavior - basically if you bought the $12 one from the original developers you got the code, and the $2 parts from wherever (which I assume your aliexpress link will be) were the right chip and layout, but you had to somehow get the initial load into them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


Having bought several of these units from several sources:

They are typically pre-programmed, and should work out of the box with the Arduino IDE. I have not yet come across one that doesn't have the USB bootloader.

However, because they come from so many suppliers, this may not always be the case. In which case, you should get yourself an AVR ISP programmer (they are very cheap), which can program any ATtiny or ATmega.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, thank you very much for your answer! That's good news! Would this be a AVR-ISP programmer you talked about? aliexpress.com/item/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that says it's an AVR ISP programmer, and while the build quality is rubbish, it should work OK. A better alternative would be this, but if you really have no money, then the clone works. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 14:41

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