$1 microcontrollers, pfft. What useful ones are around for under 50 cents?

The qualifications:

  • There needs to be adequate documentation
  • Programmamble with readly available (and cheap) hardware. This rules out a lot of ones from Megawin, Sinowealth and so on; while they have reasonable user manuals, there’s no information on how to program them, short of buying a $20 programmer.
  • Are readily available. I ruled out parts only available from Taobao, for instance.

I was left with these:

  • The STM8S103. They’re not the cheapest, but are readily available in the West. There’s a cheaper STM8S003, but its flash is rated to only 100 writes, so it sounds like the idea is to develop for the S103 first.
  • The Nuvoton N76E003. It has loads of peripherals, and is pin compatible with the STM8S103.
  • The STC microcontrollers. Not quite as much bang for buck as the Nuvoton, and unavailable in the West, but come in 8 pin packages.

The Atmel ATtiny13 also qualifies, but I already know how to program those!

All should be programmable using SDCC, and either a ST-Link or USB-Serial dongle. I’ve purchased development boards for the STM8, Nuvoton and a STC15W204. I hope to try these out and write about them.