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I have seen questions about ATtiny microcontrollers on the site without anyone objecting. I was wondering where the line between what's on or off topic here is. As I understand it is possible to program a lot of microcontrollers with Arduino IDE even using Arduino boards as programmers. Help Center indicates:

On topic:

Specific questions about Arduino boards, code, and the Arduino IDE. Feel free to ask about anything related to Arduino. ...

Would it be correct to assume that questions about everything and anything that can be programmed with Arduino IDE would be considered on-topic here? If not, where is the line? Are tinyAVR controller questions still officially OK?

I would like to clarify: I think I kind of get the idea about the programming part a bit better. I am more interested to find out about questions related to ATtiny controllers and programming functions specific to them(more about the electronic side so to speak, than the programming language, that is clearly better suited for Stack Overflow). If at the same time I can ask a more general question about all AVRs and other controllers programmable with Arduino software that is perhaps more useful to the community - even better, but ATtinies are my main interest. Is it OK to ask specific questions about them here even though they might not be that relevant to actual Arduino boards using ATmega chips?

  • If we turn it around, what is not? If it's an Atmega328 (not Arduino Board), programmed w/o Arduino IDE, w/o Arduino libraries, it's not. In any other case, if the question is somewhat related of the "Arduino side", it's fine to me. – Paul May 24 at 18:34
  • Say I program ATtiny84A, I use Arduino IDE, libraries and all that stuff, but I happen to be interested in for example high voltage programming and setting fuse bits to lets say turn the resset pin into input pin(just an example), that is not really that relevant to Arduino boards maybe, what then?.. – Martynas Žiemys May 24 at 18:48
  • @Paul,do you think it is OK to consider ATtiny controllers as Arduino-like controllers and therefore questions about them to be on-topic on Arduino SE? – Martynas Žiemys May 24 at 19:00
  • if you're programming it with Arduino language, and the question is about Arduino language, it's fine. If you're uploading the code with Arduino IDE and the question is about Arduino IDE, it's fine. If the question is about ATTiny84 and not related to Arduino IDE or Libraries/Code, it may fit better on electronics stackexchange. (I kind off miss the Embedded Systems Stack Exchange, would be perfect) – Paul May 25 at 9:39
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Yes, it's fuzzy. "Related to Arduino" could easily be considered to be something using the same processor as one of the many Arduinos.

There is a school of thought that the Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange is a more appropriate place to ask general questions about the AVR processors, and there certainly are some knowledgeable people there. This would be especially so if such a question has a related complex electronics component.

Are tinyAVR controller questions still officially OK?

I don't see any problem with that. You can program them with the IDE.


As a moderator here, I wouldn't be closing questions just because they involve tinyAVR processors, or any of the Atmel ones, really. You might be better off asking complex questions which don't really involve the Arduino IDE in any way on Electronics SE* however there is no requirement to do so.

That site also has quite a few questions directly about the Arduino. Some of them get migrated over here, many do not. There is a bit of cross-pollination between the two sites.


* Electronics SE and Electrical Engineering SE are the same thing.

  • Thank you. I think this answers my question as much as it is possible. – Martynas Žiemys May 24 at 22:18
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It seems to be a fuzzy line separating that. Observation seems to reveal that anything that is or can be programmed with the Arduino IDE, or more specifically, the "Arduino API" (for lack of a better term; meaning the device setup registers, Port I/O and similar actions are abstracted away from the coder) is acceptable.

However, questions that an Arduino user (that is often a relative newcomer to C/C++ and/or embedded device programming) might ask, but which are merely questions about the programming language/structure and do not touch on an aspect of embedded computing or Arduino and Arduino-like platforms are closed as off-topic.

There are some who advocate that even pure programming questions are acceptable as long as the user is in the realm of working on Arduino and its friends, but it would seem that those kind of questions have no problem getting the required number of close votes.

  • I wrote a response to this answer in a comment, but then decided to move to the question as it probably clarifies it a bit. Please see the updated question. – Martynas Žiemys May 24 at 18:08
  • There are boards like the DigiSpark which are part of the unofficial arduino-like family, with board definitions in the Arduino IDE, and which use ATTiny chips. I would not see that ATTiny vs ATMega makes much difference to the relevance of a question here, all else being equal. – jose can u c May 24 at 18:25
  • Thank you. That is what I want to know. I guess there is nothing very different about ATtiny controllers when they are off those boards and programmed with an Arduino as ISP, so I assume they could be called as you nicely put it - Arduino-like family. – Martynas Žiemys May 24 at 18:58

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