Evilthingamabober @ instructables.com writes:
Microcontrollers are, without a doubt, amazing little things. They are versatile, powerful, and extremely tiny. Unfortunately, the latter trait is also shared by both my wallet and my programming skills. My understanding of C is poor, and I can hardly afford to buy something like an Arduino or a decent ISP. And in any case, the Arduino would be overkill for many of my projects, which only need simple IC’s.
But as many of you know, DIY always finds a way. This tutorial is meant for those among us with no budgets or programming experience who want to start using these little machines. It is not based around the ATmega328 (the Arduino Uno chip), but rather the Attiny line of chips (the Atiny85 and Attiny2313, to be specific). The total cost of this project can go as lower than $15 if you know where to buy from, and you can still use the original Arduino IDE and language to program your projects in the end. Keep in mind that you will need some soldering skills to get this project done.
The Idiot’s Guide to Programming AVR’s on the Cheap – [Link]