A little bit of everything.

One tutorial, some case mods, one new product, and a customer's interesting take on recycling SparkFun shipping boxes.

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Here at SparkFun, we like the idea of reducing our energy consumption; not only to lower our carbon footprint, but also to save money on energy costs. Currently, we are participating in a local program called 10 For Change. Our goal is to reduce our energy consumption by 10% within one year. We are accomplishing this by making small changes that have a relatively quick payback for the investment.


Casey, our mechanical engineer, took on the task of  "Saving the World, One Light at a Time." Office buildings contain a carbon load of fluorescent lighting fixtures that can be retrofitted with high-efficiency lamps and new ballasts to reduce their overall energy consumption. After crunching the numbers, this investment pays off well within a year. And you're helping save our clean air! Check out the details in Casey's tutorial!

Case modding- where the creativity of da Vinci and the inventiveness of Edison collide. Few mediums on Earth connect art and engineering the way case modding does (ok, maybe there are some others...).  Pimp your Case!

A little something for all you case pimpers out there. We now are selling heavy-duty arcade style joysticks. Note: the joystick doesn't include the enclosure, but this is just an example of a heavy-duty case for this beast of a joystick.

If you're not going to throw your red SparkFun box into the recycle bin, you can make some pretty nifty stuff out of it - check out this speakerbox. Nice work Michael Spiceland!

Comments 10 comments

  • TheTrustedOne / about 15 years ago / 3

    Okay, seriously are people still buying this?
    Global warming is happening, yes. The better question is why.
    Is it the human carbon footprint, global carbon emission has been reduced significantly, without any change in global warming rate. The reason is that carbon is not driving global warming. Global warming is a natural cycle of the earth to do so, it has happened houndreds of times in the past. Did no one else notice that the people scraming about global warming are the same ones that were warning of an ice age not 40 years ago?
    I know there are alot of Americans here but seriously I expected even them to be smarter then this, maybe that is too much credit given FOX's disgrace of a comment about the Canadian military.
    Does it have anything to do with Carbon?, no. If it did we would have a seen a reduction in its progression however small by this point.
    Now dont get me wrong, energy savings is something we should all strive for. I want the most efficient solution possible in any situation. Are we having a negative impact on earth, yes we are, should we do something to change it, yes we should. I just dont think we need to have false scientists and the government instill fear into us to motivate us to do so.

    • WhoDoYouTrust? / about 15 years ago / 2

      Are you even reading the tutorial or blog post!? Where does it even mention global warming?
      Carbon footprints are based on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. You could argue that reducing your carbon footprint is allowing for a greater diversity in the energy market by decreasing demand for oil. This can be independent of whether global warming is caused by humans or not. Sheesh!
      Also, just because carbon emissions have decreased from specific technologies, doesn't mean the overall amount of carbon emissions being put into the atmosphere has decreased. Deceleration doesn't mean a change in your velocity, were still moving forward with more emissions, just decreasing the rate at which the emissions are being put into the atmosphere.
      And please don't call it false science, it is people like yourself that give science a bad name.

  • Drone / about 15 years ago / 2

    Do you have any idea how large the carbon footprint is for obtaining materials then processing and manufacturing and finally transporting and retailing a florescent ballast? Just chucking all your existing ballasts en-masse for ones that are marginally more efficient sure sounds like a bad idea if you want to reduce your carbon footprint any time soon.
    With other words: I bet the break-even point for carbon footprint savings is going to be far off in the future if you take the total footprint of the components you're discarding into account.
    Please ask more questions and try to formulate an air-tight solution when looking at these "activist" carbon-footprint reduction schemes. I'm not saying some of them aren't good; but many if not most are just loaded with overlooked facts and bad science and/or engineering.

  • Donny Viszneki / about 15 years ago / 1

    So where is the HempMote? Its picture (https://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/images/th_hempmote11.jpg) is used to represent this news ID 247, yet it is nowhere to be seen! I think the feeling of tightly bound crochet would make a great gaming controller! It would breath well and absorb a little bit of moisture! (In retrospect, I can't remember the last time I thought "ugh my hands are sweaty," but I certainly experienced it and I know that others do, so I think the HempMote is kind of a big deal.)

  • MarcoPolo / about 15 years ago / 1

    Stop Global Whining !

  • You bring up a good point Drone, when does the carbon offset/efficiency of a replacement technology become more effective then just leaving the old technology alone? (Prius vs Hummer- http://www.thecarconnection.com/article/1010861_prius-versus-hummer-exploding-the-myth)
    Definitely if a ballast is broken and needs to be replaced it would be wise to change them with a more efficient version. Now matter when or with what you replace them with it is very beneficial (energy wise) to recycle the old tubes and ballast. There are some great links at the end of the tutorial steering people in the right direction.
    As for information as to the carbon footprint of creating a new ballast my (limited) search came up empty...if anyone knows those numbers we'd love to see them!!

  • ArduinoFun.com / about 15 years ago / 1

    I always keep those nice red boxes and store parts, etc. in them. They fit on my shelves nicely.

  • GeneW / about 15 years ago / 1

    I didn't get a chance to reuse my nifty red box because I had to remove it from my mailbox with a pocket knife. :-(

  • dana / about 15 years ago / 1

    There's an very active subgenre of arcade enthusiasts, so I'm sure I won't be the only to suggest that if you're going to carry arcade style joysticks, you should also consider carrying some arcade style buttons, trackballs and interface electronics.
    Just a couple of example links; http://www.xgaming.com/arcade_parts.shtml, http://www.ultimarc.com/JShopServer/ and http://www.u-hid.com/.

  • tr0nk / about 15 years ago / 1

    parts boxes also make great prototype (or permanent :]) enclosures; very easy to mark up and cut

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