SparkFun Gets a Sign!


If you’ve ever driven out to SparkFun to pick up an order, take a class, or get a tour, you know that we’re a little hard to find. The office park we are in has a dozen buildings that all look similar. To complicate matters, we are currently subleasing ~30,000 sq ft from a company called Polycom. They’ve completely moved out but won’t let us take down their gigantic sign out in front of our building. So people think we’re Polycom.

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/news/SFE-SignInstallation-01-500dpi.jpg

To try to combat this, we installed a big SparkFun flame. A boom truck and a sizable drill bit later, we’ve got a flame up!

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/news/SFE-SignInstallation-02-500dpi.jpg

It’s kinda cool. Makes us feel a bit more at home. We hope you (yes you) stop by some day and check us out. Look for the building on fire with the flame on top.

New stuff!



You knew it was coming! The 6DOF Razor is a combination 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope sensor board. Why is this important? Because up to this point in the history of man, you always needed to hang ugly, tall, gyro boards vertically off the board to capture the axis in those directions. Not any more! This opens the doors to some interesting motion capture projects. Of course someday all 6 axis will be buried in a small IC, but today, this is a big step in the right direction.



Shhh! Don’t tell DigiKey. Oh shoot, Mouser carries BeagleBoards as well. OK, they’re still really cool! These extremely powerful, small boards utilize the OMAP3530 processor at 600MHz. The BeagleBoard can even output HD video! 3x3". Wow.


Here’s an interesting SparkFun exclusive. We worked with an LCD manufacturer to boil our SerLCD product and a 16x2 LCD down into one unit. What this means is the price is falling, the features and getting better, and the module itself is getting smaller! Now you can have a great display with a simple to use serial interface for under $25. Comes in four flavors: White on Black, Red on Black, Yellow on Blue, and the classic Black on Green.



The XTend modem from Digi is a 900MHz 1Watt output radio modem. What does 1W get you? 40 mile range line of sight! You’ll need a good antenna and a good height off the ground, but this is easily the most powerful radio we’ve played with to date.



New version of the EasyDriver is now posted! This very popular stepper motor driver board is now 3.3V and 5V compatible. Capable of driving loads up to 30V and 750mA per phase, this board can handle quite a powerful stepper motor.



We now carry three new gas sensors. MQ-4 for methane (CH4), MQ-7 for carbon monoxide (CO), and MQ-6 for propane and butane gas sensing.



I deal only with microSD (as opposed to full sized SD) these days and often find myself inserting the random microSD card into my BlackBerry, then attaching my BlackBerry to the computer just to read the contents. No more! I really like this microSD reader. Keep it simple. Insert the microSD card into the USB connector, flip it around and any computer will be able to read the FAT16/FAT32 contents of the card.



And to add to the microSD line, we now offer the microSD Sniffer. This small breakout board allows a user to inspect the signals that are transmitted between an microSD card and a device that writes to that card.



Speaking of small, the new mini Bluetooth module prevents damage to USB ports on laptops. Small enough you can forget it and leave it in the port while traveling.



The Smart Card breakout board will allow you to easily tinker with smart cards. This opens up all sorts of good identification projects.


Comments 24 comments

  • I like the flame because your building is definitely hard to pick out it you don’t know which one it is.
    I think your next step should be to paint a red flame on the roof so you can find your building from space (or google earth)

  • U need a double sided 3DOF pure gyro IMU. Autopilots haven’t needed accelerometers in years.

    • Have you ever worked with gyros under $20k? If not then may I introduce you to my friend: drift.
      Good luck using $30 gyros without significant drift.

      • VicaCopter has flown using 3DOF IMU’s forever. This is a well proven flight control algorithm. Look it up.

  • The blue tooth module reminded me,
    If you ever wanted to know what was inside the Logitech VX nano mouse USB module, here you go
    http://www.jassper.com/images/vx.jpg
    It is like that because one of my employees accidentally ran over her Laptop with her truck!

  • I don’t really understand the new serial LCDs. They are not cheaper than the standard LCDs + backpack, and the backpack is reusable.
    Not sure if the new revision is actually an advantage.

    • Smaller. It’s actually a significant improvement for a product I’ve been designing that currently incorporates the old SerLCD.

  • I repair boom/bucket trucks. About 4-5 years ago, I was called to a site, and the guy had the truck situated exactly as you did in the photo, perpendicular to the wall. The problem was, that while he was up there, the truck started on fire under the hood, right below him. It was a bad fire, which caused the truck to quit running, meaning that he couldn’t swing away from the wall, or lower the boom with the emergency lowering. Seeing your photo made my mind snap back to that day- he came really really close to dying, between the choking smoke and the fire. He had no choice but to jump, and he got hurt real bad.
    The fact that your guy was hanging a flame struck me as kind of ironic.
    Not trying to be a schmuck, just sayin'…

  • I’m sure you have employees that arrive to work from all possible angles. Stick a camera in their hands, make them record the last part of their trip to work, post videos on the site, problem solved!
    And if you buy me a plane ticket I’ll be sure to record how to get to you from Sweden ;)

  • That Polycom?

    • The Polycom who makes the very recognizable three-sided conference telephones, yes. Why? Are they notable for some other reason?

  • Nice flame! Makes me think of Wyatt’s Torch.
    - Jan

  • Is it just me, or does the front of the building kind of look like a robot face?

    • I think it looks like a giant letter “E” that fell to the Earth and landed, prongs down, with dull sticky thud like a marble dropped into a vat of rich creamery butter.

  • It may be a little tacky, but why not cover their sign with one of those portable banners
    if so just have the flame like the building

  • The razor is cool, really, really cool. Why can’t we have one with higher g ratings? I want a 20g accelerometer!

    • Thanks! But I would like a keyboard capable of knowing what I mean, not whay I tpe. Sometimes it’s hard to get what we want. Is there currently a 20g accel? I think the ADXL321 is (dual axis) max at 18g?

      • Not sure if their is a 20gee, I just meant to use that as a n example not a specific number, the range I’m after is 18-50ish gee, the 16g ADXL345 you offer is close but the simplicity of mounting a single board is important.

  • Very classy, understated sign, people. Good choice.
    That 6DOF Razor brings a tear of joy to my eye..

  • Love the Colorado sky!

  • “On fire” isn’t all that unlikely, some days.

    • we haven’t had a fire yet… only a flood

      • You’re forgetting that massive server room fire we had this spring. Lots of valuable equipment lost.
        Oh wait! That was an April Fool’s prank we played on Nate. =)


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