SFU - SparkFun Summer School

Get ready for SparkFun's next semester! We're changing things up a bit this year. The SparkFun summer semester will take place on 4 consecutive days from 9 to 4ish with a lunch break when we get hungry. If you've got the urge to learn about physical computing from some experienced engineers, this is your chance. This year's course will cover Napkin Schematics (Developing your Ideas), beginner to intermediate Eagle schematic and PCB capturing, SMD soldering, an introduction to Arduino and an introduction to Wireless technologies. This class is ideal for software people, young people, old people, really anyone who wants to learn about how to make an LED blink, and then make something fun.

We will be streaming as much of the classes as we can online, but the live courses are always of higher quality and offer an excellent opportunity for interacting with engineers.

Individual Class Descriptions:

  • Napkin Schematics - is a method that we use to hash out the beginning thoughts for a project. In this class we will cover the basic elements of any embedded system design (I.e. Power and Charging, Microcontroller Selection, I/O and Peripherals). We welcome you to bring an idea in and get the design process started by building a block diagram of your invention with us! This class is ideal for those who have an idea but are not quite familiar enough with available 'widgets' to be able to actually build their project.

  • Eagle Schematics and PCB Layout - In this hands-on class we will learn how to use the Eagle PCB Layout software to create a schematic from scratch, as well as how to take the schematic and design/layout a PCB for it. We view routing the trace on a printed circuit board (PCB) as a puzzle, and we'd like to share some of the tricks we've learned over many hours of staring at Eagle. We will show you why trace routing is good, but good component placement will make a world of difference. We will also be covering how to create Gerber files, and go over how to send your design to a PCB manufacturing facility to have the board created.

  • Arduino for Beginners - The class will cover the differences between normal "computer programming" and embedded programming. It will also cover some basic principles such as what a microcontroller is, what inputs and outputs are, and what considerations need to be made to properly program a hardware platform to interact with its environment. After covering this small amount of "theory," the class will become quite hands on! The teacher will lead the class by explaining some basic Arduino Code Sketches and what different modules do for the programmer.

  • SMD Soldering - The SMD Soldering Class is our very popular course that teaches SMD soldering to anyone who thinks they can't possibly solder those little pins. This will be a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder surface mount and through-hole components.

Tentative Agenda:

Day 1 - Napkin Schematics and Eagle Introduction

Day 2 - Eagle Layouts and SMD Soldering

Day 3 - Arduino Programming and Intermediate Eagle Techniques

Day 4 - A review of wireless systems for physical computing in the morning followed by 'free' time for the students to develop their own projects.

**Prerequisites: **None! No previous knowledge required.

**What to Bring: **A laptop will be needed for the Arduino and Eagle classes. It is recommended to download and install both Arduino and Eagle before arriving. Please bring note taking materials. Hand outs will be provided for many of the classes.

**What You'll Get: **Besides an excellent introduction to the world of physical computing you'll receive a class binder filled with reference material that you learn in class, an Arduino Inventors Kit, a Simon SMD Soldering Kit and a flash drive with all the files and programs used in class.

Date: July 12th - 15th, 2010

**Time: **9:00am - 12:00pm; 1:00pm - 4:00pm


Instructors: Nathan, Ryan, Matt and Abe


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • GHH / about 12 years ago / 2

    Planning on increasing the class size?

  • Mister Chris / about 13 years ago / 2

    This is why I love Sparkfun:) I have searched high and low for this type of complete workshop, and thanks to you folks at Sparkfun it finally exist. Living in southern California has its perks, but being so far away from Boulder and your classes definitely ticks a box in the "against" column. I'm not yet able to fly out to Colorado every monday:) but Sparkfun Summer School is definitely going on my Attend in the Future List.
    I'm not sure in teleconferencing is a viable option for what you have set up, but is there a possibility of recording audio/video of the classes and packaging/selling the workshop as a media product? (Download, physical media, iTunesU, etc.)

  • would there be any chance of sparkfun doing something like this with video conferencing?(skype, ect)
    or setting up cameras and turning this class into something like a podcast? many people can't make the trip, and promoting ingenuity will usually come back to help you in the end.

  • srmyh / about 12 years ago / 1

    I'm all signed up, coming all the way from South Florida. I will most likely be staying in Downtown Boulder. Maybe we should think about connecting a bit before 'school' starts!

  • shomnat / about 12 years ago / 1

    Hello !!!
    Finally getting to attend this. Will be flying from Memphis, TN. Can't wait to attend. Can you recommend some decent hotels that are near to this place and cheap ?

  • MShort / about 12 years ago / 1

    Will you be able to buy the class binder, flash drive etc. I would love to be able to go, but I can't justify a paycheck to hang out with you guys so I was thinking of checking out the streaming class and working from home

  • fotoflojoe / about 12 years ago / 1

    Like the others, I'm too far away to physically attend. Sad. Hey! How's about a SFU road show??

  • samf / about 13 years ago / 1

    I missed this last year because of travel conflicts. I hope you have it again in 2010!
    If you're planning to have it again, please post the schedule as far in advance as possible, so that those of us who are interested can try to plan around it.

  • Solar / about 13 years ago / 1

    Ah - I see - sign up for the individual classes and then get the money back... essentially, take 5 classes get one free.

  • Solar / about 13 years ago / 1

    Item shows as out of stock. Is this really full already?

  • ebrady / about 13 years ago / 1

    I would so pay for this, but Boulder is out of the question... How about a teleconference or Webex version?

  • Gandalf / about 13 years ago / 1

    I'm interested in purchasing a web seminar version (iTunes podcast maybe?). Colorado is too far from Georgia...

  • M / about 13 years ago / 1

    iTunes or something along those lines quality-wise would be terrific .. South Florida too far to commute!

  • sysspud / about 13 years ago / 1

    Second Mister Chris's comments. I live in SF East Bay and thus am geographically challenged. iTunes U would be a great option. Hey, it worked for Stanford University, why not SparkFun?

  • Emotion / about 13 years ago / 1

    Looks great. Pity I don't live in Colorado.
    Those books look cool though...I'd probably buy them if they were available for sale.

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