SparkX products are not nearly as shiny or polished as the regular SparkFun product; we can get to market faster. Are you ok with a board that hasn't been fully user tested? Can you read a manual? SparkX is for you.
SparkX doesn't care if something isn't quite finished. Shoot, we're only pretty sure an idea will work. We'll let you know exactly what's known and what's tested, the rest is up to you. Are you ok with a green wire and no beginner's guide? SparkX is for you.
SparkX chases the shiny. If there's a product or project that appeals to us we'll do it regardless of market considerations. Want to play with something that may never make it to market? SparkX is for you.
With two of SparkX's newest boards releasing, we wanted to take some time to appreciate them, and industrial fiber optics in general.
Copper is soooo last year - haven’t you heard? All of the cool kids are transmitting their data over optical fiber with flashes of light! Okay, so fiber optics aren’t going to replace all copper wires any time soon, but they are hard to beat in some situations. For instance, long fiber optic lines don’t act as antennas that introduce noise to your circuit. They also won’t transmit power surges from things like ground faults or lightning strikes. What’s more, they don’t interfere with sensitive RF equipment that might be otherwise disturbed by the EMF radiation from electrical signalling.
SparkX's Serial Fiber Modem combines a CH340C USB-to-Serial bridge with a fiber receiver and emitter pair from Industrial Fiber Optics and it is the easiest way to start playing with fiber communication right out of the box. Simply insert a piece of fiber cable between the emitter and receiver, open a serial terminal at any baud rate up to 1 Mbps, and watch your messages bounce back! Connect to another Serial Fiber Modem or use it in conjunction with our other Fiber Optics breakouts to create your own fiber links.
Meanwhile, the Fiber Duplex Board can create simple fiber links to embedded devices. This board has the same pinout as our Serial Breakouts, so they will connect directly to the serial header of many development boards such as the Arduino Pro or Pro Mini. To create a fiber link between two development boards, simply connect the Fiber Duplex Breakout to each board, connect them with two pieces of fiber cable, and then use the Serial library to send and receive data as you normally would.
We've also made sure to write up a handy guide on how to start utilizing industrial fiber in projects, so make sure to give it a look over as well. The Industrial Fiber Optics line of emitters and detectors are by far the most economical way we’ve found to create a simple fiber link between two devices and we wanted to be sure that you are in the know if you'd like to be as well!
Checkout how we drilled through the back of a PCB in order to solder to the hidden pads under a cellular module.
After a short time in retirement, the SparkX A111 Breakout Board is coming back to life as part of the Get Sparked program!
Recently, a team from the St. Vrain Innovation Center assembled its first custom PCB design with the help of SparkFun. This is the story behind their project and their experience.
Details of a silly problem with a silly solution: How to not overwrite your outgoing SPI data buffer when using the Arduino core libraries