Member Since: January 6, 2010

Country: United States

  • I ordered a guzunty (Google it) which is a CPLD board which attaches to a Raspberry Pi. (Still waiting on shipping to deliver; ~$25 US including shipping from the UK)

    CPLDs are like small FPGAs (hundreds of gates instead of millions) and are also programmed with VHDL or Verilog.

    The Pi attachment means that I can do most stuff with Python on the Pi, and do appropriate things with VHDL on the CPLD. (e.g. I could write a stepper motor controller with ramp-up/ramp-down acceleration for the CPLD that responds to register values sent by the Pi and not have to worry that Linux is not a real-time OS that can’t do the pulse timing properly.)

    Sparkfun doesn’t sell any CPLDs, but breakout boards are available from other vendors if you don’t want to go the Guzunty Pi route.

  • Having 66 channels makes for a faster start-up. From a cold start, the receiver has to look at every frequency where a satellite could be at until it finds the right ones. (Frequencies change due to doppler as the satellites whiz along overhead.)

    Once you have the right frequency, you can look at different bit phases (although I don’t know if they use different channels for that).

    If you have 66 channels, you can look at 66 frequencies/phases at once, giving faster start-up.

  • If you want to do software hacking of a watch, which includes a pressure sensor, accelerometer, and wireless, running on an MSP430, you want to check out
    TI’s $49 watch development kit.
    It looks like an ordinary $10 plastic watch, but you could casemod it as well.

  • Not sold by Sparkfun (they can’t stock everything), but has an Arduino designed for driving high power LEDs (i.e. with multiple constant-current sources). Search for Rainbowduino.
    Spec says AtMega8/168 (which? not very helpful) so it doesn’t have the higher capacity of the ‘328 in the latest Arduino, but depending on what you want to do it may be adequate and simpler than a Ard+Shield setup.

No public wish lists :(