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Member Since: April 16, 2010

Country: United States

  • I tend to agree with the others. I wasted over an hour entering over 1000 of those damned things and got nowhere. I was up for playing the new game, but it turned out to suck badly. Random chance is gimicky and not worthy of the intelligence often used on this site. Bring back the test used last year.

    Given how many hours went by and how few winners there were, it seemed most people wasted their time all day for little in return. CAPTCHA's are irritating enough in single units. Having to enter thousands isn't any fun and tends to generate ill will towards the game and provider.

    From the sales&marketing point of view: (and it's really sad an engineer has to say all this...)

    • This was to bring in new customers. Maybe the game did. Free stuff is appreciated if there's a real chance at winning.

    • This was supposed to reward existing customers??? Major fail.

    • This was supposed to promote good will towards the company. The people who won within 10-15 minutes will say so. Everyone else will say not. A general fail here.

    • Games of chance are appropriate on retail sites like Amazon where the general IQ level isn't that high. The people who use SF range from amateur engineers to full engineers. Big difference there. Please keep that in mind.

    • A game of chance does nothing to encourage studying electronics like the test last year. Getting people to study how to use products on this site would have been another major win since they would be likely to buy more products that they know how to use. If the buyers get their projects to work quickly because of know-how, they are likely to come back and buy more projects.

  • Converting Olimex AVR P28B to Arduino:
    * Preface. I would prefer something similar to the Prototino (kind of expensive for a stripped board) or the Protoduino but with serial hardware (these would be a good choice for non-serial projects). Since these lack it, the Olimex board is a good alternative. A ProtoShield soldered in could work, but it is kind of expensive for a stripped board, and I don't like the breadboard type hole connections. Whatever I chose would require work, but the Olimex board required the least for the price.
    * Add ATmega328 (or ATmega168 for older designs; other ATmega's could work with custom boot loaders).
    * Swap clock to 16MHz (or 20MHz with custom boot loader). If keeping the 8MHz clock, the "Lilypad" setting may work for flashing, but I haven't personally tried.
    * Wire up serial. Set DTR jumper (DB9 pin4). AVR pin1: 100nF to 232-DTR. AVR pin2: 1k resistor to 232-TX. AVR pin3: 1k resistor to 232-RX.
    * ICSP-6 to ICSP-10 adapter: miso 1->9, vcc 2->2, sck 3->7, mosi 4->1, reset 5->5, gnd 6->4,6,8,10. Pin1 of the ICSP-10 header is closest back to the DB9 connector. Steps. Stick the 10 pin header in the socket and strip and tin the leads of 6 wires (2-3" worth). Make pin 6 ground and bend the other pins (4, 8, 10) over and solder them to pin 6. Ignoring pin 3, solder the wires to the 10 pin header. Solder the wires to the 2-4-6 pins of the 6 pin header. Solder the wires to the 1-3-5 pins of the 6 pin header (mine was a single row header, I soldered them backwards and did a quick twist). Tape up any exposed pins and the connectors if they are 1 row headers. Be sure to mark pin 1 positions on both ends of the adapter.
    * LED. If an extra LED is needed for the project, just leave it and wire in a separate Arduino LED. Un-jumper and rewire LED to AVR pin 19 for Arduino inverted operation (the LED is wired backwards compared to normal Arduino). For normal operation, unsolder R2 and the LED and solder them to AVR pin 19 (LED pointing towards ground). If R2 is too small to handle, use a regular 330-560ohm resistor. The left over jumper can also be unsoldered and used elsewhere.
    * BUTTON. R6 is a 10k pullup resistor to AVR pin 4. If this is undesired, remove it and don't press BUTTON. BUTTON can be unsoldered along with R6 and used elsewhere.
    * C13 (capacitor to AVR pin1-reset) is empty pads and should generally be left that way.
    * The Olimex board can communicate with a standard PC serial port or use a standard DB9 USB serial cable (cheap).

  • Mine didn't seem to come with much of anything flashed onto it. It didn't blink the onboard LED of my Arduino Duemilanove like the original 328 did. I couldn't upload a sketch to it, either. I spent the extra dollar to avoid building the parallel ICSP cable for now... but ended up doing it anyways. After a manual bootloader flash, the LED started blinking like it should and would accept the sketch upload. The basic test seemed to run ok.
    If anyone else decides to do the parallel cable under Debian/Lenny, there are a few quirks that are easy enough to work around.
    Run: mknod /dev/parport0 c 99 0 ; chmod 666 /dev/parport0
    Don't make the cable too long. Maybe use 100 ohm resistors instead of the higher value ones in the schematic.

  • For people with traditional C/C++ computer programming experience and looking to get into MCU's, Arduino is a good starter choice. The Arduino header files hide a lot of the nitty-gritty setup and make it nearly plug and play. Using C++ classes on an MCU may also seem like overkill, but it has also simplified mine quite a bit with much less overhead than I originally thought.
    I'm picking up a second board right now along with another ATmega328-DIP for backup and "just-in-case" type moments. I think someone else mentioned this before, but it's worth noting again: the manual programming header can be used to fully reflash what ever onto the MCU and use the Arduino hardware just like a cheap dev board (allowing for assembly language or another boot loader).
    I'd also recommend picking up "male break away header" pins for custom cabling (PRT-00116). As others have mentioned, this board needs a standard B-type connector USB cable.

  • Part 2...
    This should have lasted longer. Since it was such a light load, I just powered it off my AVR board which was powered off USB. It's not like it could over load. I only used about 140 degrees of movement and Arduino refused to let it peg regardless. This was used in a low vibration, low impact environment with lots of air flow. My guess is that it got around 4000 cycles before dying. The sad thing is that this is not even worth trying to RMA. Since these are out of stock right now, I'd recommend SparkFun choose a better brand name for the next round.
    If using with an Arduino (just about any servo, I guess), I also recommend buying "break away male pin headers" to make your own extension/breakout cable.

  • Part 1...
    This is a 180degree servo (mine being a TowerPro SG-5010). I finally got around to using mine with my Arduino 2009 board a couple months ago. It died after 1.5 months of light use.
    I really wanted a "medium" grade, but SparkFun was out. Large was overkill but acceptable for the project. I only used it to move a plastic flap back and forth with no real load. It was also noisy as hell and could hear it through the project box all the way into the living room.
    After it died, I could manually rotate it one way with normal resistance, but the other way was very difficult. The gears still feel very tight (no jiggling), so I think those are ok. The bottom plastic cover also has 2 slightly melted points in the middle. I'm betting the board controller blew.

  • This thing is beyond tiny and not for DIY'ers unless you etch your own PCB's. The 3mm dimension is not the thickness (and thank you javascript programmers for breaking the image functions on these pages... not all of us run bleeding edge versions of IE).
    Pins are about 1mm with every other mm being a pin. Note that there are no legs on this part and it will need SMD pads UNDER it.
    I really wish SparkFun would carry the cheap 3pin through-hole type IR receivers, but I don't see any at the time of writing. Note that this is Consumer IR and not IrDA (works with TV type remote controls).

No public wish lists :(