Member Since: May 20, 2010

Country: United States



Rocket Scientist

Spoken Languages

English, Klingon

Programming Languages

Whatever best gets the job done, usually C. My favorite language was Modula-2 (look it up).


WPI, CU Boulder. Degrees in aerospace engineering and computer science.


Spacecraft systems engineering, embedded systems engineering, low-level firmware, 3D graphics and animation, and troubleshooting (but real trouble shoots back).


Hacking (the good kind), scuba diving, dumpster-diving for obsolete hardware, anything that flies (from bees to the Space Shuttle), birdwatching, sending stuff into orbit and beyond.



Sweeping legal changes are afoot that could change the hobbyist airspace for years to come. Your input can make a difference.

Continue reading

CubeSats will soon be traveling beyond LEO, and are available in a new compact size. We check in with the people pushing the limits.

Continue reading

On April 5th, teams from around Colorado will try out their miniature Mars rovers in the Great Sand Dunes.

Continue reading

How to handle the child for whom disassembling their toys is more fun than actually playing with them.

Continue reading

SparkFun returns to the AIAA Small Satellite Conference with more people, more stuff, and export-controlled sombreros.

Continue reading

What did you do on your summer vacation? These students are launching experiments on government sounding rockets.

Continue reading

You've just finished your new project. Before you apply power, here are a few tips to keep the smoke in.

Continue reading

Mike and Pete take a road trip to an innovative aerospace conference to find out more about the final frontier for amateur spacecraft makers

Continue reading

Rock-climbing researchers use clever dataloggers to solve a migration mystery and help save a species.

Continue reading

Your Personal Black Box

Inexpensive sensors and storage are giving us the ability to record our lives, revisit the past, and sometimes solve mysteries.

Continue reading

Sam Berrada dropped by to show off the sign language to speech system he designed. Did we mention he's in the 8th grade?

Continue reading


RFM69HCW Hookup Guide

April 28, 2016

The RFM69HCW is an inexpensive transceiver that you can use to create all kinds of wireless projects. This tutorial will help you get started.

Cackling Apple Head Witch

October 30, 2014

Make your own cackling apple head witch to scare all of the trick or treaters this Halloween!

LTC4150 Coulomb Counter Hookup Guide

September 18, 2014

A "Coulomb Counter" is like a gas gauge for your battery. Here's how to use it.

BMP180 Barometric Pressure Sensor Hookup

January 9, 2014

The BMP180 is a barometric pressure sensor, this tutorial tells you how to use it.

TSL2561 Luminosity Sensor Hookup Guide

December 27, 2013

The TSL2561 is an light sensor that's very inexpensive for the accuracy it provides. Here's how to use it.

Getting Started with the LilyPad MP3 Player

May 8, 2013

The LilyPad MP3 Player is an amazing little board that contains almost everything you need to play audio files. You can use it to create all kinds of noisy projects, from MP3 hoodies to talking teddy bears. Your imagination is the only limit! This tutorial will help you get started.

What is a Circuit?

February 6, 2013

Every electrical project starts with a circuit. Don't know what a circuit is? We're here to help.

Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI)

January 14, 2013

SPI is commonly used to connect microcontrollers to peripherals such as sensors, shift registers, and SD cards.
  • We recommend that our US customers order the 915MHz version.

  • If your USB application uses a COM (serial) port, then yes, this can be done. The example code we use in this Hookup Guide is very close to what you’d need (when you type characters in one end, they come out the other). You’ll just have to come up with a way to pass carriage returns (which we’re using as a signal to send a packet but not actually transmitting), and delete the code that prints out extra diagnostic information.

  • This is why we sell two versions, 915MHz and 433MHz. There are links in the hookup guide to the relevant ITU Region Wikipedia pages, but it’s such a patchwork that the only sure way to tell is to look up your local regulations. For our US customers, 915MHz is the frequency you want.

  • M-Short is correct, this part was designed for inexpensive local radio networks. But people are doing very cool things by bridging RFM69 networks onto the internet using a protocol called MQTT. Here’s an example: http://hackaday.com/2015/11/14/rfm69-to-mqtt-gateway-on-the-super-cheap. We’re working on tutorials for this, stay tuned!

  • Sorry for the late reply, The Toshiba TB6612FNG is a good choice for lower logic and motor voltages. The datasheet specifies that the motor voltage should be 4.5V to 15V, but I’ve used it on Lipo-powered projects without issues.

  • That’s correct. A 3.7V Lipo is “empty” at 3V (the voltage is falling like a rock at this point), so a 30% state of charge would be about 3.2V.

  • Paging Pete Dokter, Pete Dokter, get your AmEx out…

  • Neat idea! IC Hooks also work quite nicely if the through-hole is at the edge of the board, as most of ours are.

  • Classic Nick.

  • For that matter, an ATtiny or any of a host of other small micros are in the $1 range in small quantities. You need the programming tool, and some software skills to get at all the peripherals, but they all have internal oscillator options for no-external-component use.

    I grew up in the age of building circuits using multiple discrete analog and digital chips until the day I could buy a sleeve of PIC16F688s for about $2.50 each. I can’t think of any project I’ve done since then that doesn’t include a micro. I do support learning how things work using discrete chips, including the 555. But for getting things done, yeah, I write code.