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.



Enginursday: Get Roving!

Robotics competitions are a great way to hone your skills by designing with a purpose (and a deadline). There are competitions large and small all over the world, for all skill levels, with all kinds of goals, both constructive and destructive. If you’ve been following SparkFun for a while…

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Enginursday: The Littlest Hackers

When I was a wee lad, back in the late Cretaceous, you could pretty much count on my Christmas presents not staying intact for more than a day or two. I loved presents that let you make things, like Tinkertoys, Legos, and art supplies. And I tried my best (and probably failed miserably) to grin…

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Enginursday: All Aboard for The Final Frontier

Way back in August (man, we’re busy around here!) “According to” Pete Dokter, Jeff Branson and I took a road trip from SparkFun HQ in Boulder, Colorado, to the lovely town of Logan, Utah, for the 27th annual AIAA Small Satellite Conference. Why small satellites? Putting stuff into…

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Enginursday: RockON!

Despite the budget problems that plague NASA, there are more opportunities than ever before to get your projects into space. Motivated amateurs are building high-altitude balloons, high-powered rockets, and even miniature satellites called CubeSats that can hitch a ride on commercial launches. A…

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The Moment of Truth

So a curl of smoke is rising from the last solder joint in your new project, and after months of planning, designing, ordering and building (or perhaps just putting a kit together), you’re finally ready to power it up. Should you just hook it up to a battery or the mains and throw the switch?…

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Taking the high road

"Space... the final frontier." I think it's safe to say that many of you reading this were inspired to be makers by those words or others like them. For most of us, our feet are firmly planted on the ground in our daily lives, but we still take the time to cheer on our Mars rovers,…

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On The Trail of the Black Swift

The black swift (Cypseloides niger) leads a secretive life. These small, sleek birds are rare to begin with, and their numbers appear to be declining due to climate change and habitat loss. They live in remote locations, choosing to nest high on wet cliff faces, often behind waterfalls. This makes…

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Your Personal Black Box

It's a cliché to say that electronics are changing our lives, but some of these changes will be especially profound. We're already used to using smartphones and other gadgets to record the special occasions in our lives (and the funny things our cats do). But with sensor and storage…

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A Young Engineer Visits SparkFun

We recently had a celebrity visit us at SparkFun. Sam Berrada, an 8th grader from Pleasant View, Colorado - a small town on the western slope of the Rockies - had just won multiple awards, including First Place in Engineering (Junior Division) at the Colorado State Science Fair, for his project: The…

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BMP180 Barometric Pressure Sensor Hookup

January 9th, 2014

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

TSL2561 Luminosity Sensor Hookup Guide

December 27th, 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 8th, 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 6th, 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 14th, 2013

SPI is commonly used to connect microcontrollers to peripherals such as sensors, shift registers, and SD cards.
  • Product COM-12051 | about 3 days ago

    We really hope not. Sorry, we thought we made an order that should have been here by the 8th, but the supplier didn’t actually send it. We’re trying to sort things out now. We’ll get these back in stock as soon as we can (I need a few myself!).

  • News - Engineering Roundtable - … | about 5 days ago

    He’s known to us simply as Poole. Nick Poole.

  • Product COM-10878 | about 5 days ago

    We’ve been successfully experimenting with these wires and hopefully we’ll have some products on the storefront soon. The wire has a common lead (down the center of the strand) and three corona leads which spiral around it. When you turn them on one at a time in sequence, you get the cool flowing effect.

    We’ve been working on an adapter to connect this wire to our EL products. If you have three JST pigtails, you can do the same thing by cutting off the connector on the chasing EL wire, connecting one pigtail’s black wire to the black wire (common) on the EL, then connecting the remaining three red wires to the white/yellow/red wires on the EL. (The order will affect whether you sequence backward or forward, which you can always change in your software.)

    Note that even though AC doesn’t have polarity, the connectors on our EL drivers have an “output” and a “return” side that you need to get right if you’re combining signals like this. (That may have been your problem.) We hope this helps! Let us know if you have further questions or problems, and have fun!

  • Product SEN-10586 | about 5 days ago

    Hello, sorry for the late response. Have you solved your problem? The libraries included with the 1.4 version of the software should solve your problem (note that you need to replace older versions of the libraries with the new ones). If you’re still having problems please contact our tech support department, they’ll be happy to help you out.

  • Product BOB-11044 | about 5 days ago

    Whine is sometimes a ground loop problem. You could try connecting the “-” input to ground and see if that helps.

    Other than that, if your input is a PWM signal, it may be interfering with the amplifier’s own PWM frequency, in which case you should try low-pass filtering the input. There are filter calculators out there that could give you a better answer, but you can start with 100 ohms and 0.1uF, which will pass everything below 10kHz. Low-pass filtering the output is harder because it is a high-power signal and needs high-power filtering components. Good luck!

  • Product BOB-11044 | about 6 days ago

    Any answers would be rough because it depends on the specific audio and what constitutes a reasonable volume. For a worst-case analysis you could use Ohm’s law: 3 volts into 15 ohms will be 200mA (ouch), which would drain your battery very quickly (15 minutes). In practice you should get more time than that because you’d never be driving the speaker all the way, but I doubt you’ll get more than an hour out of the coin cell.

  • Product BOB-11044 | about 6 days ago

    The board is 0.8" x 0.8". The holes are on 0.1" centers; the two input/output rows are 0.7" apart. We highly recommend that you install Eagle if you’re working with our boards. The free version will open all of our files and answer questions like this and many more.

  • Product WRL-12770 | about 2 weeks ago

    It’s complicated but you are essentially correct that the 433MHz parts are intended for ISM region 1 (Europe, Africa, Mideast, Russia) while the 915MHz parts are intended for region 2 (Americas). There is considerable overlap and local differences that aren’t covered in the above maps. These devices are designed to be low-power and noninterfering with other devices, so unless you’re deploying a commercial product or a very large number of them this isn’t likely to affect you directly.

  • Product GPS-11058 | about 2 weeks ago

    Note that when you increase the sample rate, the Venus will immediately and quietly raise its baud rate because it can’t get the sentences out fast enough at 4800 or 9600bps. I can’t remember immediately what it goes to, but you might try changing your terminal to the higher baud rates (38.4, 56, 115.2). The above “GPS viewer / configuration software” handles this automatically so that would be another good place for a sanity check.

  • Product SEN-11824 | about 2 weeks ago

    Sharp eyes! Thanks for the catch.

Name Pieces Total
TJ's FTDI identifier
22 29.75
19 166.85
Elevator TARDIS
Here are (almost) all the parts you need to make the [wo…
14 142.05
42 1400.45