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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Your Personal Black Box

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

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

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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.
  • I also bought that white sharpie with dreams of marking black equipment, but sadly it’s about as fine-point as a lipstick. I’ve since been using a gold sharpie with ostentatiously great results.

  • This particular amplifier works very well with the MP3 Shield. It has fully differential inputs (both input leads are “floating”; neither one is tied to ground) so it doesn’t have the “virtual ground short” problem that the MP3 Shield has with amplifiers where one input is tied to ground.

  • Sorry, no; that’s what I would have tried too. If you figure out the answer, please let us know!

  • Depending on whether you’re talking about a bell jar or a true vacuum chamber, my guess is that it’s not designed for hard vacuum and the internally sealed volume would eventually become damaged. But you can contact Bosch for a definitive answer.

  • Protip: If you dig into the library folder, the “.h” file is where all the functions are defined for a particular library, and any decent programmer will write lots of comments there on what the functions do. For this part that file is called “SFE_BMP180.h”, and it’s a plain text file you can open with any text editor. Anything listed under “public” are things you can use in your own code. Hope this helps, if you have trouble interpreting the file let me know (I wrote it). Thanks and Good luck!

  • That’s cold, man.

  • Steganography. But I’ve said too much.

  • It sounds like your TX link (from the GPS) is working correctly, but your RX link (to the GPS) is not. You should be able to run a simple serial passthrough sketch like the following, then quit the Arduino IDE and run the SkyTraq software. Connect the GPS TX to Arduino pin 2 and RX to pin 3:

    #include <SoftwareSerial.h>
    SoftwareSerial gps(2,3); // RX, TX
    void setup()
    void loop()
      char data;
      while (gps.available())
        data = gps.read();
      while (Serial.available())
        data = Serial.read();
  • Unfortunately that part was discontinued by the manufacturer. However you achieve the same result by connecting any 3.3V-capable supercap between VBAT (cap +) and GND (cap -).

  • It’s turned off by default but you should be able to turn on the GLL message (and any others you want) using the “GPS Viewer / Configuration Software” linked above. It’s in the “Binary / Configure NMEA Output” menu. The Venus will remember the change through reboots.