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.



A look at what PRS/A+PRS competitors will be facing on September 17

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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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Powering LilyPad LED Projects

December 17, 2016

Learn how to calculate how many LEDs your LilyPad project can power and how long it will last.

Hobby Servo Tutorial

May 26, 2016

Servos are motors that allow you to accurately control the rotation of the output shaft, opening up all kinds of possibilities for robotics and other projects.

RFM69HCW Hookup Guide

April 29, 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.

LilyPad Pixel Board Hookup Guide

September 16, 2015

Add changing colors to your wearable projects using LilyPad Pixel Boards.

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 had the same thoughts last year, and actually made a video where we tested various sensors on the haybales. They worked surprisingly well. The LIDAR Lite wasn’t one of them as it was out of production at the time. As we get closer to AVC we’ll give it a shot, but if you do your own testing please let us know what you find.

  • Brice - To answer your second question, the charger will definitely stop when the battery is full; you can leave the charger connected indefinitely and it won’t overcharge the battery.

    As far as reading the battery voltage goes, your idea to connect it to an analog input like T1 (A0) is a good one. One problem is that a full battery is 4.2V, and analog inputs can only be as high as the system voltage (3.3V). However, you can run the battery through a voltage divider consisting of two 10K resistors before connecting it to the analog input. This will divide the battery voltage in half, so a full battery will only appear as 2.1V, which can be successfully read as an analog input (just multiply it by two to get the real result). Hope this helps, good luck with your project!

  • If you haven’t guessed, this is from a version of SHA256.

    Classic SGrace! ;)

  • Hi Andrew, we’re working hard to bring LilyMini support to the Arduino IDE, and are currently targeting a June 1st release date. You can contact me (mike.grusin at sparkfun.com) if you’d like source code or other information. (We haven’t released source code yet because it doesn’t use standard Arduino constructs. We’ll release full Arduino source code with the IDE support.)

  • Good eye! This board is listed as “new” because we pre-soldered headers to it. We’ve traditionally left this up to the customer, but we’ve had a lot of requests from teachers who want to use these in their classrooms (the BMP180 is a great sensor) but don’t have the skills or time to solder headers to them.

  • Good eye! In Eagle, labeled nets are “invisibly” connected to other points in the schematic with the same label, even if there’s no line there. So EN and PS do connect back to the chip. The schematic could be clearer in this regard (should we make a schematic with no lines and just labels?). Sorry for the confusion, thanks for asking!

  • One more thought - if you’re using Sparkfun’s 12V inverter, ensure that you’re running your Arduino with a 12V supply, and that solder jumper SJ1 is closed with a blob of solder to bypass the regulator. Otherwise the 12V inverter output will only be getting 3.3V from the regulator, which will definitely result in dim wire.

  • Here are a few things to try. 1: if you connect the output of the 12V inverter directly to your tape, is it brighter or still dim? (This will tell us if the board or the inverter is at fault). 2: If it’s dim and you have a better inverter, you can always connect the better inverter to the board. 3: the Dos is great at running long lengths of EL but doesn’t always do well with short lengths (it needs a minimum load to turn on and off efficiently). You can try shorting a 100k resistor across the output (the pairs of holes marked “~ ~” on the bottom of the board are perfect for this) and see if that helps. 4: Our tech support department is great at solving problems like this; give them a try.

  • You’re right, we should have linked to that. We use these breakaway headers for almost everything: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/116

  • Pay close attention to Nick when he says you can screw up your hard drive if you’re not careful. Just a few days ago I was cloning a Pi card and didn’t pay attention to the drive letter (and warning!) Win32DiskImager gave me. I wrote an 8GB image onto a 1TB external drive, instantly destroying the file system already present. I’m currently running a wide variety of tools to get back what data I can. With great power comes great responsibility…