Member Since: July 19, 2010

Country: United States

  • News - Your March Caption Contes… | about 2 months ago

    Introducing a budget version of SparkFun inventor kit. Dumpster diving gear sold separately.

  • News - The Science of Licking a … | about 3 months ago

    Ahh, tongue - the poor man’s multimeter! It came in handy when I had to figure out the layout of unmarked cables running through the office.

    … glad I lived to tell that tale.

  • News - December Caption Contest | about 4 months ago

    In hindsight, maybe using a quick set epoxy for a Halloween costume prank wasn’t such a good idea.

  • News - Enginursday: I <3 Pyth… | about 6 months ago

    Python is ideal for microcontroller projects involving serial communication - something that’s much harder to get off the ground in C/C++. I typically program only basic I/O into my Arduino’s and get the PC to do all the heavy lifting. I’m also stuck in 2.x land because the last good working version of PySerial module was compiled for 32-bit 2.7 Python. Many image processing plugins do not support 3.x code.

    Branching out of Python is a huge hassle considering that both, hardware and software coming out nowdays assumes 64-bit environment.

  • News - September Caption Contest | about 8 months ago

    According to Jake at Sparkfun, it takes precisely 6 owls to change a light bulb (5 to process the inventory and 1 to update the products page).

  • News - September Caption Contest | about 8 months ago

    Is that a Samurai Champloo reference?

  • Product SEN-11745 | about a year ago

    To interface with an Arduino you’d need this shield https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10032 Total project costs gets a bit high though and you’d consume virtually all arduino resources just processing the signal.

    Personally I’d go with a digital camera instead capable of sending TTL data. One of these 2: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10061 https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11610 or rip apart a cheap web camera. For low res robot vision I’ve even seen people take optical sensors out of laser mice and integrate them into designs. Resolution is typically low (no higher than 16x16), but as a benefit, the signal is easy to process and the refresh rate is high enough to allow shape tracking and rapid obstacle detection at close range.

  • News - Intro to Servo Motors wit… | about a year ago

    Few cautionary notes for people just starting out. Servo’s have DC motors inside that consume more power than arduino can typically provide, so ensure you have common ground and a separate power line just for the motor (6V will do fine). I typically use a 4xAA pack with a quick shutoff switch in case I go out of bounds. Keep in mind that Arduino will send out any pulse width you order it, unlike a pre-calibrated radio toy remote. Some values will land the gears out of bounds and will force the servo to lock up, making a buzzing noise. It may either strip servo gears, or cause batteries to drain prematurely. That’s were the separate power shutoff switch comes in handy. You’ll often be calibrating the range response of each servo experimentally. Futaba servo demonstrated in this tutorial is of a cheap and inconsistent variety. No 2 Futabas are alike.

    In terms of accuracy, as far as I’m aware, most standard servos have 1024 steps of response. At roughly 180 degress max rotation that makes 0.176 deg step increments. Mechanical quality and gaps between the gears will reduce that. Futaba gears may wobble 0.2 deg right out of the box.

    Servos are sensitive, so don’t subject them to much mechanical stress. Don’t press onto the gear shaft as that may damage the potentiometer, making the servo twitchy and less accurate.

    Start with cheap parts initially and then progress onto more expensive metal gear and ball bearing ones.

  • News - December Caption Contest | about a year ago

    How many owls does it take to change a lightbulb?

  • Product SEN-11195 | about 2 years ago

    My biggest complaint about the device is that the surrounding area of the sensor is not matted out. The chip breakout board is not even color neutral and the solder joints are shiny, allowing potential contamination of data if the device is positioned close to the source of light being analyzed. Even the housing is shiny!

    I work with optics and matte black is standard for every device related to light processing, minimizing the bounce and diffusion.

    Perhaps something to consider for the next revision of this thing.

No public wish lists :(