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SFUptownMaker

Member Since: July 5, 2011

Country: United States

Profile

Role

Electrical engineer

Programming Languages

Python, C/C++

Universities

NDSU 1997-2002

Interests

Toys, tinkering

Websites

uptownmaker.blogspot.com

A classic control systems challenge is building an inverted pendulum robot. Today we'll discuss the theory behind the project.

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Atmel Studio 7 supports a web-based design tool called START. We'll take a look at this design tool pair and the time to blink on a SAME54 Xplained board.

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Learn how to combine a Python web app framework with the ESP8266 Thing to control your RPi via WiFi.

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SparkFun offers several options in the USB-Serial arena. Today we'll attempt to demystify the differences between them.

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Sometimes, when testing power supplies, it's handy to be able to load them consistently. This gizmo will help you do that.

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Fence-a-Mole: A real-world "fencing training" game made using XBee and the ADXL345

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Amazon has released an example allowing you to create an Alexa endpoint on a Raspberry Pi 3 (or 2B). It's free and open source, so you can tear it apart, see how it works and modify it as you see fit!

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Revisiting the venerable HaterMatic project, with a Valentine's Day twist!

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I started with a PiRetrocade kit and kept adding until I had a major appliance on my hands: my very own full-size arcade cabinet!

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We've made a "Stranger Things"-inspired message wall for your viewing (and tweeting!) pleasure.

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The long SparkFun tradition of mild sadism in the name of comedy continues!

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For decades, the 555 timer has been a mainstay of hobbyist electronics. Is it time to retire this venerable little workhorse?

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Some notes (and examples) to help you understand a bit more about the world of digital imaging.

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The FreeSoC2 board is a great way to start using the incredibly powerful PSoC5LP processor line from Cypress Semiconductor.

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As an engineer at SparkFun, I make a lot of temporary projects. The Magic Lunchbox helps me take them home to work on without damaging them.

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Ever wonder how the Arduino IDE translates your code into instructions for the processor?

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Radio Shack is finally declaring bankruptcy, but for many of us, it died a long, long time ago

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FTDI's latest driver update appears to be semi-permanently disabling counterfeit FT232 chips.

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To compare the Edison and the Raspberry Pi is to do a disservice to both.

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In which I buy a cheap truck, planning on using my hacking skills to keep it going, and the universe calls my bluff

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When in New York, I found a small group of hackers in as surprising place

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Quad Fever!

Quadcopter fever is spreading through SparkFun! Of course we're going to hack them.

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How Python makes my life easier every day

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Technological befuddlements it took me 10 years and a college degree to understand.

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Variable Load Hookup Guide - Revised

May 25, 2018

This tutorial will show you how to assemble and use SparkFun's Variable Load board. It can be used to test stability of the power supply under various loads, battery lifetime, safety cutoffs, and other design elements of power supplies under test.

IoT Power Relay

May 21, 2018

Using the ESP32 to make a web-configured timed relay.

IoT Weight Logging Scale

May 9, 2018

This tutorial will show you how to make a scale that logs your weight to a custom website on the Internet. The principles can be extrapolated to any type of data.

FreeSoC2 Hookup Guide V14

February 8, 2018

The FreeSoC2 is an Arduino-compatible PSoC5LP-based development board, produced by SparkFun in collaboration with Jon Moeller (developer of the original FreeSoC) and Cypress Semiconductor.

Using the PSoC 6 Pioneer Board with the Pioneer IoT Add-on Shield

February 1, 2018

Cypress's PSoC 6 Pioneer Board is a development tool for the powerful PSoC 6 processor. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to use the PSoC 6 Pioneer Board along with the SparkFun/Digi-Key Pioneer IoT Add-on Shield to send data to a Raspberry Pi via BLE or WiFi.

H3LIS331DL Accelerometer Breakout Hookup Guide

December 21, 2017

Hookup guide and library usage details for the triple axis accelerometer H3LIS331DL high-g accelerometer.

Getting Started with TJBot

December 14, 2017

This post will walk you through setting up your TJBot and getting started with the first three recipe examples provided by IBM.

Using Flask to Send Data to a Raspberry Pi

November 9, 2017

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to use the Flask framework for Python to send data from ESP8266 WiFi nodes to a Raspberry Pi over an internal WiFi network.

Pi Servo Hat Hookup Guide

September 14, 2017

This hookup guide will show you how to connect and use the Pi Servo Hat in a project.

APDS-9301 Sensor Hookup Guide

September 14, 2017

The APDS-9301 sensor is an I2C connected luminosity sensor which returns measurements in lux.

Setting Up the Pi Zero Wireless Pan-Tilt Camera

September 14, 2017

This tutorial will show you how to assemble, program, and access the Raspberry Pi Zero as a headless wireless pan-tilt camera.

ESP32 Environment Sensor Shield Hookup Guide

July 6, 2017

SparkFun's ESP32 Environment Sensor Shield provides sensors and hookups for monitoring environmental conditions. This tutorial will show you how to connect your sensor suite to the Internet and post weather data online.

Spectacle User's Guide

May 4, 2017

The Spectacle system is designed to help those without electronics or programming experience integrate electronics into projects.

Spectacle Motion Kit Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Motion Kit in one place.

Spectacle Audio Board Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Audio Board in one place.

Spectacle Sound Kit Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Sound Kit in one place.

Spectacle Light Kit Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Light Kit in one place.

Spectacle Light Board Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Light Board in one place.

Spectacle Button Board Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Button Board in one place.

Spectacle Light and Sound Kit Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Light and Sound Kit in one place.

Spectacle Motion Board Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

All the information you need to use the Spectacle Motion Kit in one place.

Spectacle Inertia Board Hookup Guide

May 4, 2017

Everything you need to know about using the Spectacle Inertia Board in one place.

Spectacle Example: Super Mario Bros. Diorama

May 4, 2017

A study in building an animated diorama (with sound!) using Spectacle electronics.

OpenPIR Hookup Guide

April 27, 2017

How to use and customize the SparkFun OpenPIR motion sensor.

SparkFun USB UART Breakout (CY7C65213) Hookup Guide

February 2, 2017

How to use SparkFun's advanced USB UART breakout, based on the Cypress CY7C65213.

Getting Started with the AutoDriver - v13

September 15, 2016

SparkFun's AutoDriver is a powerful tool for controlling stepper motors. Here's how to use it.

PicoBuck Hookup Guide V12

February 18, 2016

The PicoBuck board is a high-efficiency three-channel constant-current LED driver.

Simblee Concepts

February 4, 2016

The Simblee module is a powerful but easy to use Bluetooth 4.0 device which allows you to create a GUI from directly within your Arduino code!

Simblee Breakout Board Hookup Guide

February 4, 2016

This guide will help you understand your SparkFun Simblee Breakout Board.

Simblee LilyPad Hookup Guide

February 4, 2016

The Simblee LilyPad lets you easily integrate Bluetooth Low Energy and mobile apps into your e-textiles projects.

FemtoBuck Constant Current LED Driver Hookup Guide V12

December 10, 2015

The FemtoBuck board is a high-efficiency, single-channel constant-current LED driver.

SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - 9 Degrees of Freedom Block

August 19, 2015

A quick overview of the features of the 9 Degrees of Freedom Block.

SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - Dual H-Bridge

July 17, 2015

A quick overview of the features of the Dual H-bridge Block.

SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - PWM

June 22, 2015

A quick overview of the features of the PWM Block.

Experiment Guide for RedBot with Shadow Chassis

May 28, 2015

This Experiment Guide offers nine experiments to get you started with the SparkFun RedBot. This guide is designed for those who are familiar with our SparkFun Inventor's Kit and want to take their robotics knowledge to the next level.

Assembly Guide for RedBot with Shadow Chassis

May 28, 2015

Assembly Guide for the RedBot Kit. This tutorial includes extra parts to follow to go along with the RedBot Inventor's Kit tutorial.

FreeSoC2 Introduction

May 14, 2015

The FreeSoC2 is an Arduino-compatible PSoC5LP-based development board, produced by SparkFun in collaboration with Jon Moeller (developer of the original FreeSoC) and Cypress Semiconductor.

Wake-on-Shake Hookup Guide

March 13, 2015

A basic hookup guide for getting started with the SparkFun Wake-on-Shake. The board gives you the ability to put your project into hibernation until bumped or shaken awake using the ADXL362 accelerometer. This means you can design projects meant to stay inert for long periods of time, possibly even several years, depending on the battery type used to power the project.

BC118 BLE Mate 2 Hookup Guide

January 15, 2015

Hooking up and using the BLE Mate 2, which uses the BC118 BLE module from BlueCreations.

Programming the Intel® Edison: Beyond the Arduino IDE

January 7, 2015

Intel's Edison module goes beyond being just another Arduino clone. Check this tutorial for advice on how to get the most out of your Edison by writing code in C++!

Sunny Buddy Solar Charger V13 Hookup Guide

October 13, 2014

How to hookup the Sunny Buddy: a solar-powered, MPPT (peak-power tracking), LiPo battery charger.

FTDI SmartBasic Hookup Guide

October 3, 2014

How to use an FTDI SmartBasic Board to program an Arduino and access another serial device over the hardware serial port, without unplugging anything!

MiniGen Hookup Guide

May 22, 2014

Using the MiniGen, SparkFun's Arduino Pro Mini signal generator shield

Understanding the BC127 Bluetooth Module

January 31, 2014

SparkFun has two boards using the BC127; here's what you need to know to use them.

Digital Logic

October 3, 2013

A primer on digital logic concepts in hardware and software.

Using GitHub to Share with SparkFun

August 19, 2013

A simple step-by-step tutorial to help you download files from SparkFun's GitHub site, make changes, and share the changes with SparkFun.

I2C

July 8, 2013

An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.

Leap Motion Teardown

June 27, 2013

Let's see what's inside the amazing new Leap Motion input device!

Programming the pcDuino

March 12, 2013

With great power comes great complexity. This tutorial will teach you some of the basic concepts needed to get the most out of programming your pcDuino.

pcDuino Hookup Guide

March 8, 2013

pcDuino is SparkFun's single-board hardware-hacker based mini PC. It comes with Linux pre-installed, has all the hardware functionality of an Arduino Uno, and can be programmed almost as easily as an Arduino!

Light

February 7, 2013

Light is a useful tool for the electrical engineer. Understanding how light relates to electronics is a fundamental skill for many projects.

Connector Basics

January 18, 2013

Connectors are a major source of confusion for people just beginning electronics. The number of different options, terms, and names of connectors can make selecting one, or finding the one you need, daunting. This article will help you get a jump on the world of connectors.
  • Input voltage as in, supply voltage or load voltage? The Vref for the part is in fact supply voltage / 2, which accounts for that. This is an internal limitation of the part used. It does have a stable 1.024V internal reference but that can’t be used with the full range of ADC.

  • My experience has been that, with the tougher microcontrollers like the Atmega328 on the RedBot board or Arduino Uno, you can short a pin to ground without killing it. I’m guessing that this is because the drive circuit’s output impedance is high enough that it self limits the current to a non-destructive level. For more info about what this means look into Thevenin equivalent circuits. That will help you understand.

  • It will work with a digital IO pin, but you’ll get a somewhat quieter sound than you would if you were to, say, use a transistor switch to give it its full current range. It’s still pretty loud, however: loud enough to be heard anywhere in a small room, for example.

  • Yes, it’s P1.0 and P1.1. However, those pins are only made available on the debugger header, so I wouldn’t expect any add-on board you’ve made to affect them. The only other possibility is the Reset pin, which is on the Arduino header. Is it possible that you’re affecting that pin somehow?

  • IME it depends on the LCD you use. If you use a standard black-on-green LCD, the answer is no. However, some of the more unusual combinations we sell may be a little hard to read. I’d stick with a standard LCD for best results.

  • This is really just designed to wake up when moved. It can’t turn off on another action. You’ll need another accelerometer for your project, and it’s likely going to be a fairly difficult project for someone who has never coded.

  • No. You’d blow out both of the FemtoBucks.

  • That’s very interesting. Vref uses an internal reference for the ADC, so I’d expect that to not affect the readings that much.

    I’ll do a little more research so I understand that better. I’m glad we solved your issue!

  • Fascinating. Can you verify that the board is getting a good 5v supply?

  • Next to the LED there’s a stack of five resistors. The top three comprise the voltage divider (I combined a 787 and 8.2k to get closer to 9k for a 10:1 ratio).