SparkFun will be closed Nov 26th and 27th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Orders placed after 2:00pm MT on the 25th will ship out Monday the 30th.


Member Since: March 13, 2008

Country: United States

  • Love the box wall!

  • Experienced Arduino (and Teensy) user here. New to the Photon, though. I got a Photon free from Sparkfun (thanks guys!) as part of a competition. Sadly I had a pretty bad first-day user experience. IMO, new users on Windows should beware…

    When I arrived, I unboxed it. Very very attractive packaging. The packaging pointed me to www.spark.io/start, so I went there as instructed. After pointing out its physical features, it wanted me to connect to it via my iOS or Android device. It also offered for me to “Connect over USB” instead, so that’s what I selected. I’m a Windows 7 user, so I followed the specific instructions for Windows.

    First, I grabbed the latest node.js installation, as instructed. Later I learned that Photon might not be compatible with Node 4.0 (though I don’t think that this was my issue, yet), so I uninstalled 4.0 and re-installed an older version. Annoying, but easy enough. I restarted my computer, as instructed. Also annoying, but easy.

    The instructions then say to download the latest Photon driver. I did so. I plugged in the Photon, as instructed. It showed up as a Teensy. Unexpected, but OK. I did “Update Driver”, as instructed by the Photon instructions and pointed Windows to the new Photon drivers. It seemed to work fine. It might make my Teensy experience annoying later, but let’s not worry about that now.

    Continuing with the instructions, I opened a command prompt. I issued “npm install -g particle-cli” to install the photon’s command line interface. It bombed out. :(

    The problem appeared to be with serialport@1.7.4. The error messages say that it couldn’t find VCBuild.exe. There was no mention of this possibility in the getting started docs.

    To solve the issue, the command line error suggested that I either install .NET Framework 2.0 SDK (hello 2006) or to install Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (um, hello 2005). I foolishly tried to install .NET Framework 2.0 (not the SDK), but Windows wouldn’t allow it. I then realized my error and went to install the SDK. I saw that the SDK was 354MB and figured that something wasn’t right with this whole installation process.

    I then pawed through their website a bit to find some help. It’s beautiful and heavy on the self promotion, but not a lot of info on the setup troubleshooting. Finally, I ended up on their github for the command line interface, where it said this:

    “Version 1.4.0 of Spark CLI includes Photon setup support for OS X only at the moment. Windows and Linux support are imminent.”

    Yeah. Thanks. There was no mention of this is the “Windows” section of “Getting Started”. Might have been a relevant thing to say? I think so. My vote is that Photon is not ready for prime time. Sorry, guys.

  • I would love an audio shield, like the one available for Teensy. Yes, I could mod the Teensy audio shield, but it’d be better to get a shield properly configured for Photon directly out of the box.

    If you do build such a shield based on the Teensy approach, it would be great if you could iterate a bit on the power supply filtering…or whatever causes the background chatter on Teensy’s audio board.

  • Sadly, we viewers can never be satisfied…

    Might I offer the observation that, despite the new acoustic treatments, there is still quite a lot of short-period echo in the audio stream. :( Since the panels aren’t doing it, have you considered using more beards?

    While your front-of-camera talent is totally doing his part (rockin' beard, Rob!), perhaps your behind-the-camera staff needs to step up, too. Come on…show some teamwork here, people.

    “But…” you (Mr Sparkfun) might say “…my videographers are women”. Well, that need not be a hurdle, because these sound-absorbing beards need not be real beards. Fake beards are are well-known to have very similar acoustic absorption properties as real beards*.

    [*this claim has not at all been scientifically confirmed. Readers, seize this opportunity…the modeling and measurement of the acoustic properties of beards would be a perfect PhD thesis]

    So, for next week’s video, I implore you, please, go strap on a bushy fake beard and do your part for Sparkfun acoustics! Love. Sparkfun. Beards.

  • The prominence given to the sound-absorption panels is cracking me up. I’m also greatly appreciative of their existence. Thanks for responding to viewer (I mean “listener”) comments!

  • Guys, you gotta put some acoustic damping in your video studio space. I know that you’re working in a brand new building, and acoustic treatments are less important than workbenches, lights, stuff…but the echo/reverb is getting to be pretty distracting.

  • I loved Nick Poole’s product video where he used the MindWave and an Arduino to bend a spoon. What a great idea for demo! I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the “concentration” and “focus” measures that are reported by many consumer-oriented EEG systems, but Nick’s trick of counting backwards by 3 seemed like a technique that I could test experimentally. So, I fired up my prototype EEG system and explored the EEG signature of concentration. If you’re interested you can check it out here http://eeghacker.blogspot.com/2014/04/detecting-concentration.html.

    So, thanks to Nick (and the rest of the Sparkfun team) for this great product video. It was pretty inspiring!

  • Gah! No plans to make any more?!?! Sad!

    This was a cool unit. I bought one a couple years ago and have used it in several projects. I finally wrote up a description of one of my projects (a MIDI Clock to Trigger converter, see: http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2014/02/arpeggiator-fun-my-midi-to-trigger.html) and came back to this page so that I put a link from my page to Sparkfun’s product. That’s when i see that you don’t make it any more.

    Say it ain’t so! Make a comeback Sparkfun MIDI Shield!

  • My vote is to stop using the low-level background music in these new product posts. I find it very distracting while I’m watching the video. Maybe others like it, but that’s my 2 cents…

  • I do a bit of EEG hacking as well (and I know Conor). Definitely looking forward to seeing what you make, Sophi!

No public wish lists :(