We will be closed on November 25, 2021 and November 26, 2021 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume normal operations on November 29, 2021. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday from all your friends at SparkFun!


Receive a free SparkFun USB Thumb Drive with every order this weekend. Details.


Member Since: August 8, 2008

Country: France

  • It really depends on the material. Something like surface mount soldering and hot air rework can only really be learned by someone showing you how to do it, and a video can be helpful but it's not nearly as effective as seeing is done in front of you and trying it yourself with someone to point out any problems. You can learn it on your own, but I think an hour with someone competent will give you a better return on investment than 100 hours of looking at tutorials on the web.

  • Are they RoHS compliant?

  • I just got mine today and didn't have any problem working with lead free solder. The built in stand is nice as well since the tip gets pretty hot and takes a while to cool down (slower than a traditional solder iron). My first impression is that this is great for quick in-the-field soldering jobs or if you're travelling. Next time I go to China I'm definately going to bring one of these so I can't test everything out while I'm there ... though I suppose I'll need to bring a new one since it will need to be empty to travel with it.

  • If 32-bit is so great, why are we seeing DIY (Make
    magazine), Arduino (a lowly 8-bit), and SparkFun
    (possible categorized as simply a breakout board
    company) doing so well?
    Easy enough ... they're just so darn easy to use (compared to something like ARM), and that's not something I ARM or MSP430, etc., will ever be able to compete with. And all the better to me (even though I've never used an Arduino myself) ... I'm happy to see the barrier to entry get ever lower, since hopefully the best and brightest of those Arduino users will graduate up to bigger and better things one day and maybe come up with some original that will impress all of us.
    I've found it interesting to see NXP finance stuff like LPCXpresso ($29 with a beefy ARM9-based SWD/JTAG debugger and a decent 128KB IDE/Toolchain!) ... but it'll never catch on the same way as Arduino simply because the learning curve is going to remain fairly high however much you try to abstract certain things away. It's apples and oranges, but I think maybe 10% of Arduino users might see some value in moving up to something like ARM down the road, but it'll never pass that barrier.
    That said, I'm looking forward to the pressure created by things like $1 Cortex M0s. It's great for consumers everywhere!

  • Sorry ... that last line should be "even if those graphs DON'T show it."
    My point was just that I whole-heartedly disagree with the statement that companies like NXP are "maintaining the status quo, to a downward trend". Quite to the contrary, it looks to me more like NXP is going for the competition's jugular with the price/performance/feature-set of their newest chips! I'd be sweating profusely if I was operating in the traditional 8/16-bit segment (but again ... that's all just my own opinion).

  • I'm not sure search traffic necessarily gives a real picture of who's growing and who's shrinking ... it may be more an indicator of the level of technical expertise user's of a certain platform have, and the level of search + content generated to cater to those users. Anything aimed at hobbiest is obviously going to have multiple times more traffic than something aimed more at 'commercial' developers (no slights intended, of course!). Search traffic and web content isn't much of an indication of actual device adoption. I have the number in the back of my head that something like 80-90% of NXP's sales come from 8 customers ... but I don't have a link to back those numbers up concretely.
    It's getting a whole lot tougher for the 8 and 16-bit manufacturers with $1 50MHz 32-bit MCUs to compete with (I'm thinking of the LPC1100's).
    I'm just finishing some dev boards for, amongst other things, the Cortex M0 LPC1114 and the Cortex M3 LPC1343 and it's a pretty fascinating time to be involved in HW ... the 32-bit price/performance ratio has probably never been more favourable, even if those graphs show it.

  • Is this some kind of cult, cause everyone seems to have exactly the same stubble ... or is that part of the standard Sparkfun work attire? :-)

  • This thing is crazy! I'm starting to shift from ARM7 (typically 60-72MHz) to ARM9 and Cortex-M3 for a bit more power (the chips also tend to be cheaper), but 600MHz is nuts. I'll have to look in how much difference there is between the older ARM architectures and Cortex A8 to get an idea of what the learning curve would be.

  • Oh ... and great work, Brian, on updating this board and releasing it to the public. It's a nice improvement from v.3!

  • I noticed because I did the same thing myself on a custom A3967 board, though I knew it would be OK since it was a 12V motor anyway. :) In reality, ~20V is going to cover 90% of the motors you're likely to use with this board anyway (so I still ordered one of these just to try it out). It's harder than some people might think to find a good motor for this chip, though, given the limits of 150-750mA and 7-30V ... I had to dig around a lot, particularly since there aren't 100 online sources of stepper motors out there (and the ones you do find rarely post all the specs). Thankfully the motor you stock (related products below) is compatible (330mA and 12V).

No public wish lists :(