Sarah Al-Mutlaq

Member Since: May 14, 2014

Country: United States

A look into our awesome solar array and what it's doing for SparkFun.

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A fun holiday project to try for anyone looking to catch Santa on Christmas!

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Show us what you can make out of reused parts!

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Adding a Timed Button to a Project

July 29, 2015

This tutorial will walk you through making a timed power controller for interactive projects. You will learn how to add an on button that will provide power to your project for an amount of time and then turn off again.

Soil Moisture Sensor Hookup Guide

July 23, 2015

A quick hookup guide and project to get you started with the Soil Moisture Sensor from SparkFun.

Load Cell Amplifier HX711 Breakout Hookup Guide

June 11, 2015

A hookup guide for the HX711 load cell amplifier breakout board

Getting Started with Load Cells

June 11, 2015

A tutorial defining what a load cell is and how to use one.

Origami Paper Circuits

May 26, 2015

A quick tutorial to get you started in the world of light up origami flowers.

RedBoard Santa Trap

December 25, 2014

A fun holiday project to try for anyone looking to catch Santa on Christmas!

Soil moisture-sensing by hacking a solar light

June 19, 2014

How to take a solar powered pathway light from a hardware store and make it into a crude soil moisture sensor.
  • Actually the LED placement really isn’t even at all, the way you saw me tie in the LEDs into the paper lantern was exactly how I did it in the clouds. I tried to make sure the LED strip didn’t hit right up against the wall of the paper lantern so that the light would get dispersed more, but they ended up hitting the edges in a few places and to compensate for that I just put more pillow fluff on the outside so it got dispersed more. It was one of those things were I just stuck everything in, lit it up to see how it looked, and made adjustments accordingly. There are even some LEDs that are outside the paper lanterns (to connect them between two lanterns) and these looked really bright and not even at all at first. So I ended up gluing a lot of the pillow fluff directly to the LED strip to disperse the light, more fluff than I put on the outside of the paper lanterns. Let me know if you have any more questions, it was actually really fun working on it, but a little bit time consuming to make sure it looked even from all angles.

  • You are correct! The power was a bit of experimenting for me. At first I thought current would be a huge issue, but unless you are running all the LEDs at the brightest white, it’s actually not a huge problem, and lower currents work just fine without too much of an issue color wise. I started by using our 5V 2A power supply for each cloud, this didn’t look quite the way I wanted it to, and I thought it might be a current issue, so I switched to a 5V 4A power for each cloud, this actually didn’t change very much, and I was sad. After further inspection I found that I was actually getting a voltage drop across the 300 LEDs and this was an issue because I was running them at 5V to begin with, which these LEDs are recommended to be run at 6-7V. So I hooked the last LED back up to the first to try and maintain the voltage and this helped with the color a lot. I was still getting a bit of variation in the middle LEDs so I decided to go full out with a 6V 8A power supply for each cloud which I got from Mouser. This looks really nice, but it wasn’t as much of a difference as I wanted so in the end I think it didn’t really make too much of a difference, for the huge pricing difference.

    I hope that answers your question, in the end it ended up being the voltage drop I was getting across the LEDs that mattered more than them getting enough current because I was rarely running them at all white as bright as they could go. Ideally these 300 LEDs want 6-7V and at most 6A to run them at their peak brightness.

  • Awesome! Yeah we have a few that I can think of that might help you get started depending on what exactly you would like to do. Here is a tutorial where there is an explaination and some example code about storing info onto an attached microSD card (amount other things), and Here is a tutorial about OpenLog, which is a thing that stores data for later retrieval. I hope that’s enough to get you started in the right direction! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • It was a Taylor scale, super simple nothing special, any simple bathroom scale will work. I cut the three wires that connected the four load sensors and measured the resistance between each set of two to determine which wire was the “center tap” and which changed with weight applied, and then just hooked those up to a load sensor combinator board according to what you should (which is explained in this tutorial. Then hook it up to the HX711 amplitifer board and use the example code to calibrate it. Super quick and simple! Hope that helps =)

  • You are correct! I have fixed the error, thank you for catching it, and I’m glad you figured out the issue and everything works now!

  • Sure, ok so the way the calibration code works is that upon boot up it registers that weight as 0 lbs, so when you run the code make sure nothing but your top panel is on the weight sensor, open up the serial interface and check that it is indeed 0 lbs as it should be, you do not need to adjust the calibration code for the 0 lbs it should be doing that automatically. Now after you have booted it up with what you will be calling 0 lbs and opened the serial communication, then put a known weight like 10 lbs on your top plate and adjust the calibration code to have it reflect that it is 10 lbs (or whatever weight you have on there). Remember that calibration number so that you can put it into the example code when you upload that to the arduino uno. I hope that helps, it just sounds to me like you were trying to calibrate for 0 lbs when it actually automatically does that when you start the code. Let me know if that changes anything or if you are still having issues. If that doesn’t fix the problem we might have to consider the idea that the HX711 may not be working (I had this happen once in all of the testing I did), some signs that your HX711 may be broken is that it never outputs anything, so just be aware that that might be a thing, but hopefully not!

  • You can email customerservice@sparkfun.com, that is a better way to reach people who can help you right away.

  • So you have the 200kg disc load cell between two boards (or something akin to that) hooked up with a amplifier board and to a micro controller? What kind of micro controller are you using, RedBoard? Arduino Uno? Pro Mini? Just trying to get more info to try and find the problem. Are you thinking that the amplifier board is defective? We can try to test a few things but I personally don’t know how to test that it is working, though if you suspect it isn’t, you can call customer service and they can look into sending you another. Sorry you are having issues!

  • Yeah sometimes my mouth says things faster than my brain actually processes it. Let’s just say I meant to say “How much water is between the moisture sensor.” lol =P

  • Hey Ali, Did you go through and set up the calibration code? You need this data to be able to put the right info into the example code. You can find the calibration code here. The code kind of explains how to run it, set it up, get a reading for 0 lbs, and then put a known weight of 10lbs and see that reading and then it will give you info to put into the example code. Let me know if that helps. Otherwise we can try some other things!

    Just so you know if you would like to call our customer service they can get you to our technical support team who would be happy to help you with your project and try to troubleshoot with you. Our number is 303-284-0979, give us a call if you like.

IoT CloudCloud

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 7 items

Parts used in the third Fellowship of the Things episode: https:…

Soil moisture sensor parts

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 6 items

The soil moisture sensor is made from parts in the Sparkfun Inve…

Adding a timed power button

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 8 items

These are the parts you will need for adding a timed power butto…

Soil moisture sensor add on

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 9 items

List of parts I used to make my self watering system that goes a…

Light up origami flowers

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 5 items

All the electronic parts needed to get you started on making you…

Soil moisture sensor parts kits

Sarah Al-Mutlaq 2 items

The soil moisture sensor is made from parts in the Sparkfun Inve…