Member Since: May 19, 2014

Country: United States

  • The table with the prices is very wonky. The top line of prices always displays in two lines, making it nearly impossible to tell what prices are associated with which products. Just FYI

  • I’ve been working on something similar to this actually. Everyone knows about BB-8, right? Well, one of the big problems with reconstructions is that the head is heavy and almost always pretty dumb. Using magnetism and wireless power transfer, you can add a camera and some image processing to the head unit without adding a battery or lots of weight.

    I’ve proved you can power a Raspberry Pi Zero ( from a very basic wireless power module, and am currently working on making my own module to tailor the range to my actual robot. Coupled with a “floating head” I hope to have BB-8 run autonomously.

  • I only saw you doing tests at 90 degrees. Did you do any tests at oblique angles? How well do the tests perform at oblique angles compared to an interior wall? In many cases, the sensors are not going to have that perfect 90 degree angle on the hay bales, so knowing what the valid range (as in the valid angle) for the sensor is is very important. Otherwise, you might as well just use bump sensors and GPS waypoints.

  • Very very cool write up!

    I wonder if you could use a laser cutter to cut out sections of the plastic and then laminate your unsoldered, un-masked, PCB and try and use it as a solder mask. With such a low temperature resistance, I’m not sure how that would hold up.

    I should also mention that I’ve seen this method for covering capacitive touch boards before.

  • That is what I was thinking would be the case, but I had to ask. I wonder if anyone from SparkFun would be willing to stick the modules to a breadboard and use both a rubber duck antenna and a whip antenna and post a video talking about what the respective outputs look like on a spectrum analyzer compared to a module without an antenna. Granted, it would be tons better if the product were on it’s own pcb instead of a breadboard, but that isn’t going to happen.

  • Are the radio modules FCC tested, or are they just another ‘hobbyist ony’ type product?

  • SparkFun has done a great job and clearly marking and updating their projects. I applaud you and all of your efforts. It’s companies like TI, who provide reference materials and schematics, that are really bad about this. They update the site to say EOL, but everything that relies on that part isn’t updated.

    I applaud SparkFun and their commitment to good and accurate documentation.

  • The worst part about EOL is when there isn’t a new product that does what you need it to. Instead you are left having to completely redesign or abandon a design.

    The second worse part is when you look at example or recommended circuits for a part not EOL, and the parts it uses are EOL. I’ve run into this multiple times, and figuring out how to change things often takes several calls and/or visits to an application engineer, and then some testing. And as testing implies, it might not work. This adds time, expense, and hassle to the development process.

  • While I understand the draw of Eagle, I feel like if more big companies had hands in the development of free alternates, such as KiCAD, that the software would mature much quicker and thereby gain bigger ‘fan base’, and in turn allow for more and better development. It would lower the entry cost of designing and producing circuit boards. Its very much the cycle that open OSs such as Ubuntu have seen, and look at their growth.

    I’m not saying you should switch, as your goal isn’t really “open source as an end in and of itself”. You know your process better than anyone on these comments, so I’m just providing one argument in favor of at least doing some development with an open platform like KiCAD.

    Thanks for the kind and insightful response!

  • My understanding of Open Source, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that if you take what has been built, designed, or written before you, you are legally obligated to tell people where you got the base design/code/board and make whatever you are making open source as well. By doing so, you have a sort of collaboration that closed source hardware/software/projects don’t have.

    Now, if you use Eagle (which is a great piece of software) and do as SparkFun has, making lots of open source things, that is great. However, due to the limitations of Eagle, the ideas they have, the projects the start, are limited.

    Take for instance their basic signal generator. I saw this and immediately got out some paper and pencils and designed a unit that takes this basic concept and makes in a more robust and fully functional signal generator and data logger (which incidentally also is a product at SparkFun).

    I ran into a big issue however when the board eclipsed the maximum size of the free version of Eagle. Not only that, but I soon realized that I could never legally sell any boards I designed with Eagle. So, I was stuck. Do this bit of engineering on my own, and for myself only in Eagle, or start porting this stuff to KiCAD (or some other open product).

    That is a project I’ve put aside for the time being because I don’t want to redo the work that has already been done.

No public wish lists :(