avatar

QCPete

Member Since: January 28, 2009

Country: United States

Profile

Bio

I started at SparkFun in September of 2007 as an assembly technician. My experience in electronics had consisted of only running sound equipment for my band and fixing the occasional broken guitar cord. After only a few days on the production floor, my skills with a soldering iron improved dramatically, and I was building beautiful little widgets. It wasn't too long before I started wondering how all these circuit boards actually worked. Whenever I had the chance, I would walk across the hallway to the engineers and ask for 5 minutes of their time. I learned words like micro controller, source code, op amp and many more. I was hooked.

My first project was an analog headphone amp. It was something I could use as a performing musician. This has since kept me busy on week nights (and most weekends) as I've grown my own business around audio products for musicians.

While perfecting my headphone amp design, I got into other DIY projects too. Before long, I was in my front lawn with my laptop and a few servos. I was hacking my sprinkler system. With some active pressure control, I was able to make my sprinkler shoot a perfect square. My neighbors thought I was a crazy :)

Little did I know that taking this position at SparkFun would open my eyes to a new favorite creative outlet, DIY Electronics. I get super stoked about a lot of things, but from the moment I felt that initial spark of interest, I knew this was something very special. I was learning tools that would allow me to truly harness my inner inventor.

In the last few years I have focused my energy at SparkFun to designing more efficient testing equipment and providing feedback to the engineers on how we can better design for manufacturing and testing. I can hardly call it a job, because I love it so much :)

Role

QC Manager

Programming Languages

Arduino, Tera Term Scripts and Batch Files.

Associations

Rock On Audio

Universities

Incline High School (Lake Tahoe), Squaw Valley Academy, Cate High School, Golden West (Huntington Beach), Cal State Long Beach, CU Boulder, Sparkfun University

Expertise

Rocking

Interests

A nice fillet and clean layouts. DSP, particularly the Sigma Studio stuff from AD. Thermal updrafts and circling in them. Remote control Airplanes - Electric in the parking lot and Slope when the winds up.

Websites

http://www.rockonaudio.com, http://www.phillewisart.com (that's my bro!)

Using cryptographic authentication, we created a super-secure remote control to open a garage!

Continue reading

We collected over two hundred retired testbeds and turned them into art! Join us as we highlight this project and tell some of the stories behind these dusty old circuit boards.

Continue reading

The Longmont Innovation Center hosted a great event, focused on building community and sparking interest in STEM education!

Continue reading

Check out this Qwiic-based jukebox using Qwiic RFID and Qwiic MP3. Follow along with the video and hookup guide to build your own!

Continue reading

Guest author Kelly Small shares his experience with the evolution of test controllers from the 1980s through today.

Continue reading

Join us for part two of our in-depth look at testbed design at SparkFun. Here, we focus on the hardware design choices for our in-house testing tool, the Flying Jalapeno.

Continue reading

Join us as we give some insight into the progress made in SparkFun’s testbed design over the past eleven years, and an in-depth look at our most recent production testing tool, the Flying Jalapeno.

Continue reading

Let's take a closer look at the quasi-random sequence generator for the Simon Says Trampolines project, and how a buggy first attempt was improved!

Continue reading

A re-creation of our Simon Says Soldering Kit using trampolines, spot lights and a ton of new sounds!

Continue reading

Join us for an epic journey into design for manufacturing, voltage spike suppression, stress testing, hex file analysis and more!

Continue reading

While designing our new Simon Tilts Through Hole Soldering Kit, we ultimately found that the best solution for the tilt sensor involved creating a custom plastic part. Here is the story of this project - including a couple interviews with the people that helped us along the way.

Continue reading

Dunk Tank Hack

In addition to the ongoing robot competition at AVC 2013, we included some carnival-type entertainment for the attendees. We rented a dunk tank, triggered it with a swiveling mallet, and challenged people to play "Trampoline Simon Says".

Continue reading

New!

Secure DIY Garage Door Opener

January 16, 2020

Did you know that most garage doors are at risk of a roll jam attack? Here we make a DIY garage door remote-control system that is much more secure than most commercial-ready products using the latest in ECC cryptography.

Cryptographic Co-Processor ATECC508A (Qwiic) Hookup Guide

October 17, 2019

Learn how to use some of the standard features of the SparkFun Cryptographic Co-processor.

Qwiic Atmospheric Sensor (BME280) Hookup Guide

August 21, 2019

Measure temperature, humidity, barometric pressure with the SparkFun Atmospheric Sensor Breakout BME280 (Qwiic).

Pi Servo pHAT (v2) Hookup Guide

July 11, 2019

This hookup guide will get you started with connecting and using the Pi Servo pHAT on a Raspberry Pi.

Qwiic 12-Bit ADC Hookup Guide

May 23, 2019

Need to add more analog inputs for your project? Check out the Qwiic 12-bit ADC.

Qwiic Keypad Hookup Guide

April 25, 2019

If you are tired of taking up GPIO pins, wiring a bunch of pull up resistors, and using firmware that scans the keys taking up valuable processing time... check out the new Qwiic Keypad.

Build a Qwiic Jukebox that is Toddler Approved!

March 29, 2019

Follow this tutorial to build your own custom jukebox. Note, this is designed simple and tough for use primarily with toddlers. It's also a great introduction to SparkFun's Qwiic products!

AVR-Based Serial Enabled LCDs Hookup Guide

August 2, 2018

The AVR-based Serial Enabled LCDs are a simple and cost effective solution to include in your project. These screens are based on the HD44780 controller, and include ATmega328P with an Arduino compatible bootloader. They accept control commands via Serial, I2C and SPI. In this tutorial, we will show examples of a simple setup and go through each communication option.

Pi AVR Programmer HAT Hookup Guide

July 26, 2018

In this tutorial, we will use a Raspberry Pi 3 and the Pi AVR Programmer HAT to program an ATMega328P target. We are going to first program the Arduino bootloader over SPI, and then upload an Arduino sketch over a USB serial COM port.

Raspberry Pi Stand-Alone Programmer

March 8, 2018

This tutorial will show you how to use a headless Raspberry Pi to flash hex files onto AVR microcontrollers as a stand-alone programmer. It also tells the story about production programming challenges, how SparkFun came to this solution, and all the lessons learned along the way.

Binary Blaster Assembly Guide

March 13, 2014

Learn how to assemble and play the Binary Blaster Game from SparkFun Electronics.

Constant Innovation in Quality Control

December 11, 2013

In this article, we share our recent advancements in quality control. Along with making our tests more thorough, we have also made them more efficient and robust.

Simon Tilts Assembly Guide

December 3, 2013

This tutorial will guide you through assembling your Simon Tilts PTH Kit.

Simon Says Assembly Guide

January 20, 2011

No matter what flavor of the Simon Says Through-hole Soldering Kit you've purchased, this tutorial is here to guide you through the entire build process.

Simon Says Experiments

October 21, 2010

So you've built up a Simon Says kit? What next? This tutorial will get you up and running with Arduino software, guide you through a few example sketches, and send you on your way to create your own. Careful, this stuff is highly addictive. :)
  • Hi 354, Thanks for commenting here. We're glad you are enjoying this HAT. We use a ton of them in production and have seen very little issues over the years. We hope they can last just as long for you!

    Not sure if SPI is enabled on any standard raspi image, but maybe? The quick setup does include enabling SPI, but the list does not have any screen shots or highlights, so I could see how this one step could be overlooked. Sorry about that, but we're glad you were ultimately able to get it working!

    Also, about the jumper... that's a tough call. Because we use these in production, the HAT will spend it's entire life dedicated to one product programming jig (and so, after the initial setup, the logic level should never need to be changed). But we can see now that a slide switch would be much more convenient for most users. We will consider this if/when a revision happens. For now, maybe you could consider picking up a few slide switches and wiring up your own custom selector?

    Thanks again and good luck with your programming!

  • Hey 773! Thank you for your comment!! All good things for sure. I definitely agree with all your points.

    The author of the articles I linked to in the intro has another great one on security, and I think it's worth a read for everyone:

    https://www.garageautomatics.com/secure-your-garage/

    I definitely need to look at things like my window and old back door (with old loose fitting door knob).

    "warm fuzzies" haha. I can relate to that. The blinking LED is what started it all for me. I love your idea to indicate low battery. I hope I don't see that LED come on for 6 years though :)

    And thanks for your explanation of the wall button circuit. That seems to make sense!

    I was thinking about doing a smash-up of the boards in a smaller board for my second remote. Might even try to re-use the old remotes enclosure. This seems like a perfect use case of the new Eagle "design block" feature.

    https://www.autodesk.com/products/eagle/blog/whats-new-in-autodesk-eagle-modular-design-blocks/

    Thanks again and happy new year!

  • Hey BerenV, Thanks for catching those. I'm sorry to say that I am part of a generation that relies too heavily on computers to fix my spelling and grammar. I fixed the ones you mentioned, and will request a set of fresh eyes from around here to give it another look. Sorry about that and thanks again!

    PS on a related note: it's slightly annoying that we can't spell-check/grammar-check hookup guides (or any content actually), because it's all in markdown, and a simple copy paste into a word editor throws too many "false calls". Does anyone know of a good tool that can spell check markdown and only show spelling errors that are part of visible text on a the website?

  • Thanks #773! We hope to see ya on a future tour - whenever that may be.

    This was my first time using addressable LEDs in a project, and it was great fun. Now I'm looking at everything and thinking, "dang, that would be cool to line with LEDs". Let us know when you finish your chocolates and make your next blinky project :)

  • Hey Elias, Thanks for chiming in here! Thanks for finishing up that library. That will be very handy!

    Side note: unfortunately, our comments don't seem to auto create links. Gotta use markdown style: using-the-arduino-library-manager

  • Hi there #579, Glad you found this too, and thanks for reaching out!

    We used the hamburger mini speaker, which is a pretty nice cheap and easy solution. We used a small piece of Velcro to attach it, so that gives a little movement when the youngsters grab on to it to turn it on and off. I think if it were more securely mounted, then it would eventually crack off or damage the jukebox control surface.

    I have been thinking about upgrading the speaker though. It has a USB mini-B plug for charging, and we actually have just left that plugged in permanently. For the first few months of use, we were charging and then removing the cable, (you can get about 2 hours of playback on full volume, and even more on the "low" setting). But it ends up being easier to just leave it plugged in. The volume and sound quality is totally fine for most kids I'm sure (especially our home recordings of audio books), but as a parent I do a lot of listening to our jukebox too, and I would appreciate a bit more headroom and low end on my sound systems.

    The noisey cricket is a great little amp. We have used that with the boulder bounces installation with great success. We installed a monoprice 6.5" speaker in the ceiling (10 ft up), and it had plenty of volume even at 25% volume setting.

    Also, I would like to highlight a new button option we just released today! It's a qwiic enabled button, which would be a pretty nice way to rig up your play and stop buttons. And I also saw that SparkX is planning on releasing an arcade button version of this in the next couple days. Looking forward to that!

    Good luck, and please don't hesitate to post any more questions that come up. Cheers!

  • Hi 358, Sorry, I do not have any experience programming the Attiny814 via UPDI from a raspi, so I'm not sure. It looks like the raspi does have 1-wire hardware, but it is on GPIO 4 (be default), which is currently wired up to a STAT LED on this HAT. If this was possible using this hardware on the Pi, then you'd need to enable the 1-wire hardware on a custom pin, which looks possible here. This could also be helpful for enabling 1-wire.

    Also, FWW, I stumbled upon a python based solution for programming UPDI. It looks like using a USB to UART converter, you could potentially pull this off from a raspberry pi.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

  • EROC, this is so rad. I'm very excited to see how it turns out. For a bit of added security, you could use the timestamp feature of the keypad to recognize the "rhythm" of the key presses too. Good luck with the install!

  • Hey Again, I just added a link in the source code for easily finding the correct keypad library and installing it (via library manager). Hope this helps!

    https://github.com/sparkfun/Qwiic_Keypad/blob/master/Firmware/Qwiic_KeyPad/Qwiic_KeyPad.ino#L55

  • Hi Damage, Sounds cool. The source code is available here:

    https://github.com/sparkfun/Qwiic_Keypad/blob/master/Firmware/Qwiic_KeyPad/Qwiic_KeyPad.ino

    To compile, you will need to install the keypad library, located at link below (but you can also find it in library manager if you search "keypad" and scroll down to find the one "by Mark Stanley, Alexander Brevig"

    https://playground.arduino.cc/Code/Keypad/

    Thanks for reaching out and good luck. FWW, during the release of this product, we did consider creating a 4x4 version to work with our 16 button keypad, but unfortunately, we are not planning on continuing to sell the 4x4 button keypad. (It was actually sent to us by accident from our supplier).

    Let us know how it goes!