Member Since: August 14, 2006

Country: United States



Nathan Seidle grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and transplanted himself to Colorado during college.


Hand in every cookie jar (CEO)


SparkFun Electronics

Spoken Languages

English and Datasheet

Programming Languages

C, VB, and evil Makefiles


Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics - class of 2000 (Oklahoma City, OK), University of Colorado - class of 2004 (Boulder, CO).


Girl Robots - This is going to be the best prom ever. Crew, hiking, boxing, and the occasional snowboard jump.



Fluke Responds to Trademark Problems

Yesterday, we wrote a fairly-lengthy post about an ongoing customs issue we were dealing with. Essentially, our $15 multimeter, which we source as a quality entry-level meter for DIY enthusiasts is in violation of a trademark held by Fluke Corporation. The culprit. The problem boils down to the fact…

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Fluke, we love you but you're killing us.

Today (March 20, 2014), Fluke reached out to us. Here is what they had to say. SparkFun has officially accepted their offer and will be donating the Fluke multimeters to several educational institutions and schools. Part of SparkFun’s business model is to find really cool items that every…

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Promoting Science When the Government Can't

Update: At long last, the shutdown ended in the wee hours of today, Thursday, October 17! This means any furlough emails received after 12:00 a.m. today will no longer be eligible for the giveaway. We’re as relieved as you are that things can hopefully go back to normal, and we hope you enjoy…

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We Have It In Stock

We love Mouser and Digikey. They carry everything. On the flip side, we like to think we are the ‘filter’ to Digikey; when you’re just getting started in electronics Digikey can be overwhelming! We know you probably just need the red 5mm LED. Where Digikey has over 445,000…

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Testifying in Front of the US Judiciary

Late on a Friday afternoon, SparkFun got a call from Joe Keeley, Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. We get a lot of odd calls but this one was especially interesting. Joe was responsible for finding industry experts to help educate the House of…

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Special Sauce

My friend Mike recently asked me to list two key things that have helped SparkFun become successful. I gave him nine. Delicious, spicy success. 1. Get past the engineer’s curse. Many engineers ask for two weeks to add “just a few more finishing touches.” Two weeks later, that same…

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How to Build a Building

tl;dr: SparkFun is building an 80,000 sq ft building with construction starting in May of 2013. It’s going to be awesome. In January of 2012 SparkFun started to get worried. We had a few open offices and a fair bit of open space on the inventory, production and shipping floors but we were growing.…

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10 Year Anniversary

In 2002 I was programming PIC microcontrollers with a Warp-13A programmer: This was the setup on my desk. Guess what you get when you connect a programmer (Warp on the left) to a PIC16F84A plus EEPROM (I2C) and a UV40 GPS receiver. Yep, that’s a GPS logger circa 2002 technology. Shocking. As I…

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IP Obesity

Back in August of 2012 I was invited to give a talk at the local TEDx here in Boulder. Check the video or you can read the meat of my talk: Intellectual Property Obesity is what I have found to occur when a company relies too heavily on patents and enforcement rather than innovation. I believe…

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Open Source Hardware Question

First, just a quick note: "According to Pete" will run tomorrow - stay tuned! The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) is this little non-profit group that's trying to figure out how to define and monitor open source hardware. The board is made up of six people and we've run…

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How do I beer?

This is a post about corporate culture. Well ya, that and beer. SparkFun shipping floor circa 2005. Check out the Roomba - that was our "janitorial service" for about six months! Back in 2005, SparkFun moved into a commercial space from a basement. There were only about 11 of us working in…

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Pit of Despair

The number of businesses selling very cool electronic bits (and every handmade item for that matter) has exploded over the past few years. It's been really exciting to see all the new products hit the market, but what surprised me was the reoccurring challenges those companies face. We've…

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SparkFun Gets a Subpoena

In our 9 year history, we have been extremely lucky with our legal entanglements. We received a Cease and Desists in 2009 and in March, we received our first subpoena. I'm writing today to explain a little bit to folks on the American legal process as seen from a business. I hope this educates a…

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Maker Faire San Mateo 2012

We’re going to Maker Faire this year! Please join us and another 100,000 people at one of the greatest events for DIYers. This will be our 7th time going. I went the first year in 2006: That year, Dale Dougherty had heard about our GPS clock and was nice enough to ask me to hang it behind the…

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Fast and Malleable

SparkFun is not like BMW. We will never be the company to produce the luxury market version of breakout boards and development tools. I believe the only way SparkFun will survive this quickly changing world is to be malleable. We have to be ready to change. SparkFun's audience is often a first…

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OSHW DC Meetup and Survey

We're going to let this post ride for another day - the conversation going on below is great. Please continue to discuss this! And don't forget to take the survey! Catarina Mota, David Mellis, and John De Cristofaro have put together a survey for the open source hardware community.…

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Home Heating From Afar

Awhile ago I read about Nest, a newfangled thermostat with a color display and some interesting 'learning' techniques for keeping your home warmed or cooled, as sensible as possible. Did I mention the beast has IR proximity, PIR movement, humidity, magneto scroll, and a mini USB connector?…

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Free Day 2012

Free Day 2012 will be on Wednesday January 11th, starting at 9AM Mountain Time. We will be increasing the pool to $200,000 this year (2011 was pretty amazing!). We will have some sort of a system to verify you're not a robot and if you're the lucky person that minute, you'll win a $100…

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The State of SparkFun Advertising

A quick order of business - this Friday, November 4th, there will be no orders shipped. We are counting all our stuff (AKA, a full inventory physical count). Apologies for the inconvenience! 

Back in 2007, when I was hired at SparkFun to develop the brand, I started by talking to a lot…

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In Your Lifetime

Driving 20 hours to get to the salt flats of Nevada tends to start some interesting conversations. I started asking people: "What three things do you think will occur in your lifetime?" It can be something momentous like Whirled Peas, or it could be something small like the invention of…

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Rock Bottom Power

I feel like I'm always posting news on businessy topics. To balance this affliction against my inner geek, I sat down last night and wrote a tutorial on low power management on the ATmega328. Check out the Adventures in Low Power Land: I got an ATmega328 to run down to 1uA!! I think I can…

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SparkFun Culture

We're a champion of our own culture. It's a huge part of who we are, and although it's changed over the years, we're very protective of what we've got going on at SparkFun day to day. Whether it's a new tattoo, puppy, project, or job opening, there's a constant state of…

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The Return to Shenzhen - Part 3

After checking out a handful of factories on the geek tour in 2009, it was time for me to return to China to visit some of the factories that make goods for SparkFun. I've got far too many pictures and videos for one post so I'm going to break them up into three posts. This is the 3rd post -…

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Business Hat

I love to wear my engineering hat. But over the years I've had to learn (sometimes kicking and screaming) about business. Somewhere along the path I started to enjoy it so forgive me if I sometimes put on my business toupee (after all, I really shouldn't be running a business). SparkFun…

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The Return to Shenzhen - Part 2

After checking out a handful of factories on the geek tour in 2009, it was time for me to return to China to visit some of the factories that make goods for SparkFun. I've got far too many pictures and videos for one post so I'm going to break them up into three posts. This is the 2nd post -…

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The Return to Shenzhen - Part 1

After checking out a handful of factories on the geek tour in 2009, it was time for me to return to China to visit some of the factories that make goods for SparkFun. I've got far too many pictures and videos for one post so I'm going to break them up into three posts. Be sure to checkout…

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Made in Earth

We build a heck of a lot of stuff here in Boulder. In fact, next week we estimate we will produce our 1,000,000 widget! That's a lot of assembly, testing, and design work going on right here in Colorado. But I'm often surprised by just how big the supply chain is to be able to put together…

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What is it you say you do here?

When people ask me 'what we do at SparkFun', I have a something called an elevator speech. This is supposed to be a 30 second snippet of what you do, so if you have to explain it on an elevator, you can do so before the person gets to their floor. After 8 years of practice, I think I've…

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Free Day 2011 Recap

Free Day 2011 is done. Thanks to everyone who helped load our servers to a crawl. Free Day officially ended at Thursday January 13th at 11:07:03AM. $150,541 was given out and $22,988 was donated to charity. Here are some other fun stats from the day. We had: 11,495 correct answers to the quiz 1,099…

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Happy Free Day

Welcome to Free Day 2011.  We're seeing record traffic! If you'd like, join us in the in the SparkFun IRC channel. You can learn all about Free Day 2011, get a preview of this year's quiz, and see the original Free Day 2010. Have fun and let us know what you think. The Free Day pool…

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A Preview of the Quiz

With just an hour to go, I'd like to give you a bit of a preview of what Free Day 2011 will look like. As things unfold, feel free to join us in the SparkFun IRC channel. If you get a moment, please review the goals and rules of FreeDay from the previous post. Free Day is a little different this…

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Ponoko and SparkFun + 3D Printing

I had noodles with Derek and David of Ponoko during my New Zealand trip back in January of this year (here's video interview by Marcus Schappi from Little Bird from the trip). Derek and David were amazing people, wonderful hosts, and had some incredible ideas. Their primary idea was to create a…

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Yay! Let's Play Copycat

Let's start with a quote to set the mood: Originality is the art of concealing your sources. - Benjamin Franklin We noticed GE Tech pop up back in September. Their site is by far the best 'lifting' of the SparkFun style that we've seen. By 'best' we mean that they were the…

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Free Day is January 13th, 2011!

You knew it was coming.... We are going to have another Free Day on January 13th, 2011 starting at 9AM MST. Wait - you don't know what we're talking about? Oh, well take a bit of time and read up on the post and comments on the original announcement of Free Day 2010, the day of, and the…

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Communities that Create

Chris DiBona, the Open Source champion at Google, was gracious enough to invite me to speak at Google HQ in Palo Alto. I gave a small presentation at Google to about 40 hackers, software people, hardware people, and general folk. It went pretty well and Google was nice enough to post the video on…

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Open Source Hardware

Alicia Gibb and Ayah Bdeir put together and hosted the Open Hardware Summit a few days before Maker Faire New York. It was an amazing event! Almost all the usual suspects were there, too many to list here, but it was great to hear from everyone (over 300 people attended) on their thoughts on what…

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SparkFun Goes to Copenhagen

If you've been following our Flickr feed, you may have noticed some amazing photos that Juan has been posting over the last week. The SparkFun gang just returned from a 6 day stint in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a fantastic trip and wanted to share some of the stories and photos. Get ready, I…

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Calling All Bean Counters

I don't believe we've posted a job on the homepage since.... ever. So this is sort of a big deal for us. Remember, yesterday when we showed the organization chart and mentioned we were growing? Well, SparkFun Electronics has gotten big enough that we’re looking for someone with…

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High Altitude Balloon Project - Part 3

This is the final post about our high altitude balloon project. Or is it? Maybe someone will find our balloon (pretty please?). If you happen across a box of crazy looking electronics with things like 'Load Control' and 'Every Sensor We Know' written on the boards, please email us!…

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High Altitude Balloon Project - Part 2

Welcome to the 2nd episode of 'Find the Balloon'! I'll be your host, and as we've done in the past, we're stealing from David who actually found his balloon. If you're interested in high altitude balloons at all, you've got to watch this video. The burst happens around…

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Fake ICs Identified

ON Semiconductor emailed us and helped us identify our mystery ICs. It turns out the semiconductor IC inside our fake ATmega328s is the ON Semi NCP5318FTR2. The NCP5318 is a Two/Three/Four-Phase Buck CPU controller. Essentially it's a voltage regulator specifically designed to power…

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High Altitude Balloon Project

Quick reminder: PTH Soldering Class tomorrow (July 7th). Join us and learn the basics of soldering by putting together the through-hole version of Simon. A great class for beginners! Take a 7-foot diameter helium balloon, a box of electronics, and let them go. What do you get? Space! Well, almost.…

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Retail Packaging Has Arrived

First, just to get it out of the way - SparkFun will be closed on Monday, July 5th in observation of Independence Day (and no, we aren't closing because we'll all be watching the decidedly awesome while also terrible Will Smith movie by the same name...although...not a bad idea). People have…

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Dear ON Semiconductor

Dear ON Semiconductor, I'm afraid I have a reel of your ICs, but they have been mistakenly mislabeled. Could you please let us know what ICs these are? Here is the wafer identifier: Marked with a label 'AG20 01 - 7'. And if it helps, this is what the entire wafer looks like: These dies…

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Bildr in Private Beta

We're constantly banging our heads against the wall looking for a good solution to uniting the datasheet, example code, example projects, footprints, and gotchas with any given component or technology. I don't know if there is a total solution yet, but bildr is getting refreshingly close.…

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Franken-Chumby Parts

Reminder: Nate will be hanging around the SparkFun IRC channel on June 10th from 4 to 5PM MST if you want to badger him with questions. We've been working with Bunnie Huang of Chumby to get replacement parts listed - checkout the new Chumby category. Now you can build your own Fraken-Chumby!…

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iPad, Wired and SparkFun

I'm not entirely on the Apple band wagon, but if you get the chance to fiddle with an iPad you will realize just how slick of an interface they've created. On top of that, Wired has done an exceptional job of creating an environment that makes me want to read their magazine. I already enjoy…

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Digikey Sort By Price

I'm not the first person to request 'sort-by-price' on Digikey. I have no idea why Digikey would avoid a feature like this (perhaps special agreements with their suppliers?). So if you're like me and often need to find just the cheapest 2 by 1-to-4 mux, here's a quick tutorial to…

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Neat New Products

Emcee Grady does a great job of getting the new products on the homepage, so it's not all that often that I get to do one. But in this set of new stuff, I just couldn't keep my hands off. Too many cool things to talk about! In the race for the triple-axis gyro, InvenSense and ST are in the…

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Million Dollar Baby

Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone of Adafruit presented Million dollar baby at Foo Camp East this weekend. They introduced the idea/definition of Open Source Hardware that a group of us have been hammering on. They also pinged a handful of OSHW companies and sorted them into revenue categories.…

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Weather Station Wirelessly Connected to Wunderground

April 11th, 2014

Build your own open source, official Wunderground weather station that updates every 10 seconds over Wifi via an Electric Imp.

ML8511 UV Sensor Hookup Guide

March 13th, 2014

Get up and running quickly with this simple to use UV sensor.

HID Control of a Web Page

March 12th, 2014

Learn how to move a slider on a webpage and make a motor spin. We connect HTML and HID to read sensors and interface with the physical world.

Wireless Arduino Programming with Electric Imp

February 24th, 2014

Reprogram your Arduino from anywhere in the world using the Tomatoless Boots wireless bootloader with the Electric Imp.

Das Blinken Top Hat

January 22nd, 2014

A top hat decked out with LED strips makes for a heck of a wedding gift.

Reaction Timer

January 16th, 2014

Demonstrate mental chronometry with this simple reaction timer!

MPL3115A2 Pressure Sensor Hookup Guide

December 5th, 2013

Getting started with this amazing barometric pressure sensor.

Weather Shield Hookup Guide

December 5th, 2013

Read humidity, pressure and luminosity quickly and easily. Add wind speed, direction and rain gauge for full weather station capabilities.


November 25th, 2013

Learn all about microcontrollers and basic electronics with the H2OhNo! water alarm and development board.

HTU21D Humidity Sensor Hookup Guide

November 20th, 2013

The HTU21D humidity sensor is an easy to use, digital, low-cost humidity sensor.

Using OpenSegment

April 1st, 2013

How to hook up and use the OpenSegment display.

Electronics Assembly

March 1st, 2013

How SparkFun assembles SMD electronics.

Analog to Digital Conversion

February 7th, 2013

The world is analog. Use analog to digital conversion to help digital device interpret the world.

Battery Technologies

February 6th, 2013

The basics behind the batteries used in portable electronic devices: LiPo, NiMH, coin cells, and alkaline.

Installing an Arduino Library

January 11th, 2013

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy!

Using GitHub

December 30th, 2012

How to use repositories and GitHub for version control.

Designing PCBs: SMD Footprints

December 21st, 2012

How to design new SMD parts in Eagle PCB

Designing PCBs: Advanced SMD

December 10th, 2012

Advanced Eagle layout for PCBs with SMD devices.

How to Use a Multimeter

December 2nd, 2012

Learn the basics of using a multimeter to measure continuity, voltage, resistance and current.

Nest Thermostat Teardown

November 29th, 2011

See the inner-workings of the most advanced thermostat to hit the market, the Nest.
  • News - April Fool's Prank Contes… | about 3 weeks ago

    Pretty awesome videos! Thanks Eric, Rhett and Riley! Made my day.

  • Product DEV-09530 | about 3 weeks ago

    We would be happy to see alternatives and derivatives out there! An RTC has been requested a few times and it’s not something we plan to add to the core design any time soon. In the interim, I recommend using a GPS module to get the current UTC time. That’s what I used in the Illumitune project. A GPS is way overkill but it has the benefit of always knowing very accurate time.

  • Tutorial - Weather Shield Hookup Guide | about 3 weeks ago

    Funny you should ask! I have recently been working on a tutorial for a weather station on top my house. Here’s a photo of the station. The tutorial should be live in a few days. You can see I am using a solar shield. These allow the free movement of air across the shield, protect it against the elements and even allow light to enter into the enclosure (for daylight tracking). We recommend the one from Ambient Weather. If you buy from them, please say hi for us.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Excellent! We’re currently running down some ideas. The currently barrier seems to be that CBP won’t allow us to split up the shipment.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Yep. We were first notified on the 7th by our import agent that the shipment was being held by the Department of Homeland Security. My guess is on the 7th they started looking a few days later (on the 11th) we received the letter dated the 10th. Good catch with the 250 pcs. The DMMs come in boxes of 8 :)

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Hah! That’s a really good idea. I’d love to donate them instead of destruction. We’ll try but the nature of the trade laws is these are seen as counterfeit so donating them inside the US is probably out of the question. International school for the colorblind? There must be a Far Side comic in there somewhere.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Yea. I’d love to donate them instead of destruction. We’ll try but the nature of the trade laws is these are seen as counterfeit so donating them inside the US is probably out of the question.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Yea. It’s a shame all that stuff has to get crunched.

    SparkFun does have a trademark on our logo but we’re pretty anti-IP (big proponent of OSHWA). Filing for a trademark/color scheme might work but I don’t have the time, money, or stomach to chase counterfeit SparkFun items. I did a TEDx talk on this topic actually.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    Please play nice. Fluke is cool. Their meters are solid. Trademark law, the lack of ability to appeal to a US Customs decision, and the penalties are my main issues.

  • News - Fluke, we love you but yo… | last month

    I agree that if Fluke was the first to market with yellow+DMM association then yep, Fluke has a right to stake a flag. But it seems a bit murky.

    I think you’ve nailed something on the head. Ignorance of the law is not acceptable. But putting the burden of trademark search with limited USPTO search tools puts us (and you the consumer) in a rough spot. What should SparkFun have searched for in 2005 to prevent this? Not sure, but a warning system would have really helped us and Fluke.

Name Pieces Total
Imp Based Weather Station
All the parts you need to build your own weather station…
11 255.65
HID Control of a Webpage Parts
These are parts you may want for the [HID Tutorial](http…
9 43.65
Imp Arduino Bootloading Wishlist
Parts to wirelessly reprogram an Arduino over the intern…
4 76.35
Reaction Timer
5 65.75