Alex the Giant

Member Since: March 1, 2016

Country: United States



Electrical Engineer

Programming Languages

  • Python

  • C/C++

  • HTML

  • Javascript

  • CSS


University At Buffalo 2008-2013


  • Fixing things until they're broken

  • High voltage

  • Tinkering



Check out our latest tutorial on levitating magnets and creating a wireless light!

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In this week's Enginursday, we'll explore how to use both cores of the ESP32, and why you might want to.

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Let's talk about a PCB design error and troubleshooting the root cause.

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This week I'm getting back to my OLED clock, and discussing the changes I've made.

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Using a ESP32 Thing and a WiFi camera to create a robot that you control from your browser.

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Sometimes troubleshooting requires you to think both literally and figuratively "outside the box."

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This week Alex designs an OLED clock using the ESP32 Thing.

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In this week's Enginursday, Alex meets with a local Speech-Language Pathologist to talk about how makers can help make devices for people with special needs

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In this Enginursday, we'll explore some of the problems that can creep up when connecting I2C devices

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Setting up a sensor to text you if your basement is in danger of flooding

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Create your very own levitating light with just a handful of parts.

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A new twist to the classic party game, Beer Pong!

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Magnetic Levitation

November 20, 2019

This tutorial will show you how to build a magnetic levitation circuit using common parts.

XBee3 Thing Plus Hookup Guide

August 22, 2019

Get started with SparkFun's XBee3 Thing Plus - both the u.FL as well as the PCB antenna versions.

LiPo Charger Plus Hookup Guide

May 30, 2019

This tutorial shows you how to hook up and use the SparkFun LiPo Charger Plus board.

Buck-Boost Hookup Guide

May 10, 2019

This tutorial shows you how to hook up and use the SparkFun Buck-Boost board.

Using Home Assistant to Expand Your Home Automations

May 9, 2019

An introduction to Home Assistant, an open source home automation hub.

ESP32 Thing Plus Hookup Guide

March 7, 2019

Hookup guide for the ESP32 Thing Plus using the ESP32 WROOM's WiFi/Bluetooth system-on-chip in Arduino.

AST-CAN485 I/O Shield (24V) Hookup Guide

February 14, 2019

The AST-CAN485 I/O Shield is an Arduino shield that will allow the user to interface the AST-CAN485 Dev Board with 24V inputs and outputs, which expands its usefulness into industrial systems.

RedBoard Turbo Hookup Guide

January 24, 2019

An introduction to the RedBoard Turbo. Level up your Arduino-skills with the powerful SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ processor!

Introduction to MQTT

November 7, 2018

An introduction to MQTT, one of the main communication protocols used with the Internet of Things (IoT).

I2S Audio Breakout Hookup Guide

September 6, 2018

Hookup guide for the MAX98357A I2S audio breakout board.

Qwiic Differential I2C Bus Extender (PCA9615) Hookup Guide

May 31, 2018

Learn how to extend the range of your I2C communication bus with the Qwiic differential I2C bus extender (PCA9615 ) breakout board.

WiFi Controlled Robot

May 2, 2018

This tutorial will show you how to make a robot that streams a webcam to a custom website that can be remotely controlled.

Noisy Cricket Stereo Amplifier - 1.5W Hookup Guide

April 26, 2018

A hookup guide for the Noisy Cricket Stereo Amplifier - 1.5W.

Adjustable LiPo Charger Hookup Guide

September 28, 2017

The SparkFun Adjustable LiPo Charger is a single-cell lithium polymer (LiPo) and lithium ion battery charger. Because it’s adjustable, this charger will be able to safely charge all of our singe-cell batteries.

ESP32 Thing Power Control Shield Hookup Guide

June 9, 2017

This tutorial shows you how to get started with the ESP32 Thing Power Control Shield.

Roshamglo Hookup Guide

March 13, 2017

This tutorial provides everything you need to know to get started with the Roshamglo badge.

TMP102 Digital Temperature Sensor Hookup Guide

February 2, 2017

How to connect and use the SparkFun Digital Temperature Sensor Breakout - TMP102 with an Arduino.

Wireless Joystick Hookup Guide

January 5, 2017

A hookup guide for the SparkFun Wireless Joystick Kit.

Mini GPS Shield Hookup Guide

December 15, 2016

A hookup guide for the SparkFun Mini GPS Shield.

Reducing Arduino Power Consumption

November 10, 2016

A tutorial about different ways to reduce the current draw for your next Arduino project the easy way.

9DoF Sensor Stick Hookup Guide

August 25, 2016

How to connect and use the SparkFun 9 Degrees of Freedom Sensor Stick with an Arduino

Load Cell Amplifier HX711 Breakout Hookup Guide

July 22, 2016

A hookup guide for the HX711 load cell amplifier breakout board
  • I think what you would want would be closer to this

  • Ah ok, the inductor is the issue. When you pass current through a wire, it generates a magnetic field, the more current you can pass through the wire, the stronger the magnetic field will be. That inductor you linked has a current rating of 0.3A, and the inductor I linked has a continuous current rating of 3.6A. Here's a link to the inductor I used

  • Do you have a link to the inductor you're using?

  • Check out the building tutorial here, which has a link for the inductor to levitate the magnets and the measurements for the wireless power coils. You might be able to use a short strip of LEDs, but they have to be the non-addressable ones. It would probably take a bit of testing to figure out the right current limiting resistor value on each LED in the strip, but it's theoretically possible.

  • What kind of magnet are you using and what size is it? The inductor will get warm/hot when a lot of current is running through it. The only time I noticed my inductor getting pretty warm was when I was levitating something with a bit of mass on it, like the LED and receiving coil.

    I would suggest double checking the wiring on the comparator circuit, or even just try swapping the connections to the inputs. If the hall effect sensor output and the trim pot are wired backwards, the comparator might be sending current opposite of what you want.

    It's also possible that the inductor is wired backwards and repelling instead of attracting the magnet. The last thing I would suggest trying is I noticed that with some of my stronger magnets, the magnetic field might be too strong. You could also try replacing the SS494 (+/- 42mT) with the SS496 (+/- 84mT)

  • Yes, the mosfets do need to be different. The reason is with the levitation circuit, you only want to energize the inductor when the magnet is too far away from the hall effect sensor. With the wireless power circuit, you want to be constantly switching current to induce a current on the receiving coil.

  • You could potentially write a sketch that might work with a stepper motor, but the Qwiic Motor Driver is intended for DC motors.

  • The LED is rated at 3W and the received power is about 136mW, so there's no need for a current limiting resistor. Best tip to reduce electricity bills I have is to use less electricity, and thus your bill will be lower :P

  • Hey if you're still having trouble getting this working, I wanted to let you know that I finally had time to write a tutorial that walks through how to build it in more detail.


  • I don't see why not, but from a practical side, if the light falls it's probably going to break the LED. The levitation driver could be modified to cut the current of the inductor until the magnets are in range again, but currently if the magnets fall, the current stays on to the inductor to try and pull the magnets up which draws a bunch of power and even with the small-ish inductor, it gets pretty hot with full current.

No public wish lists :(