Monthly Archives: July 2016

Friday Product Post: Nine Two Five Zero

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Hello, and welcome to another Friday Product Post! We have a very short list this week thanks to the midsummer slowdown, as well as half of us out on vacations or work retreats. Never fear, though; we are currently working on quite a few new projects to help you get ready for the new school year! Without further ado, let’s jump in and find out what we have for you this week.

It has been awhile since we have come out with a new 9 Degrees of Freedom (9DoF) board, but we really think this one is special!

SparkFun IMU Breakout - MPU-9250

SEN-13762
$ 14.95

This new MPU-9250 Breakout features lower power consumption, smaller size and better value than its predecessor. This breakout has been designed to be smaller than some of our other offerings to fit in smaller projects. However, if you plan to use a breadboard, or to secure the IMU board to a project with something like epoxy, the mounting holes can be easily snapped off.

The MPU-9250 replaces the popular EOL MPU-9150 and decreases power consumption by 44 percent. According to InvenSense, “Gyro noise performance is 3x better, and compass full-scale range is over 4x better than competitive offerings.” The MPU-9250 uses 16-bit Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) for digitizing all nine axes, making it a very stable 9DOF board.

Make Sure to Check Out the MPU-9250 Breakout Guide!

Alright, folks, that’s it for this week – just a tiny IMU breakout with a lot of power! Be sure to come back next Friday to see what we have been diligently working on bringing you. See you then!

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Uploading the New and Improved ClockTHREE Jr. Code

via WyoLum Blog

Hello! My last blog was about updating the ClockTHREE Jr. software, however, today I will be writing about the process of uploading the code all the way from the Arduino IDE to the master GitHub repository. Once I got the hang of it, the process was as easy as printing “Hello World” with Python.

  1. First, I downloaded Git on my Ubuntu Linux computer using the command “sudo apt get update” and then “sudo apt-get install git.” However, you can also just install it from the URL listed here: https://git-scm.com/downloads
  2. The, I logged into my own GitHub account and opened up the Wyloum repository. From there, I clicked the ClockTHREE Jr. tab.
  3. Once there, I forked the repository by pressing the (Well what do you know?) “Fork” button in the top right corner. This created a branch of the master Wyolum ClockTHREEJr repository in my own account. I did this so I can freely modify the code without affecting the master repository.

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 15-59-47

4. After clicking the Fork button, I went back to my personal account and I had the forked repository as rohanius/ClockTHREEjr. Next I cloned this repository to my hard drive. I did this by copying the git link by pressing the green button labeled “Clone or Download” (Make sure that when you push the button, the words “Clone with HTTPS” appear, not “Clone with SSH”).

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 16-37-52

5. I then opened a terminal and made sure that it was currently pointing to my “projects” folder (make sure next to the original line it says /projects). After that, type in “git clone https://github.com/rohanius/ClockTHREEjr.git”. This cloned the repository to my hard drive and created a folder in my “projects” folder and named it the same name as the repository – ClockTHREEjr

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 16-08-31

6. I was then able to edit the code as I pleased in my local repository.

7. After accordingly editing the code (which I explained in my previous blog), After compiling and testing that my code changes worked, I opened the terminal once again and changed the current directory to be /home/rohan/projects/ClockTHREEjr

8. In that directory, I typed “git commit -a -m “Updated code for Arduino 1.6.9”. This command committed all my local changes to the local git repository that I had cloned.

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 16-17-42

“-a” means “all the files in that directory that have been modified” and “-m” just allowed me to type a small message once I committed the code.

9. After committing the code, I simply pushed it to my GitHub repository using the command “git push”

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 16-19-54

10. Finally, I went back to my GitHub repository (rohanius/ClockTHREEJr.) and clicked the pull request tab. From there, I made a new pull request for the original owner of the ClockTHREE Jr. repository. Mr. Shaw was then able to pull all my changed and merge them to the master ClockTHREE Jr. repository.

Screenshot from 2016-07-24 16-23-37

Asking for a Clear Test for Copyright and OSHW

via Open Source Hardware Association

One of the things that makes open source hardware licenses hard is that – unlike software – it isn’t always easy to determine what parts of a product (if any) are covered by copyright. Since traditional open source licenses rely on copyright to make them enforceable, understanding how copyright applies to a piece of open source hardware is the first step in deciding how you might want to license it.

Finding copyright can be complicated because it protects creative and decorative works (including code), but not functional items.  Pieces of open source hardware often combine both creative and functional elements.  This makes it critical to understand how to break out the copyright-protectable parts from the non-copyright-protectable ones.

Unfortunately, today in the United States there are at least ten different and somewhat contradictory tests to guide that process.  That makes it hard for copyright experts to draw the line between copyrightable and non-copyrightable, and essentially impossible for everyone else.

That’s why OSHWA joined the International Costumbers Guild, Shapeways, Formlabs, Printrbot, the Organization for Transformative Works, the American Library Association, The Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries on a brief written by Public Knowledge in the Supreme Court case Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands.  While the case is nominally about cheerleader uniforms (really), it boils down to a simple question: which test should be used to separate out the copyrightable and non-copyrightable elements of an object that includes both?

The brief does not advocate for a specific test. Instead, it simply urges the Supreme Court to pick a simple, easy to understand test. That clarity alone would be a huge benefit to the entire open source hardware community.

Although we are filing the brief now, the Court’s decision probably won’t be until next year.  Once it comes out, we’ll do our best to explain what it means for the entire open source hardware community.

Pololu relay module used in custom ESP8266-based plant watering system

via Pololu Blog

Forum user LuisLabMO posted about his WiFi-controlled plant watering and monitoring system. The system uses SparkFun’s Blynk ESP8266 board to read various sensors that monitor sunlight, moisture content of the soil, and detect the level of water remaining in the watering reservoir. The Blynk signals our 5V relay module to activate the system’s water pump, which irrigates the plants through a drip system. You can read more about LuisLabMO’s watering system in his post, which also has a link to his Hackster.io project page and GitHub repository.

OSHW Certification mark usage GitHub repository

via Open Source Hardware Association

Hello all — as promised, as part of OSHWA’s work on the upcoming Open Source Hardware Certification program, we’ve created a GitHub repository to host design templates including the mark for different design programs, so that you can more easily put the mark onto circuit boards, packaging, and documentation. The repository also includes a README with guidelines and style suggestions for using the mark in various contexts, sizes, colors, and print technologies (as shown above).

This is a draft, and we intend to continue refining it as a set of recommendations on how to use the mark, and as a style guide if you’re looking for ideas on where and how to incorporate the mark into your designs and documentation.

We’re starting with just PDF and SVG formats, but we are accepting both requests for new template formats and pull requests including new design template files for different design programs.

New version of our USB Micro-B breakout

via Pololu Blog

We’ve updated our USB Micro-B Connector Breakout Board with some minor improvements that should make it a little nicer to work with.

On the original version, the mounting cutouts didn’t work as well as we wanted: they were shallow, and the board was often prone to slipping out of place between two screws. The new version is wider and its cutouts are deeper to allow for more secure mounting, and it is slightly shorter in the other direction (0.4″ × 0.6″ with the connector).

For more information, see the board’s product page.