Monthly Archives: July 2019

RPi’s Greatest Hits: Using RealVNC

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Recently, there have been a lot of things Raspberry Pi related at SparkFun. While we are all eagerly anticipating the incoming stock of the new Pi 4 (the Pi of your dreams), we like to make sure everyone on our team who needs access to a Pi for testing and regular use has access to it.

For me, using the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) functionality built into the recent Pis provides that solution. The best bike in the world is the one you are riding, the best camera in the world is the one you have with you, and the best RPi in the world is the one I can access when I need it. VNC allows us to work and share no matter where you are in the building, and minimizes the number of changes I need to make to my normal screen and keyboard layout routine.

This tutorial originally written by Shawn Hymel (shout-out!!) covers everything you need to access your Pi over a local network or remotely over the internet. The remote functionality is very helpful when you need to access your desktop Pi at home or your personal Pi while at work. If you don't have a newer version of the Raspberry Pi, this tutorial will still get you up and running with a download of the "real-vnc" program in the section on "Enabling VNC."

We also love how this lets new users of Raspberry Pi learn to be more comfortable using the terminal window and other features, since you can copy/paste direct from a SparkFun tutorial or SparkFun forum post on your computer into the RPi environment!

How to Use Remote Desktop on the Raspberry Pi with VNC

July 9, 2018

Use RealVNC to connect to your Raspberry Pi to control the graphical desktop remotely across the network.

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A New Artemis Guide is Here

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

We affectionately refer to the BlackBoard Artemis ATP as the "All The Pins!" board, since it breaks out every single one of the SparkFun Artemis Module's 48 GPIO pins into a familiar, Mega-like form factor. On top of the BlackBoard's improved power conditioning and USB-to-serial, we've added a slew of features to help you take full advantage of the Artemis module's unique features.

Now there is a new guide for the SparkFun Artemis ATP board! Read about it here!


Hookup Guide for the BlackBoard Artemis ATP

July 15, 2019

Get started with the BlackBoard Artemis ATP - all the functionality of the SparkFun Artemis module wrapped in the Mega Arduino Footprint

You can check out all these features in our newsletter. Feel free to poke at the code as well! We've included examples for all the features of the Artemis in our Arduino Core.

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Friday Product Post: Enjoy the Ambience

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello and welcome! We only have a couple products to show off today, because we're getting Artemis ready for a full production run (let's be honest, everything looks better in red), and we have a mid-week release next Wednesday! This week, we have a new Qwiic-enabled Ambient Light Sensor along with an updated LilyPad LED board.

Before we get into new products, we wanted to give you an early heads-up that we are having a sale tomorrow (Saturday, July 20th) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk. From 12:00 a.m. MT through 11:59 p.m. MT, use the promo code APOLLO11 to receive $50 off our SparkFun Inventor's Kit for RedBot and the Arduino Engineering Kit. Please be aware that this sale is for in-stock items only, some exclusions do apply, and it's only while supplies last.

Do you see what I see?

SparkFun Ambient Light Sensor - VEML6030 (Qwiic)

SparkFun Ambient Light Sensor - VEML6030 (Qwiic)


Looking for an option to sense ambient light? The SparkFun VEML6030 Ambient Light Sensor is a great starter option. The VEML6030 is a high accuracy ambient light sensor with 16-bit resolution. Even more impressive is that it can detect light similarly to the way the human eye does. Utilizing our handy Qwiic system, no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still have broken out 0.1"-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.




Blink any color you need! Use the LilyPad RGB LED board as a simple indicator or, by pulsing the red, green and blue channels, you can produce a broad variety of colors. Each of the colors in the RGB LED is connected to one of the sew tabs on the board labeled R, G and B.

That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made!

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Enginursday: Building a Wireless EL Wire Dance Suit, Part 2

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

We're back! There were a lot of steps to consider when completing the project, most of which had to be repeated for each of the seven dancers.

EL Hoodie and Pants Worn on Dancers

The most time consuming part of making seven wireless EL wire dance suits was actually sewing the 42 meters (~1,653.5 inches) by hand. I'm not an expert at sewing, so adding EL wire along a hoodie's arms made out of stretchy material was not the easiest. I had to put together a jig made out of cardboard to help sew into the arms.

Sewing EL to a Hoodie made out of Stretchy Material

Hoodie Arm Clipped to Cardboard Jig to Sew EL Wire Down

Adding EL wire along the side of polyester pants was easier, since the material did not move around.

EL Wire Sewn on Pants

The kids aren't all the same size, so I decided to make a few custom EL wire extension cables rather then tailoring the suits for each dancer. This also made it easier to quickly disconnect the hoodie or pants from the inverter.

EL Wire Extension Cable

I decided to use a 12V inverter to power the EL wires. To make it run off a single power supply with the EL Sequencer and XBee, the wires for the inverter's input had to be switched out. Instead of a barrel jack, a 2-pin JST connector was used.

Reworking 12V Inverter

How Do You Build Such a Thing?

In addition to making a wireless glove controller, here are a few more tutorials needed to complete this project.

EL Wire Hoodie

In this tutorial, we will sew standard electroluminescent (EL) wire to a hoodie.

EL Wire Pants

In this tutorial, we will sew standard electroluminescent (EL) wire to a pair of pants.

How to Make a Custom EL Wire Extension Cable

In this tutorial, we will make a custom EL Wire extension cable as an alternative to splicing wire.

Modifying Your EL Wire Inverter

In this tutorial, we will modify the 12V EL wire inverter to power the EL Sequencer/EL Escudo Dos off a single power supply.

Tune in some time in the future when I broadcast a signal from the wireless glove controller to remotely trigger each EL Sequencer. ;D

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The Latest from Artemis

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Last week we gave you an update on everything that we have added to the SparkFun Artemis Module since its release. We want to keep you updated on all the Artemis news, even if they aren't as exciting as a BLE Mesh update (we're working on it), so let's quickly go over the two new updates for Artemis!

  • ShiftIn, ShiftOut, PulseIn - Admittedly, not the most exciting new update, but one that is often overlooked. We're making it as easy as possible to switch architectures! When you don't need to change your code, you'll know it's working.

  • Tone - Beep boop beep! Buzzers and other tone creators now function with the Artemis running the show!

The Artemis family!

You can check out all these features in our newsletter. Feel free to poke at the code as well! We've included examples for all the features of the Artemis in our Arduino Core.

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ARM Programming and You

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

SparkFun has been a fan of Arduino for a long time. We've programmed ATMega328s (and 168s, and 8s before that), written tutorials and hacked all sorts of fun projects.Now the market is maturing, and we are looking at a lot more ARM chips. One advantage of the newer chips is that they generally do not need a USB-to-serial adapter; instead they have USB built in (at least the ones we are using do). You still need to add a bootloader to use them with Arduino, and since ARM programmers are also a little more complicated than AVR programmers, you'll want to invest in a stand-alone programmer instead of trying to use the Uno you have laying around.

We wrote a handy guide to help you get started with ARM programming, including a list of recommended programmers and pins, best practices, hardware hookup walk-throughs and software troubleshooting.

ARM Programming

May 23, 2019

How to program SAMD21 or SAMD51 boards (or other ARM processors).

We are continuing to look into more and more product options for ARM and AVR programming, so make sure to check back with us or sign up for our newsletter!

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