Author Archives: Bobby Chan

To Infinity and Beyond…the SIK Programmed with Arduino (Part 3)

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Today we're continuing our feature on all the tutorials and documentation you can use to take the SparkFun SIK and Arduino Uno SIK beyond the guidebook. Here are some additional resources and videos to help you along in learning more about the world of electronics with Arduino.

Installing an Arduino Library

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino library using the Arduino Library Manager. For libraries not linked with the Arduino IDE, we will also go over manually installing an Arduino library.

How to Power a Project

A tutorial to help figure out the power requirements of your project.

Arduino Shields

All things Arduino Shields. What they are and how to assemble them.

Choosing an Arduino for Your Project

Examining the diverse world of Arduino boards and understanding the differences between them before choosing one for a project.

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To Infinity and Beyond…the SIK Programmed with Arduino (Part 2)

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The SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.1 opens a world of possibilities with five different projects. Are you hungry for more? Maybe you want to explore the world of I2C? Have no fear! These tutorials will get you started playing with SparkFun's Qwiic ecosystem. We specifically included the RedBoard Qwiic with the new SIK to make expanding into this ecosystem easier. The best part is that Qwiic offerings are expanding every week, both inside the four walls of SparkFun, and from outside, thanks to other open source hardware contributions!

Adding Qwiic Functionality

With the RedBoard Qwiic included in v4.1, you can also connect to several I2C sensors and boards with our Qwiic system!

Qwiic Accelerometer (MMA8452Q) Hookup Guide

Freescale’s MMA8452Q is a smart, low-power, three-axis, capacitive micro-machined accelerometer with 12-bits of resolution. It’s perfect for any project that needs to sense orientation or motion. We’ve taken that accelerometer and stuck it on a Qwiic-Enabled breakout board to make interfacing with the tiny, QFN package a bit easier.

Qwiic Proximity Sensor (VCNL4040) Hookup Guide

The SparkFun Qwiic Proximity Sensor is a great, qualitative proximity (up to 20 cm) and light sensor. This hookup guide covers a few examples to retrieve basic sensor readings.

SparkFun GPS Breakout (ZOE-M8Q and SAM-M8Q) Hookup Guide

The SparkFun ZOE-M8Q and SAM-M8Q are two similarly powerful GPS units but with different project applications. We'll compare both chips before getting each up and running.

Qwiic Scale Hookup Guide

Create your own digital scale quickly and easily using the Qwiic Scale!

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To Infinity and Beyond…the SIK programmed with Arduino

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

The SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.1 opens a world of possibilities with five different projects in the guide. Are you hungry for more? Have no fear - there are tons of sensors and shields you can hook up with your SparkFun RedBoard programmed with Arduino that will help take your projects to the next level. For more inspiration and ideas, check out these tutorials.

SIK Keyboard Instrument

We can use the parts and concepts in the SparkFun Invetor's Kit to make a primitive keyboard instrument.

Sensor Kit Resource Hub

An overview of each component in the SparkFun Sensor Kit, plus links to tutorials and other resources you'll need to hook them up.

Measuring Internal Resistance of Batteries

Classroom STEM activity that has students build a battery from a lemon, measure the open and closed circuit voltages, and determine the battery's internal resistance.

Light-Seeking Robot

We use parts from the SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.0 to create a light-seeking robot that mimics the behavior of single-celled organisms.

Clap On Lamp

Modify a simple desk lamp to respond to a double clap (or other sharp noise) using parts from the SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.0.

Endless Runner Game

We make a simple side-scrolling endless runner game using parts from the SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.0.

Or check out these blog posts for ideas.

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Getting Started with the Teensy

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The Teensy line is a collection of microcontrollers from PJRC, based around several different powerful ICs. If you have not already, make sure to check out our tutorial on Getting Started with the Teensy for tips on soldering headers and programming the development board for your projects!

Getting Started with the Teensy

June 18, 2015

Basic intro to the Teensy line of products, with soldering and programming suggestions.

Need some inspiration for your next project? Here are a few tutorials using the Teensy.

HID Control of a Web Page

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.

Vox Imperium: Stormtrooper Voice Changer

Add some flair to your Imperial uniform by changing your voice using a Teensy 3.2 and Prop Shield.

How to Load MicroPython on a Microcontroller Board

This tutorial will show you how to load the MicroPython interpreter onto a variety of development boards.

Getting Started with the SmartLED Shield for Teensy

In this tutorial, we will connect different RGB LED matrix panels to PixelMatix's SmartLED shield and Teensy.

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What Drives your SparkFun Inventor’s Kit?

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What is a Driver?

For those that are new to a driver, it's a piece of software used to help operating systems interface with hardware devices. Development boards such as the SparkFun RedBoard Qwiic and the Arduino Uno R3 require device drivers, or code that tells the computer how to interact with them. Device drivers can vary depending on the USB-to-serial converter populated on the development board. Some of these converters include:

Microcontrollers can be used as USB-to-serial converters. The following were populated on the Arduino R1, R2 and R3.

  • ATmega16U2
  • ATmega8U2

Different microcontrollers can have built-in USB communication, eliminating the need to have a separate piece of hardware. Some of these include:

  • ATmega32u4
  • SAMD21
  • SAMD51
  • Particle P1/P0

If you are familiar with past iterations of the SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino, the Arduino Duemilanove and RedBoard use the FTDI, while the Arduino Uno R3 uses the ATmega8U2/16U2. In the SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.1, the RedBoard Qwiic uses the CH340. These dedicated USB-to-serial chips make it easier to upload code to an Arduino or pass serial data to/from your computer.

FTDI on the RedBoard Atmega16U2 on the Arduino Uno R3
FTDI on the RedBoard Atmega16U2 on the Arduino Uno R3

CH340 on the RedBoard Qwiic

CH340 on the RedBoard Qwiic

With the latest installment, you will need to install drivers for the CH340 for your computer to ensure that they work properly when using the RedBoard Qwiic for the SparkFun Inventor's Kit v4.1.

If a written tutorial isn't your preferred information intake method, we also have a new video showing you how to install the drivers!

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Logic Level Basics

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Not all boards use the same voltage for logic levels. Before connecting your microcontroller or single board computer to a device, make sure that you understand logic levels with our tutorial!

Logic Levels

June 3, 2013

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

Don't forget to check out a few of the examples below using a logic level converter to protect your I/O pins and ensure safe communication between different devices.

Bi-Directional Logic Level Converter Hookup Guide

An overview of the Bi-Directional Logic Level Converter, and some example circuits to show how it works.

Single Supply Logic Level Converter Hookup Guide

The Single Supply Logic Converter allows you to bi-directionally translate signals from a 5V or 3.3V microcontroller without the need for a second power supply! The board provides an output for both 5V and 3.3V to power your sensors. It is equipped with a PTH resistor footprint for the option to adjust the voltage regulator on the low side of the TXB0104 for 2.5V or 1.8V devices.

PCA9306 Logic Level Translator Hookup Guide (v2)

A quick primer to get you going with the PCA9306 Logic Level Converter - a dedicated I2C translator.

You can also add a transistor or relay to control devices operating at higher voltages like the tutorials listed below!

LED Light Bar Hookup

A quick overview of SparkFun's LED light bars, and some examples to show how to hook them up.


A crash course in bi-polar junction transistors. Learn how transistors work and in which circuits we use them.

Beefcake Relay Control Hookup Guide

This is a guide for assembling and basic use of the Beefcake Relay Control board

Internet of Things Experiment Guide

The SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Dev Board is a powerful development platform that lets you connect your hardware projects to the Internet. In this guide, we show you how to combine some simple components to remotely log temperature data, send yourself texts and control lights from afar.

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