Author Archives: Chris McCarty

Friday Product Post: Is it Secret? Is it Safe?

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! We have a few new products to show off this week, starting with a Qwiic-enabled, ATECC508A Cryptographic Co-Processor Breakout to add strong authentication security to your next project! Following that we have the new gator:circuit kit for micro:bit, and the brand new LIDAR-Lite v4. We are so excited for the new LIDAR-Lite that we're going to do a deep dive into it next Tuesday, so make sure to check back then! Now let's jump in a take a closer look!

The Authentic Deal!

SparkFun Cryptographic Co-Processor Breakout - ATECC508A (Qwiic)

SparkFun Cryptographic Co-Processor Breakout - ATECC508A (Qwiic)

DEV-15573
$4.95

The SparkFun ATECC508A Cryptographic Co-processor Breakout allows you to easily add strong authentication security to your IoT node, edge device or embedded system. It includes two Qwiic ports for plug-and-play functionality. 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.


Complete the circuit!

SparkFun gator:circuit Kit for micro:bit

SparkFun gator:circuit Kit for micro:bit

KIT-15595
$39.95

As part of SparkFun's gator:bit series of alligator-clippable accessories, the SparkFun gator:circuit Kit includes all of the current ProtoSnap gator:boards, and offers a handful of ways to interact with projects you create using only gator-clip cables. Each little board on this ProtoSnap can be kept as a whole while on the board, or broken apart for individual use! It includes three ProtoSnap micro:bit accessory boards along with the gator:bit. The gator:bit is an all-in-one “carrier” board for your micro:bit that provides you with a fully functional development and prototyping platform. This kit is recommended for all users, from beginners to engineers, and does not require any soldering!


Garmin LIDAR-Lite v4 LED - Distance Measurement Sensor

Garmin LIDAR-Lite v4 LED - Distance Measurement Sensor

SEN-15776
$59.99

The LIDAR-Lite v4 LED sensor is the next step in the LIDAR-Lite line – a small, lightweight, low-power optical ranging sensor. It's the first to incorporate ANT profile wireless networking technology into an optical sensor. Its built-in nRF52840 processor means developers can create custom applications, or be operated as a stand-alone device right out of the box by using the preloaded stock application.

SparkX came up with a version of the LIDAR-Lite v4 with an attached Qwiic connector and 0.1" spaced, single-row headers to make it the easiest LIDAR-Lite to access.


LoRa Fiberglass Antenna Type N - 5.8dBi (860-930MHz)

LoRa Fiberglass Antenna Type N - 5.8dBi (860-930MHz)

WRL-15597
$49.95

If you need maximum distance for your LoRa project, you need this incredibly durable outdoor antenna with 5.8dBi gain. This 860-930MHz antenna is 90cm / 35.5" long and includes hardware for pole mounting. Made of fiberglass and aluminum, this antenna is ideal for heavy-duty and high-power LoRa base stations, but can be used with LoRa nodes as well.


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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Friday Product Post: We’ve Got Powerful Connections

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! We have a few new products this week, starting with an ATX Power Connector soldering kit to safely add power to your project from those laptop brick power supplies! We also have all of the associated parts included in the kit. Let's jump in a take a closer look!

High, power! How are you?

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

KIT-15701
$14.95

Do you need to power a project with 12V and 5V from one power supply? The ATX Power Connector Kit breaks out the standard 4-pin computer peripheral port for your 12V and 5V devices! Once you have chosen a power supply (whether it be an ATX power supply or the included 12V/5V wall adapter), you're ready to give your project some life! This kit has everything you need to solder together an ATX breakout and screw terminals for powering your project directly, or for pumping power into a breadboard.


SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Board

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Board

BOB-15035
$1.95

If you are looking to just pick up the PCB of the ATX Power Connector Breakout, we also have that available! This is a great option for those with specific connectors and power supplies in mind.


Power Supply - 12V/5V (2A)

Power Supply - 12V/5V (2A)

TOL-15664
$10.95

Does your project need a little more umph than our wall wart adapters can supply? Why not give this a shot? This 2A "laptop brick" supply outputs both 5V and 12VDC, and is terminated with a 4-pin ATX connector. And yes, this is the same power supply in the kit above!


ATX Right Angle Connector - PTH 4-pin

ATX Right Angle Connector - PTH 4-pin

PRT-15700
$0.50

Last this week is a 4-pin, ATX, right angle connector that mates up to the standard 4-pin computer peripheral port often found on ATX power supplies. It's a pretty simplistic connector that mates perfectly with the power supply above.


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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Autonomous Riding Lawnmower – Am I Crazy?

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Jesse Brockmann is a senior software engineer with over 20 years of experience. Jesse works for a large corporation designing real-time simulation software, started programming on an Apple IIe at the age of six and has won several AVC event over the years. Jesse is also a SparkFun Ambassador. Make sure your read down today's post to find out where he'll be next!


I recently met a gentleman at a STEM event who wanted to make his John Deere riding mower remote-controlled. He is just interested in driving around, not actually mowing. I've been thinking about making an autonomous lawnmower for years and thought this was a great opportunity to get started on the bigger project. Phase one of the full project is a remote-controlled lawnmower, and I'm going to split this phase into the following sub-components: braking, throttle, steering, kill switch and controller.

Look at that sweet, sweet, J. Deer!

The mower has a rotating brake pedal with a place to rest your foot. The amount of force required to stop the mower is honestly not very much - maybe 10 pounds max - but I want to be safe so I've decided to go with a 35-pound actuator. I think I only need an inch of travel but I'm going to go with four or six inches just to make mounting easier. I'm going to use an actuator with a built-in potentiometer for feedback. This allows me to set the start/endpoints and adds safety to know if the actuator is actually moving.

How to steer your John Deer

Next is steering. When stationary, the steering does require a reasonable amount of force and I had the mechanical advantage of the steering wheel when I tested, so the force on the steering shaft will be higher. When moving, the force will be much less. The plan right now is to have the ability to do a full turn in a second. I'm looking at a motor with a 680 ounce/inch rating and 160 rpm rating. I'll include a gear ratio of 1:3 between the motor and steering shaft. I will have a potentiometer for position feedback on the front steering knuckle.

The throttle is pretty easy. In the stock configuration, the throttle stays at whatever position you set it. This is done by friction, and for my purpose, this friction can be removed. Once that is done I can hopefully use a standard RC car servo to move the throttle. I plan to attach a wire to the potentiometer signal in order again to get feedback on the throttle value; this adds an extra level of safety for autonomous operation.

The kill switch will be a relay across the ignition switch wires. The relay has to be powered or ignition will be off. The ignition switch must be on as well. I'm not currently planning on automatic starting for the remote control mower.

JRover with Teensy 4.0

For the controller, I'm going to use one of my first-generation rover boards with a Teensy 3.2 but I can always switch to a Teensy 4.0 if the extra power is needed for the autonomous version. For control, all that is left is the transmitter and receiver. I'm going to use a car-style transmitter at the request of the client.

The tried and true JRover

Then it's time for phase two, which will be in two parts. Phase 2A will use my existing 1/10th scale rover or 1/5th scale rover with u-blox ZED-F9P RTK GPS, with a second u-blox ZED-F9P RTK GPS as a base station and for correction data. I could also use a NTRIP app on my cell phone and Bluetooth for sending correction data. Starting with a smaller rover allows me to test autonomous functionality in a safer way than a riding lawnmower. For sensors, I'll still include an encoder and a BNO-080 or similar IMU like my previous rovers, and I'll also include a LIDAR-Lite v3 and TFMini Plus for safety. For mower testing, this only needs to work at 5-7 mph maximum. However, I hope eventually to run at much higher speeds; this will end up as a separate project named JRover Racer that will be version two of my JRover project I used to compete at the Sparkfun AVC.

The John Deer 110 Model Mower

Phase 2B is the fully autonomous riding mower. This will be project “JRover Mower.” First, I’m going to make the above John Deere 110 Mower remote-controlled, and use the control hardware and software from phase 2A. I will use a higher-end 1 Watt radio to deliver the correction data for more range. The RC controller will be used to control options/failsafe, but a second, longer-range kill option will also be available. I'm planning to have multiple sensors to detect obstacles for all safety issues. I’ll include everything from low-tech bumper sensors to an RPLidar or similar, and maybe an Intel Realsense D435 as well. This will be powered by an Nvidia Jetson Nano or a Raspberry PI v4 4GB. The low level/real-time controller will use the same style baseboard as the remote control mower, or I may move to a version two rover board due to the higher demands. Eventually, I would like to allow full unattended running, but that will be a long time in the future.

So, am I crazy for attempting this? I see thousands of ways this can go wrong, and many of those I hope I never encounter. I’m seeing this project used at larger properties or farms and not general yard use. It should be in a more controlled environment with lots of room and a minimal number of obstacles to contend with.

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Friday Product Post: Don’t Blow a Fuse

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello everyone, and happy Friday! We have a couple new products this week, starting with a soldering kit that allows you to easily add fuses into your project in multiple different configurations to fit your needs! We also have an adjustable storage case to help with organization, or simply for travel. Let's jump in a take a closer look!

Light the fuse!

SparkFun Fuse Breakout Kit

SparkFun Fuse Breakout Kit

KIT-15702
$4.95

The SparkFun Fuse Breakout Kit comes with everything you need to assemble and use a glass capsule, inline fuse (ferrule type) for your project. The simple breakout design allows for a barrel jack, and offers the option for a screw terminal to be used for (VIN) power input and a second screw terminal used for VOUT. Any 5mm x 20mm glass capsule fuse can be used with this kit depending on your project needs, but we have been sure to include a 250VAC, 500mA one to get you started. Make sure to add an additional fuse in your cart to replace when prototyping and testing.


SparkFun Fuse Breakout Board

SparkFun Fuse Breakout Board

BOB-15697
$1.95

Of course, if you are looking for a much more customizable approach, we also offer just the PCB of the SparkFun Fuse Breakout as well. This is a great option for those with specific terminals and resistor preferences.


Adjustable Storage Case

Adjustable Storage Case

PRT-15698
$9.95

This sturdy carrying case is great for carrying anything from tiny components to medium-sized tools. With its adjustable dividers, it could be used to organize the parts on your workbench, or you can take it on the road with you for portable assembly and repair. slaps plastic lid This bad boy can fit so many portable soldering irons!


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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Press a Button; Start Geo-Mapping

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

If you need an intermediate GPS project, we've got one ready to go. In a previous tutorial, you were able to accurately display your coordinates on a small OLED with the press of a button using hardware from our Qwiic Connect System. Now it's time to move on to the next step.

In today's tutorial focus we'll combine a SAMD21 RedBoard Turbo, a SAM-M8Q GPS Breakout and a few other components to save multiple coordinates in a KML file and take over the world! Okay, not take over, but we can easily see collections of coordinates all over the world with Google Earth.

This tutorial is the next step to the "Displaying Your Coordinates with a GPS Module Tutorial we talked about back in April, so if you haven't stated there, we recommend you go and check it out!

New!

GPS Geo-Mapping at the Push of a Button

September 27, 2019

Let's ramp up our GPS tracking skills with KML files and Google Earth. We'll make a tracker that logs location and allows us to visualize our steps with Google Earth.

If you are interested in learning more about GPS and how to build your own systems, take a look at our GPS page.

 

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October Artemis Update

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

It's been a little over a month since we officially released our FCC-certified version of the SparkFun Artemis Module. Three RedBoards were released along with it: The RedBoard Artemis, the RedBoard Artemis Nano, and the RedBoard Artemis ATP. A few weeks after, we were able to release two additional boards that utilize the open source module - the Artemis Thing Plus and the Edge 2 - bringing six unique options to interface with Artemis! So what's new? Well, we're happy to let you know that we have two new updates that were pushed yesterday afternoon, and a planned date for an Edge 2 update!

  • RTC Library - Real Time Clocks are a heavily implementable asset for electronics and now a library based on the Ambiq SDK EVB2 RTC example has been incorporated into the Artemis Arduino Core!

  • Ambiq Suite SDK & BSP - A copy of the AmbiqSuite SDK is now available on GitHub, making it even easier to dive into "pro" development with Artemis! Additionally, the latest Board Support Packages (BSPs) for Artemis-based boards used in the AmbiqSuite SDK are now available.

  • Camera Interface - For everyone asking when camera support is coming to the Edge and Edge 2 development boards, you are in luck! We plan on releasing support for cameras on the SparkFun Edge Boards in mid-October! Thank you for your patience!

Artemis in Red!



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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