Category Archives: Aggregated

Free PCB coupon via Facebook to 2 random commenters

via Dangerous Prototypes


Every Friday we give away some extra PCBs via Facebook. This post was announced on Facebook, and on Monday we’ll send coupon codes to two random commenters. The coupon code usually go to Facebook ‘Other’ Messages Folder . More PCBs via Twitter on Tuesday and the blog every Sunday. Don’t forget there’s free PCBs three times every week:

Some stuff:

  • Yes, we’ll mail it anywhere in the world!
  • We’ll contact you via Facebook with a coupon code for the PCB drawer.
  • Limit one PCB per address per month, please.
  • Like everything else on this site, PCBs are offered without warranty.

We try to stagger free PCB posts so every time zone has a chance to participate, but the best way to see it first is to subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

Have you seen my new lift ticket?

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Over the past year more and more ski resorts in Colorado have started to use RFID based lift tickets as opposed to the classic sticker-on-your-zipper-pull. To me, this is great. I no longer have to have thing flopping in the wind while I ski, that I have to chop off at the end of the day. I stick the plastic card in my pocket and the lifties scan my torso with a RFID scanner and say ‘Have a good run Nathan’.

Epic ski pass next to RFID reader

I’ve been working on a UHF RFID product for a few weeks. Now that it’s launched, I got the chance to test if our shield could pick up these new ski passes. Sure enough! I’m able to read the full TID, EPC, and User Memory (read more about RFID Basics) of my Epic pass on the right. Thankfully, the Epic Pass is properly locked so the EPC can’t be changed. However, I’m able to copy the EPC from my Epic Pass and write it to a fabulous ABC Management car mirror tag I had lying around from a grab bag of RFID tags.

Will it work? It’s unknown whether Vail Resorts' system ties the TID or EPC to the user. I suspect it’s the EPC so I should be able to use my fabulous new orange mirror tag. Regardless, the tag didn’t contain my name so in order to say ‘Have fun Nathan’ their scanners are doing a database lookup. Don’t get too excited with your duplication ideas.

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RC multiplexer for quadcopter operator mode switching

via Pololu Blog

One of our customers, “Bartman” on the forum, has made a video of himself planning his build and a forum post that explains how he built his quadcopter. He was inspired by the DJI Inspire 1, which raises its struts to get them out of the camera’s way. Bartman proposes a lighter and cheaper arrangement: when flying the quadcopter in its semi-autopilot “carefree” mode, he switches yaw control from the pilot to the camera operator. This gives the camera operator panning (via the entire copter’s yaw motion) without the need for a separate panning mechanism. He uses a Pololu RC multiplexer to achieve the control switching.

A close-up of the RC mux on Bartman’s multi-rotor.

More details and discussion are in the forum thread.

A toast-buttering robot for your breakfast routine

via Arduino Blog

Tired of buttering your toast in the morning? Well, William Osman has just the solution for you, albeit slightly dangerous and excessive for the task at hand.

For his “extremely violent” machine, Osman used a jigsaw motor to hold the butter and an Arduino-driven linear stepper motor to move the slice of toast back and forth. The robot’s frame, spikes, and mounts are all crafted out of laser-cut wood, and everything is held together by a bunch of zip ties.

I was planning on making a more cohesive user experience. But then I didn’t. The jigsaw trigger was wired to a 12v lead acid battery, and the stepper motor was driven by a motion control driver I built several years ago.

Osman documented his entire build process and shared the end result in the video below. Be sure to also check out his other projects here!

Friday Product Post: RFID Tag Reader and Tags!

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Finally, RFID for the People! (not just the RF engineers)

The SparkFun Simultaneous RFID Tag Reader puts multitag reading potential in your hands.

This breakout board features ThingMagic’s M6E Nano module, which is ideal for your small form-factor, portable reader design.

SparkFun Simultaneous RFID Reader - M6E Nano


The Arduino shield footprint can connect directly to an Arduino-compatible board, the USB connection or an external power supply. There is an easy serial interface to read and write to tags using either US or EU frequency standards (FCC for US and ETSI for EU). Universal Reader Assistant software sets you up to read and program your tags. There is even a kill feature to disable the tags for security purposes.

The reader works with common, low-cost, passive Gen2 UHF tags. We offer two options of tags: one with adhesive backing and one without.

UHF RFID Tag - Adhesive (Set of 5)


These paper-thin, adhesive EPCglobal Gen2 tags work with our Simultaneous RFID reader and can be stuck to practically anything you can imagine. Each tag comes with a TID (Truly Unique ID) that can’t be changed, but there’s plenty of memory for you to write and read from.

UHF RFID Tag (Set of 5)


This EPCglobal Gen 2 tag is exactly the same as the adhesive tag — only not sticky.

You can use the trace antenna on the PCB, or solder jumpers can select between the PCB antenna and u.FL external antenna option for greater read range.

Check out our tutorials and resources for more info:

Think small, portable readers… and let us know what you build!

That’s it for this week, folks. We hope you have a great weekend, creating some great projects. Check back next Friday for more new products!

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1000 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators

via Raspberry Pi

This week, we trained our 1000th Raspberry Pi Certified Educator at a Picademy in Cardiff, south Wales. These teachers, librarians and other educators are now equipped to begin sharing the power of digital making with their learners, their local communities and their peers.

An animated gif: a group of new Raspberry Pi Certified Educators celebrate by pulling party poppers

Our newest Raspberry Pi Certified Educators: now there are 1000 of them!

Picademy is a free CPD programme that gives educators the skills and knowledge to help learners get creative with computing. Classroom teachers, museum educators, librarians, educator coaches, and community educators can all apply. You don’t need any previous experience, just an enthusiasm for teaching computing and digital making.

Apply for Picademy

We’ve just announced the dates and venues for Picademy in the US throughout 2017. Take a look at the schedule of UK Picademy events for this year: we’ve just added some new dates. Check out what educators say about Picademy.

Are you interested? DO IT. APPLY.

Demand for Picademy places is always high, and there are many parts of the world where we don’t yet offer Picademy. In order to reach more people, we provide two free online training courses which are available anywhere in the world. They’re especially relevant to educators, but anyone can take part. Both started this week, but there’s still time to join. Both courses will run again in the future.

Hello World

Wherever you are, you can also read Hello World, our new magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. It’s free online as a downloadable PDF, and it’s available to UK-based educators in print, free of charge. In its pages over the next issues, we know we’ll see some of our first 1000 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators inspire some of our second 1000.

We hope that you, too, will join this creative, supportive community!

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