Tag Archives: Sparkfun

Learn Arduino Easily with The Arduino Inventor’s Guide

Are you looking for Arduino tutorials? Already over-whelmed by the guides and videos available on the internet? Sparkfun is making Arduino and electronics easier for you with its new book ” The Arduino Inventor’s Guide”!

First of all, the authors of this book , Brian Huang and Derek Runberg, are both working in the department of Education at SparkFun Electronics. Since they are experienced in electronics and educating engineering in schools, they are working towards making electronics easy and fun.

In fact, this 10-project guide is a project-packed introduction to building and coding with Arduino microcontroller. With each hands-on project, total beginners learn useful electronics and coding skills while building an interactive gadgets. Accordingly, this guide is within the introductory-level educational series introduced by No Starch Press and Sparkfun.

“We wanted to share the magic that happens when you build something interactive with electronics,” says Huang. “The goal is to teach real, valuable hardware skills, one project at a time,” adds Runberg.

Content of the book

  • Introduction
  • Electronics Primer
    101 electronics
  • Project 1: Getting Started with Arduino
    Blinking an LED
  • Project 2: A Stoplight for Your House
    A miniature traffic light
  • Project 3: The Nine-Pixel Animation Machine
    An LED screen that displays animated patterns and shapes
  • Project 4: Reaction Timer
    A fast-paced button-smashing game to test your reflexes
  • Project 5: A Color-Mixing Night-Light
    A light-sensitive, color-changing night-light
  • Project 6: Balance Beam
    A challenging ball-balancing game
  • Project 7: Tiny Desktop Greenhouse
    A temperature-sensing mini greenhouse with an automated fan and vent
  • Project 8: Drawbot, the Robotic Artist
    A motorized robot that you can control
  • Project 9: Drag Race Timer
    A racing timer for toy cars
  • Project 10: Tiny Electric Piano
    A tiny electric piano that you can actually play!
  • Appendix: More Electronics Know-How


The Arduino Inventor’s Guide will appeal to the gadget freak as well as those who like to put their own spin on things.” —Microcontroller Tips

“This is probably the best Arduino starter book out there! I highly recommend it for every library and classroom.” —Sequential Tart

To sum up, the book is available for $30 on No Starch Press as a printed book and for $25 as an Ebook. In addition, you can check this page for more insights. Also download Project 2: A Stoplight for Your House, and the sketches, templates, and diagrams used in this book.

New Arduino Book Teaches Electronics Skills One Project at a Time

San Francisco, CA (July 7, 2017)—School’s out for summer, but learning doesn’t have to stop at the classroom door. For parents and educators looking to keep their students exploring, tinkering, and creating, No Starch Press offers the latest addition to its lineup of STEM books.

The Arduino Inventor’s Guide (No Starch Press, $29.95, 336 pp., June 2017) is a project-packed introduction to building and coding with the Arduino microcontroller. With each hands-on project, total beginners learn useful electronics and coding skills while building an interactive gadget.

This is No Starch Press’s second installment in its introductory-level educational series for aspiring makers. The series is a collaboration with SparkFun Electronics, the popular electronics parts retailer dedicated to making the world of electronics more accessible to the average person. Authors Brian Huang and Derek Runberg of SparkFun’s Department of Education use their teaching experience to make learning about electronics an adventure.

“We wanted to share the magic that happens when you build something interactive with electronics,” says Huang. “The goal is to teach real, valuable hardware skills, one project at a time,” adds Runberg.

New Arduino Book Teaches Electronics Skills One Project at a Time – [Link]

Add OLED Display To Your Projects With TeensyView

The Teensy is a complete USB-based microcontroller development system, in a very small footprint, capable of implementing many types of projects. All programming is done via the USB port. You can program for the Teensy in your favorite program editor using C or you can install the Teensyduino add-on for the Arduino IDE and write Arduino sketches for Teensy.

The processor on the Teensy also has access to the USB and can emulate any kind of USB device you need it to be, making it great for USB-MIDI and other HID projects. The 32 bit processor brings a few other features to the table as well, such as multiple channels of Direct Memory Access, several high-resolution ADCs and even an I2S digital audio interface! you can learn more about Teensy by visiting this page.

SparkFun had launched a new add-on to Teensy that can make it possible to add to it display functions. The SparkFun TeensyView brings you an easy way to add a small, white-on-black OLED to your Teensy development board. The 128×32 monochrome display is controlled with the popular SSD1306 IC, and is a great way to display debug information and to visualize data without the need for a serial terminal. The board matches the Teensy 3 form factor perfectly, and was designed from the ground up to be as flexible as possible while still being able to nest down into a low-profile addition for the Teensy.

The TeensyView comes with everything you need except the headers. Additionally, there are jumpers on one side of the board that allow you to configure how the OLED communicates with the attached Teensy. Since this is a headerless board, you have the option to solder on whatever type of header best fits your needs. Headers you may find useful with this product include the Teensy Header Kit, Straight Headers, Long Straight Headers and Female Headers.

Teensy 3.2 is available at SparkFun for $19.95 and TeensyView is available for $14.95. TeensyView right now is out of stock but you can still follow up and get a notification once it returns to stock.

You can know more in-action details by checking this SparkFun tutorial and checking theses links SchematicEagle FilesDrawing BitmapsOLED Memory MapDatasheet (SSD1306), Arduino Library, and GitHub!

Source: SparkFun

Installing The Micronucleus Bootloader To An ATtiny Via Arduino

In order to be able to upload Arduino sketches directly to the ATtiny84 over USB without the need to use a programming device, Shawn Hymel, an electrical engineer at Sparkfun Electronics, had published a guide showing how to install the micronucleus bootloader, which supports virtual USB (V-USB), onto an ATtiny84 using Arduino.

The Atmel AVR ATtiny84 is a $3 tiny 8-bit processor with 8K of program space, 12 I/O lines, and 8-channel 10 bit ADC. It will run up to 20MHz with an external crystal and can be programmed in circuit.

To start following the tutorial, you will need these parts:

Micronucleus is a bootloader designed for AVR ATtiny microcontrollers with a minimal usb interface, cross platform libusb-based program upload tool, and a strong emphasis on bootloader compactness. It has a built in V-USB so that you can send compiled firmware over a virtual USB connection.

The process will use an Arduino as a programmer by loading an Arduino ISP to install the micronucleus bootloader on the ATtiny84. The next step is allowing USB programming on ATtiny84 by manually change fuses, then creating a board definition for ATtiny84 and installing any necessary USB drivers.

The hardware components should be connected as shown in the above circuit. At first you have to remove the capacitor and connect a FTDI breakout to the Arduino Pro Mini and upload the Arduino ISP firmware.

Before installing Micronucleus, a 10μF capacitor is added between the RESET and GND pins of the Arduino. It will prevent the Arduino from entering bootloader mode so that it will pass the compiled firmware to the connected ATtiny rather than trying to program itself.

AVRDUDE is used then to change the ATtiny fuses and set them as the following:

  • No clock divider
  • Brown-out detection at 2.7V (not necessary, but useful if running off battery)
  • Self-programming

This tutorial should also work with ATtiny85, ATtiny841, and ATtiny167. You can find the detailed steps with a blink example on the main tutorial page.

Measure Weights Using OpenScale from Sparkfun

Sparkfun has a simple-to-use and open source solution for measuring weight and temperature. All you need is a load cell hooked up with OpenScale.


OpenScale uses HX711, a 24-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) specifically designed for weighing scales. It’s connected with an Atmega328P through a serial data line to get the reads from HX711. Atmega328P is running Arduino and an extensive pre-loaded configuration firmware to create an off-the-shelf solution for load cell reading.


You can get the output using the on board FT231 through USB terminal or directly get UART signals through the serial out connector. Also, Openscale uses TMP102, as on board temperature sensor. You can also connect an external one.


To get more details, you can refer to the detailed OpenScale guide.

[Product Page]

SparkFun’s EAGLE resources

Sparkfun has compiled a list of resources about everything you need to design for manufacture an electronic product.

Let’s be frank: We’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. In the ongoing pursuit of better-designed PCBs, we’ve dealt with tons of screw-ups, from boards with ill-arranged traces to boards with…no traces at all, actually, and a host of others. Fortunately, by now we feel like we’ve gotten a pretty solid handle on a largely-error-free design for manufacturing process, and we want to help you avoid some of our past mistakes.

SparkFun’s EAGLE resources – [Link]

Sparkfun: First Impressions of the ESP32


Jimb0 @ sparkfun.com takes a first look on the new ESP32 WiFi board by Espressif that’s an improvement of the ESP8266 board.

The ESP32 doesn’t replace the ESP8266, but it does improve on it in every aspect. Not only does it have WiFi support, but it also features a Bluetooth 4.2 radio, making it even more versatile. The CPU is similar to the ESP8266 – it’s a 32-bit Xtensa® LX6, but the ESP32 has two cores! There’s also 128KB of ROM and 416KB SRAM, but Flash memory (for program and data storage) is still left up to an external chip (up to 64MB).

Sparkfun: First Impressions of the ESP32 – [Link]