Ground Control to Major Tom!

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven’t posted an update in a while. I’ve been busy!

Throughout October and November I was assembling and shipping Positron kits, and at the end of November I launched the Neutrino 3.0 on Kickstarter!

With that funded, I finished up the design and ordered the prototypes, and after receiving them and verifying they worked, I placed the full order.  That was at the end of January, and I expect to have the Neutrino back in stock around the end of February!


As for the Positrons, I still need a few more pre-orders to do the next run, and some of the parts I need are out of stock at the moment anyway, so I’ve decided to push back the date which I will order the kits to the end of March. That means you have until March 31st to get your order in!

Finally, I’d like to announce that in March, I’ll be launching a  Kickstarter campaign for my latest board, the Firecricket XL!


The Firecricket XL is based on the Neutrino 3.0 and in addition to having way more I/O pins than the original it also features a stereo amp (TPA2012D2) for twice the output power and a buffer for 3.3V->5V level translation so you can drive strings of Neopixels!

I’ve connected the buffer to pin 11 because Adafruit’s Neopixel library can drive that pin with DMA. This means the SPI peripheral can transmit data to the Neopixels unattended and it won’t interrupt anything else you’re doing! Neopixels are notorious for being difficult to use because they don’t have a clock pin and thus have strict timing requirements that must be adhered to for them to be able to correctly interpret the data you’re sending them. But with DMA you don’t have to worry about servo interrupts or reading from the MicroSD card getting in the way of that. Of course, you can still use any Neopixel library you like and bit-bang the pin normally if you wish, but it’s always good to have options!

And speaking of options, in addition to the Firecricket XL, in my next campaign I’ll be offering some addon modules as well! I haven’t decided how many or what sort yet, but the first will be a breakout for the TLC59116 LED driver:


The TL59116 is a constant current driver which can drive 16 LEDs with PWM and works with 3.3 or 5V logic (so this breakout would work with any Arduino), and solder jumpers on the back of the PCB allow you to change the I2C address, so theoretically you can connect up to 16 of them at once!

Speaking of which, I’ve mirrored the inputs on each end so you can chain multiple boards together! The inputs are in the same order as the outputs on the Firecricket, Firecricket XL, Neutrino 3.0, and Tau so the wiring will be nice and clean. I also broke out the RESET pin for completeness, but in my own experiments I’ve found it isn’t needed.

So, why would you want an LED driver like this, when the Firecricket itself can drive LEDs? Well, with this driver you don’t need any resistors on the LEDs, and the outputs of the SAMD21 really aren’t designed to supply a lot of current, so in my demos where the original Firecricket was driving LEDs I had to make sure they weren’t drawing more than 3mA each. That made the bargraph too dim to see in direct sunlight because the LEDs in bargraphs are never as bright as discrete LEDs for some reason. This driver however can supply 20mA per LED and if you want to dim the LEDs you don’t need to worry about which pins support PWM and which don’t!

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll post the next update when the Firecricket XL campaign goes live!

Positrons + Pixel Minis ordered!

I’ve just put in the order for the Positron Proton Pack Kits and Pixel Minis for my latest Kickstarter campaign with Macrofab!

If you would like to order a Positron, you still have time! I’ve ordered six spares. These will likely sell out before Halloween, so if you want one, get your order in quickly!

I have also ordered a batch of the long-awaited Super Bright Grille Lights. These replace the wimpy 5mm LED in the grille with an LED which is nearly as bright as your main strobe! The Super Grille lights can also be used with the N-Filter if you want that to light up when venting.

Getting there!

18673100_10154335305056621_6680180941583965634_oThat was the progress as of a few days ago, I’ve since finished soldering all the slo-blo LEDs and have begun work on the power switch and charge harnesses. I then need to crimp connectors on the cyclotron and slo-blo cables and while there’s still more soldering and crimping to do after that to finish 25 kits worth of parts, I’ll have enough ready to start shipping kits again by Tuesday or Wednesday I think!


If you’re thinking about ordering a kit and you don’t want to wait months for it, I suggest putting in your order soon! Most of the 25 kits I’m now assembling are already destined for loving homes, and I will likely not get any more in stock until September!

So. Much. Soldering.


Still hard at work doing final assembly on the Proton Pack kits! 25 kits worth of switches done. Now it’s on to the pots, LEDs, and vibration motors!

In other news, I’m still waiting for the bargraphs to come in, but I received a notice they shipped today, so I expect to receive them Monday.

I should resume shipping kits towards the end of next week!

Pixel 2.0 + Positron

Hey guys!

Just a quick update to let you know that most of the parts for the next batch of Positron Proton Pack kits have arrived, along with the first prototype of the Pixel 2.0!


I’m still waiting on the bargraphs for the Positron kit as well as a shipment of parts from Digikey and Mouser that includes all the switches and cables, but once I receive those in a few days I’ll begin the process of assembling them and programming the boards!


If you’ve been thinking about ordering a kit, there’s no better time than the present! I only ordered 25 kits this time around, and 15 of them have already been sold!

Fincher Technologies Proton Pack Install

Hey guys,

I thought you’d like to see an install Fincher Technologies did of of one of my Positron Kits in a mini Proton Pack (80% scale) with one of their e-cig foggers that can be automatically triggered by the Positron when venting!

And here’s some photos of the guts of the thing:

Even with a tip extension mechanism, they still managed to squeeze all the boards in, plus the vibration motor, thanks to the Positron’s extremely compact design!
They had to chop the corners off the powercell, but they still managed to squeeze it in!
The e-cig venting system seen at the bottom right in the image is comprised of an air pump, e-cig, and computer fan, and is controlled by a relay connected to expansion port 8 on the Positron!


In order to fit the strobe on the smaller acrylic tube of the 80% scale pack, the Finchers carefully shaved down the PCB. Don’t try this at home!

Work in progress!

Hey guys,

Sorry about the lack of updates recently! I’ve been super busy, shipping out hundreds of Taus, Firecrickets, and Neutrinos…


…along with dozens of Positron Kits:

20170107_113812-edited 20170106_105602-edited(Don’t worry, I erased the names and the addresses!)

And for those kits, I’ve been soldering and crimping cables for the hundreds of LEDs, switches, potentiometers, and vibration motors needed for the first batch of 50 kits that were manufactured…

20170211_141807I’ve also been preparing my next couple Kickstarter campaigns, though most of my time has been devoted to the above so I’m a month or two behind schedule there, but I hope to launch the next one this week!

Oh, and speaking of Kickstarters, I recently released the Eagle files and schematic for the Firecricket! Those can be found on its product page.

That’s all for now, but I’ve got some cool stuff to show you from a fan that I’ll be putting in it’s own post shortly!

Positron Kits Now Shipping!

Hey guys!

Just a quick update to let you know I received the bargraphs for the Positron kits a week or so ago and I can finally begin shipping the kits in bulk!


I’ve already put several kits in the mail, and as you can see above, this past week I assembled a bunch of new cyclotron, slo-blo, and LED cables! I also wired up a ton of toggle switches, and crimped connectors onto a batch of vibration motors!

That’s all for now!

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