Sparkfun open-sources hardware kits

Sparkfun open-sources hardware kits

Our friends over at Sparkfun have announced their decision to officially make some of their kits open source. Nathan and company have always been supporters of OSH, but now they’re going to be putting links to the engineering files up to at least some of their kits. The first is the ClockIt kit, an alarm clock kit built around the ATMega168. The listing for the kit ends with links to the Eagle files (licensed under CC v3.0 Share-Alike), the schematic, the source code, and a link to an “Improve Source Code” forum posting. Nice. “One of the great things about open source is the ability to say ‘Hey, I’m pretty sure this works, but it may not be the best way to do it. Can you help me out?,'” says Nathan Seidle.


12 thoughts on “Sparkfun open-sources hardware kits

  1. Phillip Torrone says:

    this is great news, nice work sparkfun!

  2. Volkemon says:


    Hopefully they put the Port-O-Rotary into this open source bin too…. Jo the engineer wont have work so hard!

    (See my thread at the Sparkfun site, under forum, wireless,and search “POR” or “port-o-rotary”)Link in next post.

    @PT- Welcome Back!

  3. Michael C says:

    Nice move. They’ve generally been fairly good about making schematics available for things they sell, but it’s even better if they’re now being clear about the licensing. I hope they will have a good mechanism to roll improvements by customers back into their product – that’s a key part of the value of open source.

    I have noticed a disturbing trend at Sparkfun, though: they’re selling more modules and breakout boards without selling the components used for them. I guess that means that there isn’t a good market for the components, or perhaps that they’re too much hassle for Sparkfun to sell. Either way, it means that people who want to do something themselves need to look elsewhere. It’s less maker oriented, and more consumer oriented.

    1. A. Designer says:

      I’ve noticed that too. My other problem with SF lately is that they change parts without changing the part#, link, or even making a note on the web page. One example is the microSD card socket. Very annoying for an engineering company. How can I recommend them as a source if the next person to buy the same part# gets an SD card holder that won’t fit the PCB? Grrr.

  4. scott says:

    you guys misspelled Nathan’s last name.

  5. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Oops. Fixed. Thanks! (And sorry Nathan)

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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