Macetech Moving Sale

Macetech will be moving from our location in Foster City, CA to a new location in Dallas, TX during December. In order to reduce amount of stock we need to transport, we're discounting nearly every item in our online store...many items 20-30% or more. Every cable is 30% off.

Please note that we'll be closed and can't ship orders during the week of Thanksgiving, and after December 11th until further notice. We expect to be fully operational by December 20th at the latest.


Submitted by Garrett on Sat, 11/16/2013 - 17:39.

LED Shades Launch: Maker Faire Bay Area 2013

Maker Faire Bay Area 2013 was my seventh Maker Faire as an exhibitor, and macetech's fifth year. No matter how many times we go, we are never prepared for the huge amount of creativity and curiosity crammed into every inch of the fairgrounds.

This year, we launched the LED Shades that we've been working on for quite some time. We demonstrated a prototype last year at Maker Faire, and due to all the other projects we've been doing, it took quite a while to finalize the design to a point we felt comfortable selling them.

Here's the final product:  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Wed, 05/29/2013 - 20:36.

LED Glasses: The Journey Continues

Wow! It's been so busy around here, we haven't had time to update the blog recently. Thought we'd update everyone on the LED glasses project. First of all: soon. We want to make sure they're durable and thoroughly awesome, and a lot of other projects and work have been keeping us far too busy while Garrett transitions to full-time at macetech.

Waaaaay back in May 2012, we unveiled the newest macetech product at Maker Faire: LED shades!

We hoped to finish up development and release them within a month or two of Maker Faire, but quickly discovered some issues with the design. The first was an electronic problem that was solved by switching to alternate transistors row drivers and control chips. The next was a more subtle, yet crippling problem. It's easy to design something that sits on a shelf and operates forever, but anything worn by people is subject to a lot of stress. We found that our QFN driver ICs were actually breaking internally due to board flex! Solving that problem has required a lot of revision and testing.

 Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 20:17.

Free Day Deals

SparkFun is doing it again! Tomorrow (January 13th, 2011) they will be giving away $150,000 worth of free electronics hardware to whoever is lucky enough to access their servers during the inevitable Internet stampede on their website. We talked to a couple of their IT people at Maker Faire New York, and they're optimistic about the steps they were planning even four months ago...still, it'll be an amazing accomplishment if their site weathers the storm unaffected.

In any case, we hope that some of you electronics hobbyists out there manage to place your order, and get some cool stuff for your next project. Remember that several macetech products are available at SparkFun: the ShiftBrite, MegaBrite, ShiftBar, and Satellite Module 001. If you snag some of our products during Free Day, feel free to contact us for any help you need getting your LED product blinking and glowing.

Additionally, we will be running a special deal on our own site! We aren't big enough to give away lots of stuff, but we can help complete your project by giving away some free accessories. So here's the deal:

Starts: 12:00am Pacific time (midnight) Thursday, January 13th
Ends: 12:00am Pacific time (midnight) Sunday, January 16th (does not include Sunday!)

 Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 16:01.

OK GO and Blue Man Group

We've been busy developing new products and dealing with a few supply problems, so it's been a while since the last project roundup post. There have been almost too many to list, though we will get to them eventually. For now, here are two high-profile lighting projects that have involved our technology.

OK GO Sparkle Suits

The always popular band OK GO recently released another video that is becoming an internet sensation; about 125,000 view on YouTube since it was posted five days ago. The band led a street parade through Los Angeles, using a GPS app to spell OK GO using their route. The parade started in daylight and continued into the night, and members of the parade were encouraged to decorate their clothing and instruments with anything that would light up.

 Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 01:34.

OctoBrite DEFILIPPI Product Recall

It was recently brought to our attention that the current production batch of OctoBrite DEFILIPPI was manufactured with a faulty component. The 78L05 "regulator" (circled below) is NOT behaving like a regulator and will in fact allow overvoltage into the TLC5947 chip, causing failure. We had not received any word of OctoBrite DEFILIPPI failing until now, we think due to the fact that most OctoBrite users have been primarily testing with lower LED voltages. OctoBrites manufactured before June (with regulator oriented the opposite direction) are not affected by this issue.

We are not sure what this part actually is, but we believe it is mismarked or counterfeit. It seems hard to believe that someone would counterfeit such a cheap part, but there's no other explanation that makes sense; our assembler arrived at the same conclusion.

If you currently own one of these devices, please stop using the device if it hasn't been damaged yet. The regulator must be replaced with a working 78L05 SOT-223 regulator immediately. There are three options:  Read more»

  1. Ship the OctoBrite back to macetech for repair. We can easily replace the regulator and ship it back; you should experience no more than 2-3 days in addition to shipping time round trip. It's still a relatively slow solution, especially for international customers, but the most reliable. If your OctoBrite TLC5947 chip has already been damaged, we recommend this option. Please contact us before shipping any devices.

Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 23:18.

Customer Projects Roundup!

It's been a while since I did this! Our awesome customers keep posting videos and sending us links to their projects using macetech products. If you made something cool with ShiftBrites or other macetech products, by all means let us know! We'll be tweeting links to new projects we discover, and occasionally make a roundup post like this. Later on we'll make a gallery page for easy navigation to all the cool project examples out there.

Centipede + Ethernet

First up, our customer Hartmut in Germany put together an Arduino, Ethernet Shield, and Centipede Shield. He developed a straightforward web interface that's served up by the Ethernet Shield, and allows monitoring 32 digital inputs and controlling 32 digital outputs over the web! Right now it's just a proof-of-concept, but can be easily repurposed for home automation, remote machinery monitoring and control, or any number of web-driven applications that need to talk to the real world. Hartmut's provided lots of details and source code; most of the article is in German but survives pretty well through Google Translate.  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Tue, 10/26/2010 - 00:02.

World Maker Faire NYC 2010

It's been two weeks since the World Maker Faire in New York City, but I did want to write up our pilgrimage sometime. A lot of our work happens on the weekend, so the article's been delayed while we catch up.

Jason and I were pretty excited to hear about the new Maker Faire debut in New York. Many of the well-known makers and hackers are located on the east coast, so a New York Maker Faire seems like a smart move. The World's Fair grounds are a perfect venue...San Mateo is pretty nice, but the architecture is nonexistent and there isn't a real rocket looming in the background. Okay, there was a rocket there last year, but it mainly goes to Burning Man, not outer space.

Maker Faire NYC 2010

We hunted for tickets and landed an awesome deal. Initially Virgin America wanted $860 but a couple days later it was down to $475. Chase somehow read our minds and sent a coupon for a 20% discount on Virgin America if we used the company card. So we got two round trip, nonstop tickets for about $400.

The next order of business was to find something cool to bring to the Faire. We were not going to run a booth, so it had to be something small. Wearable electronics! I installed LEDs on our lab coats.

Maker Faire NYC 2010

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Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 22:13.

Syyn Labs uses macetech products at GLOW Santa Monica

Syyn Labs, a group of artists and engineers known for their large scale interactive sculptures and art installations (including OK GO's music video for "This Too Shall Pass"), participated in the Santa Monica GLOW festival on September 25th, 2010. Their project for GLOW was called the DNA Sequencer and included 512 RGB LEDs arranged in a double helix within a 100-foot-long trellis.

 Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 01:13.

ChronoDot RTC is now Open Source


Over the past few years, a lot of small electronics hardware businesses have been starting up. Many of the more successful businesses and projects have adopted "open-source" philosophy into some or all of their products. Open-source concepts have been in existence for a long's human nature to share information and explain how we made something. At the same time, there is what appears to be a conflicting desire to keep processes secret in fear of duplication.

The two concepts aren't actually contradictory. When you make and sell something while sharing the recipe, you are dealing in your ability to produce and innovate. A baker can give away a bread recipe while remaining confident in their skill to make the best bread, or come up with even better bread. The idea of keeping this recipe information secret is not a marks the point where you are now dealing in intellectual property rather than production skill and innovation. Many companies don't have the ability or desire to build up production skill or innovate fast enough to compete in a market that is working with the same they restrict the information.

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Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 00:59.