Clearance Sale!

Come on down to Crazy Garrett's, the boss is away and the deals are government agents trying to control my mind! Ahem. Well, the deals are real enough...up to 60% off on some products.

The main reason for the sale is that we have some extra inventory of A6281-based products. Back when we started this business in 2008, there weren't many options for controllable RGB pixels...hard to believe today, but a $5 chainable RGB pixel with PWM was a pretty good deal back then. Times have changed, and the A6821 chip has been discontinued by Allegro. So we've decided to move this last batch of inventory out the door where it'll do some RGB blinky good rather than keeping our stock shelves from floating away.

In addition to the ShiftBrite and MegaBrite products, we're also discounting the OctoBrite DEFILIPPI even though the TLC5947 is still available. It's a good chip that can handle up to 30V strings of LEDs with 12bit PWM, but aside from special applications it seems that 5V and 8 bits are blinky enough. We're also discounting all of our 6-pin cables! These are made for ShiftBrites, but are just 6x1 0.1" female header cables...they are pretty useful for many tasks around the lab.

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Submitted by Garrett on Tue, 02/02/2016 - 14:08.

Deep discounts on ShiftBrites and MegaBrites!

We've put ShiftBrites, Headerless ShiftBrites, and MegaBrite 90's on sale:

ShiftBrite 2.0

The ShiftBrite 2.0 is a redesign of the very first macetech product. It's a bright RGB LED module that uses a simple shift register control method to output 30-bit color. Most RGB LED solutions can only do 255 brightness levels per color; the ShiftBrite can do 1023. It has a sturdy mounting hole pattern, and 6-pin connectors that match our cables for trouble-free mounting, hookup, and maintenance.

Headerless ShiftBrite 2.0

The Headerless ShiftBrite 2.0 is the same as the regular ShiftBrite, except that the headers have been left off for more flexible hookup options. You can solder your own headers (straight or angled), another 0.1" spaced connector, or just use wires. This is a good option for tighter spaces.

MegaBrite 90  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:15.

LED Matrix Shades Have Arrived!

A quick introduction: LED Matrix Shades are a very cool piece of wearable technology that integrates a fully hackable Arduino-compatible processor with an LED matrix you can see through. They are the ultimate attention grabber at social events, and inspires curiosity among technology enthusiasts of all ages. Every function can be reprogrammed by the user, and there are even places to solder your own circuits and sensors.

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Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 06/29/2014 - 00:56.

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.

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!)

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

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.

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.

SparkFun Free Day Consolation Prize

A quick heads up...for everyone who was disappointed by the huge traffic at SparkFun day, we're running a 10% discount in the store to make you feel a little better. Just place an order and type in the coupon code FREEDAY and you'll get 10% off.

The code is valid today and tomorrow only!

Submitted by Garrett on Thu, 01/07/2010 - 13:33.


We've been selling the ChronoDot for a while over in the macetech store. It's a very accurate realtime clock module with integrated battery, based on the DS3231. It will maintain time within a minute per year, in varying temperatures. Instead of using an external source (GPS, WWVB, internet), it measures the temperature of the internal crystal and switches a bank of capacitors to pull the frequency back to 32KHz.

Our original stock of 100 pieces was getting low, so we decided to order 200 more. However, there were some staff changes at our pcb manufacturer and assembler, and they didn't get the memo that we wanted the header pins soldered on the bottom of the device. I can sort of understand, since the silkscreen does appear on the top of the PCB...but they did make 100 correctly before.
In any case, we got stuck with 200 less-than-ideal modules. You can still put them on a breadboard, but you can't see the handy signal names. Other than that, they work just the same as the original ChronoDot.

We tried to think up a few possible solutions. Desoldering and resoldering the headers would be the obvious solution, but we didn't like the idea of subjecting all the parts to another process. Desoldering can be pretty damaging to a PCB and components.

We tried to use them as snacks during one of our friend Karly's photoshoots, but even though the ChronoDOH is lead-free, model reviews were poor. Some thought it was "too crunchy" and others were concerned that it had "too many calories."

So in the end, it looked like we were stuck with 200 of these unless we could unload them somehow. We decided to drastically cut the price, and give a chance for anyone willing to use a soldering iron to get a really good deal! The ChronoDOH is $7.99 instead of $14.99 for the original ChronoDot.

It's not always going to be this cheap...we just want to get rid of these and have more ChronoDots built with the correct header configuration. And we'll sell those at the original price...we're running a business. So if you want to get a great deal on an extremely accurate RTC module, time is running out. They are selling steadily so far.

Now, keep in mind that if you just want to buy a chip from Digikey, it costs $7.42 plus shipping unless you buy 25 or more, and only comes in surface mount. For a few cents more, the ChronoDOH gives you a PCB with the surface mount chip already soldered, and a lithium battery good for years of timekeeping. It'll work with DS1307 code, which already exists for pretty much any microcontroller out there.

Basically, it's an incredible deal...if you have a project that involves timekeeping, get one now!

Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 00:51.