ISS National Design Challenge
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Welcome CASIS ISS National Design Challenge participants!
The following parts may be useful when developing your ISS experiment. Note that these are just a few of the many parts that Sparkfun carries; if you’re looking for something else, feel free to browse the entire catalog, or ask. We may have just what you need!
Temperature Sensor (analog)
The TMP36 is an easy to use analog temperature sensor. It has a range of -40C to +125C, and an accuracy of +/-2.0C. It operates at 3.3V or 5.0V, and outputs a voltage that directly corresponds to degrees C. (10mV / degree C.)
Temperature Sensor (Digital)
The DS18B20 is a digital temperature sensor with a range of -55C to +125C, and an accuracy of +/-0.5C. It uses a special protocol called OneWire which allows almost unlimited numbers of temperature sensors to occupy the same bus.
Sparkfun carries this sensor as a discrete part, and in a sealed, waterproof probe.
Humidity + Temperature Sensor
The HTU21D is an inexpensive humidity and temperature sensor. It has a humidity range of 0 to 100% RH, and a temperature range of -40 to 125 degrees C. It uses an I2C interface and runs on 3.3V.
Note that this sensor should not be exposed to liquid water. In wet environments we recommend covering the sensor with teflon plumber’s tape or Gore-TexTM, which block liquid water but allow humid air to pass through.
Atmospheric Pressure (Low) + Temperature Sensor
The BMP180 is an atmospheric pressure and temperature sensor with a range of 300 to 1100 hPa. This corresponds roughly from sealevel to 30,000'. (For a sensor that can measure high pressure, see the MS5803 below.) The BMP180 has an I2C interface and runs on 3.3V.
Atmospheric or Liquid Pressure (High) + Temperature Sensor
The MS5803 is a waterproof high-pressure sensor with a range of 0 to 14000 hPa (mbar) and -40C to +85C. This corresponds roughly from vacuum to a water depth of 450'.
Although the sensor head is waterproof, the rest of the board is not. The rest of the board can be coated with epoxy etc. to allow it to be submerged.
The DS3234 is a real-time clock/calendar module with a number of useful features.
When paired with a backup battery (PRT-00337), the clock will keep accurate time (+/- 2 minutes per year) even while system power is removed. It can also provide 256 bytes of battery-backed memory.
It has an output pin with numerous alarm modes (once per second / minute / hour / day or a specific time and date), or can serve as an oscillator (1024Hz, 2048Hz, etc.).
The DS3234 operates on 3.3V or 5V, and has an SPI interface.
Sparkfun carries a wide variety of LEDs. Below are some of the LED colors that may be useful for plant-growth arrays, light sources for sample analysis, etc.
The above LEDs can generally be run at up to 20mA. Usually you’ll use a resistor to control the current. A good calculator for resistor size is here: http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz. We carry several resistor kits below:
This 4W heating pad is 5cm x 10cm and has a resistance of 6.5 Ohms. It will consume up to 750mA at 5V, but you can run it at a lower voltage or PWM the control signal to reduce the heat output and power consumption.
MOSFET (High-Current) Driver Board
If you need to control a high-current device such as a heater or LED array, this small board is a good option. It takes a logic-level input (3.3V or 5V) and controls up to 20V and 4A.
This sensor accurately measures illumination in both the visible and IR spectrum. It’s useful if your experiment e.g. measures LED light passing through a sample (such as growing bacteria). It runs on 3.3V and has an I2C interface.
Color (RGB) Sensor
If your experiment needs to measure the color of anything, this sensor is a good option. It measures the red, green, and blue components of light, and has very high (16-bit) resolution. It runs on 3.3V and has an I2C interface.
Radiation Sensor (Geiger Counter)
This radiation detector counts beta and gamma particles that pass through the detector tube. Note that this board produces high voltage (560V, use caution when operating) and is a large board, slightly over 10cm in length.
It runs on 5V at 30mA, and has a serial interface. The onboard ATmega328 microcontroller can be reprogrammed to serve your purposes.
This board takes low-resolution (640 x 480) pictures and sends them out the serial interface as JPEG data. The lens can be adjusted to focus on close-up objects. It is suitable for basic imaging but isn’t a high-quality camera.
High-definition Still/Video Camera
This board effectively implements a GoPro camera, capable of taking high-quality, high-resolution pictures and video, storing them on the built-in SD card. It’s a fairly large board, 65mm long. It operates on 3.3V and requires 500mA when taking video, but uses less when taking pictures or idling.
Plastic DC Gearmotors
This is an inexpensive DC Gearmotor that runs on 5V at 250mA (full load) but can run on lower voltages with a lower output speed. It is fairly large at about 70mm long.
Micro DC Gearmotors
These are extremely small gearmotors available in a variety of gear reductions (RPM). The speeds noted are for 6V, they will run slower at lower voltages. The stall current is about 300mA but they will use around 50mA when under light loads. We also carry attachment and mechanical hardware matching the shaft size of these motors.
These motors are larger than the micro size, but available in a wider range of gear reductions. The speeds noted are for 12V but they will run slower at lower voltages. The stall current is 500mA at 12V but they will use around 25mA when under light load at low voltage. We also carry a wide range of attachment and mechanical hardware matching the shaft size of these motors.
H-Bridge (Reversible) DC Motor Driver
If you need to drive a DC motor in both directions, an H-bridge will do it. This board includes two separate drivers and will provide up to 1A at up to 6V.
Micro Servo Motors
Servo motors have the advantage of being small, provide absolute positioning (you can command them to point at a specific angle), and not needing extra driver circuitry. They are commanded by a PWM signal from your microcontroller; the pulse width determines the position they move to. “Continuous rotation” models do not point at specific angles, but turn at specific rates when commanded. Servos are available in numerous sizes, here are the smallest ones we carry:
If you are moving things around and need to detect when end-stops are reached, these small switches are a great way to do that.