SparkFun Electronics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
SparkFun Electronics
Industry Electronics manufacturing and education
Founded 2003
Headquarters Niwot, Colorado, United States
Key people
(CEO) Nathan Seidle 2003 - Present [1]
Number of employees
150+ (2015) [2]
Slogan Sharing Ingenuity

SparkFun Electronics (sometimes known by its abbreviation, SFE) is an electronics retailer in Niwot, Colorado, United States. It manufactures and sells microcontroller development boards and breakout boards.


SparkFun Electronics was founded in 2003 by Nathan Seidle. Its first products were Olimex printed circuit boards.[3] The name 'SparkFun' came about because one of the founders of SparkFun was testing a development board, and sparks flew out; Fun was chosen because the company's self-stated aim is to educate people about electronics. In January 2011, an education department was formed to outreach to local schools, hackerspaces, and events.

Open-source Hardware[edit]

During the Open Source Hardware summit in October 2010, SparkFun was one of the contributors in drafting the first OSHW definition.[4][5] All products designed and produced by SparkFun are released as Open-source hardware (OSHW),[6] with schematics, eagle files, and datasheets posted on each product page. Product images are licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0[7]



A Contest based upon violating the 2nd and 3rd laws of robotics, where a fully automated robot would destroy itself after interacting with props and objects in a performance. The competition was retried in 2011.[8][9][10]


The Autonomous Vehicle Challenge is a recurring contest held annually by SparkFun. The objective is to build an automated vehicle that can circumnavigate a course without human interaction. As of 2015, aerial vehicles are not allowed.[11][12][13]


SparkFun has become one of the favoured suppliers for those without mainstream suppliers as well as the increasingly popular "Maker" community, particularly for the Arduino and related devices.[14]

Whilst many of the non-component products sold by SFE are from other manufacturers, it does manufacture and sell some of its own complete products:

  • The Port-o-Rotary phone[15]
  • Picture Frame Tetris[16]
  • Giant NES controller

Legal Disputes[edit]

Cease & Desist from SPARC International[edit]

In 2009, SparkFun got a Cease and Desist letter from SPARC International. They demanded that Sparkfun stop using the name SparkFun because the companies were in the same industry and had a phonetically similar name. In April of 2010, the two companies signed a Co-Existance Agreement.[17]

Trademark Infringement with Yellow Multimeters[edit]

In 2014, SparkFun had received a letter from the U.S. Customs/Border Protection that their $15 multimeter had been infringing upon Fluke's trademark.The multimeters were destroyed, but Fluke donated some of their multimeters to SparkFun. [18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ History of SparkFun Electronics.
  4. ^ Seidle, Nate. "Open Source Hardware". SparkFun Electronics. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Grady, Emcee. "OSHW Definition V1.0". SparkFun Electronics. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Ellzey, curtis. "SparkFun Electronics and Open Source Hardware". Engineering TV. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Clark, Chris. "Open Source ALL the Things!". SparkFun Electronics. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Grady, Emcee. "Antimov!". SparkFun Electronics. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Riddle, Warren. "Self-Destructing Robot Carnage at the Antimov Competition". Switched. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Grady, Emcee. "Announcing the 2012 Autonomous Vehicle Competition". SparkFun Electronics. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Olsen, Anton (14 March 2011). "SparkFun To Host 3rd Annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition". Wired. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Noble, Joshua (2009). Programming Interactivity. O'Reilly. p. 399. ISBN 0-596-15414-3. 
  15. ^ Biggs, John (August 24, 2006). "Answer the Phone, and Amaze Your Friends". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  16. ^ Yamamoto, Mike (May 13, 2007). "A wall version of Tetris for the ultimate fan". Crave. CNet. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]