As Seen on Show and Tell: DigiBadge Mini!

I’m going to start out with a little bit of explanation. Every Wednesday, Adafruit has a live Show and Tell stream (Their YouTube channel has past ones here) at 7:30pm US Eastern time. After moving a lot of stuff around and getting everything in order, I finally had a decent setup for joining said stream last week. So, of course, I showed off the DigiBadge and managed to perform not terribly. Given my general dislike of cameras, I think I performed adequately.

I was e-mailed some “As Seen on Show & Tell” images to put on the badge, and took the opportunity to take some not-great-but-not-awful pictures. Enjoy!

As Seen on Show & Tell!
One of the Show & Tell ‘Stickers’
Eat your greens! But this one probably isn't that healthy for you.
The original Green Color Communication Badge – For when you’re feeling extra social! These badges inspired the DigiBadge in the first place, and were designed by ASAN.
If you don't want flags on the DigiBadge, I quite honestly don't care.
I LOVE inclusivity. So the DigiBadges include Pride flags as well. Not just the LGBT+ one shown, but the Bi, Trans, Pan, Ace, N/B, and Agender flags. The others simply didn’t look good in the pictures I took.
30628 out of 30720 bytes used as of this writing.
The main menu! Honestly, I never thought this would fit on an ATMega328p, but it does. Barely.
For more info visit.. oh, wait.
One of the menu options is “Badge Info” which will show the current settings, along with basic info on the DigiBadge
The name might be only *slightly* XCOM inspired.
A DigiBadge showing Firebrand the Phoenix, mascot and icon of Phoenixborn Technologies.
Red like a tomato! Unlike a tomato, do not smash the DigiBadge for pasta sauce.
The original Red Color Communication Badge, for when you want to be left alone
I've heard people go bananas over a good yellow color.
The original Yellow Color Communication Badge – For when you want to be social on your terms.

I need to break out the good camera and take some nicer pictures, but then I’ll be able to set up the page I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. For now, though, I’ve made an update to the GitHub Page‘s README file for basic instructions.

East Coast Rep Rap Festival, 2018

Well, this was an unplanned convention for me, but it was pretty cool anyway.

Two days ago, Amie DD made a post on twitter about being in Baltimore for ERRF2018. I make a bad crab joke, and don’t really think much about it, expecting it to be a big convention in Baltimore.

Yesterday morning, I actually look into the convention. It’s the inaugural East Coast Rep Rap Festival (You can visit their website here), and it’s being held at the community college that’s between where I live and my day job. And I somehow had off on my day job today. So I bought a ticket and headed down.

The convention was quite small – It fit into a sports arena, and only took up most of the space, but what I saw was great. There were a great many people there, from cosplay prop printers to big manufacturers and everything in between.

Some highlights:

  • Amie DD (Website) (Twitter) As mentioned above, she’s the whole reason I even found this convention. She does a lot of nerdery – Cosplay, LEGO, 3D printing, IoT, software development… I’d have to dedicate an entire article to capture everything.
  • GreyBeard3D (Website) (Twitter) This guy is doing an amazing thing – Acquiring as many filaments as he can and printing the same print with them, and documenting the results. Seriously, take a look at his website. It’s a great resource to see how specific filaments actually work and look, and he gives what settings he used too. Not just temperature, but retraction, speed, etc. An amazing resource, and it really needs to be out there more.
  • 3D Gloop! (Website) (Twitter) These guys have a really neat product. Not only does it glue things together, it does so extremely well. They had a demo piece that was holding two 25-pound weights up, no problem. Of special note is that they’re currently running a Kickstarter – And after talking to one of them for a while, I can tell they have their stuff together and as long as they get the money, they’ll have everything well in hand. They have contracts for production, have done some test runs, have labeling and packaging down, know how to ship it, so literally all that they need is the funding. And it’s not even that much.
  • Central Pennsylvania Open Source Conference (Website) (Twitter) The name is a good description. They’re a conference for Open Source things, and this year it’s on December 1st in Lancaster, PA. They’re looking for speakers, and they have a program to help out first time conference speakers, so if you’ve ever been interested in doing that, here’s your chance. They also had a nice “Open Source” activity in the shape of a Star Wars puzzle, where people could just walk up and put pieces together.
  • E-Nable (Website) These folks are some of the best people. They’re taking 3D printing and making prosthetics with them. From Captain America arms for kids to simple hands for adults, they’ve done everything. The change they can enact with a simple device – At a fraction of the cost of traditional ones – is amazing.
  • GekoTek Build Surfaces (Website) GekoTek has a different type of build surface than most, and I honestly couldn’t tell you precisely what it is (That’s why I linked their website). But the chat I had, and the examples they showed me, were really impressive. It’s super smooth, and quite grippy – One of the examples was a single layer of PETG – and they have two types. One for unheated build plates, and one for heated. What’s really cool about the one for heated build plates is that it’s adhesion is terrible at room temperature. So once the print is done and the bed cools down, it pops right off. Their claim is 100 prints or 6 months of use, but realistically it’s going to be more. The rep I was talking to said they got something like 200 prints out of one. They seem to work really well, and they have good adhesion but also a good release. Sometimes having good adhesion can be a bad thing if you can’t get the print off the bed.

I’m sure I’m missing tons of things. Prusia was there. BuildTak was there. OSHPark was there. There was a super tiny 3D printer there. It was great.


It wasn’t perfect. For a first year convention, it was Amazing but there are, of course, improvements.

First and foremost, there wasn’t much to keep me there for more than a few hours – Let alone come back for a second day. There was a single stage for talks, so if a talk wasn’t interesting, there was just a floor to walk. And while there were plenty of people, it’s not something you can just walk for the whole day. There was also an issue with the space – Being a sports arena, when the announcing system was made, it drowned out everything.

My thoughts, as an attendee, are pretty simple – There was extra room in the exhibitor hall. A bunch of it. Instead of having dead space, a smaller exhibitor area would be good, and using the extra spaces for another stage or two for talks would be great. Maybe even a few talks or panels where things are a little more interactive and fun. There was a 3D printed derby there, which was cool – Perhaps move it to the second day, and have some designers on hand to help kids design a derby car, and then have the printers right there to print it for the next day.

I will close out with a positive, though. I went to a 3D printing expo in New York City a few years ago, and it was a well put together and fancy one. I preferred this one, since it was less stuffy salesmen trying to sell you their stuff and more of a community thing of people doing cool stuff and wanting to show it off. So long as it comes back next year, so will I.

GitHub, GitHub, GitHub!

Hello again!

I remembered that this website is a thing and that I really should update it.

If you follow my personal account on Twitter (@AndonRT) then, between the bad puns, tech stuff, pride RTs, RTs of friends’ vendor stuff, and this really cool video on early mechanical targeting computers, you’ll have seen that I’ve done a serious amount of updating on the DigiBadge Mini GitHub Page. I’ll sum up everything here:

  • Flash memory storage is fully working! This means that even after hard power loss (Batteries removed and no external power source), the device will boot back to where you left it.
  • An update to the Arduino SD library makes hot-plugging SD cards possible! The device will automatically adjust for when the SD card is inserted and removed.
  • A menu system! Select exactly what you want, when you want it!
    • This also allows settings for both brightness and slideshow speed
  • More flags! The Agender and Nonbinary Pride flags have been added as well.

The most recent update, 1.2b, adds the last two flags and can be found here. It requires the Arduino IDE and the included libraries.

I am going to be adding a “DigiBadge Mini” page to the site, which will have detailed info on updating the firmware, how everything works, and pictures! This may take a bit, but it’ll be coming. Feel free to prod me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Discord to make it move faster.

Post-BABSCon Update

What, do you think I’d be original with my titles?

BABSCon did well, I sold a bunch of things, met a bunch of people, and didn’t have to yell at anyone. The weather was fantastic, especially compared to Maryland, and I had a great time with friends.

So. What’s next?

First up is that I have to continue working on re-chipping the badges. I didn’t get them all re-chipped before BABSCon, and there are a few with other issues as well. It seems that the hot air causes issues with the style of buttons I’m using, so I have to remove and replace those, too.

Beyond that, I have uploaded the code and PCB files to GitHub. You can find them here: – I’ll be updating this as I, well, update the code. The first order of business there is to get all the parts working, followed by getting the menu system implemented. Only after those are done will the work on the R2 PCB revision begin.

I will also be working on getting pictures of the Mini, the Mini Case, and the Arduineigh posted on appropriate pages. And, in general, I’m going to try and be better about posting things on here, as well.

Pre-BABSCON Update

I’m not dead, I swear! I just haven’t really been doing much of note. That, however, has changed.

First up, let’s talk conventions – Or, more specifically, BABSCON. A few days ago, BABS released their vendor hall layout. A few hours later, they updated it to correct a handful of mistakes in it. As I have mentioned many, many times before – Nothing is ever perfect the first time. I didn’t want to post immediately for this very reason. With some time having elapsed, however, things shouldn’t be changing now. So, here’s the map! I’ll be at H11, and Sophie (You should be familiar with her by now) will be at H10. Sophie and I will be covering each others’ booths when needed,

In preparation for BABS, I’m working on replacing the microcontrollers for the DigiBadges and otherwise preparing them. I accomplished the removal of the battery packs today, as the hot air just melts them and they’re a bit in the way even without that issue. On Wednesday I’ll be starting the next step, which is removing all of the ATMega328s in preparation for replacing them with ATMega328Ps. This whole issue is almost certainly the most annoying typo I have ever made. Once the 328Ps are on, I’ll be replacing the battery packs and then soldering on the screens.

I am also going to ask everyone who stops by my booth for a small courtesy. While I love hearing about electronics projects, gadgets, and the like, a convention’s vendor hall is not a good location for such conversations. Unless you’re going to buy something, don’t spend much time in front of anyone’s booth – Not only does this harm the sales of whoever it is you’re talking to by blocking others from viewing their booth, it causes traffic issues and can also cause issues with neighboring booths. If you want to talk, you can always find me on Discord (No convention necessary), and I’ll even be able to chat there while at the booth. And then you won’t be blocking anyone and causing a fuss.

See you in San Francisco!

The Online Shop has been Disabled

I’ll put it simply: Realistically, I do not have the time to run a web store.

Not, at least, to the quality and acceptability that is expected from such an online establishment. My day job is full time, and my work there often leaves me no time to visit a post office either before or after work. It’s also a physically active job, and I need to be able to spend some time and relax on my days off. I can’t spend that time worrying about rushing things out the door.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be putting up product pages for things that Phoenixborn makes, along with new pictures and updates on items. These pages will have prices, but the “ease” of an online storefront will not be available. I’ll be treating Phoenixborn like what it actually is: A manufacturer. I’ll be looking in to places that can be re-sellers, and when they become available I will add a re-sellers page with links to where you can easily purchase Phoenixborn items.

I also plan on selling at fewer conventions. 2017 was not a good year, and I ended up spending a huge chunk of money. Conventions are expensive, and Phoenixborn does not make the money needed to hop across the country on a regular basis. Going to any new convention is a big “Maybe” in the first place, and the costs associated with it are high, especially for electronics. As with online sales, I’m going to be looking into re-sellers (And some of them might even be the same!), and will ensure to communicate when and where things will be available.

If this sounds like a massive scaling back of Phoenixborn, that’s largely because it is. Last year I overcommitted myself and I’m still recovering from it. If Phoenixborn gets to a point where it’s making enough money to be self-sustaining, I might revisit these things. On the other hand, I may already have a bunch of resellers and not need to put up an online shop of my own.

For the time being, if you’re looking to purchase anything, send an e-mail to sales [at] – I’ll get back to you on cost, estimated time frame, and the like.

An Update on the Shop (And Other Things)

So, long story short: I didn’t get the pictures I wanted done in November.

Without going into too much complaining, my day job is in a bakery, and it’s the Holiday season. And everybody wants food around the holidays. I’ve been busy and/or exhausted and also a little bit of sick.

My new goal is to have the store revamped by the end of the first week of January. That’s when things slow down a bit, so I should be able to get the time between now and then and get things done.

Additionally, I bought a small 3D printer and have been using that quite a bit over the past few days, and I think I’ve done a decent job of the beginnings of a turret mechanism for the TankBot I’m working on. Take a look:

And last, but certainly not least: Sophie, who did our wonderful logo, is running a sale on prints. It goes from now until Sunday. Her stuff is great, and it is definitely my opinion that you should buy some:

Time for Plan B!

Shipping is expensive.

Or, more accurately, shipping a 7+kg box all the way to China is absurdly expensive, especially if you don’t have any sort of account. How expensive? Well, it’d be about $500. Just for shipping. And then there’s things like customs, and that doesn’t involve shipping anything back to me.

My primary reason for wanting to ship them was because I didn’t have the tools necessary to do the PCB Surgery. But rather than spending $500 on shipping, I can spend significantly less than that on a hot air reflow station.

I haven’t used it yet (It’s still sitting on my table in its box…), but I have the next two days off from my job and I intend to put them to good use. While I don’t expect to get to any of the re-soldering of the broked boards, I do have some other boards that I’ll be able to experiment on and get things down properly.

If you don’t hear back from me, I’ve probably managed to burn myself with this thing.

New Month, New Things – Introducing Bounties!

Greetings, everyone!

It’s a new month today, and while my ears and sinuses may still be infected after my trip to Texas, I can still type (As an aside: Nose sprays suck. Leave an AWFUL taste in the back of your throat. Will be happy to be full and alive again). So, you get this “Beginning of the month and what I plan to do” thing.

It’s something I just came up with, but whatever.

The general overview for the month is pretty simple:

  • Get the Web Store 100% up and running
  • Send DigiBadge Minis back for fixing.
  • Post bounties (See below for details)

That’s it. Three goals. Let’s go over them so you know what I’m talking about.

Web Store

For the Web Store, I basically need to take and update pictures of things. There are a few things I need to acquire beforehand, so the goal is to have everything working between mid-month and end-of-month. To be clear, I am making zero guarantees about stock – This is just getting everything functional so that when I have stock, it can be sold.

Once the Web Store is up and running, expect New Product posts to start popping up. I have a number of things in the works, but I will be rationing them out so I can spend time and make sure they’re working properly. My goal is to have 1-2 New Products Monthly so it will be a mid-month post of new things.

Fixing the DigiBadge Minis

So, for those of you that haven’t seen: The DigiBadge Minis are borked. In short, they had an ATMega328 put on them, when they should have had an ATMega328P. Not MUCH of a difference, except it makes them not work. The Non-P 328 has issues with not having a crystal – Many things I read said it simply wouldn’t work. Guess what? The DigiBadge Mini doesn’t have a crystal!

But wait! There’s more!

The biggest issue with them is the methodology which people used to set the fuses on them in the first place. They used “High-Voltage” Programmers which ran 12V through the chips. This is high enough that it forces the fuses to set how they want them to set, although there were still the mentioned issues with the crystals. This is great! Except it would fry the SPI flash that’s on the DigiBadge Minis.

So how am I fixing them? In short: I’m not! I’m going to send them back to the PCB house in China. There, they’ll pull the 328s off, put the 328Ps on, and also add on the LCD Screens. I had sourced those screens separately, as they couldn’t find them. Also, as I am sourcing the 328Ps, I’ll be able to put the bootloader on before sending them out. Programming 250 of them will be super tedious, but I’ll be able to weed out any bad ones while I’m at it.


So, you know what a bounty is, right? Someone asks you to do the thing, you do the thing, and they pay you for doing the thing. In this reference, the “Thing” is generally going to be coding. Because I, in general, don’t like it. I do have some stipulations on things I will bounty, and I will not take requests for bounties. I’m currently debating on allowing others to put up bounties on the bounty board, and how I would handle that, but at the moment it’s just Phoenixborn bounties.

How will bounties work? Well, here’s a handy dandy list:

  • Bounties will be posted on the Bounties Board (This page!), and mentioned in relevant blog posts.
  • Bounties will be for open-source only. They will be usable by everyone, for free, and while they may be inspired by specific hardware or software, they shouldn’t be limited to only that hardware.
  • Bounties will not be re-sold. IE, I won’t take the Bounty Hunter’s work, repackage it, and sell it as a Phoenixborn product. It may be used or modified to be used in a Phoenixborn product.
  • Bounties will not be limited to Phoenixborn code. I might put a bounty on an issue that’s open on an Adafruit code base, or even someone’s personal code base.
  • Bounties must be claimed. While I don’t expect a giant number of bounties (That’d be a lot of money!), I still won’t be keeping a super-active eye on them.
  • Bounties can only be claimed upon completion and verifying that all goals are met.
  • Bounties have specific requirements to be claimed. These will, of course, vary between bounties, and some may be optional (Perhaps for a higher payout). These requirements will be checked when a bounty is claimed
  • Bounty requirements can be changed at any time, including after a claim has been submitted.
  • Bounty claims can be rejected even if they technically fit all requirements. If the requirement is to display a BMP in 1 second on a 320×240 screen, and someone makes code that will work within the time frame on one image but on many others it takes 2 or 3 second or whatever, then it will be rejected. The spirit of the bounty matters.
  • Bounties may have expiration dates.

For more information, you can take a look at the Bounties page.

The current open bounties are:

  • Expanding the Adafruit CircuitPython RGB Library ($25-$40)
  • Build a CircuitPython JPEG Decoder ($50-$75)

Post-Nightmare Nights Wrap-Up

Nightmare Nights has come to an end, both for this year and for good. While it’s sad to see it go, and I only vended for two years, I’ve had some wonderful memories made in my short time here.

Last year was great, selling DigiBadges and being nerdy with people.

This year was also great, mostly because disaster was, for the most part, averted thanks to the power of wonderful people.

Having disaster strike due to a typo is…. annoying to say the least, especially when that disaster is a few thousand dollars worth of disaster. Compounding this is the fact that it was the second con in a row that things went wrong with.

That’s really annoying.

However, this convention went so much better than BronyCon. How? Well, for one, I actually had things to sell – more than a handful of Arduineigh boards.

Sophie Scruggs (Visit her website. Buy her stuff!) sent me a ton of prints that she had for me to sell, and MintShard (Who hangs out in Discord) sent me a bunch of Arduineigh boards and kits to sell. While, of course, they got their own share in the sales of their own products, between the two of them I was almost able to break even. While I won’t go into finances and exacts, it’s less money than I would have spent had I visited this con non-vending. That is, of course, conveniently leaving out the not-insignificant cost of the DigiBadge Mini mishap, but those will be saleable elsewhere once they’re fixed.

Speaking of which: The DigiBadge Minis can be fixed! But wait, there’s more!

I discussed the issues with the PCB house, and the solution is fantastic but time consuming. What’s going to happen is I will acquire the 328P microcontrollers (Instead of the 328 ones that are on there now), which I will then burn the proper fuses and bootloaders onto. Then I will package those, the problematic DigiBadge Minis, and the screens for the DigiBadge Minis, and ship them back to the PCB House. They will take care of replacing the microcontrollers, along with placing the screens onto the devices, and then send them back to me. It is time consuming, but it’ll be easier and quicker than trying to replace 250 microcontrollers myself. Additionally, I’ll be spared the frustration of putting the screens on myself.

And in further news, I’m discussing options with MintShard for licensing the Arduineighs. What does this mean? With Phoenixborn in charge of production, I can leverage the fact that I’m already having things produced that use some of the same components and save on purchase cost, while also making it easier for me to acquire whatever stock I may need. For MintShard, it means that he has more time to spend on other projects while I send him money for making/selling his stuff. We’re already working on a Neat Design for something new, but that’s Top Secret and we’ve only talked about some conceptual ideas for it as of yet.

The idea has also been brought up for Sophie to sell DigiBadges at conventions she goes to that Phoenixborn is not at, but again – That’s super early and I’m not going to give details that are likely to change and/or are irrelevant and not needed for you to know.

There have been stumbling blocks, but the future looks quite bright! I look forward to seeing what happens, and I hope to have many more bright things to share with you all.

If you want to chat with me, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Discord. Just give it a few hours, though, because it’s 1AM and I’m going to sleep.