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Build and Program a Firefly

This month it's back to soldering and programming with the Firefly from Solarbotics.

The Firefly is a neat 3-LED device that can be soldered in about 15-30 minutes.  It has an ATTiny85 that contains several blinking modes.

The first part of the workshop will consist of assembling your Firefly.

Afterwards, you can optionally learn how to program it using an Arduino as the programmer, or build a second Firefly for an art project to be displayed at the Lake Merritt Gardens Autumn Light Festival.


solarbotics firefly lit up.

The cost of the Firefly kit is $15.  If you have them, bring an Arduino and and FTDI converter so we can set up the programmer for you.  Otherwise, we've got a setup we can share.

If you want to help make additional Fireflies, Michael Schrecker and Anca are looking for help assembling about 45 kits for an interactive light sculpture project to be displayed in the Lake Merritt Gardens (and at Tech Liminal later).

We'll start with a show and tell, so bring your project.


A fun-for-all-ages event, Children under 14 need to be accompanied by an adult.

See you soon!
- The Make:SF Team


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  • Irving C.

    this project proved to be a big success in a small package, plus after building it you get to reprogram it or hack it and connect it to other creation...

    October 5, 2012

  • Malcolm K.

    For those of you who what to program the Firefly you will need an Arduino and you will need to make an adapter cable between the Arduino and the 6-pin header. Use the following connections Pin 1 (marked with a small 1) to Arduino Pin 12 (or MISO of another programmer)
    Pin 2 to Arduino VCC
    Pin 3 to Arduino Pin 13 (or SCK of another programmer)
    Pin 4 to Arduino Pin 11 (or MOSI of another programmer)
    Pin 5 to Arduino Pin 10 (or RESET of another programmer)
    Pin 6 to Arduino GND

    There is more information on page 9 of the Firefly tutorial

    and here for the very low level information

    If you have any questions let us know and we will help you out!

    October 3, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was super fun!

    October 3, 2012

  • Make:SF F.

    Absolutely! We gear most of our workshops to people who are just getting started.

    September 27, 2012

  • Rachel K.

    If I've never done programming before and dont own an arduino can I still do this?

    September 27, 2012

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