Sparklet All-In-One

A fully assembled, battery powered, animation device ready to go!

The Sparklet All-In-One device let you get straight to the animation and scenario creation aspects of your ideas without having to get a soldering iron out, nor figuring out the multitude of avenues such as selection of processor module, storage, power delivery, battery and enclosure aspects. Using the Microsoft Expressive Pixels firmware reference design, it is immediately compatible with the Expressive Pixels animation authoring application. Furthermore, the Sparklet All-In-One has been designed with adaptation and expansion in mind, so additional capabilities can be added to it by creating your own expansion modules.


Why Round

When you look at the majority of emojis, characters and symbols, they typically don’t fill corners, so we thought lets eliminate the corners and use those pixels to create more usable resolution. Generally 16×16 resolution is sufficient enough for visuals to be recognizable, anything less and they look pixel smashed, so with this round display there is an effective 18×18 resolution which enhances that minimum resolution further. Plus round feels so good in the hand!


LED Components

 This display uses 256 of the latest 2x2mm WS2812B-2020 compatible color RGB LEDs, consuming 50% less power and generating 50% less heat than previous components. This translates into longer running times from your battery powered designs.

 

Nordic NRF52840 Processor

32-bit ARM® Cortex-M4 @ 64mHz, 1MB Flash, 256KB RAM, Bluetooth 5, native USB 2.0. Plenty of power to extend and create advanced systems, with great connectivity flexibility whether it be Bluetooth, radio or over USB.

 

Integrated Flash Storage

The on-board flash storage chip lets you store dozens of animations that you can play in an instant

 

Intelligent Power Management

The Sparklet All-In-One contains a 1000 mAh rechargeable battery good for continuous animation display for over 3 hours. With intelligent power management intermittent display can be extended by that time On vs Off.

 

Protection

RGB LEDs can consume a huge amount of power so this display incorporates an automatic fuse to protect the display itself and your power supply, fortunately the human eye perceives light on a logarithmic scale so for the majority of scenarios you won’t need to drive the display using any more than 500mA.

 

Programmable

The Sparklet can be programmed using the Nordic SDK, Arduino, or MakeCode (coming soon)

 

Expansion Capabilities

The Sparklet motherboard exposes all the GPIO pins you could possibly want, supporting your own expansion module creation via tidy castellated modules. The system can also be powered by an external 5V power supply such as powering over MIDI cable or larger system’s power supply.

 

Open Source

The Sparklet design is fully open sourced

Frequently Asked Questions

The Sparklet is charged using a micro USB cable, it can be plugged into both a laptop and also the typical wall charger. When the device is charging the orange charge light glows, when fully charged the green done light turns on.

The Sparklet is preloaded with a bootloader that supports the UF2 firmware file format. This allows easy re-flashing of the device by simply using the USB cable and Windows File Explorer. Here are the steps:  
  • Download the latest version of the Sparklet Firmware from our GitHub site and save to a local file folder.
  • Connect the Sparklet using the supplied USB data cable to your PC.
  • Connect to the Sparklet from the Microsoft Expressive Pixels application, then select the ‘Start Firmware Update’ button.
or
  • Using a paper click, rapidly double click the right hand side Reset button on the back of the Sparklet

  • A new drive letter will appear in Windows File Explorer
  • In Windows File Explorer drag and drop the UF2 firmware file onto the Sparklet Drive letter.
  • Once the file has copied the Sparklet will restart itself with the latest version of firmware.
The Sparklet automatically puts itself to sleep when disconnected, it is still listening for a Bluetooth connection or when it is plugged in using USB so it can wake up when requested. The batteries will last well over a year in this sleeping state.
 
If you want to truly turn the processor off such as when you want to ship it:
  • Using the Microsoft Expressive Pixels application connect to the Sparklet using Bluetooth only.
  • Open the Developer Console view, and type in DEEPSLEEP followed by the Return key. The blue power module light will turn off and the system will be powered down.
  • The system can only be woken up if it is plugged into a USB power source, or the Reset button is pressed.
The Sparklet device has several safeguards to prevent itself from becoming unresponsive such as a Watchdog timer.
  • If connecting with a PC sometimes a pending Windows update prevents connections from being made to it, so a Windows reboot is required.
  • Ensure the device’s battery has been charged
  • Using a paper click, press the right hand side Reset button on the back of the device.

The Sparklet can be completely restored to a blank state by keeping the left hand side Feature button down while the right hand side reset button is pressed. This will erase the Flash Storage chip.

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