I would definitely avoid the Sparkfun module, it's a piece of filth.
Filmie, is this the sort of thing you're after? If so, you can have my code under the Beerware licence ;-) Although I think Crossroads is probably doing things in a similar way to me, regarding timekeeping variables etc.
It'd be a good idea to research the difference between linear and switched-mode power supplies, and familiarise yourself with the basic "blocks" of each. Components from one cannot easily be repurposed for building the other.
And I don't know about you guys, but it looks pretty awesome to me! Anyone else planning on getting one? I thought it'd make an ideal platform for sample-based synthesizer projects, and being able to use the Arduino IDE means less of a steep learning curve. I only wish they'd put M3 mounting holes on the bastards ;-) Any thoughts or opinions on the hardware / reasons not to bother with it?
Package just means the "shape" of the component, e.g. whether it's designed to be mounted through-hole (as you would on a breadboard for example) or surface-mounted.
Speed is exactly that - how fast the clock oscillator can run (which affects how quickly the '85 can execute instructions and perform other tasks).
For example, I have the ATtiny85-20PU. They are 8-pin DIP and will run up to 20MHz, although in my setup I usually have them running at 8Mhz as it's more than enough for my applications. If in doubt, those are probably the ones you want for prototyping with!
Sounds like the sort of thing that could be done without an Arduino! Would probably be a lot easier without one as well. Essentially you're making a "clapper" circuit, but instead of going from sound to light, you're going the other way around.
Try using your LDR/voltage divider input with a comparator IC like the LM311. Experiment until you get the right reference voltage for it to respond to your flash. You may need a peak detector on the output to hold it for a little while... camera flashes are pretty quick!
Use the output from the comparator as the trigger for an oscillator circuit built around a 555 timer or whatever you have lying around that'll do the job. A square wave of a couple of khz will drive a little piezo buzzer quite happily.
If you're just starting out, go for the cheaper option. It'll be quite some time until you out-grow it and by then you'll be able to justify the cost of the big daddy kits.
I know it's not quite the same thing (although I think the same rules apply!), when I wanted to get started with microcontrollers, I nearly went straight ahead and bought the STK500 and all the crap to go with it. But that was quite a lot of cash. So I thought "hang on... there's a good chance I might suck so bad at this I'll get bored and pissed off and never use it again"... so I got a £20 arduino board instead
You'll be learning the same principles on the cheaper kit anyway!
You might be able to knock something together yourself! The Arduino environment has an SPI and I2C library you can use to communicate with the device. Learn how to use this and you're set for life, and can work with pretty much any module communicating over those interfaces.
Read and re-read the datasheet for that module. That'll tell you everything you need to know about which registers to write to (to set up the device) and read from (to get your data). Using plenty of #defines to give the register numbers meaningful and memorable names might make things easier to write.
Even if things don't work first time you stand to learn a lot more than if someone had just given you the code.
By the way... I could be wrong here but there's no reason that example code shouldn't work with Arduino as it is. Providing you happened to have a board set up to run at 8MHz.
EDIT: I apologise for the video quality :p I have a much better phone these days.
I did a few "fake IED" prop things for airsoft and paintball games, but went over to 7-segment based displays as they're just easier and make for an ever-so-slightly more realistic counter-terrorist sim game. They're so cheap and simple you could stash loads of them all over the site and make it a real challenge to track down and defuse them all within the game time limit!
Have some code - I don't make them like this any more so feel free to do what you want with it (except make an ACTUAL bomb, of course). It's not the best bit of programming in the world but as you can see, it does work.
// Countdown Timer Version 1 // By BulletMagnet83 // For ATmega328 & Arduino
I use the LM2940 regulator on pretty much everything, but then all my stuff is 5V, 16MHz, so it makes sense for me to do that. If you had a 3.3V 8MHz setup then a single lipo/no reg solution would probably be ok just like Crossroads said.
I like using them because it also gives me inbuilt reverse battery cockup and short-circuit protection, and given I have been known, on occasion, to do some monumentally stupid things it's nice to have a bit of a safety-net
And if it was me, I'd use the CAT4016 chip to drive common anode ones. If you want to drive them directly from the arduino there's no reason you can't (as long as you follow a few simple rules so you don't burn out your I/O pins). Try googling for "7 segment common anode arduino" and see what it throws up.
Given their low cost I'd really REALLY consider using an LDO regulator when running from batteries. I wouldn't feel comfortable feeding any microcontroller-based project from an unregulated supply, even from batteries. It doesn't really add much complexity to the circuit