Let's Make Robots!

SISTEMA SPUTNIK: Argentina´s own Picaxe Developer´s Site

Esteemed colleagues, members and friends,

It is with a great sense of acomplishment that I share with you my humble enterprise. I have just launched a website called Sistema Sputnik, that aims at teaching basic electronics to teenagers and grown ups who wish to take it up as a hobby. Picaxe Microcontrollers are at the heart of the system itself.

A little explanation is in order. This hobby -satisfying as it is- is very accesible to anyone in the US, Europe and Australia. Those countries have (mostly) english speaking citizens, dealers of hardware, Fedex (overnight) and affordable prices. Now, in the rest of the world, where those things are not the norm, eager kids have a hard time trying to buy components, trying to learn the hobby, and have their questions answered when they hit a wall.

In countries such as Argentina, it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy gadgets from abroad, mostly due to ever-tightening customs regulations aimed at protecting the local enterprise. Misplaced regulations mostly. Add to that that we have no real dealers locally, all methods of shipping take close to 15 days (if the products passes Customs, that is) and no prices in dollars or Euros are affordable for most of us.

The solution to these problems that I will try to provide is this: Purchase and import only the Picaxe chip from abroad, while I have my flag ship Protoboard produced locally. All passive components are purchased locally and I put everything together. That takes care of shipping, customs and high prices. The other side of it, that I believe is the most important, is offering lots and lots of FREE resources. I have spent most of the summer putting together interesting, attractive and easy to follow pdf documents explaining in plain Spanish how to accomplish different tasks with the hardware we manufacture and sell. Some of the documents tackle simple subjects (such as "¿Qué es un Picaxe?" ("What is a Picaxe?")). Some are more advanced ("Cómo Controlar un Servo con tu Proto18x" ("How to Control a Servo with your Protoboard"). You can also find videos (some will look familiar to people here) and code snippets.  

The prices are affordable for the local market and I am also giving lifetime warranty to everything we build.

Sistema Sputnik will aim to supply knowledge and hardware to the local community, hoping to make this hobby available to everyone and not just a select few.

Now that the introduction has been made, I feel I owe an apology to those of you who do not speak Spanish. You see, the site is only available in Spanish. However, those of you who wish to lend a hand can always give our Facebook Site a Like It nod.

Hope you enjoy the site. Wish me luck,


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It´s great to have such projects going on in these latitudes!

Many high schools can make a good use of such educational kits. And non-technological people with intention of automating things will find this kind of modular kits as a technology enabler. Local manuals, support and presence can become a huge differentiator.

Wish you the best with your new company!


Gracias por el apoyo, Rodrim! I gracias por el Me Gusta en Facebook. Asumo que fuiste vos!


Espero lograr llegar a esos niños con este humilde emprendimiento.

Tu dices que tu español esta mohoso, pero todo el comment está perfecto.

Te agradezco tu oferta de ayuda, y en la medida en la que surjan dudas, te la voy a aceptar. Muy amable.

Espero que tu salud este mejorando.

Saludos cordiales,


Gracias por tus deseos acerca de mi salud. He estado sintiéndome mejor, pero sólo el tiempo dirá.

(La peor parte de mi español es que yo no siempre recuerdo las palabras. He estudiado español en la escuela y el colegio, sino yo no tuve experiencia práctica.)

[ Por ejemplo, ahora, yo miro a la palabra, "tuve" y preguntome si he usado la palabra correcta. ja ja ja   --Pienso que sí.]

Tuve es la palabra correcta; Dan. (Thumbs up)

Lo se. Las conjugaciones de verbos en Español son una pesadilla. Sobre todo para angloparlantes. Imposible conseguir algo más sencillo que los verbos regulares e irregulares de Uds. No crees? :D

Eso es muy noble. Espero que los niños locales aprecien eso y se aprovechen de lo que tienes que ofrecer.

Mi idioma español está mohoso, porque yo no he hablado lo en las décadas desde el colegio. No obstante, si tienes algunas preguntas técnicas de la electrónica con que puedo ayudar, sólo me digas. Trataré de contestar los así como posible. 

Well, you are going a good way to help people in your country. Did you check all the customs regulations? Sometimes there are tiny holes in it...for example you may "import" components and occupy your boards by yourself and this way paying less tax than "importing" the whole board. Lifetime warranty...wow that's a big responsbility.

Flash websites...no offence, but I hate them ;-)Besides what Ro-Bot-X mentioned it's not good for the google search since flash content is not recognized as text by the crawlers. If it's not too much trouble then just change everything to plain HTML.


Thanks for taking an interest.

To be honest I have not read the small print on Customs Regulations. But corrupt as the system is, I don´t see myself being able to find anything useful. Besides, I believe that those are compiled in many books the size of phonebooks.

As for Flash sites... I am beginning to see why you hate them. I wish I had known all this when I commisioned the site. At the time, Flash looked like a good idea and something that could be a lot more attractive than HTML. I will migrate to an all HTML site... eventually. Now I need to focus my time and money on other things. I can´t afford to migrate now ,sadly.

In any event, thanks a lot for your feedback. Take care,


I understand. The website is doing it's job by now. You can change it later. Moitre important is to focus your goal. But with the website in better rankings you could get more people finding you. Still, please don't get bothered, i know that you have to set priorities ;-)