New Product Friday


I just want to warn everyone right away before you discover it for yourself, we don’t have a product video this week. Instead, we have a demonstration video for a past product. Here it is - an assembly video for the Qtechknow ArduSensor Learning Kit.

We are working on a cool new demonstration of the Muscle Sensor v3 Kit since it’s back in stock! We’ll be posting that video in the coming days!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s check out the new products for this week.

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First up, we have yet another fingerprint scanner. What makes the GT-511C1 different from the C3 is that it stores less fingerprints into its memory (only 20, versus 200 for the C3). However, this saves you some money. So if you don’t need to store as many fingerprints, check out the cheaper C1. Other than the fingerprint storage, they’re the same unit. Check out the video demonstration of how it works!

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A couple weeks ago we had some new LiPo battery packs that sported some deans connectors. This week, we have those mating connectors to make your life easy. Here at SparkFun, making your life easier is one of our top priorities. Deans connectors are commonly found in RC cars and such. It’s nearly impossible to reverse the polarity with them, and they can handle a lot of current.

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We’ve got a new version of the Danger Shield out this week. The new version cleans up some of the issues of the last one and just generally gets tweaked for extra danger. If you’re not familiar with the shield, it’s just a bunch of buttons, LEDs and such packed onto an Arduino shield. You can use it for just about anything, but it’s a great way to learn how inputs and outputs work with Arduino.

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If you’re not into danger, our new Intermediate Tool Kit is right up your well-lit alley. The new version now includes SparkFun safety glasses so you can save your eyeballs from splattering solder and clipped leads that travel at twice the speed of sound. They can also double as horrible sunglasses. For a limited time, we have some of the old kit on sale.

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And lastly, to commemorate, celebrate, and support our national tour, we have t-shirts. They come in popular sizes such as ‘large’, ‘small’, and even ‘youth large’. If you’re going somewhere, and don’t want to be topless, these shirts would be perfect for that. Depending on their size, they cover a generous portion of your torso.

That’s all folks! We’re already working on the new stuff for next week, so as always, check back next Friday for more new products. Thanks for reading and see you then!


Comments 54 comments

  • Gosh, what is it with everybody? Is it getting annoyed at SFE day? It’s Friday.

    • I suppose we are approaching a major celestial event, and it’s been kind of hot out lately in this part of the Northern Hemisphere…

    • I do think its funny that a certain upset commenter does not have a single upvote on any of his (excessively) many comments, yet every counter comment has several upvotes. I’m glad to see that a troll has a hard time standing up to the Spark Fun community!

    • Its the video. The boring plain white background and well planned camera work make it seem like just another instructional video put out by some boring company to sell products. Also on that note, many of the more recent posts are not very interesting and at some points include execubabble.

      However I do understand that it isn’t always easy it live up to the high expectations of some customers even though you do try very hard to do so.

      • Speaking of the video background, is that really plain white or is it a demonstration of your new invisible sparkfun boxes?

        • new invisible sparkfun boxes?

          Keep it under your hat, will you? We weren’t going to let on for a while yet…

  • Gooooshhh!! There´s a big bad troll on this page that picked the day to annoy people. My father always taught me “if you don´t have something nice or useful to say, keep it to yourself and walk away”. Sparkfun employees are WAY too polite and patient! You guys are pioneers in a few things, and work hard to keep the community evolving. People seem to be unable to realize how hard it is to add “a dozen” new products every week. How many companies do you know that can do that??

    Someone just HAS to say: DUDE!!! If you don´t like it here, you can just leave and go praise that other “place” you love so much. Jeez.. it´s like picking on Tom Cruise because he´s not Brad Pitt !!! Leave the dude alone if you don´t like him. It´s a matter of preference! (i prefer that girl from “transformers” , by the way lol )

    • Along the “dozen new products a week” lines, here’s something for the readers to ruminate upon:

      I’m one of three active product development engineers (at the moment; we’re trying to bring it back up to five). We’ve got maybe a half-dozen other people who contribute an average of two products per year, but the dev engineers (like me) put out more like ten or so.

      If I had to guess, I’d say an average product takes between 60 and 100 hours of work, spread out over four to eight months.

      Right now, I have 16 products that are in one stage of development or another. That’s not including revisions, content (tutorials, blog posts, etc), collaborations, travel, and any other weird stuff that comes across my plate. The other engineers are similarly booked.

  • @jakkjakk:
    To paraphrase Scoop Nisker - That’s the Friday new product news and if you don’t like it, go out and make some of your own.

  • Haha, this troll…member since 2010. How cute. Try 2006, when there was no such thing as a New Product Friday. I have watched this company grow over the past 7-8 years and the future still looks bright. I think they know what they are doing…some armchair businessman from Random Internet thinks he/she has all the answers, LOL.

  • your little warning that it was a demo video isn’t so helpful for those of us who just skip to the video. (but it’s okay, i forgive you)

  • I don’t care what the video is as long as it involves electronics and Rob. :)

  • Tech Support personnel model your shirts? (Assuming i’m not mistaken on who that is, and they haven’t changed departments). Sounds like the general purpose definition of “tech support” we have at my company :-)

    • No one is safe from Juan’s (our photographer) camera lens. :P Yes, as Michelle has pointed out I am no longer in Tech support, but on random days I will still get shot with nerf darts. hehe

      • It should be pointed out that like a lot of the people at SparkFun, hello_techie is multi- and uber-talented, and was not only great at helping customers in tech support, she is currently creating amazing artwork for us in the marketing department. She will likely be running this company at some point, which is why I say nice things about her.

      • Awesome, congratulations. I recently made a similar move (Help Desk -> Sys Admin), and have a similar standing with the old team (rubber bands instead of Nerf darts). Fun stuff.

        I mention the “general purpose definition” thing because our Help Desk was always called for stuff that wasn’t remotely within the standard spectrum of responsibilities, I thought it would be funny if Sparkfun was the same way (and maybe it is anyway).

        • Congrats to you too! ooooo rubber bands… with some speed I could imagine some red marks or at the very least entanglement in everything. The nerf darts started innocently for a couple departments, but then went to modded nerf guns to well..a.. nerf gun made by one of our, Sys Admin/dev-Nick, powered by somewhat controlled explosions. (Injecting propane and oxygen into a high pressure chamber) Which I believe Dave Stillman got shot with one time. :)

          • The problem with Nick’s entry in that whole thing was that it tended to disintegrate the darts.

            • I started to become slightly wary of firing it when it became deafening, but with tweaking on the injection period and faster solenoids, I’m sure it’d be possible to fire them just below their disintegration velocity.

    • Yes, that is Pam, and she did work in Tech Support, she has moved on to our Marketing and T-shirt modeling department. But we here in Tech Support still miss her!

  • They should also remove the products that have been there over a month. 45 pages of new products? get real. If we’re smart enough to build electronic projects then we’re smart enough to know that you do not have 45 pages of new products. That’s false advertising!

    False Advertising… Spark Fun? Really?!?!?! The world is ending…. Someone check to make sure gravity is still 9.8m/s2!

    • The newest products are always at the head of the list, and we leave the complete list up so that if you want to find a product that was released a few months back you can easily get to it (I do this all the time). If this is causing the world to end, sorry everyone, get your last orders in.

      • You know Microsoft released Windows 1.0 probably about 30 years ago… I didn’t bother to look but does sparkfun have products that are say two years old that are still on the new products list? Tell me I’m wrong, but seeing that the list is 45 pages long… I doubt I am… False Advertising.

        Come on Spark Fun.. Don’t lose your edge because I would hate to have Spark Fun become Spark Boring, or Spark Annoying.or Spark Ouch or Spark Rip Off… You know your name is really easy to make fun of….. So come on Spark Fun Get it together you can do it GO GO GO!!!

        • You know Microsoft released Windows 1.0 probably about 30 years ago… I didn’t bother to look but does sparkfun have products that are say two years old that are still on the new products list? Tell me I’m wrong, but seeing that the list is 45 pages long… I doubt I am… False Advertising.

          Ok, so here is how the New Products are retrieved, for the curious:

          /**
           * Get live-ish "new products".
           *
           * Doesn't currently take into account half the stuff that findAllLive()
           * does, could be much improved. See above comments on staffPicksFinder().
           */
          public static function newProductsFinder ()
          { 
            return static::finder()
              ->with('StorefrontProductDescription')
              ->with('Part')
              ->withOn('PartsStatus', 'Part')
              ->where('displayable_on_commerce')->eq(DB::True())
              ->where('products_status')->eq(DB::True())
              ->orderBy('products_date_available', 'DESC');
          }
          

          We used to have a human-managed boolean that said “this thing is a new product”. Unsurprisingly, it got out of date. We decided to just reverse-order by the date something went live and stop worrying about it.

          It could probably be called “Products Ordered by Date Published, Descending”, but that’s not very catchy, is it?

          • I don’t see a time condition in that procedure. So that means that it’s not new products. It’s just listing products by date and most recent gets listed first!!! Code Review Fail!

            Because I like sparkfun and I want sparkfun to succeed I’m going to forget that you’re lying to me.. That goes against my better judgement, because my Ex wife lied to me and you can see how that went… Let’s kiss and make up.

            I would like to request that spark fun make it so that the new product listing only contains the products that have been on spark fun for say two months or so. I would also like to see Spark Fun create a sixth category that lists all the spark fun products by date with the newest products at the top of that listing. Please.

            Spark Liar, I’m sorry you’re going to have to eat that one because it’s true. I’ll take it back when you fix it.

            • Ok, we’re giving you a timeout on any new comments. The trolling - and this is unambiguously troll behavior - isn’t ok and we’ve already spent enough effort on this. If you need to talk about it further, you’re welcome to contact me (my username at sparkfun.com) or use the feedback form at the bottom right of the page.

              Errybody can chill out now.

            • He never claimed there was a time restriction.

              We decided to just reverse-order by the date something went live and stop worrying about it. It could probably be called “Products Ordered by Date Published, Descending”, but that’s not very catchy, is it?

            • I don’t see a time condition in that procedure. So that means that it’s not new products. It’s just listing products by date and most recent gets listed first!!! Code Review Fail! … I’m going to forget that you’re lying to me.. Let’s kiss and make up.

              Seriously? Brennen did just say, out in the open, that’s exactly how we make that list, and more importantly why.

              I’m done here. Don’t read the comments.

  • I’ve noticed a couple of times too you guys have promised a video and never followed up on it.

    Also, for everyone else, don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the new products are always posted in the New Products section on the top-right of the homepage well before the post even goes up. So you should know ahead of time what you’re in for before the post even goes live.

  • No adult large tee shirt?

  • Cough someone’s slacking off…I look forward to every new product video ever week actually. I also like the demo video’s but a basic video on how to solder… come on… Please…. Give me a break.. you had all week! Four Items! Really? SLACKERS!

    I also think soldering through hole parts is a little below you Robert. I would of expected like Dave or someone doing it. Now surface mount parts would be interesting.

    Now that you got me ranting and raving one other thing. The amount of new products has always seemed light to me.. Spark Fun is a 30 Million dollar company and every week there’s only like five new products… Why is that? Come on Nate live a little and get some more interesting stuff. I’d like to see ten every week. Plus demo video.. You’re a 30 million dollar company.

    Adafruit has shown up on slashdot twice in the past two weeks. Once for their Tor Raspberry Pi project and the citi helmet project. You’re getting beat by a chick with Pink Hair!! Come on.. You guys are better.

    You run one of the only AVC competitions in the world and a girl with Pink Hair gets on slashdot more than you guys… Please…

    What’s next? Adafruit puts out a project DIY project that puts a rover on the moon?

    • Adafruit has shown up on slashdot twice in the past two weeks. Once for their Tor Raspberry Pi project and the citi helmet project. You’re getting beat by a chick with Pink Hair!! Come on.. You guys are better.

      This, and the tone of the rest of your comments in this thread, are kinda over the line. Read the comment guidelines if you haven’t. If you can’t come correct and respect the rest of this community, be they the people who work here or the people who we compete with, then you can stop commenting here.

      • First lets make one thing clear. I was not making fun of Ada Fruits Pink Hair. I like her Hair and her business is going well so it seems to be helping her. So more pink hair the better.

        I want both ada fruit and spark fun to do well, but I would like to see spark fun do a little better. Don’t let the pink hair fool slow you down!

    • If you think getting beat by a chick with pink hair is something we should be ashamed of, I’m afraid you’ve got us all wrong. We hold chicks with pink hair in very high esteem at SparkFun - employees (we have at least two who fit that description), competitors or otherwise. If Adafruit puts a rover on the moon it’ll be because they worked hard for it, just as we work hard on our projects and products, and we’ll give them a hearty round of applause, toast them at beer thirty, and build on their tutorial to make one of our own (with lasers). We’re all equals here.

      • I’m just saying that I think sparkfun is slipping and if you like Adafruit so much then I guess I’ll just go buy all my parts from them. Then Chelsea the Destroyer will become Chelsea the Destroyed. Nate can sell his company and retire at 30 to someplace like Aurba or something.

        But I don’t want that, and I don’t think you want that and I’m pretty sure Nate isn’t ready to retire yet either! So come on… Stop slackin off and go go go!! You can do it!

        • Thank you for your feedback. Maybe it is weird to see a company be supportive to another company. (Thinking of Apple and Microsoft…coke and pepsi..so on that are known to not be as supportive) However, thats who we are. SparkFun doesn’t need to knock other companies down. Chelsea the Destroyer will never become Chelsea the Destroyed, because we are part of the DIY fun loving- supportive community and well it is a huge reason why I love working here.

          Edit: Hey jakkjakk! I definitely don’t want you to feel like I was saying you were wrong on anything. I was only commenting lightheartedly on how this community is a cool one where we can support each other, which sometimes you don’t always see a lot. (Specially in the media. Companies tend to be suing each other and so on) Thanks again for your feedback and your not alone in getting excited about product videos each week! Each Thursday I tend to stare at the site to see what products are being posted, so I can use in my next projects too. Hoping for some more lasers in the future :)

          • You didn’t just tell me I’m wrong and you work for spark fun. Spark Fun know’s that the customer is always right and Spark Fun can take constructive criticism. I went a little to far with the “Chelsea the Destroyed” comment, but that name was too fun to not make fun of and I couldn’t resist. Sorry.

            My whole point is I want a better product post, I want good demo video’s and I want to read about spark fun on slashdot and other major media sites.

            • There was another good article on Slashdot this week “KWin Maintainer: Fanboys and Trolls Are the Cancer Killing Free Software”. Might apply to Open Hardware too…

              • For those who don’t want to use Google, here is the link.

                I read the guy’s article. Very well written and everything that jakkjakk exhibits is really what he talks about. Quite interesting. I recommend everyone read the blog post WITH AN OPEN MIND so they can truly learn something from someone with EXPERIENCE.

    • You have to remember that both RobertC and Greggor (and definitely Dave) have other roles in the company apart from making Friday New Product Post Videos. Last week’s post was excellent. “Four Items? Really?……Live a little” For a week? That is impressive. Remember: the product has to first be found, then negotiated on, shipped, tested, added to the inventory, a description has to be written, (incredibly good) pictures taken, and then for the video, a demo has to be made, and so on. It’s not a simple process! Adafruit is more popular, yes, but one must remember that SFE is trying quite hard, I’m sure, to get more publicity, and their popularity will only spike from here due to all the projects they undertake (think Tour, AVC, etc.). Please, don’t diss the Spark.

      • Sparkfun makes it look easy, and we take it for granted. Humans are funny that way. The incredibly good product pictures really are incredibly good, by the way, and much appreciated.

        Maybe there needs to be a vote to see if Adafruit or Sparkfun is really the most popular. Adafruit has some products that Sparkfun doesn’t, but the Sparkfun site functionality, products, and and company values win my vote.

      • The new Product Post is a staple at Spark Fun. It’s the reason why I come here every Friday and I anticipate every new Friday product because I laugh and I think it’s really cool! Think about that statement for a minute. If there’s one person is screaming then that means many people are screaming. I’m so annoyed.

        It is a money maker for Spark Fun and it is the main reason I follow Spark Fun on a daily basis. It also gives me a really good idea of what something actually does and looks like. Which is a major problem in the electronics field. If you guys are putting the New Product Post below something else then you have your priorities messed up. If the new product post has less than 10k investment a week then I would say it’s too low. It should be upwards of like 30k.

        I know doing that finding new products is hard, but SFE has been doing it for so long you’d think they’d have a process for it and get pretty good at it. They used to be pretty good at it, but now they’re slacking off. Plus, they are building a building? Your telling me a company who can build a building can’t build a few more widgets per week now? Sorry, NO SALE!!!! Give me a break!! Hire some more help or something!!

        AVC was cool. Think Tour? Please… Go around the country teach kids and educators about basic electronics which they could get at any local community college and promote sparkfun while doing it… please…..

        I expect better and I know spark fun can do it!!!

        • Spending upwards of 500,000 dollars a year for a “voluntary” service would be bad business practice. “If you guys are putting the New Product Post below something else then you have your priorities messed up” I agree. Running the company is certainly less important. Nate should perhaps become a full time vlogger, blogging about the current state of his products.

          I could see perhaps some improvements to the Tour, but it is highly remarkable that a company worth only 30 million would do such a thing, whereas other companies, such as Apple or Samsung, worth billions, do nothing.

          (sorry Admins. Starting to really turn on the Snark. I should stop.)

          • New Product Video’s is Advertising SparkFun Products and it is not uncommon for products advertising budgets to exceed their development budget. If they did a demo every week then just in terms off odds each week that demo could turn up on slashdot or engadget or wired or some other high traffic tech site. Think of all the traffic that would generate for sparkfun.

            • I would go so far as to assume the chances for a demo (unless it was of some new AI development kit) to land on, say, Wired, would be comparable to the chances of an ebay seller’s new tablet case drawing an audience in The Globe. They just have no relation.

    • Biblical references aside, great things take longer than a week. Every one of these products represents months of work, and sometimes a bunch of things line up on the same Friday, sometimes not. But trust me, we’ve got stuff in the works that will melt your face off. (right Dave?) Stay tuned!

      • “stuff in the works that will melt your face off” You mean a 100W CO2 laser ?, a high power microwave emitter ? Extra strength Nair ? I will hold you to your promise… On a side note - wish you had the lower memory fingerprint reader available last week, would’ve made it in my very first SF order.

      • The last thing I saw that was cool was the rover demo’s and the speaker scare box.. That was cool

        • How about Nate getting Dunked at AVC? How about all the Enginursday posts? The HAB launch by Dave? How about the time when RFIDs were used to open a garage door by bonking your helmet on it? Engineering Round-tables? I think you should likely flip through the “News” index - insofar as I’ve seen, there have been tons of new and fun content. Again, SFE is working hard to decrease world-suck with complete transparency and a totally open-source mantra.

          • You know I did think the reuse lath cooling oil was good, but still sub par than what ada fruit is doing. I do like According to Pete those are really good. Never was really interested in the Engineering Round Tables… Just not interesting or fun enough for me I guess… It’s been awhile since I’ve seen something from Spark Fun that I thought was outstanding and went above and beyond.. The old phone into cell phone hack and large game controller was really cool. and the clock was really cool.

            • Tutorials?

              • eh don’t read them. Know what I think is missing a good tutorial on how to build a 3D printer. Or a 3D printer kit or something like that… Seems like spark fun missed the boat on that one..


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