New Product Friday: Ready, Aim, Fire!

Servos, a touch screen LCD, and more! Check out what's new for this week.

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Before we get started with our new product post (and it's a good one this week, folks), we wanted to make a quick announcement - next week, starting at 12:01:01 a.m. (MT) on Monday, July 15th until Friday, July 19th at 11:59:59 p.m (MT)., SparkFun will be offering free economy shipping on orders over $60 (before taxes).

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This applies to both domestic and international orders - when you check out, if your order is over $60, simply select the shipping method that says "Free" next to it. Sorry distributors - we love you guys, but this offer doesn't apply to you. Enjoy!

This week is a good one for new products at SparkFun. We have a few really cool new products and a neat project if you check out the video.



We will be using the money the Nerf Atrium Defense System generates to buy more darts and improve it over time. Expect to see it popping up in future videos. If you are ever in the area, let us know and sign up for a tour, you might get to shoot some of us.

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Anyone that's a robotics enthusiast might be excited to hear that we're now carrying Hitec brand servos. For now, we're carrying 5 different models, but plan to add more, based on sales and customer feedback. So if there's one you'd like to see us carry, say so in the comments!

We started out with a selection of various sizes and price points. The one you see above is the biggest servo we carry, the HS-805BB. This beast has roughly 300 oz-in of torque, dual ball bearings, and a 180-degree rotation. If you need a servo for something big and heavy, this might be perfect for you.

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Don't quite need that much power or torque? Check out the HS-625MG. This one is a standard size servo with up to 94 oz-in of torque at 6V. It's not as powerful as the HS-805BB, but it's got dual ball bearings in addition to metal gears. This is a great general servo where you need a bit more oomph and metal gears.

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If you don't need much power, but just want a good standard size servo, check out the HS-425BB. It retains the dual ball bearings, but steps down the torque to 57 oz-in, and loses the metal gears for nylon instead. This cuts down the price pretty significantly for a VERY affordable motor.

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Sometimes you don't need anything fancy, you just need a good reliable motor. Well, the HS-422 is exactly that. It's a standard size servo with about 57 oz-in of torque (at 6V). To save cost, it has nylon gears and a bronze (oilite) bushing instead of ball bearings. For $10, it's a great servo and one of the most popular ones from Hitec.

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The HS-85MG is the last new servo we have from Hitec. This little guy is in the 'micro' size class but still has 49 oz-in of torque, which is pretty impressive. It also has full metal gears in addition to ball bearings. If space is a consideration requires a small servo, but you still need quality, check out the HS-85MG.

That does it for our new servo motors. As I said above, if you have any suggestions for others you'd like to see us carry, please let me know below in the comments.

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Earth LCD has created a new LCD/Arduino combination board that should make creating graphical interfaces easier for you. The arLCD combines a 3.5" touchscreen LCD with an Arduino development board. With the provided Arduino library, it makes it a lot easier to create a custom graphical interface without a ton of code. Check the video above for a quick demonstration.

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An LED matrix isn't necessarily difficult to use, but it can be a bit cumbersome. Just the number of connections can be annoying if you're using one with a breadboard. The LED Matrix Kit makes it really easy to use a 8x8 LCD matrix. It uses a MAX7219 to interface with the matrix and even includes some example code to get you started. It just takes a few minutes to solder the board together and then it easily connects to a microcontroller.

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And lastly, we have a new e-textiles product, the ProtoSnap LilyTwinkle. This is the same board that's at the heart of the Firefly Jar Kit. It consists of a LilyTwinkle, 4 white LilyPad LEDs, and a LilyPad coin cell battery holder. We've even included some needles and thread so you can snap it apart and sew it into something.

Well, that's all I have for this week. We do have a very special new product next week, so be sure to check back. As always, thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and see you next week!

Comments 38 comments

  • Hey alright! Go N.A.D.S!

    • sgrace / about 11 years ago / 1

      I love how SFE is filled with such mature people. :3

      • I seem to remember a few weeks back someone complaining that the videos were too dull and technical. Careful what you wish for...

    • 3boysdad / about 11 years ago / 1

      you just won the internet...congrats.

  • customer207 / about 11 years ago / 3

    Rob, Can you advise me on what I should do about some performance issues with my output shaft?

    • Performance problems are rare, but not uncommon. The first thing you need to do is evaluate quality of your lubrication. You need all the parts to move freely without any grinding, chattering, or squeaking noises. If you find metal shavings or plastic remnants, add some high quality silicone lubricant to the dry areas and test again. Make sure that all loads on the shaft are parallel to the shaft, and are not perpendicular, as this could negatively impact your performance and cause undue stress to the shaft, causing premature failure.

      Can you explain further the specific issues you're having?

      • Remember...

        I was going to say "...your shaft" but chickened out. ;)

      •  Make sure that all loads on the shaft are parallel to the shaft, and are not perpendicular

        So you would say that your thrust bearings are up to the task?

        • Correct, if you have a perpendicular load to your shaft, thrust bearings are the way to go. Just make sure to keep them greased up to prevent wear and fatigue during heavy loads.

  • steel_city_crawler / about 11 years ago / 2

    the Hi-Tec 625MG's are absolute BEASTS of servos that, even though not "officially" listed in the specs, are awesome when running at 7.4 volts! i use these as steering servos on R/C rock crawlers, and they are more than capable of throwing around 2-3 pounds of wheels, tires, and wheel weights without even breaking a sweat. i have used these servos to push decent sized rocks off to the side with my front wheels, too! and SF has them listed at around the same price as tower hobbies?? wll, that is what i call a win!

  • MicroLAN / about 11 years ago / 2

    You need to market NADS! I could see myself having endless hours of enjoyment if that was mounted in our atrium!

  • Member #401698 / about 11 years ago / 2

    I didn't think sparkfun could get any more awesome but it just did.

  • Mupeg / about 11 years ago / 2

    Wow! I really like the look of your NADS! So much so I'm going to have to get NADS for myself.

  • hosier28 / about 11 years ago / 2

    my birthday is on monday! looks like a good week to buy myself some birthday gifts :D

  • andy4us / about 11 years ago / 2

    Need to work on control for the 'Nads system. When you move your hand it's jerking to much. Need to make it respond much more smoothly to the touch of the hand. Also, maybe having it making noise, maybe louder the longer you play with it, so that you know how much longer it's going to last, as the last thing you want is for it to fire off too quickly.

  • This deal is great for us Canadians who would normally pay over $20 in shipping. Thank you.

  • quidproquo / about 11 years ago / 2

    9:07 for the Nerf Atrium Defense System.

    Nice work!

  • Jacob_B / about 10 years ago * / 1

    Thanks so much! NPoole !

  • Jacob_B / about 10 years ago / 1

    Ok. I know this might be a lot to ask, but I would really like to build this. I was wondering if someone could go more in depth about the build itself, and (Maybe! I know this is a pain) maybe provide the Arduino code? I am a n00b and would really appreciate not having to code this. Thanks!

    • The build itself is basically a matter of making a Pan-Tilt bracket for the servos, and there are a lot of resources on that around the internet. Converting the NERF blaster for electronic fire is gonna be different depending on which one you have but there are a ton of NERF mod forums.

      What I can do is give you the code! Check out this repo. The sketch isn't commented but I will tell you that the coin-acceptor is using serial communication, so any serial parsing functions are to do with that. Also there is one digital out that controls the NERF flywheel and a servo that controls firing. As well as the two positioning servos.

      Good luck!

  • Hey, if it doesn't have Metal Gears, it isn't Solid.

  • dksmall / about 11 years ago / 1

    So who's in charge of reloading the NADS? How many rounds does it hold?

    • I'm in charge of maintaining installations to the building going forward. The NADS can carry a 6-dart clip and I believe a 12-dart clip will also fit. I don't think I left enough head-room for the 25-dart drum clip though. I'm gonna add a bucket next to the NADS and fill it with extra darts and clips, it'll be up to the operator to make sure they have enough ammo before they start the blaster.

      I'll also collect the change and manage the "replacement darts and upgrades" fund,

      • Sleepwalker3 / about 11 years ago / 1

        I can see how much you love playing with your NADS Nick

        • ...I hate Rob for naming it that, now.

          • Sleepwalker3 / about 11 years ago / 1

            You mean 'Ned'

          • So, When are you adding the Ultrasonic Range Finder ( to provide for auto targeting or indication of when you are pointed at someone standing?

            With this modification it would then of course be the NADS - Highly Ultrasonic Ranging Targeting System...

            cough ;)

  • Ichbinjoe / about 11 years ago / 1

    Yay servos! (Its about time.......)

  • nanogear / about 11 years ago / 1


  • Earlz / about 11 years ago / 1

    Now you got me really curious as to what next week's "big announcement" will be. More free stuff!?

    • just a new product.

      • Far_Seeker / about 11 years ago / 1

        What a relief! I had an ominous feeling like maybe you were going to announce that Sparkfun was being bought-out by one of those corporate "big-box" behemoths and that much more fun in the world would die.

        • that will never happen, and it certainly wouldn't be a 'big announcement'. It would maybe be 'a sad day'.

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