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New Product Friday: Shield Your Eyes

Shields galore! We've got some FPGA shields and some 7-segment shields for you. Check them out!

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Hello everyone! Even though we had some pretty intense flooding yesterday, we've got some new products to talk about. The VPN is flakey, the lights are flickering, but we're doing our best to bring you new cool stuff.



For anyone wanting to see what the OpenSegment shields look like lit up, check the video. We'll be getting pictures on the product pages soon though. As always, they're a bit dimmer in the video because of the studio lights. The pictures will be more accurate representations.

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The OpenSegment Shields are our newest 7-segment flavor. We have the smaller ones, the bigger ones in a breakout variety, and now the bigger 7-segment displays on a shield. All three share the same OpenSegment firmware which makes using them pretty easy. SPI, I2C, TTL, it's up to you. We have the shields in red, yellow, green, white, and blue (coming soon!). The firmware has convenient features like a counter or analog meter. You can even modify the firmware to do whatever YOU want it to do.

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We're trying to carry more FGPA products lately. The newest addition is the LogicStart MegaWing for the Papilio. This is a shield for the Papilio line of FPGAs that's essentially like the kitchen sink of prototyping. It has LEDs, switches, audio, video, etc. It's a little like our Danger Shield, but for FPGA development. It gives you a lot of hardware to play with, so you can learn how the software interfaces.

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Want to use your FGPA for making games? Sorry, you can't do that. I'm kidding of course! Check out the new Arcade MegaWing. Like the LogicStart MegaWing, it works with Papilio but lets you create your own video games. It has two joystick ports, a couple PS/2 ports, audio, and video output. There's also a lot of support documentation to get you started. Check out the product page for more details.

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Need a bidirectional voltage-level translator with automatic direction sensing? Yeah, we knew you did. The TXB0104 breakout is a 4-bit non-inverting translator uses two separate configurable power-supply rails. This allows for universal low-voltage bidirectional translation between any of the 1.2-V, 1.5-V, 1.8-V, 2.5-V, 3.3-V, and 5-V voltage nodes.

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Lastly, we have a revision to the RedBot Mainboard that fixes a minor silk issue with the TX/RX LEDs. So, it's back in stock now. Also, we're getting these put into kits so we'll have stock of the RedBot Kit coming as well. But for now, check out this wishlist for all the parts included in the RedBot Kit. Just substitute in the new version of the mainboard and you're good to go.

Well, that's all I have for this week. Thanks for reading and watching and we'll be back again next week with more new products. See you then!

Comments 23 comments

  • Not post related, but I hope you guys are doing well considering the weather. Best wishes that all the SparkFun family is safe!

  • Hope you guys are all safe and sound. Luckily my work down on Pearl Street didn't flood. Can't say the same for my basement!

  • Will the bidirectional level converter work with I2C? IIRC on the Adafruit site, they carry a similar chip based solution that they advise won't switch correctly using TWI/I2C, and sell a fet based converter that does. Something to do with weird clock timings or something.

    • We've got another board just for I2C applications, based on the PCA9306 part.


    • No. The datasheet for the TXB0104 explicitly states, "the TXB0104 should not be used in applications such as I2C or 1-Wire where an open drain driver is connected on the bidirectional data I/O."

    • Interesting you should bring that up. I was trying to use this exact chip along with a 5V arduino pro and the SparkFun temp sensor that uses I2C and I was having trouble getting it to work. I wonder if this is the reason? It worked fine once hooked up to the 3.3V arduino pro, so the only difference was the TXB0104 and the 5V arduino pro which I had used. Hmmm...

      • If you want to use a chip like this with I2C try the similar TI part that shares a pinout and footprint: TXS0104E. the TXB series are only good with push-pull drivers (SPI, gpio, etc.) while the TXS series will also work with open-drain lins (I2C). I know this because I'm in the process of pulling a bunch of TXBs off a board to replace them with TXSs...

        • DSS Circuits's I2C Level Converter (TXS-0102) works great with the Temp Sensor (TMP102). The TXS-0102 uses one-shots instead of standard MOSFETS. The cool thing is the effects due to larger bus capacitances is minimized by using one-shots. Plus, you don't have to have pull up resisters on either side of your bus (1.65 - 3.6v (VccL) OR 2.3 - 5.5v (VccH)), they are included in the TXS-0102 package. This also works great for serial lines too- BUT keep that as a secret- we don't want that to get out. Next thing you know, People might want to use it for Serial / UART communications too (like between your GPS and your Arduino board). The bonus of using the TXS-0102 it only has two bidirectional converters, which means if you only need two, your not wasting space. Plus, routing is a lot easier using the TXS-0102 if you have two different bus lines going on different directions on your PCB. I just wish SF would carry this version. It really cuts down on the number of parts needed on what ever shield/board your making, and you don't have to worry about EMIs killing your MOSFETs. Let me say this again- It really cuts down on your parts list- SparkFun's MOSFET converter ~9 parts, TXS-0102 ~3 Parts ( The TXS part plus 2 caps- which makes for a smaller breakout board or square area needed for parts on your PCB) and NO more dead MOSFETs do to your sock feet on your carpet. Oh one more thing, I see the TSX-0102 is priced less then the TXB0104.

  • Hooray for the TXB0104! Those are awesome chips, I've been wanting SF to get something like this for ages. I've had to use the Adafruit TXB0108 breakout instead, but I never use 8 channels. And the '0104 breakout is half the price of the '0108 breakout, so I can choose just the one that fits my needs. Nice one :)

  • Hi, has anyone had trouble watching the Friday video? Ive been trying since Friday...and I can see all the other videos, except that one ?! Thanks in advance fo any hints.

    • Same here! I just figured it was my awful Internet service. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

      • Seems to work okay here (Chrome on Win8 - the player appears to be Chrome's built-in Flash 11.8.*).

        The one thing that may be different and throwing off whatever platform you're on is that this video is embedded with playlist parameters, whereas prior ones were not. Would be interesting to IT to find out what you're using.

        In the mean time, try these links straight to YouTube:
        SparkFun New Products for September 13th - youtube-nocookie
        SparkFun New Products for September 13th - youtube

        • Thanks for the links! I am using Safari on iPad Mini (iOS 6.1.3)...

          • No problem. In searching, I did notice one potential issue with the use of protocol relative URLs (starts with //, no leading http or https) on iPads. However, if that were the (only) issue, you should have problems with the video in SparkFun New Product for September 6th as well.

            • Thanks for your help. I also had problems with a latest gen iPad with iOS 6.1.3 and Safari. When starting the video, the banner would immediately change (indicating the presence of a playlist) but would then spin forever on a black screen. The direct YouTube links work. I hadn't gotten to the point of trying it on a real computer, as I was traveling for the past week, and rarely fired up the laptop. The Sep 6 video plays just fine on the iPad.

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