New Product Friday: Sticky Situation

Magical tape, a tiny light sensor, and some new revisions. Check out what we have for this week.

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This week we have a few cool new products. If you want your mind blown, be sure to check out the video. The Z-Axis tape is pretty rad. But you should always watch every video. Seriously.



Aside from the fact the chip needs a little pressure, I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to use tape to make a TQFP work without solder. If you have some SMD prototyping to do, I'm sure this could be useful. There are probably tons of other uses, so get some and see if you can think of something cool to do with it.

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Z-Axis Tape is essentially conductive double-stick tape, but it only conducts up through the tape, not laterally. So, it will conduct from the bottom to the top, and vice versa, but not side-to-side. This means you can stick down a piece of tape and put an IC, connector, or something else on top and not worry about conducting between pins. Check the video above for a demonstration. This could make a great replacement for zebra connectors as well. We sell the tape in 3-meter strips that are 1/2" wide.

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We have a new logic lever converter this week. This one is a bi-directional converter, so it works well with I2C or SPI, which needs logic translation on both sides. We even have a hookup guide for anyone that wants to use one, but doesn't know how.

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Need a really tiny light sensor? We've got you covered. The ALS-PT19 is a tiny SMD light sensor that can also function as an NPN transistor. So if the TEMT6000 is just too large for your application, check this out instead.

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Last, we have a couple new wireless modules. We already sell the RFM12 and RFM22, but we only carry them in 434MHz, and these new ones are in 915MHz. The world is a big place, and every country has its own set of usable and 'no-no' frequencies, so we carry both now. For amateur use, it doesn't matter much, but if you're looking to go into production with a product, it does.

That's all I have for this week. We have some new stuff on the way for next week, so be sure to check back. Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Comments 28 comments

  • The little skill level things on the new product pages are awesome! Great idea!

  • The "Z-Axis Tape" is cool, but I think it should be called Y-Axis tape, because it conducts up and down, not side to side.

  • Is the "Logic Lever Converter" some sort of advanced Archimedes lever invention? If so, what's the voltage swing it can handle? 15 feet or so?

    • It depends on where you put the fulcrum.

      • How does it react to analog inputs? Do I have to be conserned about small changes in input near 2.5 feet launching the attached world? Or is lifting the world not an appropriate use case?

  • Have you tried soldering the part on after using the tape? My concern is will the tape leave residue on the part which makes it hard to solder on. Maybe it cleans up nicely with alcohol. I would like to use it to test some QFN's.

  • Can't wait to give the 4ch bidirectional logic level converter a try! Been using the TX lines (the bidirectional part) of the older logic level boards and wished I had more bidirectional lines, now I have them!

  • Why???

    Why did you have to do that to the multimeter????

    Send it over I'll patch it up and give it a good home.

    • Ha, it was from a pile of dead ones. it was broken, and couldn't be repaired. I would NEVER do that to something that was working or repairable.

      Most of my tools come from the broken pile. I have 2 bench power supplies that blew, and I went through and replaced the old caps, and it's working again. I like repairing stuff, but that meter was a goner.

      • As I keep telling the bean counter for the company I work for: "Just because something is scrap doesn't mean it is of no use!" I keep a stack of blank scrap PCBs around to use as "trivets" when I have to solder on the antistatic mat. Keeping "scrap" out of the landfill can also save you some pretty good bucks if you [re]use it wisely.

      • OK, I'll take your word for it but it was still painful to see the pieces fly apart.

  • Hookup guide link is b0rked both here and on the logic level converter product page.

  • That Z-axis tape is indeed mind blowing! Do you think you could replace breakout boards (For small pin counts) for prototyping by sticking an IC to the tape and then sticking stripped wirewrap wires to align with the pins of the IC?

    • That is what is designed to do. 3M designed it for surface mount with medium to fine pitch pins. This will also make doing BGA designs far easier.

      The downside is, as RobertC has shown in the video, it doesn't conduct well unless you apply pressure. From the datasheet, 3M specifically LCDs and other display circuitry. My guess is if you have an LCD/OLED screen that SFE sells that has standoff holes, you could, in theory, use that to keep the pressure on the tape pretty consistent and no need to solder, ever. (3M mentions clamping)

      I will definitely start doing more BGA designs due to this tape, but to make sure it will always work, I will have to design some clamping mechanisms for the chips.

    • While that would theoretically work, I doubt it would have enough mechanical strength to stay together.

      • yeah ,very true. BUT with some sort of jig that applies some pressure, etc, it could work for prototyping. after a couple of days, the arduino is still working, if you put your finger no the chip. so, good enough if you have mechanical force applied (screwing it down in an enclosure, etc.)

        • I'm wondering if you you used some superglue to hold the chip down (hobby strength, not that crap you buy at the supermarket), and then used the tape for the pins if it would hold the chip down better to make it more reliable. I would imagine you would put tape over the pads only, with bare board in the middle where you would put the super glue. And of course you'd have to make sure the super glue didn't squish out between the tape and pads as you were gluing it down.

        • That tape is so cool you are twistin my melon man! You're twistin my melon!

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