New Product Friday: Classy Chassis

Costumes, robotics and electronics. What's not to love about this week's Friday New Product Post?

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Hello everyone! Happy (belated) Halloween! Does the mere mention of the words 'candy corn' or 'fun size' make your stomach churn? If so, you probably had a good time last night. Although we all had our fill of candy (mostly), the week's just not complete without a bucket full of new products. Check out all the cool stuff we have for this week, and check out my sweet costume.



Correction: The Tank Chassis does not have encoders, sorry! Only the Rescue Platform has encoders on the wheels.

What can I say, I'm not much of a planner. So, BatBearSantaMan is what you get. And yes, my glasses are taped on to the mask.

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We have several new robotic chassis for you this week. They are all part of the 'multi-chassis' family and share the same basic frame. They have a metal enclosure that houses the motors and other gizmos, and have a ton of mounting points for all your sensors and other doohickeys. The first up is the Rescue Platform. This bad boy sports tank treads in addition to servo-controller arms that allow it to roll over uneven terrain and even (awkwardly) climb up some stairs. It comes complete with the full chassis, servo, servo mechanism, and gear-motors. All you need to do is add some batteries and a controller. It even has encoders attached to the gear-motors for precise rescue operations, or something.

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The Tank configuration of the multi-chassis is your classic tank configuration. Two gear-motors in the rear drive tank treads independently. There's also space up front for a servo to mount a robotic arm, or whatever crazy contraption you can think of.

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Don't like tank treads? Hey, they're not for everyone. The ATV configuration sports large off-road tires, each with its own independent gear-motor. The ATV kit has the most clearance of all 4 types for driving through rough terrain, grass, or whatever else you decide to subject it to.

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Last is the Basic configuration. The basic kit includes 4 gear-motors, and standard wheels. It uses the same gear-motors as the ATV kit, but with all-plastic gears, whereas the other variations sport a metal output shaft/gear. If you're looking for an inexpensive platform to mess around with, and need something sturdier than the Magician Chassis, the basic multi-chassis is the way to go.

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If you're looking to get into the world of embedded computers but don't want to plunk own $60, check out the pcDuino Lite. The Lite version has less DRAM and no Android support, but still has all the other features of its bigger brother. And, it's a lot cheaper! This is a limited time offer from pcDuino and once we sell out of the 'Lite' version, it will be gone, so get them while they last.

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Tired of thick and clunky multimeter probes? Yeah, me too. These new needle-tipped probes work much better for smaller components, like surface-mount resistors and such. They plug into the standard jacks on most meters, and feature sharp needle-tips for precise probing. They even have little plastic covers to keep the needle tips from stabbing you at the worst possible opportunity.

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We have a new revision of our PCA9306 Level Translator Breakout. We've changed a few things around, added some labels, and generally made the new revision better. We've even added a hookup guide to help you get the thing working.

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Like to read? Want to learn about e-textiles? If you answered 'yes' to both of those questions, you might like the new Sew Electric book. It's co-written by Leah Buechley, the brains behind the LilyPad product line. The book walks you through the process of designing and making a series of quirky customizable projects including a sparkling bracelet, a glow in the dark bookmark, a fabric piano, and a monster that sings when you hold its hands. Play with cutting-edge technologies and learn sewing, programming, and circuit design along the way.

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It took awhile, but we finally have the extra hands (or coolant hoses) in for the SparkFun Third Hand Kit. These will fit correctly into the metal plates. You can add up to 4 additional arms to your third hand kit using these coolant hoses and the Third Hand Parts.

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Next up, we have display adapters from 4D Systems that allow users to adapt screens easily to their Arduino or Raspberry Pi. The Arduino Display Adapter connects like a small shield and the Raspberry Pi Display Adapter connects to the header (with a pass-through as well). Both include a cable that connects from the adapter to the LCD. These are the same adapters that are included with the 4D Display Modules.

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Last but not least, we've had a few people ask for the 6-pin female connector that's used in on our FTDI Basic Breakouts, and several others. These mate with the 6-pin male headers found on many of our boards.

That's all I have for this week. Next week we'll have more new products, guaranteed. Be sure to check back then for more new stuff. Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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