New Product Friday: Spinning our Wheels

This week we have a couple new products to talk about for your next robotics project. Check it out!

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It’s a bit of a slow week for new products, but that’s how it goes sometimes. We definitely have a few cool things that just quite didn’t make it in time, so be sure to check back next week. But for now, here’s your products and video.

Hobby Gearmotor -  65 RPM (Right Angle, Pair)


Last week we released the hobby motor kit and this week we have the individual components for sale. Hobby motors are great for small projects. The motors themselves spin too fast and don’t have enough torque, so gearboxes are pretty mandatory to really do anything with them. These 65 RPM gearmotors come in a pair and are a great inexpensive choice for getting started with robotics.

Wheel - 65mm (Rubber Tire, Pair)


Need some wheels to go with those motors? These 65mm wheels are the same ones that you find in the Magician chassis (used with the RedBot Kit) and are a great economical wheel. They press-fit onto the shaft of the gearmotors and have a rubber tire. They are sold in pairs as well.

Big Easy Driver


Lastly, we have a revision of the Big Easy Driver. This is a bigger and more powerful version of the EasyDriver. This new version fixes a couple silk issues and changes some resistor values. It should work as a drop-in replacement for the old one.

The Big Easy is an easy way to drive stepper motors. Stepper motors require very specific drivers to work. If you want to know all about different types of motors, I made a REALLY old video that gives a brief overview of the different types and how to drive them.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back next week with more new stuff. Thanks for watching and reading.

Comments 9 comments

  • I know this week’s offerings may appear insignificant, but I am very glad to see SparkFun carrying these affordable gearmotors, wheels, encoders, etc. Thanks, SparkFun!

  • Hey Sparkfun!

    So Sadly Radio Shack is going out of business. How about you guys grab a couple of stores (particularly one near Seattle), and have some retail/learning locations. It’ll be fun, really :).

    • I’ve long said that Radio Shack is to electronics what Circle-K or Seven-Eleven (convenience store chains) are to groceries: great when you have to have something right now on Sunday afternoon, but you don’t want to do your main grocery shopping there.

      The upside to RS is that they make parts available to kids (and others) who don’t know where to get things to tinker with, but these days there are lots of places on the Internet. (I just did a Google search for “resistors”, and got “about 28,900,000 results”.) Yeah, doesn’t do me much good to finish a project on Sunday afternoon, but there’s still a lot of sources.

      About 15 years ago, I made my first trip to Australia, and found a place called Dick Smith Electronics that IMHO was superior to RS. They had stores in many towns, like RS. Unfortunately, looking at their web site just now, they, too, have dropped most of their “hobbyist” lines.

      But on the “up side”, we have firms like Sparkfun and Adafruit coming up within the past decade or so. (I’ve been playing with electronics for nigh on to 50 years. We’ve sure come a long ways!) Not to mention Digi-Key appearing in the early 70s. I am saddened to see the passing of RS, but I think that we are still much better off than when the choices were Allied Electronics, Lafayette Electronics, and Radio Shack. (BTW, Allied is still around, but only as on-line.)

      • I keep getting really confused when you refer to Radio Shack as “RS” - I keep thinking of this RS

      • Yes it was said a few years ago when Dick Smiths went to be the Techspets - going with tvs, computers, etc, btw they went broke doing this and was sold off by their parent company. I learnt electronics from their Fun Way into Electronics Kits (vol 1, 2, 3). Tandy was the Australian version of Radio Shack and we had one in our town - it was good as they stocked some of the dick smith stuff too. We now have Jaycar and Altronics - thse are for the electronics hobbyist and do an excellent job. They carry Ardunios, and many introduction kits (Jaycar’s short circuits kits are the same thing as the dick smith kits - great for kids learning) that’s my two cents

        • I’d seen the Jacar ads in Nuts & Volts magazine, but they seem to have dropped those ads (at least they’re not in the Feb. 2015 issue). I never happened to see anything that I “had to have”, so have never done business with them. I also recall seeing an Altronics ad somewhere (and no, I’m not confusing it with All Electronics). Again, I didn’t happen to need anything they were offering. Another tidbit is that I have to be careful, as one of my credit cards dings me additional charges for buying things from outside the U.S. (Learned that the hard way when I ordered some stuff from Canada a few years go.)

          If you grew up in Oz, then you know about “laundry trolleys”. Being physically handicapped, when I saw one I really wanted one, so my last time Down Under I bought one, if I recall, for about $30 AUD, and then had to pay $35 AUD to mail it back to Arizona. (Well worth every penny, though. Wish a U.S. company would carry them – shipping would be cheap enough for a container full of them.)

          One other company that just occurred to me, though it’s one I, for one, am not heartbroken that it has gone the way of the dodo: PolyPaks. They used to sell poly bags of electronics components, many of which were of “questionable” uh, reliability. I really appreciate that places like SparkFun, Adafruit, et al, sell “prime” parts, or, in the case of Jameco, they clearly mark in the catalog which ones are “used and tested”.

  • Robert, is that a Geiger–Müller counter readout over your right shoulder? :-)

  • The motor in the ROB-13260 has a tail shaft, and these don’t :( That’s a total bummer. Why-oh-why can’t we get motors with a tail shaft suitable for mounting encoders? That is one of my biggest frustrations in sourcing parts for robots. Really, it makes me want to fly out to Boulder just so that I can slap somebody…. sooooooo close to having an interesting product. How about doing the ROB-13260 without the wheels but with the encoder? Or just the motor from the ROB-13260 that includes a tail shaft?

    BTW – seems like you finally got the audio acoustics right in the new studio. Much much better.

  • Hey! You finally have some decent acoustics for the new product video! (You should have claimed that as a “new product”, IMHO!)

    Hopefully you’ll get the new Raspberry Pi 2 B+ soon.

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