'Tis the Season

A cool Christmas project, Adafruit gets a C&D, and products!

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Beats the heck out of Charlie Brown's tree

Check out this awesome project from SparkFun customer Ian (creator of the Bus Pirate). Basically he took a fiber-optic tree and linked it with a Twitter account so you can change the color of the tree remotely via tweets! If this doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I know what will.


'Tis the season for cease and desist letters. Our friends over at Adafruit proudly possess the mantra "No Blinking Christmas Tree Kits." To show this visually, they use an icon similar to the one above - a blinky tree kit with the "stop symbol" through it. All in good fun...or not. Apparently, the original tree in the image was a product sold by Velleman, who were none-too-pleased with the symbol, and they sent Adafruit a Cease and Desist. Fun! For the full story, check this out.

Well since we are on the subject of blinking Christmas tree kits...we are selling one! Add a little electronic bling to your house or office this holiday season with the Through-hole Christmas Kit. This kit is a Christmas tree shaped PCB outfitted with super-bright LEDs (green on the tree, yellow for the star on top). The kit comes pre-programmed and contains all through-hole parts, so this is perfect for a beginner. Guaranteed not to make your apartment smell like a gigantic pine cone.

Log like a champion today! The OpenLog is an open source data logger. Simple to use, simple to change. We wanted to create a serial logger that just worked. Power this device up and send it serial commands - 'new' will create a new file,  'md' makes a directory, '?' brings up the list of commands. OpenLog doesn't do a lot, but it does log serial streams extremely well.

This is a standard 350W ATX power supply. It's got a 20+4 main power connector, an SATA power connector and four peripheral connectors. This power supply also has overvoltage and overload protection

If you're looking for an LCD to use with your next project, this 3.2" Serial TFT LCD with Touchscreen is pretty great.  This has a uSD card socket, an audio amplifier, and communicates via serial interface.

When you're first getting started in electronics, you'll quickly find you need a few tools to make things easier. These kits are designed to eliminate those "Oh, shoot I need needle nose pliers!" moments. We are now offering a beginner and an intermediate toolkit (and an deluxe kit is on its way). The beginner kit (our most basic toolkit) includes a soldering iron, a soldering iron stand, solder wick, solder, needle nose pliers, diagonal cutters, and a SparkFun mini-screwdriver. Check out the product description pages for the full descriptions!

This version of the QRE1113 breakout board features an easy-to-use analog output, which will vary depending on the amount of IR light reflected back to the sensor. This tiny board is perfect for line sensing applications and can be used in both 3.3V and 5V systems.

The M74HC238 is a high speed CMOS 3 to 8 line decoder. There are three binary select inputs (A, B, and C) which determine which one of the eight outputs (Y0-Y7) will go high. This chip has three enable inputs (G1, ~G2A, and ~G2B); when any enable pins are brought low (or high in G1's case), all output pins are pulled low. These is great if you need to increase the number of outputs on your microcontroller!

We've got a few new robotics kits from our friends over at Solarbotics. First is the Photopopper Photovore utilizes very small, high-efficiency motors in combination with elegant circuitry to make a very active solar powered robot capable of covering a meter (3.3 feet) distance in under a minute! And it doesn't roll like regular, boring robots, it hops!

Next is the SolarSpeeder v2 Kit. This racer is a very quick Solaroller that can cover 3 meters (10 feet) in under 40 seconds in direct sunlight. Eat your heart out, David Baca.

Meet Herbie the Mousebot. Herbie is a 9-volt battery-powered, light-following robot that loves to chase flashlight beams (available in black or red). These little robots are so quick, you have to run to keep up to them! Herbie even has functional whisker and tail sensors, so he doesn't get stuck in corners, or under obstacles, while chasing around. If there are several Herbies in the same area, they can even be configured to chase each other!

Check out the PumLantern kits! These are solar-charged, night-time activated light-pulsing lanterns with various cut-outs, depending on the look you're going for. Right now, we offer the Geek themed kit, Hazard themed kit, and just in time for the holidays, the Black Winter themed kit (featuring Wintry designs).

Want to go wireless with your Arduino? The WiFly Shield equips your Arduino the ability to connect to 802.11b/g wireless networks. The featured components of the shield are a Roving Network's RN-131G wireless module and an SC16IS750 SPI-to-UART chip.

Check out the Bus Pirate (and its corresponding interface cable).The Bus Pirate, created by Ian Lesnet (from the Twitter Tree above), is a troubleshooting tool that communicates between a PC and any embedded device over most standard serial protocols, which include I2C, SPI, and asynchronous serial - all at voltages from 0-5.5VDC. This product eliminates a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips.

This is an evaluation board for the SM5100B GSM/GPRS module; everything you need to get started with the cellular module is included on this board. With FTDI's FT232RL connected up to UART0 of the SM5100B you can send AT commands from a PC terminal straight to the module.

The SM5100B is a miniature, quad-band GSM 850/EGSM 900/DCS 1800/PCS 1900 module, which can be integrated into a great number of wireless projects. You can use this module to accomplish almost anything a normal cell phone can - SMS text messages, GSM/GPRS, TCP/IP, and more!

Put the finishing touch on your battery powered project using this AA battery holder. It holds two double-As and has a nifty ON/OFF switch to control the power to your project.

Another power solution! This cable lets you plug a 9V battery into one end and connect the other end to anything with a 5.5x2.1mm, center-positive barrel jack. It works great for Arduinos, development boards, evaluation boards, and more!

The TFT128D is the same display that is used on the TFT128 ScreenKeys; it is a full-color high resolution TFT graphics display. The display is back-lit with a white LED and the TFT liquid crystal display has a resolution of 128x128 pixels where each pixel color can be chosen from a palette of 65,536 different colors.

Nordic's nRF24LU1+ is a complete system-on-chip wireless transceiver. The nRF24LU1+ features a fully integrated USB 2.0 compliant device controller, which makes this chip a great choice for a compact wireless USB dongle.

This is a breakout board for our right-angle, 24-pin ATX connector. Pair this board with the ATX connector and a standard PC power supply and you'll have 3.3V, 5V, and ?12VDC to supply to your project.

This little guy is the SCP1000-D11 pressure sensor, the first absolute pressure sensor on the market to use MEMS technology. In addition to giving you pressure readings from 30kPA - 120 kPa, this sensor also measures temperature from 20 to 70?C.

This is a 60-pin, narrow pitch (0.5mm) connector which mates with the SM5100B cellular module. We put this connector on our SM5100B Evaluation Board.

The STA540 from STMicro is a 4-channel, class AB audio amplifier designed for high quality sound applications. The four independent channels makes this amplifier a great choice for a number of projects, with needs ranging from four speakers stereo (F/R) to two-speaker bridge solutions.

Building something that needs a cellular module? Check out the new GE865. This product introduces the smallest GSM/GPRS Ball-Grid-Array (BGA) modules in the market. The low profile and small size of the unique BGA package for the GE865-QUAD enables the design of very compact applications. Ring, ring!

This is a high quality AC to DC 'wall wart' which produces a regulated output of 12VDC at up to 600mA. These are switch mode power supplies which means the output is regulated to 12V (no more 14V outputs!), and the capable output current is much higher (600mA!).

The JPEG Trigger interfaces with the UART controlled JPEG Color Camera to simplify picture taking. The camera is not included.

We have a bunch of new products from WIZnet. First is the W5100, a full-featured, single-chip, Internet-enabled 10/100 Ethernet controller designed for embedded applications where ease of integration, stability, performance, area and system cost control are required. We also have the W5300 - a tiny CMOS-based single chip with integrated 10/100 Ethernet controller, MAC, and TCP/IP.

WIZnet's WIZ811MJ works as a breakout board for their W5100 embedded TCP/IP chip. Also included on the board is an RJ-45 MagJack connector (RJ45 with X?FMR). It can be used as a component and little effort is required to interface to the W5100.

WIZnet's WIZ200WEB combines their W5300 embedded TCP/IP controller with Atmel's popular ATmega128 8-bit MCU. The pairing of those two chips turns the WIZ200WEB into a tiny, embedded web server. The webpage can be stored in the serial flash memory of the board, and can be updated through the network.

WIZnet's WIZ830MJ is essentially a breakout board for their W5300 TCP/IP hardwired chip. Also featured on the board is an RJ-45 MagJack connector (RJ45 with X?FMR). It can be used as a component and little effort is required to interface to the W5300. The WIZ830MJ is an ideal option for users who want a simple solution to adding TCP/IP capability to their project.

The WIZ110SR is a gateway module that converts RS-232 protocol into TCP/IP. It enables remote gauging, managing and control of TCP/IP devices through an RS-232 serial interface. In other words, WIZ110SR is a protocol converter that transmits the data sent by serial equipment as TCP/IP data type and converts back the TCP/IP data received through the network into serial data to transmit back to the equipment.

This breakout board pairs the SP3485 RS-485 transceiver with an FT232RL USB UART IC to convert a USB stream to RS-485. The SP3485 is a half-duplex transceiver, so it can only communicate one way at a time, but it can reach transmission speeds of up to 10Mbps.

Comments 10 comments

  • gucci2sale / about 15 years ago / 2

    [spam deleted]

  • Bushman / about 15 years ago / 2

    Those PC power supplies make GREAT benchtop power supplies with just a little modification.

  • Rubi / about 15 years ago / 1

    I also use these power supplies, but mostly as a power source for my lipo chargers or my ham radios.
    What I miss is current limiting. Such a powerfull device will fry your circuits in an instant.
    In the moment I am experimenting with this super simple circuit:

  • Rubi / about 15 years ago / 1

    Merry Xmas Nate et al
    Please keep up the great work.
    It is allways apleasure to make business with sparkfun.

  • Geoff2 / about 15 years ago / 1

    You symbol is incorrect. It should be a circle with a back slash. The forward slash indicates that is what you want.

  • Calif / about 15 years ago / 1

    Someday someone's going to invent an SD card with a data logger built in. It'll have 2 serial pads on 1 end & traditional SDIO pads on the other end than you can insert in a card reader. However, the Nobel prize is probably going to the 1st person who invents a 2Mbps transceiver with SPI.

  • marria01 / about 15 years ago / 1

    Let me firstly say that I love you guys, and Lady Ada. Not in 'that' way obviously. But you guys make some really excellent stuff.
    I've never actually commented on a post here before. But, if I was going to poke some light-hearted fun at a fairly specific type of product, I wouldn't put a manufacturers name on it.
    While I'm sure the vast majority of Velleman's staff are easygoing people (who may even get the joke), there's always going to be some humourless scrooge that's going to take offence, and it's usually someone in the legals department.
    Anyways, keep up the good work and have a great Christmas and new years. Looking forward to the 7th!

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