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More Twitter News, a Ton of Cool Projects, and more Products

Follow our Pick and Place machines on Twitter! Also, we have some news products and 31 awesome projects to give you some inspiration!

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First, we want to mention that our Pick-and-Place machines (aptly, or maybe not-so-aptly, named Bert and Ernie) are up on Twitter and actively twi...twa...twee...sending out 140 character messages about what they are doing. Well, truthfully - the machines themselves aren't really doing much at all besides assembling boards. The mastermind behind the Twitter account is Bob - one of the Pick-and-Place operators. Be the first to know what is being assembled by followed Bert and Ernie here.

Next we have a pretty darn cool project from SparkFun customer Paul Pounds. Check out his LED Pocketwatch. Paul took a family heirloom, and built some custom electronics for it. Very nice work!


Next, for anyone who is having a shortage of inspiration lately - check out this article put together by Paul Escallier from Tom's Hardware. Paul went to the SparkFun forum to solicit projects from SparkFun users in order to see exactly what people were coming up with using our products. In short, they are amazing. There is everything from the aforementioned LED nightlight project to a homemade railgun. It is, quite frankly, amazing what our customers come up with. Wow. Check out Paul's article and see if something inspires you (my personal favorite is the RFiDJ, Wireless Tactile Music Control).

Now on to products! First we have the DSO Nano - a pocked-sized digital oscilloscope! The DSO Nano is based on an ARM Cortex M3 compatible 32 bit platform. The DSO is equipped with a 320x240 color display, microSD capability, USB connection, and rechargeable LiPo battery.

This is the mbed LPC1768 Development Board. It combines an ARM processor, a comprehensive set of peripherals, and a USB programming/communication interface all wrapped together in a useful DIP package. This is a great rapid-prototyping tool that is built on industry standard technology!

If you want wireless communication for your device, the RFM12B-S2 wireless transceiver is a great choice. It's an inexpensive option that features an ISM band FSK transceiver module implemented with a unique PLL. These modules operate in the 434MHz band and fully comply with FCC and ETSI regulations.

The RFM22 is another inexpensive route for wireless communication. It is an FSK transceiver module which offers advanced radio features including continuous frequency tuning from 240-930 MHz and adjustable output power of up to +17 dBm. The wide operating voltage range of 1.8?3.6 V and low current consumption makes the RFM22 an ideal solution for battery powered applications.

Every electronics enthusiast has to have a multimeter in their tool kit - but it's even better if you built it yourself. This is a Multimeter Kit that is fairly easy to put together and will make a great addition to your arsenal of electronics gadgets.

This is a stereo amplifier kit designed to make use of the STA540 power amplifier IC. Once this kit is completed you have a fully functional, two-channel audio amplifier, complete with a standby switch, volume control and indicator LEDs. The kit also includes a 6400BG heatsink for the STA540 to dissipate any damaging heat.

We now have a breakout board for the 100-pin TQFP package of Atmel's ATxmega128A1 - we call it the XMega100 Breakout. The ATxmega128A1 is a low power, high performance and peripheral rich microcontroller based on the AVR enhanced RISC architecture. If you want to start developing with this powerful chip, but don't want to deal with the SMD soldering, this is the board for you.

Last, we have a classic SPDT slide switch - good for use as an on/off switch or just as a general control. Cheap and breadboard friendly - what more could you look for?

Comments 14 comments

  • SFE, It saddens me when you show a great new product on the home page and it is back ordered! I would have spent $70 right now (impulse buy), but alas it is not in stock...stop teasing us!

    • That's what happens on the new swag posts. A bunch of people see the new shiny trinkets and make a mad grab for it. Since it's new I doubt SFE is going to mass produce until they see how well it sells (on the breakout boards, components may be another matter).
      Hit the backorder button and wait like the rest of us.

  • That LED watch is one of the coolest electronic watches (of any kind) I have ever seen. While I'm still more drawn to skeletonized mechanical watches (I AM a mechanical engineer, after all) I would love to own something like that. Paul should be VERY proud.
    Why do you guys have to go and offer these awesome new kits right now? You're not helping my budget this month, SFE...

  • Wow, this is the best collection of new products I've ever seen. I want them all!!

  • you need to get a LED Pocket watch kit :)

  • I wanna see the homemade rail gun!

  • That's one cool watch!
    ;-> (cjh)

  • I have a question about the PnP machines, do they solder the parts too?

    • The assembly house I worked in last summer had a machine that would stencil on solder paste, then send the board down the line to the PnP then to the reflow oven. This was done using two separate machines (the solder stenciler and the PnP), I'd think having the two in one would be unnecessary, although for low volume situations like SparkFun, it's probably worth looking into.
      ( I say low volume because the place I worked at took a stack of PCBs, laid down solder, placed a couple hundred components, reflowed, optically verified key components, and did this 400 times in a 3 hour period. All automated too :) )

    • Our PNP machines can only place components onto the PCBs. We have some incredibly talented folks that first stencil the boards with lead-free solder paste. Then the PNP works its magic. And, finally, the boards are sent through a forced convection reflow oven. There are PNP machines out there that also dispense solder paste onto the PCBs before populating with components but we don't yet have any experience with this feature.

      • What is solder paste? From what I read in the tutorial, it's paste form until you put it through the reflow oven, then it's solid (like normal solder).

  • I'm pretty sure you meant to say that the RFM12B-S2 is an "inexpensive" option, not an "expensive" one. :-)

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