Thursday New Product Post


It's Thursday, and that means it's time to talk about our new products for the week! And of course, we have another video showing my top picks for this week.

As mentioned in the video, Arduino Unos have been very hard to get in the normal quantity we are used to getting. We are doing everything we can to keep up with demand, but we just can't get enough. We will get them to you as soon as we can, so please be patient and bear with us as we try to get all orders filled. With that out of the way, let's look at all the products for this week!

Our SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Arduino has been wildly successful. In addition to our current version, we also have a new retail version. The only difference is the retail version comes in a retail store-friendly carrying case. Everything is nicely organized inside the compartments of the case making it easy to keep your projects organized.

If you bought a previous version of the SIK and didn't get the carrying case, don't worry, we've got you covered. We sell the case separately for use with your SIK classic or just to organize your parts. The custom-sized compartments work well with most of our parts, so it might be worth checking out if you need a case to organize your parts.

Our new RGB LED strip lights are flexible and adhesive. What more could you want? Inside the strips are RGB LEDs and current limiting resistors all sealed up in a flexible package. We sell them in 5m and 1m lengths in 60 LED/m and 30 LED/m varieties. The 5m lengths are pre-terminated with wire leads, whereas the 1m segments are cut and will require termination. Use them in your next bright idea.

A while back we announced the Modkit kickstarter campaign. Essentially, their concept is to provide you with an in-browser development environment that relies on a graphical building-block interface rather than code. It is based heavily on the Scratch programming environment developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. The Modkit MotoProto Shield is the first product of theirs that we offer. It uses their unique programming environment to control a pair of motors with up to four analog sensors connected via 2.5mm audio cables. Check out their website and introduction video.

LiPo batteries are handy, but you don't want to use anything other than a specialized charger because bad things can happen. Thankfully, our new LiPo Charger Basic is a simple and inexpensive way to safely charge your batteries. At roughly 1" x 0.5", you can easily embed this into your next portable project, or just use it as a small charger.

A couple of days ago we tried to send one of these to the moon. It didn't get to the moon, but we got some decent data out of the deal and made friends acquaintances with our neighbors. The 9 DoF Stick is a small board with enough sensors for you to read 9 individual degrees of measurement. Everything is output over I2C so you can easily read this with a logger or a microcontroller. We have a limited supply of these while we wait for the next revision that doesn't require a jumper wire to fix a PCB error. Get the current ones with a jumper wire for a bit cheaper while they last.

The Ultimate IMU gives you a platform to combine readings from a triple axis accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer with GPS and logging capability. With an LPC2148 running the show you have a very powerful IMU. It even has an XBee header, MicroSD socket, and battery connector on board. We're excited to see this board make its way into some cool projects.

The BlueSMiRF Gold has been one of our most popular products for as long as we can remember, even despite some controversy. We have released a new version which uses a module with lower power consumption and less range. For those of you not needing the full range of a Class 1 Bluetooth device, the BlueSMiRF Silver is something to check out. Based on the RN-42 Bluetooth module that I talked about last week, it's essentially the same as the BlueSMiRF Gold, but with less range and a lower price tag.

We've been looking for an inexpensive load cell for awhile and finally found these. These are the same type you can find inside a typical bathroom scale. They can measure up to about 110 pounds (or 50 kg for everyone on the other side of the ocean). You will need an amplifier to read the output, but check out this video for a little tutorial on how to do so.

We are not always what you would consider fashionable. But with our continued support of the E-Textile product category, we decided to be more concerned about aesthetics. Our new LilyPad FTDI matches beautifully to the whole LilyPad line so you won't create a fashion faux paus when uploading code to your LilyPad Arduino.

Our new 2.2" flex sensor can be useful when our normal 4.5" flex sensor is too long for your needs. It's the same sensor, just in a smaller package. Unfortunately we ran out of stock quicker than expected, but we have a new shipment on the way.

The TCM8240MD camera module has been pretty popular. However, it's not the easiest to solder, so we made a simple breakout board for it. If you've been looking to purchase this camera but don't want to mess with the tricky soldering, the breakout board might save you some hassle.

Sometimes we don't always get it right on the first try. As someone comically pointed out, we shouldn't have included high pass filters on the last version of our LPR530AL gryo breakout. Our new version does away with the filters. Read more about why the high pass filters aren't necessary.

We have a new revision of the GS407 breakout board. This one consolidates the connections and reduces the amount of redundant pins. We've also conveniently labeled everything and reduced the size of the board.

If you've ever opened up a computer case (who hasn't?) you have probably seen these panel mount USB cables. They usually connect to motherboard headers and the USB connects to somewhere on the case allowing you external access to the USB port. These cables can come in handy for building USB ports into your next enclosure.

Well, that's all for this week. Hopefully there's something on the list that gets your sparks going. Check back next week for another video and more products.


Comments 24 comments

  • While watching the video, I cringed a bit due to how the lipo battery was handled.
    These batteries have to be handled with care, especially if they are not packaged in a puncture resistant case. If you crush them, or puncture the foil pouch that encases the lipo cell, a fire or explosion is possible.
    This fire or explosion may take some time to occur after the battery is damaged, so it is possible that you may cause a small puncture and then leave the battery unattended. This can cause more problems if there are combustable items near the battery.
    While it is probably true that you might get away with handling the battery as is shown in the video with no problems, it is better to show the battery handled more carefully in my opinion.

  • I’ve been meaning to ask, what soldering station is in all the product videos?

  • What’s up with the plane in the background?

  • “These are the same ones you can find inside a typical bathroom scale. They can measure up to about 110 pounds (or 50 kg for everyone on the other side of the ocean)."
    110 pounds? I don’t know how much people weigh where you live, but around me 110 pounds isn’t big enough for most bathroom scales.

  • +1 for a 7.4V lipo charger
    still no vfd display in your line up or waterproof connectors(or crimps)
    Maybe an smd soldering starter kit would be another you guys could add ?
    Also no tweezer set.The xytronics ones are pretty good as are their side cutter sets. You guys could become a distributor for them ?
    I love their new mini soldering stations
    http://www.xytronic-usa.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=17
    not quite as sexy as some of the jbc ones but affordable.
    jbc station (around 5k)
    http://www.howardelectronics.com/jbc/images/LAM7000SMD.jpg

  • I was just complaining that it’s still a bit exotic trying to charge LiPo cells without a lab benchtop power supply… you guys are awesome. :)
    Would it be possible to make one of these for the 7.4V LiPo batteries you sell, or is that still too exotic? I can’t find a small battery or step-up converter that will drive a couple servos for any real length of time… 600mA is way too high it seems.

  • Is it Christmas already?!? ;)

  • “50 kg for everyone on the other side of the ocean"
    That would be any ocean. Or border. Apart from the U.S., the only other countries that don’t use the metric system are Burma and Liberia.

  • this (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7167520@N07/5248885013/) is what I ended up doing with some RGB LED strips I found.
    I didn’t know that Sparkfun sold them at the time…

  • 2:22
    That’s a HUGE toilet paper tube! XD
    I think it’s great that you guys are doing these reviews. Thanks!

    • Yes it is. But it’s not from a roll of paper towels. It’s cardboard, and it’s a tube ;-)

  • Thank you, SparkFun, for making Thursday… Feel a little more like Friday.

  • omg i love you guys.

  • Mmmm… those batter connectors sound tasty. ;) I think you have a typo in the Ultimate IMU paragraph.

  • Aww I was hoping for the Netduino Plus, maybe it’ll be in the next new batch of new products?

    • Unfortunately, we haven’t seen our shipment show up yet. We’ve had them on order for awhile, but they just haven’t arrived. You will see them posted as soon as we get them.
      Also, thanks for the comments everyone.

  • On both the 9dof stick and the UltimateIMU, you use an ADXL345 instead of a BMA180. How come? You recommended the BMA in your accelerometer guide.

  • i was waiting 4 this

  • Love thursdays!


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