A Very Merry Thursday Product Post

A special holiday product post with video and a poem!

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First order of business - SparkFun is going to be closed tomorrow (12/24) and Monday (12/27) for the holiday. We'll be back up and running Tuesday, so plan your orders accordingly!

Being as this is the holiday season, I felt it fitting to add a little holiday cheer to my weekly new product posts. So in addition to the video and the usual list of products, this week I've included a poem written by yours truly.

Just days before Christmas, and my goal is to write
 A holiday poem, which is sure to delight.

I'll borrow this classic, and well known rhyme theme
And toss in a reference to an Internet meme.

Our product selection, it grows every week
We're doing our best, to help show off your geek!

The SparkFun red boxes, are all packed with care
With sensors and widgets, and electronics you wear!

With RGB LEDs, you can make them glow,
It will make you exclaim, 'I can haz double rainbow!'

We are quickly approaching, another free day
You're probably preparing, for possible dismay.

But don't fear or fret, for there's plenty for all
Actually not really, some of you might bawl.

There are more products to post, so I'll waste no more time
On trying to use puns, be clever, and rhyme.

Though I do hate to leave, we must call this done
So have a happy New Year, from all at SparkFun!

Now that you've seen the video and read my lovely adequate poem, let's have a look at all the new products we have this week.

If you're looking to kick it old school, these analog meters are the way to go. We have a current meter, which measures from 0-20mA and also a voltage meter which measures from 0-5VDC. Both are a great size for embedding into a project enclosure and would look fantastic in a finished product.

The serial LCD kit allows you to build your very own 16x2 serial-controller LCD. Using the pre-programmed ATMega328 and some other parts (all included), you can make a kit that can display serial text on the included LCD. We've even broken out some pins on the ATMega328 so you can program it to be your full microcontroller!

Although we're calling this a kit, the MOSFET power control kit is really just a MOSFET breakout board. It uses a RFP30N06LE MOSFET and some screw terminals to allow you to easily use higher powered devices with your microcontroller. These can be useful to have on hand.

Some of our favorite projects always seem to include fire somehow. I am also a personal fan of Mythbusters, so it's only fitting that we would carry something that can be used as an igniter for such projects. The piezo igniter is just like the one found in gas grills. This one has a nice 'click' to it, and a long lead for remote mounting. We're not sure what to do with this, but we sure hope you do.

The ShiftBrite has been a pretty popular product so we're excited to talk about a few other products from MaceTech. The MegaBrite is a brighter version of the ShiftBrite. It uses 5-chip 100mA red, green, and blue LEDs. Each LED provides about 35,000 mcd, which is pretty bright! With an SPI interface, these can be daisy-chained with other modules to create a really impressive display.

The ShiftBar is essentially an SPI LED driver board. Think of it as a ShiftBrite or MegaBrite without LEDs. You can use this to control RGB LED bars, individual LEDs, or the Satellite Module 001. It also has a handy trimpot so you can adjust the current limiting for your LEDs.

The Satellite Module 001 is cluster of really bright LEDs. It has four reds, three blues and three greens. You wire the board up like a traditional RGB LED and can control it with the ShiftBar or another controller. Unlike the ShiftBrite or MegaBrite, this does not have an SPI interface, so it allows you to just use it like a big, bright LED.

This little piezo element can have a lot of uses. You can use it as a knock sensor, buzzer, or vibration sensor. By reading the output, you can easily detect taps or knocks. Or, by feeding it a signal, you can make a buzzer, alarm, or miniature speaker. These come in very handy indeed!

Measuring a fluid's level can be quite difficult. You could use some sort of mechanism with floaters and such, but if you're looking for a way to easily integrate the reading into your electronics, the liquid level sensor is perfect. This sensor can measure up to 8 inches of depth by simply changing its resistance based on the level of the liquid.

The right hardware can make all the difference in a project. In addition to our other standoffs, we now have two standoffs in black. They come in lengths of 3/4" and 3/8" and are tapped to accept 4-40 screws. They look quite nice in person and will add a little bit of style to your next project.

We have a new version of the geiger counter out. Not a lot has changed, mostly just some footprints and some layout fixes. It's still the same ol' counter, but we thought it would be worth mentioning since it has a new product number.

Speaking of revisions, we also have a new revised XBee shield. As with the geiger counter, we've just fixed a few footprints and revised the layout a bit and labeling a bit. Functionality remains the same!

As always, we will have even more products for you next week. Have a fantastic Christmas, Festivus, or just weekend. We'll see you next week with another product post.

Comments 23 comments

  • sgrace / about 13 years ago / 3

    Yesterday, in the Sparkfun IRC channel, myself and a few others decided to modify the 12 Days of Christmas to the "12 Days of a SFE Christmas."
    On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, an Arduino board from SFE...
    On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two breakout boards...
    On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three Xbees...
    On the forth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four LiPo cells...
    On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five LCDs...
    On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, six pressure sensors...
    On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, seven solder stations...
    On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight project cases...
    On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, nine female headers...
    On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ten male connectors...
    On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eleven barcode scanners...
    On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve servos spinning...
    Enjoy! Merry "Insert Religious Holiday Here"

    • mowcius / about 13 years ago / 2

      more like, what you gonna do with 11 barcode scanners?
      or an arduino? :D

      • SomeGuy123 / about 13 years ago / 2

        He could start a grocery store with 11 barcode scanners

        • orcinus / about 13 years ago / 1

          Or an electronics store and sell the Arduino and the solder stations :o

      • Hily / about 13 years ago / 1

        That's a good point considering he has been known to talk down of Arduino before...

    • SomeGuy123 / about 13 years ago / 2

      What are you going to do with 7 solder stations?

  • You've got skills Robert. Nice work!

  • SomeGuy123 / about 13 years ago / 2

    I woke up early this morning to read the Thursday new product posts.
    Its like Christmas, but every week.

  • nathan7 / about 13 years ago / 1

    You forgot to mention - you can use the piezo element as a piezo transformer too! A compact HV source :D

  • madsci1016 / about 13 years ago / 1

    You guys messed up this Xbee shield too!! You have to level shift the Xbee Dout! I'll quote from my comments on the Xbee regulated board:
    "The MIN High output voltage for an Xbee is only 0.82*VCC or 2.7 V. The MIN High input voltage for a 5V AVR is 0.6VCC or exactly 3.00V.
    2.7 is not greater then 3.0, so not every Xbee will be able to talk to 5V AVR with out proper level shifting. You need to add a level shifter to the DOUT line of this board."
    All the numbers are pulled from respective data sheets. There's been countless issues with regulated boards over on Society of Robots forums and it's because of this design flaw!!

  • mowcius / about 13 years ago / 1

    Loving the analog meters. Is the paper scale easy to remove and replace?

    • I'm totally going to use one of these to make an Awesome meter, and have it go to 11!

    • It's metal, and yes. Use something like ponoko or front panel express and make your own. Or flip it around and paint your own ;-)

      • macetech / about 13 years ago / 2

        "We're past Monet and almost out of Van Gogh! Slow down or we'll be into Picasso!"

  • jandirks / about 13 years ago / 1

    Nice video Robert, keep up the good work. I am always looking forward to Thursday.
    Next week I hope you will show how to use the ignite (Firefox spelling control says that igniter is not a valid word) to set of some fireworks?

    • Yeah, firefox doesn't recognize igniter or ignitor, but both are correct. odd.
      I'd love to see a project with the igniter!

      • jandirks / about 13 years ago / 1

        Do you guys shoot carbide? It something that is done here at the 31st of December every year. If the wire of the igniter was longer, it would have been a nice device to set them off.
        For those who don't know what shooting carbide is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioci4d-OoLc&hd=1

  • frank26080115 / about 13 years ago / 1

    Aww still no Netduino Plus?

  • Jeremy Sag / about 13 years ago / 1

    Nice! Thanks guys! Merry Christmas to you as well.

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