St. Patrick's Day New Product Post


Happy St. Patrick's Day SparkFun followers! Although there's no real relation between St. Patrick and electronics, we're trying our best to tie the two together. 'Green' is the theme for this week's product post. It must be your lucky day because we have a great selection of new products this week and of course another Thursday New Product Post webisode.

Don't worry, Mr. Planty-Pants will be just fine. He's actually just a silk plant (but don't tell Dave that).

This handy little submersible pump can pump up to 350 gallons per hour. It accepts 12 VDC and is as basic as they come. If you're looking for a watering apparatus, pump for a fountain, or some other project that involves moving large amounts of liquid from one place to another, this pump might be worth checking out.

Let's face it, not all of us have green thumbs. I'm really good at watering my plants the first few weeks. After that, I forget about them and they start looking a bit sad. Thankfully, the Botanicalls Kit solves this problem. Once assembled, the Botanicalls allows your plant to send customized tweets regarding its moisture level so you will know if your plant is too wet or too dry.

If you have some water you want to control, you're going to need a valve. This 12V solenoid valve allows you to precisely control your water flow for your next project. This is not a gravity-feed valve, so you will need some pressure to get it to operate properly. A garden hose or something similar should work fine.

Setting up wireless mesh networks can be a confusing task. Thankfully, Rob Faludi wrote the book on how to do it (literally). However, going through the projects in the book is going to require some parts. Conveniently, we put together the BWSN Kit to go along with most of the examples presented in the Building Wireless Sensor Networks book. Get both and you will truly be a master of XBee.

Speaking of XBees, we have almost all of our new Series 2 XBee modules in stock. We now have the 2mW chip and U.FL modules, as well as the 50mW chip, wire, and RPSMA modules in stock. Series 2 is the new version of Series 2.5 (I don't make this stuff up, don't blame me if it's confusing). It's the same hardware, but has a newer firmware which makes it easier to get a mesh network up and running. For anyone still confused about all the various XBee modules, I highly recommend Robert Faludi's book, Building Wireless Sensor Networks and the associated kit above.

We have a new EL inverter this week. This one accepts a 12v input, has a useful switch (on, off, and blink) and can drive a lot more wire than our smaller inverter. We found that it can successfully drive about 10-15 meters of EL wire.

We are all pretty familiar with the PlayStation 2 controller. However, most of you probably didn't know that someone's written an Arduino library for it. That's right, if you've been looking for the perfect input device for your next project, why not grab a Playstation 2 controller and use that? Check the links on the product page for pinout information and the library.

Coin cell batteries are small, lightweight and relatively inexpensive. But we haven't had a great way to use them yet, until now. Once you solder on the coin cell battery holder (this is just a breakout board), you can easily use those coin cell batteries. Pair this up with one of our LiPo chargers and you can charger those coin cell batteries too!

Traditional 9V battery adapters are handy, but what do you do with the battery once you have it connected? This 9V battery holder lovingly cradles your battery and even has mounting holes on the bottom so you can securely fasten it to your enclosure. The other end has a standard (5.5mm) barrel jack connector.

The LilyPad Protoboard is the same board we've been selling with the LilyPad Thread Bobbin, but without the thread. Now you don't have to buy the thread if you just want to use the protoboard. It has the same thickness and color as the other LilyPad products so your wearables won't clash.

The above picture might not look strange to most people, but upon close inspection, you can see that this cable is having a bit of an identity crisis. One end is terminated with a USB mini-B, while the other is terminated with a USB-B connector. Why would anyone want a B to mini-B? We have no idea, we didn't order them. We were going to toss them out, but had the novel idea to use them for their connectors. How many times have you cut up a USB cable only to solder it to a header or directly to a board? We have, many times. So here we have a cable that (when cut) has the potential to yield you two perfectly usable bare-ended USB pigtails. Of course we won't be ordering these again, but why chop up a perfectly good cable when you can use one of these and possibly put each end to good use?

And lastly, we have a revision of the LPY530AL gyro breakout board. This new version revises the high pass filter, hopefully eliminating some of the problems our savvy customers brought to our attention.

Phew, another product post complete. So many new products, so little time. Thanks for reading (and watching) and have a great St. Patrick's Day and we'll be back again next week with more new products.


Comments 36 comments

  • Now! By popular demand! Follow @daves_plant on Twitter!

  • Next week: Will it blend? Starring Mr. Planty-Pants!

  • New product post is AWSOME!!!! I can’t wait to see what zany adventures Dave gets into every week!

  • Dave was on “vacation”

  • Gah! I just spent my free day credit on some random items and then you start to sell this incredible stuff.

  • Get rid of the ethernet port on the Botanicalls kit and instead wire the pump to it. Presto, a self-watering plant.
    Also, clicking on the pic of the solenoid valve just takes you to a pic of it. For all the other products clicking on their pic will take you to the product page.

  • Are you seriously reccomending the plant should tweet to tell you it just wet itself? :p (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) :)

  • By now, I’m sure someone has used a combination of the parts mentioned here to make a self-watering plant. But to have the plant tweet to you that it has watered itself, now THAT’S cool!

  • “Hi im Ted and Im suffering from sparkfunidrome-syndrome”.
    Lol, I seriously visit this site more than my local newspaper, checking for SF news. Keep up the good work SparkFun!

  • Tweeting moisture level is one thing. How about tweeting NOM NOM NOM when your venus fly trap catches a fly?

  • Actually that USB Mini-B to B cable looks like it would work for a USB-OTG interface where the Mini-B is connected to a USB-OTG device in host mode.

    • So what we need SparkFun to do, it check whether the mini-B is a 5-pin jobbie, and if so, is pin 4 connected to pin 5? If so, then this is an OTG cable for devices with B connectors and the mystery is solved. So how about it SparkFun? Do you accept the task?

  • Mr. Planty-pants! No!!!
    I think I would have rolled differently on that… just put the probe in some sand, then after the first few ‘dry’ tweets, start adding my own tweets with Mr. Planty-pants going through the phases of grief.

  • “Pair this up with one of our LiPo chargers and you can charger those coin cell batteries too!"
    This is false! The common Lithium coins are Lithium PRIMARY batteries, based on metallic lithium. Please!!! Only charge Lithium-Ion cells with a LiPo charger!

    • Also, you can “charge” coin cells, not “charger” them. They're
      not batteries, either, technically. :)

    • We were actually referring specifically to the lithium-ion coin cells which we carry (PRT-10319). They are indeed rechargeable.

  • the egg looks cool in the product post?
    it’s on the bottom left of the vid,on the solder spool.
    amazing product post!!
    :D

    • Your question had me so intrigued that I actually left my office to go investigate. It turns out my suspicions were correct, the “egg” is actually a ping pong ball (stretched and enlarged because it’s in the edge of the wide angle frame). Now, your guess for why it’s there is as good as mine, but it’s less confusing to me than an egg for whatever reason.

      • Now, your guess for why it’s there is as good as mine…
        I’ll field that one. Last summer a box of 500 ping pong balls showed up in IT which is just down the hall from the studio. Many balls were thrown about and now we find them in the strangest places.

      • lol yeah I looked at it and wondered too. I thought there might be some wide angle distortion (my camera does it a lot) but wasnt sure… :)

  • Hope that this cables will still be in stock when Russian diller will do the next supply…
    I think that they will be fine to connect Atduino to USB-otg on PPC and tablets

    • yeah, who knows. We couldn’t think of a good use for the cable, but if it turns out to have a purpose, why not continue carrying it?

  • A) I LOVE the “Kenny vs. Spenny” type-thing Robert and Dave have going in these videos!
    B) It’s mentioned on the product page, but are you planning on carrying connectors or a breakout board for the PS2 controllers?
    C) I think that there will be plenty of applications for hobbyists to use the USB cable “as is”.

    • Yeah, those cables are useful for STM32 boards where you want a mini-B connector but are operating as a master.

    • I second the need for SparkFun to carry PS2 connectors/breakout boards. In fact, if they could find a source for classic consoles connectors as well (NES, SNES, GameCube, etc) a lot of people would be happy.

  • Daves gonna be mad….. his plant is toast!
    Haha i’ve commented second! Half school day ;)
    looks like you’ve got enough parts here for some cool jumping fountains. Add that to my list, project idea #126

  • Actually, I have a relevant electronics/St. Patty’s Day association. One year ago today, we launched a high altitude balloon over Colorado and took some amazing photos!
    Read all about it:
    http://rumitcu.blogspot.com/2010/03/lucky-balloon.html


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