An Old-Timey New Product Post

This product post is a blast from the past! We don't have a video, just the good old-fashioned product post.

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Some of you might be scrolling down to find the video. And some of you might have already added comments below stating that we forgot to do a video for this week. Well, (here comes the bad news), we don't have a video for this week. Our videographer was on vacation this week (four-wheeling in Moab) and I can't be trusted with video equipment. For this week, you will have to make do with the standard written product post, just like the good old days!

Today is Friday the 22nd, which means that AVC is tomorrow! Yours truly will be judging the event, so if you haven't already mailed in your bribes, it's probably too late at this point. We hope to see many of you there and if you can't make it, we will have live coverage and a recap or two. Let's check out the list of products for this week.

Our new digital pot doesn't require a prescription or shady back-alley transactions (get it?!). However, this particular pot is smokeless (if you RTFM). These digital pots are 10k and can be controlled easily digitally with your microcontroller. As people have already talked about in the comments, there are some drawbacks versus standard potentiometers. We ended up using a servo motor manually turning a potentiometer for the Dreadmill. One of these would have come in handy.


These solid state relays are useful when don't want to use mechanical relays. These solid state relays can switch up to 8A at 400VAC, which is useful for almost any application.

If you've needed to repair a PCB trace, shielded a small component from RF interference, or just like the shiny qualities of copper, this copper tape is for you. It is 5mm wide, adhesive-backed and comes in 50 foot rolls. It's pretty handy to have around for repair projects or conductive art projects.

If you're looking to make your own RGB addressable strips or just want to easily control a lot of RGB LEDs, check out the WS2801 IC. It is the same chip used in our RGB LED Addressable strips. With a simple 2-wire control scheme, you can daisy-chain these ICs together and easily control a bunch of RGB LEDs!

If you need to mux or demux a bunch of analog signals, the TS3A5017 might be able to help you out. It can switch up to 3.6v signals and can be used for audio switching, reading multiple analog sensors, or anything else you want to do with analog signals.

We have some new screw terminals in. These screw terminals are 0.1" spaced which makes them perfect for fitting into proto and perfboards as well as using as a general connector for any 2-pin 0.1" spaced header. Screw terminals are nice because you just need bare wire and don't have to make custom wiring harnesses.

We had an issue with our last VS1033 breakout. As is turns out, some intermittent issues can arise if the TEST pin is left floating. Upon learning this, we have corrected the issue by tying the TEST pin to IOVDD as suggested by VLSI. The new boards have all the functionality as the old revision, but no longer has the floating TEST pin.

Infrared remote controls tend to work at two different wavelengths, 850nm and 950nm. We've been carrying the 850nm LEDs for a little bit and now we have the 950nm version in packs of 25 as well as singles.

If you need to know the exact color of something, you are going to need a color light sensor. We used to carry this on a breakout, but the IC was discontinued. The ADJD-S311-CR999 is the replacement. It is a 4-channel digital sensor. Don't let the picture above fool you, the thing is TINY.

That's all we have for this week. Of course be sure to check back next week. I promise we'll have a video as well as more new products. And once again, AVC is tomorrow so wish everyone luck (or not, depending on your idea of competition), and check out the live feeds. We'll see you next week, thanks for reading.

Comments 37 comments

  • SomeGuy123 / about 11 years ago / 2

    Where's the video? :(

  • I've been using the copper tape for almost 6 years. It's good for heat transfer from chips, good for running power and soldering to (a little tricky to solder on to, as there’s adhesive on one side, but once you wet it, no problems). I really enjoy using this thing. Also great for isolating rf noise in bare cables, a bit of this stuff, and an unshielded wire gets shielded great, especially when soldered to a ground plane.

  • Payday Near Me / about 5 years ago / 1

    I can't find the video, I think they have removed it. I have thought to purchase but firstly I would need cash advance.

  • DitchesHurt / about 11 years ago / 1

    ^^^^^ and here come the bots! I guess Skynet was having some slow server issues before the product post went up.

  • Member #221003 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Electronics have much contribution in the field of business world and it amaze me seeing these gadgets.
    Be it real estate or a piece of electronics on Craigslist, everyone wants to get as much cash as possible for items being sold. It can feel like your ad might get lost in a sea of online ads. A few simple things, however, can help ensure you get more cash whenever you sell. Don't take out a personal unsecured loan to sell an item, just follow these tips.

  • MoriFi / about 11 years ago / 1

    did you know that with you guys arround I never have any pocket money, all gone poof. But I do get some of the bast electronics in the world so I am okay with it.

  • MOAB!
    Hope to make it there someday in my Samurai.

  • PresidentOfAwesomeness / about 11 years ago / 1

    For the dreadmill, you could have used a low pass filter to smooth out some PWM to an analog form, then use a BJT biased to its Q-point to vary the resistance. I've never tried it, but from what I've read on audio forums, sending square wave at 50% duty cycle to a low pass filter at varying frequencies gives you a smooth analog signal. That digital pot does look nice though. Much more simple...

    • We tried something similar. The thing is, we usually only have a few hours to spend on each build. So, it comes down to what's the quickest and easiest to make.

  • madsci1016 / about 11 years ago / 1

    The WS2801 spec sheet and/or SFE description is incorrect on current ratting. See my comment on the product page.

  • lawortsmann / about 11 years ago / 1

    that last one is worth more than gold...

  • lawortsmann / about 11 years ago / 1

    That last one is worth more than gold...

  • ju1ce / about 11 years ago / 1

    "Upon learning this, we have corrected the issue by tying the TEST pin to IOVDD as suggested by VSLI."
    The company is called VLSI not VSLI.

  • DaveAK / about 11 years ago / 1

    What happened to these?
    They were on the New Products page yesterday. Are you keeping them secret until next week? In which case I didn't say anything.

    • They are actually old and we just took new pictures. We had a 3-pin right angle version, but it didn't have correct pictures and such. So, there's no real secret here. The others have been on the site for ages, we just wanted better pics.

      • DaveAK / about 11 years ago / 1

        Hmmm. Maybe we need a regular Tuesday Old Products You Didn't Know/Have Forgotten We Had Post. :)
        Luckily for my poor memory you've implemented the Wish Lists. Every time I come across something I think will be useful for upcoming projects I just stick one in a Wish List to remind me. So now I have these saved too.

  • walterr / about 11 years ago / 1

    I like the no video post just fine.

  • s-p-e-x / about 11 years ago / 1

    Are those LEDs particularly "bright"? I mean, would they be a good choice for using as an IR lamp? Or were there other considerations that make them better for remote controls than night vision?

    • These LEDs are best for IR control purposes. For IR illumination, you might want a LED with a lower wavelength and more output power.
      These appear to be pretty generic (probably not very high brightness) LEDs; but it's hard to tell because there's no spec for the brightness here. But the data sheet does say that they'd be good for things like decorations, advertising signs, indicators, traffic lights, and flashlights. None of which will work, of course, because these IR LEDs operate outside of the visible spectrum.

      • LOL That's brilliant! Traffic lights that you can't see. And failing businesses across the country are wondering why, even though they have a beautiful new IR LED advertising sign, no one is showing up to buy stuff! That is one helpful data sheet!

        • s-p-e-x / about 11 years ago / 1

          guerrilla marketing -- their signs only show up in digital photos

      • These come from the same supplier as our other 25 packs of LEDs, so they would most likely have similar brightness. But rsp is right, they are pretty generic LEDs.

  • HissingRoachParty / about 11 years ago / 1

    Is the adhesive backing on the copper tape conductive?

    • It seems to be. That is, when I overlap two strips of it and ohm it out, there is a solid connection between the two. However, I can't find any documentation to support that and it's unclear whether that's a function of the adhesive being conductive, or just being thin and allowing the copper foil to touch in places (although, the adhesive can't be too thin because it REALLY sticks). In short: I can't say for sure, but it does appear that sticking a piece of it to a conductive surface DOES create an electrical connection with that surface. For good measure I usually put a little dab of solder at the connections, though. (Being copper it really likes solder)

      • SomeGuy123 / about 11 years ago / 1

        Did you just copy and paste that from your answer on the product page?

        • I saw that you had asked the same question on the product page afterward so I copied my answer over, lol.

      • HissingRoachParty / about 11 years ago / 1

        Thanks for the information. I've used adhesive backed copper sheets in many guitar projects and the adhesive is always conductive or insulating in those applications, so I was just curious about this product. Again, thank you.

  • CSMachineCo / about 11 years ago / 1

    So how are you going to stream AVC live with no videographer? You should come clean and admit he just put off setting up for AVC until the last minute, and now he's too busy to do a new product post.

    • hehe, nah, he's actually gone. he'll be here for AVC. and we have a LOT of video feeds for AVC, more than one guy can do.

  • jakkjakk / about 11 years ago / 1

    Going from a video product post to a text version really sucks. Video Grapher needs a raise or you need to work something out so when he does go on vacation we don't get stuck with a text version. I WANT VIDEO!!!

    • Hey, Dave and I offered to do the video ourselves. I wanted to still have a video.

      • EvilGenius121 / about 11 years ago / 1

        what editing software does said videographer use perchance? :)

    • scharkalvin / about 11 years ago / 1

      Well you still have to read the text version because they NEVER cover ALL of the new stuff in the video.

      • SomeGuy123 / about 11 years ago / 1

        Some of the items aren't really coverable in video.
        Like what would he say if they started carrying a new type of screw? "And here we have a screw... It's different"

        • with the things ive seen from sparkfun i am sure that RobertC. would be able to come up with some fun and exciting way to introduce a brand new type of screw

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