New Product Post Friday


For those of you not in the loop, Maker Faire is happening this weekend in San Mateo. We will be there, so stop by and say hi, or attend one of our workshops! As always, we have a few new products to talk about and our new product video. So let's take a look.

Congratulations to all the winners out there. We will get your boxes of goodies packed up and shipped out to you soon. You will get an email letting you know that you won. We plan on having more contests in the future, so keep watching. OK, let's see what products we have for this week.

Like it or not, the Arduino has taken the market by storm. It's a versatile platform with a lot of features and it's easy to use. There are a lot of imitators and copies out there too. Leaf Labs came up with a board that can take your projects to the next level. Their Maple board uses an ARM processor running at 72MHz and has more I/O pins that you can shake a stick at! Add in a JTAG header, 3 UARTS, and an on-board battery charging circuit, and you have a very powerful board. The Maple is also nearly directly compatible with Arduino sketches and shields. You may need to make some minor tweaks, but generally speaking, the Maple could act like an Arduino in most circumstances.

We've already made a couple of boards based on the MPR121 capacitive touch IC. We sell the bare IC, a breakout board, the touch keypad, and now the Touch Shield. We took the touch keypad and made it into a shield. We had to make it a bit smaller and get rid of 3 of the touch pads (there's a total of 9), but we've broken them out separately on a header so you can still use them. The shield also features logic level shifting so you can use it on a 5v or 3.3v board.

Light pipes are pretty cool. It's a lot like a fiber optic cable crossed with an EL wire. It's a flexible material that transmits light very well (but not as well as a fiber optic cable). So, when you shine light through one end, it comes out the other, and the tube lights up! We will have them in 4 different types in 2 different lengths. We are still working on getting them all bagged up, so check back next week for the rest of them. Right now, we have them in 6mm white core (5'), 3mm white core (1'), 6mm clear core (1'), 6mm clear core (5'), and 3mm clear core (5').

The Wixel is a versatile little microcontroller with built in USB and a 2.4GHz radio. Use two of them for a serial bridge (like a pair of XBees) or from your computer to a robot for remote control. They can even use 256 different wireless channels so you can have multiple serial links!

One of the first mistakes I made as a newb was not realizing that to talk to a GPS unit, TX needs to connect to RX and vice-versa. It's a common mistake a lot of us make. Unfortunately, headers don't always line up right, so you find yourself breaking out your jumper wires make a crossover cable between your two devices. It may sound silly, but our Crossover Breakout for FTDI can come in quite handy. It has headers on each side and swaps TX and RX so you can connect your FTDI to a Bluetooth Mate (as an example).

Our Simon PTH kit has been quite successful. If you've ever attended a soldering workshop of ours here at SparkFun or at a Maker Faire, you've probably soldered one of these kits. With our new version, we've changed the layout a bit and made the entire kit even easier to put together. If you know someone who'd like to learn soldering but needs a simple and rewarding kit, check out the Simon PTH kit, it makes a great gift.

Well, that's our post for this week. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by our booth at Maker Faire. We'll be back next week with even more new products. Thanks for reading.


Comments 111 comments

  • Maple and Wixel look awesome! been waiting for some new toys like these.. def. adding some to my next cart :)
    P.S. - I love SparkFun’s giveaway spirit! :)

    • I’m thinking it would be cool to make a MIDI Sequencer with Maple and maybe even add wireless capabilities with a BlueSMiRF or something.

  • did anyone else get the email from Radioshack asking for feedback from the diy community? I laughed because I only saw it cause I was checking on my order from Sparkfun.

    • I got the RS email… I loved the “Features Items” they had sprinkled around the email: apparently, if you are a DIY'er, all you really need are a variety of soldering irons and a lighted magnifier. Tee hee. I counted four direct methods for burning ants in that one email.
      (No ants were harmed as a result of this message)

      • all you really need are a variety of soldering irons and a lighted magnifier
        How many soldering irons do you have? And you need a PS, hot air, components (of which radioshack as a sad supply of)
        They should send a Consumer relations guy to Sparkfun HQ.

  • Just an idea for a new product: You guys should sell red boxes. You basically give them away for free, but we can’t chose the size, and they get all dirty in the mail truck. I’m not joking. You can sell the small, medium, large, and XL free day ones.
    Seriously.

  • All THAT went into the giveaways!!! I KNEW I should have made an effort, even though I’m at work. Hey, what my boss doesn’t know…
    May I make a product suggestion? How about some rubber conductive buttons to go with the Sparkfun.lib eagle footprint. I know that you carry similar buttons on the Simon Game, but they are large, square, and come in a group of four.
    That’d be great! Thanks!

  • I’d be all over the urban exploring. I know where one of those silos are but figured it would be to risky trying to get in. I’ll sign a waiver saying I won’t sue anyone if I get hurt/killed. Anyone know if their is a legal way to tour one?
    Sorry for the new post. I can’t reply for some reason.

  • I guessed 83. crap.

  • Just heat to about 150 degrees! That should squeeze some extra hertz out.

  • Have the winners been contacted already?

    • No. But according to The God (aka RobertC.), if you guessed 81, then you win! Exactly 5 people guessed 81!

  • I, too am not getting an updated ‘new products’ page. I depend on that page for my morning sparkfun fix, and it’s been stuck on Arduino Fio for much too long.

  • Hi all,
    Marti from LeafLabs here. Just a minor correction: the Maple runs at 72 MHz, not 73.
    We’re glad to be on SparkFun! Looking forward to seeing what cool uses you guys can put the Maples to.

  • YES!!!! I guessed 81! Hopefully I was one of the 5. I hope I find out soon.

  • noooooo!!!! I guessed 79 :(

  • Any chance we might be getting our goods this weekend so we have time to play with everything over the long weekend?

  • How do enter the contest to win the inventor’s kit for Arduino?

  • Anybody gotten the magic notification yet? I haven’t, I guessed 81, why?

    • Wow, settle down. It WAS the weekend and despite Robert having said he would contact winners over the weekend, my guess is he’s not required to have worked over the weekend. Just give him time. He was sick too so maybe he just wasn’t completely over it yet.
      It doesn’t help that it’s only 8:17 MST right now either. He may have just left for work. They’ll follow through. Just hang on, it’s not the end of the world if he gets back to you a little later although I am curious myself.

  • Hello,
    “http://www.sparkfun.com/categories/new_products” seems to have stalled. The last product listed there is the Arduino Fio from Tuesday, 10 May 2011 2:11.

  • Next contest idea: the winners get a free Urban Exploring trip with Dave to one of those missile silos!

  • Some IRC-channel-dwellers have created a page for people to post suggestions to.
    Hopefully, this will centralize suggestions down to a single thinktank.

  • “has more I/O pins that you can shake a stick at!” Did you mean “then you can shake a stick at”

  • What’s so funny is that Paradoxial suggested spamming numbers from 1-80. Just replace the - with a + and there’s the answer.

  • Maple ain’t got nothin on this
    http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,892,894&Prod=CHIPKIT-MAX32
    80MHz and 81 I/O ports, AND compatible with all the arduino libraries, just need to use their (free of course) modified version of the Arduino IDE
    BONUS: the ChipKIT IDE can also program all AVR-based Arduinos too!

  • I can so see making some really cool lights around and in my in ground pool with the light pipes, this will be my next project! Would not RGB led’s work well with this?

  • ok. what the heck? new products dont show up in new products category? does anyone else have this problem or is it just me?

  • I’m pretty sure that judging by the unique sound repetition in that demo song for the light pipes, that it was a song by beats antique, correct?

  • That FTDI crossover board is remarkably similar to one I designed very, very recently:
    BlueSMiRF-to-FTDI Adapter Board
    Mine is built to plug an FTDI adapter into a BlueSMiRF-style pin header though, since that’s what I’m using. It’s more than just a crossover. Basically it has the same goal though.

  • Could someone try to use the both the clear and white core Light pipes and see how well it works for backlighting an arcade marquee? With and without a diffuser?

  • What kind of headers do you use to stack up so many shields?

  • On the crossover breakout, The schematic and Eagle files are correct. Do I smell some discounted boards?

  • That was a reply to JoshFranz.
    Not sure why it was at the bottom.

  • Tell us who won! Their usernames!
    Oh, and YESSS!!!! I GUESSED 81!!! AT LEAST THAT WAS ONE OF MY GUESSES!!!!

    • Everyone will be notified this weekend. I was out sick the past couple of days. But if you guess 81, you won :-) we had exactly 5 people guess 81.

  • Is it just me, or does it look an awful lot like the traces on the crossover breakout still go TX to TX and RX to RX? It looks like you flipped the labels, but then still crossed the traces.

    • Yeah, I noticed that too. It’s fine if you’re using a 6-wire cable on each side, but anyone hooking this up with individual wires needs to realize that you can’t connect each side’s TXO pin to the respective device’s TX pin and have it work, which defeats the whole purpose of this breakout.
      Should’ve swapped the traces but left the silkscreen alone.

  • if you pause the video at 1:38, he looks like a bearded Reed Richards…

  • Is it just me or does the new product page not update? I’ve been looking at the same product for the past 2 weeks, all 3 computers that I use in my dayly life have the same problem.

    • Aye, same issue here, even after clearing browser history and cookies

      • These products are on there, but you have to scroll down a bit.
        It looks like they got a bogus “date added” setting?


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