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A Fasten-ating New Product Post

Turn your week around with some revolutionary new products.

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A quick note - Monday, September 5th is Labor Day, so the SparkFun offices will be closed! We will be back at it again bright and early on Tuesday.

Is it Friday again already? Well then I guess I should roll out some new products! Let me tell you, sticking to Rob's pun quota has been no laughing matter but I think I'm finally starting to get a handle on it. So without further ado, let's take a look at what's new this week.

I know, I know, you want more shenanigans. Well, we've been feeling a little mischievous lately so there may be some video-silliness in our future. I guess you'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, let's run through the list of cool new stuff for this week:


OOPS! In the video I called this a Quadrature Encoder, but I was wrong. I had neglected to RTFM (Never good) and it turns out that two of the wires on this encoder are N/C. This is actually an incremental single-output rotary encoder. Encoders like these are still great for adding feedback to small motors and allow you to do things like dead-reckoning navigation, but because you can't read direction with a single-output encoder it wouldn't make such a great input knob. This encoder comes with a plastic coupler that makes it easy to mount to any 4mm diameter shaft.

Next up we have this very nifty cool Screwdriver and Bit Set. This kit comes with 42 interchangeable bits including several sizes of Torx, Tri-Wing and Hex Socket. Each bit fits securely into the ABS plastic handle using a steel chuck system. The kit also includes two different extension rods, one straight and one flexible, which are great for getting into spaces where the handle itself won't fit. With this kit on your workbench there are very few warranties you couldn't void things you couldn't unfasten.

stick to it!

Everybody likes stickers because they make everything cooler. In keeping with that idea, we've added two new stickers to our swag category. These SparkFun flame stickers are a great way to add some flair to your project (and you can never have enough pieces of flair)

3x2 Header

We've recently started carrying ribbon cable and crimp-on connectors. We now carry 2x3 Pin Shrouded Headers to complete the set. Shrouded headers help prevent cabling mishaps and reduce lateral stress on your header pins. If your project requires some custom cabling, a set of shrouded headers and ribbon cable may be just the thing you need.


Last but not least, we've added a new sensor to our magnetometer category. The MAG3110 breakout board provides filtering caps and standard 0.1" headers to make it easier to use Freescale’s MAG3110FCR1 3-axis magnetometer in your next navigation project.

Well that wraps it up for this week. I hope something caught your eye this week and I look forward to hearing about what kinds of wild contraptions our stickers end up on. Enjoy your weekend and be sure to come back next week for even more new products!

Comments 25 comments

  • Nick loves to couple things.

  • The Encoder does look super sweet. Wonder how accurate it really is?

    • It's accurate to within 1.8 degrees (200 pulses per revolution.)

      • Assuming it outputs a 50% duty cycle signal, you could look for rising AND falling clock edges, giving you double the resolution at 400 pulses per revolution.

      • It's a reverse stepper motor!

  • You guys need a board with the Freescale MMA9550 and a MAG3110 on it. The MMA9550 has a 16k Coldfire processor on it that is fully programmable. It also has a master and slave SPI/I2C bus on it. So you can communicate to the outside world on the slave bus and to the MAG3110 on the master bus. And you could program the Coldfire processor to output true compass data instead of just raw data from the sensors.

  • I thought 'According to Pete' was supposed to be every first Monday of a month?? Is there one in the tube for September??

  • I'd buy a product from you,It's an IMU Analog Combo Board Razor - 6DOF Ultra-Thin IMU .
    I want to apply to use with arm7 by C language for made a segway.
    Can you give some informations and guide somethings for me please.

  • The MAG3110 looks interesting but I'm a bit confused. It says it needs to be paired with an accelerometer to work as a compass. What stops it working as a compass or UAV input on it's own?

    • You can imagine a system that if you change the orientation of the magnetometer you may flip North and South, but if the system knew which way was down, toward the center of the Earth, then it could correct for that. There's other neat things you can do with this combo. If you know which direction down is, you can make a guess about your location on Earth! Even without knowing which way down is, you could rule out a lot of possibilities of your location, but knowing rules out more. The magnetic field on the South Pole points straight down, and on the North Pole, straight up. Between the poles, it of course changes continuously from up to down. The magnetic field also varies in direction and magnitude with altitude.

  • Everyone should check out the 7400 Logic Competition. Lots of prizes and sponsorship opportunities are involved.

  • How is the quality of the screw driver set? I had a cheap small screwdriver set start flaking off the metallic plating recently. When that started happening I decided I was done with it because metal flakes + electronics (laptop) are a bad combination.

    • I know the weird flaky 'plating' that you're talking about. These actually seem like they'll hold up better than that. I can't say for sure because we haven't had them long enough to wear them out but the pictures make them look more "super shiny" than they really are, the only thing that looks to me like it has that flaky plating is the ends of the gooseneck extension. I will tell you that even the plastic handle feels really solid, not to sell it too hard but before the end of the day Friday a bunch of people here at the office already had one on their desks, lol.

      • Thanks for the info. Would you mind testing a bit with a bit of torque on a it and see how well the finish holds up. I was thinking something like putting the end of a flat bit in a vise and then cycling it back and forth several (20+) times to see if the finish remains intact or if it starts flaking of.

    • I have what I assume is this set, but bought from somewhere else. It's been fine and no flaking after months of use

    • I haven't handled this particular set but what you describe is the very first thing I thought when I saw it. The price coupled with that super shiny plating always rubs me the wrong way considering my previous experiences.

  • Wow! I'm glad I saw this posting about the Sparkfun Logo stickers.
    Why? Because I was just about to have the Sparkfun flame logo tatooed on my ass cheeks; now I won't have to. I can just stick on these guys.
    Sparkfun: always a step ahead.

  • Handy? Neat? I think some thing is missing here.

  • Sooo...it's a $35 tachometer. Meh.

  • Datasheet says the CS3E version is single output, not quadrature.
    You need the CW3E model to get the quadrature outputs.
    Which are you actually stocking?

    • You are absolutely right, we're stocking the CS3E which is a single output incremental encoder... I suppose everything else I said about it was true except for the quadrature part and the thing about telling which direction you turn it...
      I'm gonna go edit the product page. This was in our system as a quadrature encoder and I should have RTFM.

  • FYI: Quadrature != Gray Code.

    • 2 bit (4 atop) gray code and Quadrature encoding are equivalent.
      Below is info found on wikipedia - note that if we use "QuadB" as bit 1, everything is gravy - and seeing as quad encoded outputs do not imply bit significance there's no problem treating "B" as the low bit and "A" as the high bit.
      Pos: 1 2 3 4
      QuadA: 0 0 1 1
      QuadB: 0 1 1 0
      GBit1: 0 1 1 0
      Gbit2: 0 0 1 1

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