New Product Friday: A Date to Remember


Has it really been a week already? Yes it has. And that means it's time for even more new products. Check out the video and the products for this week.

We have a lot of fun shooting the videos and the one this week is no exception. This was the most fun we've had shooting a video in a long time. Hopefully you enjoyed it.

These surface transducers are pretty fun. Use them just like you would a speaker. However, the difference is that whatever surface you attach them to becomes the speaker cone. Use a wall, window, or a co-worker's desk as a speaker. Creep your friends out by discretely attaching them to windows in their house and become a deity. The possibilities are endless!

Remember the illuminated rotary encoders we got a few weeks back? They were more popular than we expected and we went out of stock on them, but don't worry, we have many more on order and should see them soon. Since they were so popular, we decided to make a simple breakout board so they're a bit easier to use. It breaks out all the pins for the rotary encoder as well as for the LED. It even has mounting holes so you can more easily mount the encoder.

We now have a breakout board for the RN-42 HID module. The BlueSMiRF HID is the same profile as our BlueSMiRF modules, but uses the new RN-42 HID module. The HID protocol allows you to directly pair this and start sending commands.

Looking for a monotonous soldering project? The LoL Shield is a great way to perfect the art of soldering LEDs. The LoL Shield is a charliplexed LED matrix for your Arduino. It fits 126 LEDs onto a single board. Once you get everything soldered together, you can individually control each LED. We already carry a red and green version, but now we have it with blue and white LEDs as well.

The MMA8452Q is a low-power 3-axis accelerometer. It has a user-selectable scale of ±2g/±4g/±8g with high pass filtered data as well as non filtered data available real-time. We're working on a breakout board now, but for those of you who can't wait (or want to make your own), get the bare IC now.

If you're having a hard time organizing your SMD parts, you might want to check these out. These binder pages we found are great for organizing small parts. They fit into a normal 8.5x11" 3-ring binder and have 9 pockets. You can stuff them full of PCBs, resistors, etc.

We have a couple of updates for this week as well. The breadboard power supply stick has gotten a small redesign. We've beefed up the pads for the DC barrel jack to make it more stable and also slid it back a bit so it doesn't overhang as much. If you haven't used this board, it plugs directly into your breadboard and provides a clean 3.3v or 5v output for your design. You can use anywhere from 6-12v as an input.

We also have a revision of our famous Bluetooth Portable Rotary Phone. We've updated the guts a bit and it now includes an ATMega328. Other than that, it goes largely unchanged. One day in the distant future, we might be retrofitting iPhones with whatever the new technology becomes.

So there you have it, another Friday new product post, complete with awkwardness, Dave, new products and some revisions to older ones. Hope you enjoyed it. We have some fun stuff for next week as well so see then!


Comments 42 comments

  • Friday New Product Posts are seriously the highlight of my week.

  • I love that you take apart your own products to show us how they work.

  • Poor Dave! IT guys make excellent lab rats.

  • I personally think 10TB arrays are sexy… :-P

  • i dont know where else to put this .. so its here:
    you guys should run a week long poll to determine the balance between PIC and AVR users in the Sparkfun Community. (im not suggesting a PIC vs AVR troll war)…just for fun… study your market…whatever..
    it is evident that (IMO) most of your products are Arduino (thus AVR) inclined…i dont really care… i heart PIC, but appreciate the milestones achieve by the AVR community.
    ive just noticed that PIC prototyping “tools” (dev boards, breakouts, etc) have fallen behind…or suck.
    supposedly because PIC is more complicated than others…and PIC users have silently looked the other way….we need tools too, and i bet that like me, others spend more time building our own tools than actually prototyping….
    i have a little “dev board” or “break out” or “Prototyping widget”.. what ever thingy.. ive made and would like to see if Sparkfun is interested in selling, making…lets talk.
    it really makes prototyping with PIC a breeze….like… incredibly easy….
    i make them using toner transfer… but i would like a more “professional” solution… and would like to have more than 3 or 4 available….maybe even make a bit of extra cash?
    im willing to front the Cash nesesary to make this with you guys.
    maybe do a 100 boards run, and see from there.

    • I would guess that it’s probably 10:1 with AVR and PIC. With Arduino, it’s just much easier and quicker to put stuff together with the limited amount of time we have. More often than not, there’s already a project that’s been done and we can ‘borrow’ example code and be done with it.

      • Easier/Quicker is subjective, Id say it depends on the tools you have.
        More tools for Arduino, easier/faster to prototype. (like i said, i appreciate the milestones achieve by the AVR/Arduino community)
        This is my point… PIC people need stuff too! we need “sparkfun shortcuts” (Parraphasing Nate - i think) as well… and we also have limited time.
        I would like to help out, and i think my little widget can get us one step closer.

    • I’ve noticed this as well. It seems almost everything new on Sparfun is geared towards the Arduino these days. It would be nice if the PIC (and barebones AVR for that matter) community could get some love as well.

      • Hi!
        It is good to know Im not the only one!
        In my country we have a saying “El que no chilla, no mama"
        (the one that doesnt cry, doesnt get fed)…
        I believe same applies here, if we dont "cry”, we dont get anything on fridays…..
        i guess the real message is… Dont forget us!
        @Sparkfun: i sent an email to Spark at Sparkfun.com… no reply. i would like to know at least if it got there…

  • Any chance of sparkfun ever carrying Deans connectors?

  • I started using binder pages, but before tucking in some sensitive components, I put them in a small anti-static bag.
    Idea: make those pages but with that translucent grey anti-static stuff

    • they wouldn’t be $0.95 anymore…

      • even still, I would be willing to pay ~3 per page to protect components like the MAX3421, which cost me a whopping $12

    • I’ve been keeping parts in binders for a while (and the pockets with flaps are fantastic but hard to find) For antistatic needs I do the following:
      1) a 8.5x11" sheet of antistatic foam with binder holes. Just stick ICs right into it.
      or:
      2) Piece of card stock punched with binder holes. Attach small antistatic bags with double-sided tape.

  • This is… a helmet!
    What did you use for the FM transmitter?

  • You don’t understand how happy seeing those binder pages has made me! A few months ago, after seeing a blog post of a guy using a coin collector book to store parts, I spent hours searching through at least 98% of the internet trying to find binder pages with a folding flap like these.
    And now… here they are!!

    • Agreed. I’ve been keeping my small components in binders for years, and the coin pockets with flaps are by far the best pages to do it, but they’re nearly impossible to find. Very glad to see them here.
      Now if Sparkfun would let me buy some of their small shipping boxes. For some reason all the boxes they ship in seem to get used as project cases and for organizing stuff.

      • No kidding on the organizing stuff! I have gone so far as storing my small stuff in a Lowes' Stanley Professional Organizer Item #: 212419 | Model #: 212419 - cool thing about them is they stack and they are like a briefcase as in they have a handle. Yes they are not cheap. The only thing I wish that I could find real easy are the anti-static foam that you put your IC into. I used to get roles of the anti-static foam and cut them up so they would fit in the draws for the 64 Drawer Plastic Parts Storage Hardware and Craft Cabinet. That worked great. I would like to do that again with the Stanley Organizer.

    • I know! And they’re relatively inexpensive so I can actually store my parts in something!

  • do you sell this product as a Kit or i need to buy every separately? and the step by step process?

  • I wish there were tutorials on how to make these projects :) unless there already are haha

    • unfortunately not. we make something like this every week and don’t necessarily have the time to write a full (good) tutorial for each one.

  • :)

  • You can also find similar little smd sample books on ebay if you search for smd sample book. When I saw these, I contacted the seller just to buy the books. I even thought about selling the empty books by themselves, but did not get around to trying.

  • Really cool taking things apart! and great video! I have a quick question Rob if I can, when designing your breakout board etc, which software to use to build schematics and PCB’s?
    Coz I built a logic circuit in Eagle(freemuim version) but I really want to use something better. I recently stumbled upon designspark(freeware!) and it looks really good, any experience with that?

    • I don’t do design. But we use Eagle here. It works fine for our purposes. Granted, we don’t use the free version…

  • Mounting holes on the rotary breakout board! How novel…!
    (Mounting holes should be standard on ALL your boards. Even if they are just big enough for one or two 2-56 machine bolts.)

    • Trust me, I know. I mount a lot of stuff and try my best not to use hot-glue and double-stick tape. So, I’m for it, we just try to get the boards small. Sigh, compromises.

      • Hot glue fuses with most soldermask material. It makes a nice hold, but it makes the board ugly if you try taking it off.

      • “Cold glue” guns work well, much better than hot glue guns at least.

      • Take a lesson from your “snap apart” line. Put the mounting holes on one/both ends of the board and perforate it so they can be snapped off if size is what you want.

        • I’ve experimented with similar breakaway mounting hole techniques. I’ve found that separating the mounting holes with vscores works quite well.

        • You could always modify the Eagle files, add some and make your own. They have done 95% of the work for you already.

        • I think he means they make it as small as possible to save cost

  • Dave you need to get rob out of your head!(literally)
    Don’t settle find a real geeky girl then talk all you want about whatever IT Guys talk about.lol.


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