New Product Friday: Painting the Town Red


Last week we didn't have a new product post because we wanted to announce Free Day 2012 while everyone was at home during the extended weekend. That means that we have two weeks worth of products to talk about. As always, there's a lot of new cool stuff. This is a long post, so grab your favorite beverage and hunker down.

Alright - sorry about that! The video is now re-uploaded and should be fixed. You can all now see the thrilling finish of this week's product video!

Before I start talking about the new products, I'd like to talk about a couple of new website features that we've implemented in the past few weeks. You might have more icons next to products lately. In addition to RoHS, we've also added icons for Fritzing, the SFE Eagle Library, and OSHW. So now you can easily look at a part and know if it's in our library, in the Fritzing library, or is OSHW. It cleans up the descriptions quite a bit and gives you more information.

Also, most of our packaged kits now include public wish lists. Let's say you've wanted to buy a SparkFun Inventor's Kit, but already had an Arduino. Now you can just click on the wishlist and pick which items from the kit you want. This applies to the tool kits as well. If you want one of our tool kits, but don't need the iron, or something else, just add the wishlist to your cart and remove what you don't need. If you see any other products that might benefit from a public wishlist, post a comment below and we'll add it.

Check out this conductive paint! It comes in 50ml containers and is blacker than (insert politician's name)'s soul. We don't have a datasheet (the manufacturer is working on one), but check the video above for its characteristics. This paint is not for use on the skin, so that might ruin a few project ideas. But don't fear, the same company is in the testing phase with a conductive paint that can be used on skin, so stay tuned.

The VCNL400 combines an ambient light sensor with an IR proximity sensor. The VCNL400 Breakout Board lets you detect objects up to 20cm away and even read the amount of ambient light as well. We also have example code which communicates with the board over I2C and displays the ambient light and proximity information.

There's a new Arduino on the block. The new Arduino Uno R3 adds a few interesting features and is a preview of future Arduinos. Not a lot has changed and the board is still compatible with all the older Arduino shields. However, the new version has added a few extra pins. The SDA and SCL pins are now moved next to the AREF. In addition, two new pins are added by the RESET pin. One of which allows shields to adapt to the voltage provided by the board. In addition, the reset button has been moved over by the USB jack and the ATmega8U2 gets upgraded to an ATMega16U2 for more memory.

The ezLCD 301 is a 2.6" color LCD that's controlled through simple serial commands. It even has a touchscreen so you can use it for all your input and visual feedback needs. You can use it in conjunction with another microcontroller or you can write standalone programs that are stored and run directly from the LCD.

Sensors are a useful part of embedded electronics. If you're starting out and don't know what to get, why not get the Sensor Kit? It includes pretty much whatever you need. It has flex sensors, pressure sensors, and ultrasonic range finder and probably an accelerometer and gyro too. Just look at that picture above! That's a lot of sensors! The new version of this kit includes the new HMC5883L magnetometer.

What happens when you combine a 20A relay with some various bits? You get the Beefcake Relay Kit. This simple kit allows you to control a big 20A relay with just a simple microcontroller. Feed the board 5V and ground and you can control it just like you would an LED. Send it a signal turn on or off the relay and you can easily control up to 20 amps of current.

If you have a board that's a little too hot for its own good, you might need to put some heatsinks on the ICs. This kit includes 5 heatsinks and the accompanying pads to cool down those little buggers. They're intended to work with the Quadstepper, EiBotBoard, and the Big Easy Driver.

The EasyVR is a good module for voice and speech recognition. Their new version, the EasyVR Shield adds an Arduino shield to the module making it even easier to use with an Arduino or any microcontroller compatible with shields. The module can do quite a bit and uses a simple serial interface so check out the product page and see if you want to add speech recognition to your next project.

Remember awhile back when we used to do skits in product post videos? Well, due to a shipping error, we now have white pocket protectors. And you know what? They look pretty good. I like them better than the grey. Get one to really show off your geek aptitude.

If you're a distributor looking to announce that you carry SparkFun products or just someone looking to advertise your geek street cred, we now have SparkFun static stickers. Just stick one to your window so people know where they can get their fix.

We have a few retail products to talk about this week. Actually, quite a few. First off, we have the 10 Segment Bar Graph LED Kit. It takes 4 different colors of our bar graph LEDs and couples them with a handful of our SIL resistors. Toss it all in a breadboard, add some power, and you have, well, lights. You can use these for lever meters, cool VU meters, or whatever else necessitates 40 LEDs.

We also have a retail version of the Serial LCD Kit. I've always liked this kit. It's an easy-to-solder through-hole kit that gives you an LCD that you can use with simple serial commands. The bonus is that since it uses an ATMega328, you can use the whole thing as an Arduino as well. Yeah, we included the Arduino bootloader and even broke out the unused pins. Just hook up an FTDI and load your code, it's that easy. If you have a project that calls for an LCD with an Arduino, get this kit and kill two birds with one stone.

The HMC5883L breakout board has also gotten the honor of being a retail product. The HMC5883L is a great low-cost magnetometer which makes it a great choice for the quick grab-and-go retail package.

The trusty Breadboard Power Supply Kit has also made its way into retail packaging. If you need selectable 5v or 3.3v output for your next breadboard project, this easy kit is a good choice. It's a beginner kit that's very easy to solder and in the end you have a very useful tool for prototyping.

We also have the popular Touch Sense Shield in retail packaging. This shield uses the MPR121 IC to give you a shield for the Arduino with 9 touch pads and 3 external inputs for all your touch sense needs.

Servo motors tend to be used in a lot of projects, so we've decided to put our large servo motor in retail packaging. If you're not familiar with how servo motors work or why you should use them, check out our product video from a few weeks back where I explain the differences in servos, steppers, and other types of motors.

Phew, another new product post finished. As always, we'll have even more next week, so get ready for even more new products. Thanks for reading and see you again next week.


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