New Product Friday: Stick With It!


Hello everyone! It's Friday again, so we're back to talk about more new products. We don't have much this week, but as always, there's some cool stuff, so check it out.

I'd like to formally apologize for the puns. I'm truly sorry. Now, on to the products!

This new version of the Venus GPS has a lot of little improvements. We've added a pad for a supercap on the bottom, removed some of the useless pins, and cleaned up the layout. If you're looking for a simple GPS module with a 20Hz update rate, you should check out this board. Using different firmwares, you can unlock a lot of different features, including logging.

A long, long time ago we released some copper tape that was 5mm wide. It has a lot of uses from shielding to repairing or creating your own traces. However, what if you need something wider than 5mm? Well, we now carry the same copper tape, but in 2" wide rolls. Now you don't have to use thin 5mm strips to shield an enclosure.

The GP-2106 is a great GPS module, but its size (which is its main selling feature) can be problematic in using it. It has a very small connector and ribbon cable. The GP-2106 Evaluation Board provides a connector for the ribbon cable as well as the logic translation for the 1.8V GP-2106. It also includes an on/off button and a couple of mounting holes.

Magnetic card readers can add some pretty cool functionality to your next project. By simply swiping any magnetic strip through the reader, you can read the information out of the DB9 connector. Our last supplier left Earth to setup operations on Mars, so we had to look for a new one. This new one works the same way as the old one, but uses a PS/2 connector for power, just like the reader/writer that we sell.

Wait, the Pro Micro 5V isn't new?! Well, true. We released one a couple weeks ago, but this is a new revision already. We had a couple of errors with the silkscreen and wanted to tweak the design a bit. This new version fixes those issues and adds a PTC (resettable fuse) and adds a better regulator. If you're not familiar with the Pro Micro, it's an Arduino compatible microcontroller that uses the ATMega32U4 and includes a microUSB connector so you don't need to use an FTDI for loading code. It's small, it's thin, and it's packed with features.

Well, that's all we have for this week. Once our shipments pick back up from the lull created by the Chinese New Year, we'll start having more new products every week. Thanks for reading and see you again next week.


Comments 27 comments

  • You need to stop saying “we don’t have much this week”. Don’t apologize. I like it when you spend more than a few seconds on an item and give more details.

    • noted.

      From my standpoint, I see everything we get and I know when it’s a ‘slow’ week and when we’re just swamped with new stuff. I always like when I’m able to present a LOT of stuff in a week, so it’s more just me being honest about how I feel.

      But I understand where you’re coming from.

  • New product idea! SparkFunyuns…. Funyuns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funyuns) in the shape of the Sparkfun logo…

    I get a 5% cut for the idea.

  • Would the adhesive backing on the copper tape be dissolved by etching solution? I’m thinking adhesive circuit boards.

  • I use copper tape like that as a ground plane. It can help boost reception by placing it under a GPS ant, for example.

    Man the last Venus chipset was horrible. I wanted it to work so badly. I bought multiple copies of it, I tried different antennaes. I played with the settings. I know somebody else who designed it into a small autopilot and then had to take it out due to the noisy performance it gave.

    I’m a glutton for punishment, so I may try the new one to see if they improved anything. I would love to have decent GPS data coming in at 20Hz. This was unheard of only a couple of years ago, on anything short of a $$$ Novatel receiver.

    I mean I seriously don’t know how they were even able to sell any of these things, it was so bad.

    Could it potentially be a the microstrip / RF circuit design on the Sparkfun board? Have you guys tested it in real world (walking / driving) conditions and been happy with the performance?

    • I’ve noticed the same with my own designs based on the Venus. I really appreciated Venus' customer support, but I can’t say I ever had good results with their receiver. The old 10 Hz data looked interpolated. Compared to data from a u-blox receiver, the Venus showed almost a second of lag. It seems highly unlikely that they’ve managed 20 Hz of usable GPS data at this price.

    • I can second and third your dislike for the Venus GPS. A coworker and I bought a few two years ago. They were terrible, so very very bad. We both trashed them for a $100 uBlox and never looked back. Almost as good as the $$$ Novatel receivers I use at work.

      • I’ve used the uBlox 4 and 5 in designs in the past with good success. I’m currently designing an autopilot that uses the Mediatek. I’m just attracted by the higher update rate (10Hz).

        I might actually pick up a new uBlox and do a baseline against the Mediatek for my own edification and against the Venus, just for laughs.

  • lol Terrible…

  • Why didn’t you add the other 2 (A4 and A5) analog pins to the updated pro micro?

  • Thanks Robert!

  • You must have forgot about “Sparkfun” -brand formaldehyde. Perfect for preserving severed fingers in a SF-brand tumbler!

    • Makes me think about the “Simpsons” episode where Homer gets his thumb cut off and stops off at Moe’s for a beer, keeping his thumb fresh in the jar of pickled eggs…

  • First thing I thought of when I saw the copper tape: Custom RF shielding.


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