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Our Technical Support team will be out of the office on Wednesday, April 23 starting at 12pm. Tech Support will reopen with normal hours on Thursday, April 24 at 9am. Thank you

New Product Friday: Have it your way


The weekend is almost here, so that means it's time to talk about some new products! As always, we have new stuff, a video, and even a couple of short demos in the video.

Can't or don't want to watch the YouTube version? No worries - check out the Vimeo version. Also, here comes the obvious disclaimer: no animals were harmed in the making of this video. In fact, we gave a little extra love to our canine friends this week to make up for the lost karma in the video. That being said, let's take a look at the list of products for this week.

This little breakout board is one of those things that comes in very useful when creating a user interface or any application where you need to select items from a list, or make adjustments. Unlike our thumb joystick, each of the 'ways' is just a discrete button. So you read the breakout in the same way you would a button. It has up, down, left, right, and a select, so you can do quite a bit with it.

Being able to visually determine if your project has enough battery power can be a real time saver. The Uh-Oh Battery Level Indicator Kit does exactly this. Using the TL431ACLPG shunt regulator diode and a potentiometer, it allows you to dial in the point where you want an LED to turn on. When the LED is on, your battery is low. When it's off, your battery is fine. Using test points on the board as well as a formula in the schematic, you can easily determine the point that you want the LED to turn on.

The musical instrument shield has been used in a few different product post demonstrations is now in retail packaging, so you should be able to find it in your nearest SparkFun distributor. It's a great little board and works well for many different musical applications.

We found a small stock of old UAV V3 Development Platforms. These are the predecessors to the UDB4. Our batch tested fine, but has some ugly solder joints that didn't pass our visual inspection. If you want to get a cheap deal on a UAV board, check out these ugly ducklings.

We have a couple of 2nd editions this week. The first one is the new edition of Programming Interactivity. The new version covers changes in Arduino 1.0 as well as processing 1.5. We still have some of the first edition left and on sale here.

We also have a new version of Making Things Talk. The new version includes updates for Arduino 1.0 as well as talks a little about the Open Source Hardware movement. As with Programming Interactivity, we have some of the first version of Making Things Talk still left and they are on sale!

Another week checked off the calendar and another new round of products made live on the website. Thanks for reading and check back next week for a (hopefully) special video as well as some new products. See you then!


Comments 36 comments

  • NOT THE PUPPIES!!!!

  • Was killing the puppys on the first take? I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing.

  • Nice info to give in the video: “If you generally don’t watch the videos, be sure to do so next week.” :‘)

    Would everybody who is absent please raise their hands?

  • /stares at Mike…

    • This is what happens when you don’t read the datasheets.

      or to put it another way,

      “Every time you don’t read a datasheet, Rob kills a puppy”

  • More Demos!

    Also, it would be smart to swap that green LED for a red or amber one. Green usually indicates everything is ok. Dead battery = not ok.

    Lastly, one could take the “signal” which illuminates the LED and run that to a microcontroller, and BADABING! Something awesome.

    • if u use an Arduino have a look at this thread http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,92074.0.html

    • I thought both of these things as well when it showed up on my desk, lol. There’s one problem that strikes both, unfortunately. The forward voltage for the LED needs to be above 2vdc, which is why he used a green LED with a higher forward voltage. The reason being the LED line floats around 1.8vdc during normal operation. This also lands it square in the middle of “no man’s land” and your microcontroller won’t reliably register it “low”

      Actually, to be fair, I didn’t test that last part, let me build one up and I’ll get back to you…

      • Correction: I don’t wanna speak too soon, but I just hooked it up and it seems to work. It should be said that this is not the best way to monitor your battery life with a microcontroller. BUT, I hooked up the LED footprint to Pin 2 and Ground on my Uno, and an LED to Pin 7 and just wrote:

        digitalWrite(7, digitalRead(2));

        and it seems to be working the way you’d expect.

        • Couldn’t you just wire this to a analog input on the Arduino? That would probably make a more reliable reading.

        • If it didn’t work, one could always boost it a little with a transistor or something, and use a pulldown resistor on that pin, then just code to look for any voltage. Right?

  • Would it be possible to probe the battery level inventor kit to watch the load drain the battery?

  • Bring more puppies please… LOL that reminds me of Bart dreaming about some steam ship using dogs to heat up its boilers

  • whats up with the puppies why kill them ???….they are so cute!!!and why is a bt module there in the demo??anyone know?

  • What happened to sparkfun.com website?

  • Where is the AS1130!!??!?!?


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