New Product Friday: Lightly Toggled


It's been a busy week for us all as we prepare for AVC this weekend. It's shaping up to be quite the competition. Will Team Tobor bring home the gold again, or will they be bested by one of the new eager challengers? Will the weather cooperate? Will the VSS (video scoring system) prove to be more reliable than stopwatches?

The only way you can find answers to these questions is to attend AVC and cheer for your favorite team. As a quick reminder, there is a rather large wildfire still burning north of Boulder -- we're not facing any fire danger in this area but there is the potential for some smoke in the air, so if you have asthma or are susceptible to irritation, you may want to steer clear. Also, although we love dogs and we're sure yours are exceptional specimens, we can't allow you to bring them to the AVC with so many kids and tiny robots running around of their own free will. Thanks, and we can't wait to see you all tomorrow! But until then, let's check out the new products for this week.


Vimeo Link

Sorry for the short video, I would have liked to do something with the toggle switches or the inverter, but I have been swamped with preparations for this weekend. I promise that after AVC has settled down we'll get back to some demos and shenanigans.

We've amassed quite a collection of various toggle switches. We have a standard one, 3PDT, 4PDT, and even a momentary. But what if you need a bit more pizazz? Thankfully we now have a whole line of illuminated toggle switches with matching covers. They come in white, blue, orange, green, and red. Each one has an LED in the lever and a matching plastic cover. They look slick and could be the perfect safety switch for your next project. Although they are rated at 12V, the LED can be illuminated at 3.3V and above.

EL wire and panels are pretty cool. Using some high voltage, magic, and classified Martian technology they turn power into beautiful electro-luminescence. Well, something like that anyways...Normally you need a power source, an inverter, and then some EL wire (or panels or strips). You can also add a microcontroller into the mix to flash, blink, or even fade. But what if you just want a simple glowing costume? The EL Battery Pack is just what you need. It takes 2 AA batteries and can drive two EL wires at the same time. It even has a button that cycles between on, blink, and vomit-inducing blink.

Like ultrasonic range finders but need higher resolution? Our new line of Maxbotix ultrasonic sensors feature 1mm resolution in the same size as their previous sensors. They come in 3 versions, each having a different beam width for different applications.

XBee sockets are used on a LOT of hardware today. What if you want to take advantage of the footprint, but need a bit more flexibility? The Synapse RF266PC1 module is something you might want to look at. Use them for a peer-to-peer network or a mesh network. That's nothing new. But, having an embedded Python virtual machine opens up a whole new world. Wirelessly send code and run Python scrips across a mesh network, all with a module the same size and form factor as an XBee. Neat.

And lastly, we have the FEZ Hydra. The FEZ Hydra kit combines a mainboard and various modules that are compatible with the .NET Gadgeteer toolkit. The basic kit includes all the modules you need to get up and running with the powerful prototyping platform.

Well, that's all folks! Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at AVC! If you attend, but sure to stop by and say hello. See you there or see you next week with more new products!


Comments 38 comments

  • I accidentally the EL battery pack. Is this dangerous?

    • I didn’t quite understand your question, but the EL inverter is very safe if you use it as it is sold. If you open up the case and touch the wrong bits on the PCB, it will give you a mild shock similar to what you’d experience with the Lightning Reaction game.

  • I had this totally realistic dream last night that Sparkfun started selling 2 newly designed T-shirts in small to XXL for only $10 each. Alas, it was only a dream as I don’t see them on the new products tab or the video ;)

  • “…but there is the potential for some smoke in the air, so if you have asthma or are susceptible to irritation, you may want to steer clear.”

    You guys are so cool to give a heads up like that.. Sparkfun is a great model for conscious commercialism.

    • Wow thanks! We didn’t think anything of it really. It’s just a bummer we have such a bad fire going on. It’s days like this where I’m glad there are people in the world that enjoy fighting fires!

  • Any live coverage of AVC this year? I’m not finding a link.

    • same here but I doubt anyone is reading these posts they are all out in the parking lot.

  • No recognition for Makey-Makey? I’m quite surprised you guys didn’t at least put a link up for it.

  • I like those toggle switches a lot. They are like the kind you get at R*dioshack, but in different colors. Until today I’ve only seen the red version.

  • having an embedded Python virtual organization opens up a object new man. Wireless channelize inscribe and 640-802 run Python scrips crosswise a tangle network, all with a module the like situation and spring cipher as an XBee. VCP-510

  • ………….

  • Will There be a post on saturday for AVC?

  • Hello All

    I am sorry to post something unrelated to the product post but I need some help. I am trying to write data to alot of 24bit RGB LEDs. currently I am writeing the data from a program on my labtop to an FTDI chip (via usb) and then an ATMEGA328. the ATEMGA328 then coveys the information to the LEDS useing a bit banging method for data and clock.

    So far I have managed to write data every 30ms to 400RGB LEDs at a baud of 500000bps. but a new project that i am involved with I might have to write data for 800 to 1600LEDs, and it looks like I need to go faster.

    What is a faster way to write data to these LEDs. would I have better luck with an ARM instead? please email me with any suggestions, comments starting points thanks

    austinsimpson at live dot ca

  • I have that el wire battery back/inverter from some retail kits I got awhile back. It gets the job done. The “vomit inducing” mode is great with fast movement, it’s a pretty fast strobe, but can have some pretty crazy effects.

  • I really need some of those switches! But, I can’t buy directly from the website because of the customs charge. Can anyone recomend me a website within englad?

    • If it cost less than £16, there are no customs charges. What I do if I want to spend more than that is at the checkout check the box to say they are replacement goods, that way the declared value is less. I’ve bout stuff up to £70 from the SF website before and never had it caught by UK customs. :D

      • Isn’t that more than a little dishonest? Seems like you could get in some hefty legal trouble for that.

        • Well anyway, the point was, those switches are < £16, so they wont be stopped by customs.

          For the record, I have no problem paying the VAT, what annoys me is paying royal mail £8 on top of the customs fees for doing nothing but mishandle parcels, attempt to deliver them but dont tell anyone, and leave them in dustbins (which has happened several times).

          • I see, so you are cheating your community of money that was meant to go to roads and hospitals because there are a few incompetent and dishonest postal workers. That makes sense.

            8o

            • Cheating your community :-) In England? Where the dole and free Council Housing is a third generation “right”? Who wants to do the right thing and join the crew of a Sparkfun smuggling ship? V

      • Does it get delivered strait to your house? When one of my kits didn’t come with the correct parts, sparkfun sent me them. But i had to pay ten pounds to claim it, why is that?

      • Wow that’s awesome! Im going to buy all my components here now!

  • AVC is going to be fun tomorrow! Competitors should be ready for me to ask them questions…

    • We’re expecting questions, too! :)

    • “Where were you on Tuesday night between 9:45 and 11?”

      • I was working like a sucker.

        On a completely different side note. I will be happy to carpool with 3 other people from Longmont to SFE. If anyone is up for it, shoot me an email (should be visible in my profile), if not I’ll be on the Freenode network this afternoon.


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