Welcome back everyone! We have a lot of new products to talk about AND a really cool demo that some of our unpaid interns loved. Check it out.
We have a lot of new stuff to talk about this week, so let’s dive right in and see the goods.
Load cells are pretty cool and an easy way to measure weight, but they can be a bit tricky to use without the right hardware. The SparkFun Load Cell Amplifier is a small breakout board for the HX711 IC that allows you to easily read load cells. The HX711 uses a two wire interface (Clock and Data) for communication. This can be handy for creating your own industrial scale, process control, or simple presence detection. But you’re probably going to need some load cells to use with your fancy new amplifier, right?
A load cell is a physical element (or transducer if you want to be technical) that can translate pressure (force) into an electrical signal. There are a few different types of load cells out there. The first two that we have are bar-type load cells. They are long bars that are good for measuring up to 10kg of weight. The straight bar is slimmer whereas the wide bar is, well, wider. They work essentially the same way, you just need to pick the form factor that works best for your application.
If you want to read more on load cells and how to use them, check out our new tutorial, Getting Started with Load Cells.
Another type of load cell is a disc-type. These are circular and measure a load applied directly to the top of the cell (as opposed to way bar-type load cells work). This makes them a lot easier to use, requiring less mechanical design. We have two disc load cells, one that can measure 200kg and one that’s good up to 50kg.
If you’ve ever taken apart an electronic bathroom scale, you will see that there are 4 load sensors inside. The SparkFun Load Sensor Combinator is a simple PCB that combines four load sensors into a standard 4-wire wheatstone configuration. You can then connect this to the amplifier above. The combinator board also includes a footprint for the DS18B20 one wire temperature sensor. This allows the user to gather the temperature of the scale in case there is a large variance between the scale and the amplifier.
The WAV Trigger is a unique high-fidelity polyphonic audio player with surprising capabilities. Supporting up to 2048 uncompressed 16-bit, 44.1kHz wav files – the same quality as an audio CD – the WAV Trigger can play and mix up to 14 stereo tracks simultaneously and independently, with very low latency. This new version of the WAV trigger has the newest firmware that allows for more tracks to fit on the microSD card, MIDI pitch bend, and real time sample-rate control.
The Chibi Lights Starter Kit from Chibitronics is an interactive kit designed to introduce you to the world of paper circuits. Inside each Starter Kit is everything you need to set up simple LEDs, switches, and sensors with only a bit of knowledge on how electricity works and a little ingenuity! Included in each kit are 12 individual LED stickers (6 white, 2 each of red, yellow, and blue), a 5 meter roll of copper tape to run conductive lines to your LEDs, two CR2032 coin cell batteries to power your circuit, two small binder clips for holding your battery in place, a swatch of conductive plastic to help create a simple sensor, and finally a Circuit Sticker Sketchbook to provide you with an introductory guide to using circuit stickers.
Have you ever needed a cheap way to activate something from across the room? Infrared remotes are still the cheapest way to wirelessly control a device. We have designed the remote to be small, very simple, and low-cost. The IR Control Kit includes a simple IR remote control, a battery, and IR receivers and emitters to get you started playing around with IR control.
Phew, that’s it for this week. Keep in mind that AVC is only a week away! Be sure to check out the workshops we’ll be holding. Thanks for reading and check back next week for more new goodies!