As anyone who has worked away from wired urban areas will know, it can be hard to get connected and stay online. And yet the equipment used to get online in say Kenya, India or the rest of the developing world is the same as you’d use in London or New York, even though the conditions are totally different.
This is what motivated the team at Ushahidi in Nairobi to solve that problem for the world they live in – Africa. The BRCK is a physically robust, back up generator for the internet and was successfully funded through Kickstarter over the summer.
We loved the project so we got in touch with them to say so. Their reply was awesome.
Erik, from the team, said “I can’t tell you how much we love sugru. We had a joke during the early prototyping that BRCK was a connectivity device made entirely out of love, kapton tape, and sugru! We’ve used it in every prototype for little fixes to 3D prints that arrived chipped, adjustments, mounts and making whole buttons.”
Now how cool is that?! Check out their Kickstarter page for loads more on the project.
NEW PRODUCTS – Cold Splice Wire Tap (UB), 2-Wire Splice (UY) and 3-Wire Splice (UB) 10 Packs – Kiss those days of heat-shrink, melted jacketing and clumsily-arranged third-hand tools goodbye! Go ‘cold splice’ with these snap-able plastic splices for fast connections. Use with any 19-26 AWG solid core wire and slip them into the plastic splice so that they slide into the metal teeth. Then squeeze down with parallel-jaw or slip joint pliers – don’t use needle-noses, they have too much angle and not enough force. We also like using our panavise to squeeze them down.
Connect 19-26 AWG solid-core wires by sliding them in and then squeezing all at once. It’s an easy way to tap into an existing wire or connect multiple wires without soldering and is more compact than the three-way splice.
The splices contain a little silicone jelly to keep the cold splice from oxidizing so they are a bit weatherproof. They are not waterproof.
Comes in a pack of 10 pieces! They’re handy so keep some around in your drawer.
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit Flex Perma-Proto – Half-sized Breadboard Flex-PCB – Make your next project super-flexy with a prototyping board that can twist and bend. We took our lovely classic perma-proto design and had it made from incredibly thin polyamide film. It’s extremely bendable, and you can cut it easily with scissors. It has a bend radius of 1cm or better (you can also crease it but that might break a trace if you crease a trace) and you can solder any components to the pads. Sensors? Wearables? Tubular-tronics? We have no idea what people are going to use it for but we know it is going to be awesome.
The flex PCB is really floppy, so you may need to support it if you solder electronic components on, it won’t stay ‘straight’ on its own unless given some sort of physical support.
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit 50 pin 0.5mm pitch FPC Adapter – Connect to those pesky 0.5mm pitch connectors that you may run across with an FPC stick. We designed this for use in house, to quickly connect to 50pin 0.5mm pitch flex cables we need to test. But we also thought it might be useful for our customers. There’s a 50-pin long connector on top, and we have one very long ‘mechanical’ pad. Since the pad extends along the entire length you can use any size 0.5mm pitch connector you wish, we seem to bump into 40 and 50 pin the most. Each pad is broken out to a 25-pin long 0.1″x0.1″ spaced header. One side is doubled on the opposite side to make it bread-board friendly. It can accommodate most ZIF and snap connectors and will make prototyping much easier on you!
Each order comes with a single PCB stick, no header or other connectors included.
Each card has a schematic and short description of a common circuit pattern in electronics. Topics covered include digital, analog, and power electronics. There are 32 cards in total, all unique.
Blue cards are Digital, yellow cards are Analog, and green cards are Power.
The cards are printed on high quality card stock and are a pleasure to handle. Each card has a fetching looking Arachnid Labs logo on the back, and the deck comes in a custom printed tuck-box. If you want, you can shuffle them and make up a game of some sort – let us know if you do!
Always Googling the pinout?
Well, now no longer!
It’s rare to find a mini kit so elegant, it deserves its own Haiku. A simple breakout, 2×3 in the center, two 1×3′s on the side. Plugs into any breadboard for neat wiring (in both nifty and clean senses of the word).
Comes with a quality mini PCB, a 2×3 pin header and a small stick of 0.1″ header. Requires some light soldering to use: plug the 2×3 in on the top and solder all six pins, then break the header in half and put each half into a breadboard to hold them steady. Place the breakout on top and solder the side pins. Will last you years and years.
Sugru, the self-setting rubber that can be used to hack, mod or fix almost anything, can be found in many a maker’s toolbox. Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, who invented it, is well-known to makers in the UK and further afield. The story she tells of Sugru’s development over the last 10 years is an inspiring one of struggle and perseverance. So when she offered me a tour of their factory in Hackney, I jumped at the chance to find out more about how it’s made, and where it came from.
NEW PRODUCT – “Wire Wrap” Thin Prototyping & Repair Wire – 200m 30AWG Blue – This stuff is called “wire-wrap wire” because it used to be used for wire-wrapping high-speed digital circuits on a special kind of contact board. It’s pretty rare to see wire-wrapping in these days of low-cost PCB fabrication but the wire is still really handy for prototyping work. It’s extremely thin (30 AWG!) so your wiring wont get bulky, and it is just stiff enough to hold its shape around corners. It’s most commonly used for SMT rework (‘oh man i swapped two pads’) or repair (‘ok let’s bridge this via to that via to fix a broken trace’) but it’s also great when you need to get a signal from here to there through a small space.
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit Multi-pitch FPC Adapter – 40 Pin 0.5/0.6/0.7/0.8/1.0mm – You will roll lucky 7′s and connect to nearly any kind of FPC/flex cable with Ladyada’s Super Lucky 40-pin FPC to breadboard adapter plate. You get 40 pads of 0.5mm, 0.6mm, 0.7mm, 0.8mm or 1.0mm. It may even work for some 2.0mm pitch connectors. We designed this for use in house, to quickly connect to FPCs we need to test. But we also thought it might be useful for our customers. Each pad is broken out to both a 2×20 0.1″ spaced header as well as two strips of 20-pin long 0.1″ spaced header 2.1″ inches apart. It can accommodate most ZIF and snap connectors or just solder the FPC directly on. This adapter will make prototyping much easier on you!
Each order comes with a single-sided PCB plate no header or other connectors included.
Dimensions: 55.86mm / 2.19″ x 58.46mm / 2.3″ x 1.63mm / 0.06″
You can design, print and etch your own PCBs from a flexible sheet of Kapton coated with a thin layer of copper. To do this yourself you need some special materials and equipment, and if you are not planning on etching circuits more regularly then it can be nice to start by looking for a local space that has an etching setup you can use.
Photo of a flex circuit etched using the exact same process as described below in step-by-step detail.
NEW PRODUCT – SMT Breakout PCB for 48-QFN or 48-TQFP – 3 Pack! – Beguiled by a fancy new chip that is only available in a QFP or QFN pinout? This breakout PCB set will make your life much much easier and get you prototyping faster than ever. One side has a 48-QFP pin out with traces going to two rows of 0.1″ spaced holes, the other has 48-QFN (7mm body). Solder your chip to either side and you’re ready to rock on any solderless breadboard. There’s even a THM pad on the opposite side of the QFN body pad so you can fill it with solder for a heat sink and/or connect a wire to it (say when the pad must be grounded).
Each item comes with three PCBs, each PCB is identical and can support either a 7mm square QFP or 7mm square QFN chip. Standard thickness PCBs, with 0.7″ spacing between the two rows. The PCBs may come on a supporting strip of PCB, simply snap them off to use!
We finally have everything squared away for Maker Faire 2013 and we should be able to show off an open-source LED controller. That design is complete, however, I still wanted to be able to give something away. I settled on creating a PCB business card which doubled as an SMT prototyping board on the back. I did a few iterations and settled on something that was all surface mount. There are pads for an SMT mini-USB port, a 32qfp,80tqfp and 64 pin IDC side-connector. All of the quad footprints will accept smaller packages with the same pitch and the IDC pads are designed in such a way that the 0.8mm PCB can be soldered between the pins of a standard 2.54mm/0.1″ connector. There is also a grid of pads that have 1.27mm pitch in one direction and 0.65mm pitch in the other direction so they can accommodate a SOIC one way and TSSOP the other way. The finish is ENIG with a high performance white solder mask so it should stand up to soldering without discoloring.
Stop by the mobius.io table and just ask if you would like to get one of these. Gerbers for this card are here: mobius_io_card2013.
You’ll wanna pull up a really comfy chair before you dive into this one, but have you ever found yourself digging through Eagle’s 317,424 different canned footprints, hoping one is kinda, sorta, almost, maybe good enough for that new sensor you found on Digikey? Shamelessly dig and despair no more! … Our new mammoth guide on creating manufacturable footprints in Eagle is here to ween you off that nasty canned footprint habit, and get you firmly on the road to non-dependency!
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit FPC Stick – 20 Pin 0.5mm/1.0mm Pitch Adapter – Connect to 0.5mm, 1.0mm and even some 2.0mm pitch connectors that you may run across with an FPC stick. We designed this for use in house, to quickly connect to FPCs we need to test. But we also thought it might be useful for our customers. On either side is a 20 pin 0.5 or 1.0mm pitch connector with long pads and one very long ‘mechanical’ pad. Each pad is broken out to a 20-pin long 0.1″ spaced header. It can accommodate most ZIF and snap connectors and will make prototyping much easier on you!
Each order comes with a single double-sided PCB stick (one side 0.5mm the other 1.0mm), no header or other connectors included.