NEW PRODUCT – Super Scissors – PH-51 – Save your scissors! Instead of using your nice shears (and dulling them) or wire cutters (not right for the job) – use these super scissors. They’re meant for engineering/maker cutting jobs such as cutting plastic, leather, copper sheet/wire, even coaxial & ribbon cables. There’s a notched flat section and a grippy tooth section.
NEW PRODUCT – Professional IC Extraction Tool – You take your soldering seriously, so you deserve a serious IC extractor tool. We purposefully never carried the cheap bent-sheet IC extractors, and if you’ve ever used one you know why. They should call them “IC try-to-extract-but-end-up-bending-half-the-pins-ors” and even with a lot of experience they’re just a pain. The Japanese made IC extractor is an exception, it’s got ground tips that can wedge in there to lift the chip. Instead of a painful hand-grip, you can use the thumb-wheel to dial in the exact right size.
NEW PRODUCT – Professional Silicone-Tip Solder Sucker – Ever go to a diner and they give you a bottle of ketchup and it says “Extra Fancy” and you’re thinking to yourself “what makes this ketchup ‘extra fancy’ anyhow?” Well, this professional grade solder sucker is “Extra Fancy” and there’s no question as to why. When you hold its machined aluminum body, you’ll think “Fancy!”, the smooth action and release is also “Fancy” and the replacable silicone rubber tip? “Extra Fancy!”
This Japanese upgrade to the classic $5 solder sucker is a joy to use. Since the tip is rubbery soft silicone you don’t have to worry about it melting. You also get a long tube in case it gets clogged or dirty.
To use, depress the end to engage the vacuum. Then heat up the to-be-desoldered joint until it is liquid. With your other hand hold the plastic tip as close as possible to the joint and depress the button to suck up all the liquid solder. If necessary, clean up the remaining solder with wick.
The tools you use to build, tinker with, and fix your electronics are as important as the electronic products and components themselves. The proper tool can salvage something you thought was done for or even help lead you in a direction that exceeds your original expectations about the project you set out to accomplish. We’ve got a range of suggestions for you this year: from open source hardware tools, to a multimeter pen, even a portable Wifi Microscope.
For those engineers who are just getting started, check out Ladyada’s Electronic’s Toolkit: Working with substandard equipment is a terrible way to learn electronics: a lot of frustration with too little success. The right tool set will keep you progressing without the stressing.This toolbox contains carefully selected hand tools that will last you for many many years. The kit includes: 30W adjustable temperature soldering iron, Soldering stand, Solder, rosin-core, 0.031″ diameter, 1/4 lb (100g) spool, Solder sucker, Panavise Jr, Diagonal cutters, and much more! (read more)
Available at Adafruit!
JTAGulator by Grand Idea Studio: On-chip debug (OCD) interfaces can provide chip-level control of a target device and are a primary vector used by engineers, researchers, and hackers to extract program code or data, modify memory contents, or affect device operation on-the-fly. Depending on the complexity of the target device, manually locating available OCD connections can be a difficult and time consuming task, sometimes requiring physical destruction or modification of the device. JTAGulator is an open source hardware tool that assists in identifying OCD connections from test points, vias, or component pads on a target device. (read more)
Adafruit USB Power Gauge Mini-Kit: This little USB port go-between is like a speed gauge for your USB devices. Instead of hauling out a multimeter and splicing cables, plug this in between for a quick reading on how much current is being drawn from the port. Great for seeing the charge rate of your phone or tablet, checking your battery chargers, or other USB powered projects. (read more)
SMD Component Testing Tweezers: These tweezers are perfect for anyone who does a lot of work with SMD components (and hey, who isn’t these days?) Use these instead of squinting and trying to use clumsy multimeter probes to detect an LED’s color, polarity or resistor/cap value! The multimeter ‘probes’ are the two tips of a tweezer-shaped multimeter. Simply ‘grab’ a resistor, capacitor, diode or LED to test. It has a “scanning” mode where it will try to guess what type of component you have, or you can select the component type with the Function button and it will auto-range for you. (read more)
Mini Work Tool: A little tool-box in your wallet – good for every-day use, travel, or when you’re on a camping trip. Handy credit card sized multitool packed with useful features. Comes with 11 tools!Can Opener, Knife Edge, Screwdriver, Ruler, 4 Position wrench and more! (read more)
Autoranging Digital Multimeter Pen – MS8211D: Chances are you spent time today poking into a circuit with two hands and then craning your neck over looking over at a multimeter display, which causes you to slip and lose your spot. OK well at least we had to do that, and that’s when we decided it was time to pick up one of these pen-style digital multimeters. It’s small and light but has a full featured multimeter inside. The ground probe is actually a wired clamp (it has a nice sharp tip or you can grab onto a ground wire). So you can just poke around with one hand and see the values instantly. (read more)
Oscilloscope Probe 100MHz: Poke and prod your electronics with a new ‘scope probe. This is a classic probe, good quality and has a nice strong spring-clip and grounding clip. Good for up to 100MHz signals, with a standard oscilloscope BNC connector. Comes as shown, the ring color on the body of the probe/connector may vary. (read more)
Adafruit PCB Ruler – 6″: The first time you soldered up a surface mount component you may have been surprised “these are really small parts!” and there’s dozens of different names too! QFN, TDFN, SOIC, SOP, J-Lead, what do they mean and how can you tell how big they are? Now you can have a reference board at your fingertips, with this snazzy PCB reference ruler. (read more)
WiFi Portable Microscope – Usable With Android/iPad/iPhone: As electronics get smaller and smaller, you’ll need a hand examining PCBs and this little USB microscope is the perfect tool. Its smaller and lighter than a large optical microscope but packs quite a bit of power in its little body. There’s a high quality 640×480 camera sensor inside and an optical magnifier that can adjust from 5x (for basic PCB inspection) to 200x (for detailed inspection). Eight mini white LEDs are angled right onto whatever you’re examining so you get enough lighting to see, and are smoothly adjustable via a dial on the side. (read more)
Jot Pro Stylus: No more fat finger frustration! This stylus for your tablet or smartphone has the familiar feel of a pen, giving you grade A dexterity. It’s not only sleek, but because it’s made from aluminum and steel, it’s durable, too. It’s even tested to work with most screen protectors. (read more)
Mag-Clip Multi-Function Magnetic Tool Hanger: This is the perfect gift for those tool obsessed makers who are lacking in the organization department. The magnetic tool hanger holds up to 15 lbs. and has space for up to 71 tools. It’s easily mounted and trasnportable; ideal for those who have more than one workspace. (read more)
Megapro 6PDRIVER-CC Four-in-One Pocket Driver Set: This pocket device is best used for work with small electronic devices. It’s light-weight and space-saving; as portable as a pen. It keeps all those small driver heads together in a neat, compact manner – making it practical for organizational purposes as well. (read more)
Laser Guided Scissors: Laser guided scissors are a great gift for the perfectionist crafter in your life. Think: space age Martha Stewart. The laser helps improve accuracy and eliminates that pesky, crooked edge you could’ve sworn was straight when you were cutting it! The scissors work well on both paper and fabric making them the perfect tool for the aspiring wearable electronics fashionista in your life. (read more)
Here are your 2013 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.
UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 13, 2013 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive in time for Christmas.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 19, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 20, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 23, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 16, 2013. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 22, 2013. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/13.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Mini 3-wire Volt Meter (0 – 99.9VDC) – Put a voltage meter anywhere with this very handy display. These are often used by RC hobbyists for keeping track of batteries but we thought it would be great on a breadboard or enclosure. This is the 3-wire version of the volt meter, two wires are used to power it and the third wire is used for measurement. We also have a 2-wire version that measure it’s own power supply. Simply connect the red wire to a positive power supply from 4.5 to 28VDC, and brown or black to the common ground to power the display. Finally, connect the orange or white wire to whatever you want to measure the voltage of. The display has a microcontroller that will read the voltage, compare it to a stable reference and display the voltage with 0.1V precision on a 3-digit 7-segment display. it can read from 0V to 99.9VDC so it will be good for any electronic project! The meter draws 3-4mA to power the microcontroller and display. This particular LED display is a nice vivid green, which we found very readable. Mounting tabs make this module easy to attach to any box or plate.
Inventables, Inc. today announced the launch of Shapeoko 2, the CNC milling machine kit capable of creating precision parts and models from plastic, wood and metal for less than $650. Inventors and designers can use the Shapeoko 2, an open source, low-cost desktop computer numerical control (CNC) mill, to bring their imagination and designs to life.
“During the second industrial revolution, it often took years to get from an idea to a finished product. Today, moving from idea to finished product can take mere hours. Digital manufacturing tools don’t have expensive set-up costs, the tool works by taking data from the computer to produce the part. This means the same machines can produce two completely different parts one after another. At Inventables we believe this – coupled with the fact that digital manufacturing tools that can make consumer products start at $650 – are igniting this 3rd Industrial Revolution.” said Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables. “We also believe this movement will be the primary driver of growth in our economy over the next decade. We see this happening because these digital tools give rise to a set of goods and services that were not economically viable before.”
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit PCB Ruler – 6″ – The first time you soldered up a surface mount component you may have been surprised “these are really small parts!” and there’s dozens of different names too! QFN, TDFN, SOIC, SOP, J-Lead, what do they mean and how can you tell how big they are? Now you can have a reference board at your fingertips, with this snazzy PCB reference ruler.
Measuring approx 1″ x 6″, this standard-thickness FR4, gold plate ruler has the most common component packages you’ll encounter. It also has font size guide, trace-width diagram, and a set of AWG-sized drills so you can gauge your wire thicknesses. Edges are labeled in inches with 1/8th marks and cm with 0.1cm marks.
NEW PRODUCT – Grand Ideas Studio JTAGulator – On-chip debug (OCD) interfaces can provide chip-level control of a target device and are a primary vector used by engineers, researchers, and hackers to extract program code or data, modify memory contents, or affect device operation on-the-fly. Depending on the complexity of the target device, manually locating available OCD connections can be a difficult and time consuming task, sometimes requiring physical destruction or modification of the device.
JTAGulator is an open source hardware tool that assists in identifying OCD connections from test points, vias, or component pads on a target device.
This is a high end JTAG reverse-engineering tool! Be careful when using and select the correct voltages to avoid damaging it.
24 I/O channels with input protection circuitry
Adjustable target voltage for level translation: 1.2V to 3.3V
Supported target interfaces: JTAG/IEEE 1149.1, UART/asynchronous serial
USB interface for direct connection to host computer
NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit USB Power Gauge Mini-Kit – This little USB port go-between is like a speed gauge for your USB devices. Instead of hauling out a multimeter and splicing cables, plug this in between for a quick reading on how much current is being drawn from the port. Great for seeing the charge rate of your phone or tablet, checking your battery chargers, or other USB powered projects.
There are a few USB power meters out there, The Practical Meter and the USB Spypow. We wanted something that was made for makers: Reprogrammable micro-controller, analog output, TTL serial output for debugging / datalogging and of course, open source.
Data is passed through transparently from end to end, so you can use it with any USB device at any speed. The power line has a 0.1 ohm current sense resistor an an INA169 high-side current sensor that is tracked by a little ATtiny85 chip. The microcontroller is programmed to read the current draw as well as the bus voltage and light up the strip of LEDs on the side.
The blue LEDs will light up, one for each Watt of power draw (which is ~200mA at 5V nominal), with a couple levels of PWM dimming for increasing current. You can measure up to 1A of current draw – most USB ports are rated for 500mA.
The green LED is helpful to tell if you have too much droop on your power line. It stays lit as long as the voltage is higher than 4.5V, most devices won’t charge effectively once it goes below that so if the green LED goes out, you know you should check your port, shorten the USB cable, or reduce the current draw.
As an awesome extra, we also print out the voltage, current and wattage data as readable text on the TX pin at 9600 baud. Connect an FTDI friend, USB console cable, microcontroller, XBee, whatever you want that can read 9600 baud TTL serial data for datalogging, plotting or display.
Comes as a mini kit with an assembled & tested PCB plus a separate USB jack and plug as shown above. Before use, solder the jack and plug. It’ll only take you a few minutes and can be done with any soldering iron. Or, advanced users can splice it between a USB extension cable.
Please note: this is a handy gadget but it isn’t a multimeter! We do some basic calibration during test, but the serial output readings are not precise and should be used as a basic guide rather than lab-grade data plots. Assume a variance of at least 0.1V and 50mA due to noise, thermal changes, etc.
Now that you have lots of tips for projects and getting them out and about, how about getting your at-home workbench up to speed? Here are some basic tools we recommend for everyone, so transportable, so best left at home:
Lady’s Ada’s Electronics Toolkit, at an even $100, is a reasonably priced kit for anyone making their first foray into the world of working with electronics. It has almost all of the basics, including (but not limited to), an adjustable temperature soldering iron with a stand, rosin-core solder, wire cutters and strippers, pliers, wire, and a breadboard.
If you’ve already been working for a little while, you might want to invest in a higher-end solder iron. The Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D is the best thing we’ve seen on the market, with faster heat-up time and a smaller footprint than its predecessor, the Hakko 936.
This pocket-sized digital multimeter is low cost and simple, and can tell you, among other things, AC/DC Voltage, current, resistance, and it can run a beeping continuity test and diode test too. If you’re new to multimeters, we have a tutorial on how to use them here.
Now that even the tools to make electronics have caught up with electronics technology, you don’t have to lug breadbox-sized and elephant-weight oscilloscopes around. This pocket sized DSO Nano v3 oscilloscope trades quickness and power for size. It does the trick for troubleshooting for beginners, and it’s much more affordable than the more heavy duty options.
Who has a workbench without a screwdriver? This 65 Piece Ratchet Screwdriver and Tool Bit Set comes (of course) with a screwdriver, but also with all kinds of bits, including torx, phillips, flathead, slot, hex square and socket in a variety of sizes. It’s a good start for getting into any machine.
When you don’t want to take your hands off the keyboard, a foot-pedal switch is a real convenience.
Overall, this pedal is much cheaper than the high-end pedals mentioned above. The total cost came to around $37, because I had some of the parts on hand. Further, you can upload new code to the Teensy on all operating systems, a big win over the Windows-only pedals above.
However, this pedal only has one foot switch. You could easily add more M-Audio sustain pedals to the design, and keep adding 1/4” jacks to a project box. The Teensy has plenty more IO lines to use! Or you could go for it all in one enclosure with the guitar pedal hardware.
NEW PRODUCT – FriedCircuits USB Tester v1.3 – USB has become the core of many projects, but it’s troublesome to test USB voltage levels and current usage using a breadboard. Some people try to splice cables and alligator clip onto frayed ends, but it’s difficult to get solid readings. This USB Tester will make it much easier to monitor any USB project’s power source.
As part of the USB spec, ports are limited to 500mA, so you want to monitor how close you are. Most people use USB hubs, both powered and unpowered, and with many devices connected, you can end up with less than 5V which can cause havoc on you projects. The USB Tester will make it a snap to monitor voltage levels and current usage without having to re-wire your breadboard. Just connect to your oscilloscope or DMM test leads, and you’re good to go! The USB Tester has both banana clip sized drills and standard 0.1” headers. When you are not testing current you can add a jumper for normal operation. The USB D+/D- pins are also broken out so you can monitor those on an oscilloscope, or for USB sniffing.