Saturday, November 15, 2014

New equipment acquired! [LINKS INCLUDED]

Current haul
What maker does not like eBay? that magical place where you can buy virtually anything you need at dirt cheap prices to boot! The fact that the costs are so low is a boon for the basement makers with very low budgets or just any maker who is just dipping their toes into making but doesn't want to invest too much money in getting started. Over the past few weeks shipments have been coming in from china and the US containing lots and lots of new parts and boards. Overview is below
To start with there is the Neopixels and new MPU-6050s (toasted my old one). The MPUs can be found here for $2.34 and ship very quickly, silkscreen and LED are different though. The specific strip of Neopixels seems to have disappeared from the site for some reason though. Other than that these are exact clones of the Adafruit strips except at $4 instead of $10. Very bright and colorful!

Neopixels and MPU-6050
Next up are the 12 position terminal strips for the Kerbal Space Program control panel that is currently a work in progress. They can be found here. They have a good heft to them and contain 2 notches per screw point for holding wires. 

Screw terminals
One of the best things I have purchased is by far the KADE (Kick Ass Dynamic Encoder) for the KSP control panel. Costs close to $30 but it is oh so worth it (designed in the USA). It can be configured with a multitude of options including analog joysticks and xbox/ps3 controllers. [More detail to follow in a later post]
KADE device (flipped around on terminals)
Arduino Nanos are excellent UNO pin-compatibles in a MUCH smaller package and a lower price point making them optimal for embedding into things without the engineering needed for a SMD ATMEGA328 chip. I bought this via a bid for $3.25 but you can find another here for $4.32 (note that this is a FTDI chip powered clone and might not be the best unit for those of you with windows machines. the alternative is the CH340G chipped nanos that can be found here)
FTDI powered Nano clone
Another low-cost Arduino in the form factor of the UNO is the Sainsmart UNO R3. It behaves the same as the standard UNO and is pin-compatible. It can be purchased here for $8.50 +$2 shipping (very fast shipping!)
Sainduino UNO
I had been needing a bit more horsepower than an UNO for some other projects that are kept under wraps for now and the MEGA was more or less exactly what I needed. The unit I bought was an auction that I won for a paltry $8.27 and works great! A similar board (but with red solder mask!) can be bought here for $12.30 Free shipping. 
Mega power!
Also purchased were the APC220 long range serial link, a configurable board with an external RP-SMA connection for antennas in the 433Mhz band (replaced by the APC230). It can be purchased here for $32.60. The APC230 can be bought here for $52.30 and offers increased range. The small blue board is an AVRISP based on the ATtiny44 to flash boot loaders and programs via the ISP connection for ease of use in embedded applications. It can be purchased here for $3.88
Here are some wireless nodes for the NRF24L01 based around the STC15l204 chipset that can be purchased here for $3.15. I have no idea how to program these and would greatly appreciate it if someone could provide assistance as googling has pulled up nothing except more questions.
Mysterious wireless node things
For the power systems of my rocket stabilization system I needed high-current batteries that did not weigh much but had high capacity. 18650 batteries are a great option for high-current applications. They are slightly bigger than AA batteries and have 2x capacity (4000mAh) of them at 10g more. These can be bought (with charger) for $8.69 here.
18650 batteries 
The other half of the power system is an 18650 battery holder (bought here for 99¢) and a 5V 1.2A boost converter (bought here for $4).
Power system assembled
Last but not least are the coolest business cards ever, sent in by the team @bayareacircuits. These are PCBs that have reference markings on the flip side and business info on the front. 
Both cards
Card detail
Thanks for reading the blog! More posts will be hitting the blog in the coming weeks about updates on the stabilization system and other adventures in tinkering in addition to some other projects that are under wraps for the time being. 

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