Curse those overachievers at Spark Fun Electronics, curse them, I say. Just when my project-building budget started to come under control, those do-gooders released four must-have goodies that’ll surely blow my budget through the end of the calendar year.
Ya gotta love Luxeon LEDs—their small, bright, and HOT. Kinda like me! Well, kinda. Anyway, that latter quality can make it difficult to use Luxeon LEDs in a project. The Spark Fun Electronics Luxeon Aluminum Breakout board (#COM-08475; $2.95) provides an ample heatsink, as well as some isolated traces.
Meet the switch of the future: ScreenKeys. This ingenious product is both a graphic display and a tactile switch. The result is a key that can morph to any function. SFE sells two flavors of ScreenKeys: a red/green graphic button (#COM-08492; $36.95) and a slightly higher priced RGB model ($48.95). Imagine a house populated with these switches (so that you’ll finally know which switch controls which light) or a car that toggles the same ignition switch from ON to OFF to ACCESSORIES to LOCK. Tired of waiting for vaporware? Build your own!
Are you looking for a small LCD for a special project, maybe that DIY VS1002-based MP3 player? Well, SFE presents the parallel 128x128 CSTN 1 ½-inch LCD (#LCD-08498; $14.95) that can produce nearly 64K colors.
Lastly, SFE has a kit that’s perfect for the builder who has everything but still needs a $1,000 clock to fill that “void” on the fireplace mantel. This isn’t any ordinary clock, however. It IS a clock that magically appears on the screen of your analog oscilloscope. Designed by Dutchtronix, this small AVR-based clock kit (#WIG-08488; $24.95) connects to the X-Y probes of your idle o-scope. Oops, don’t have an analog scope? Well, then you’d better beat a path to HSC Electronic Supply and pick up a used model before time runs out. —Dave Prochnow