Posts by Ryan

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New product: T1-3/4 (5mm) RGB LED with Diffused Lens (5-pack)

Posted by Ryan on 19 August 2016
Tags: new products

We are now selling T1-3/4 (5mm) common anode RGB LEDs! These multi-color LEDs contain red, green, and blue (RGB) elements that can be mixed to produce different colors. The three color elements share a common anode and are encased in a diffused white lens that blends the colors and widens the viewing angle. This product is a pack of five (5) RGB LEDs.

These LEDs replace the RGB LEDs with a common cathode that we used to sell. The common-anode setup of the new ones is nice because you can drive the LEDs with a low-voltage microcontroller I/O pin in an open-drain configuration (provided the pins can handle the current and are tolerant of the LED supply voltage). If you need to build your own drive circuit, you just need one low-side transistor per LED.

Here are some other posts on our blog about LEDs:

New product: Hakko FA-400 Smoke Absorber

Posted by Ryan on 2 August 2016

We are now offering the Hakko FA-400 Smoke Absorber. The Hakko FA-400 is a benchtop smoke absorber for removing smoke generated by soldering. It has an easily-replaceable activated-carbon filter and a sturdy ESD-safe housing that can be oriented horizontally or vertically.

New product: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Posted by Ryan on 6 May 2016

We are now offering the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The Raspberry Pi is a popular credit card-sized computer that can run ARM Linux distributions. As the successor to the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the Pi 3 has a more powerful processor and adds wireless connectivity. Here are the specific improvements:

  • 1.2 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Along with these improvements, the Raspberry Pi 3 maintains compatibility with and the form factor of the previous Pi 2 (and Pi 1 Model B+). With its 0.1″-spaced GPIO header and small size, the Raspberry Pi also works as a programmable controller in a wide variety of robotics and electronics applications. It can also be combined with our A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller LV with Raspberry Pi Bridge to make a great controller for a small robot. We also carry a selection of Raspberry Pi expansion boards.

This comparison chart can help in selecting the right Raspberry Pi for your project:

Raspberry Pi
Model A+

Raspberry Pi
Model B+

Raspberry Pi 2
Model B

Raspberry Pi 3
Model B
CPU: BCM2835 BCM2836 BCM2837
CPU cores: 1 4
CPU speed: 700 MHz 900 MHz 1.2 GHz
RAM: 256 MB 512 MB 1 GB
Ethernet: No Yes
WiFi: No 802.11n
Bluetooth: No 4.1
Bluetooth Low Energy: No Yes
Analog video: Yes1
SD socket: microSD
Onboard regulators: switching
Expansion header pins: 40
USB ports: 1 4
Mounting holes: 4
Dimensions2: 2.5″ × 2.2″ × 0.47″ 3.35″ × 2.2″ × 0.8″
Weight3: 23 g 42 g

1 Audio and analog video provided by a single four-pole 3.5 mm jack. This 3.5 mm jack also has its own dedicated low-noise power supply for improved audio.

2 Length and width measurements are for the PCB only; several of the connectors extend past the edge of the board.

3 Weight does not include microSD cards.

New product: MP3 Trigger V24

Posted by Ryan on 11 April 2016
Tags: new products

The updated MP3 Trigger V24 from SparkFun is now for sale. This new version features improved firmware that can read a configuration file from the SD card, making it much easier to use without a microcontroller. We posted previously about a project using an A-Star 32U4 and an MP3 Trigger to make a Scary shaking tombstone. The MP3 trigger also pairs nicely with the Maestro Servo Controllers because you can use a Maestro servo controller’s scripting capability to trigger sounds to play in sync with motion. You can see examples of how people are using them on our forum here and here.

The Pololu Forum now uses Discourse

Posted by Ryan on 8 April 2016

We started the Pololu Forum in 2004 as a place for product support and discussion, where Pololu customers can interact directly with each other and Pololu engineers. The forum is our preferred medium for handling technical support since the answers can potentially benefit multiple people and can include the experience of other helpful members of the community.

Recently we changed the forum software from phpBB to Discourse, a more modern and mobile-friendly forum package. We migrated user accounts and posts, so you should still be able to use your same forum username and password to log in. (Your forum account is separate from your account, though.) If you don’t have an account, now is a great time to sign up and join in the robotics and electronics discussion! You can read a lot more about Discourse on its “About” page.

We would be happy to hear how your experience is with Discourse, and if you have any suggestions or feedback on the change, you can post a comment here or in the “About the Pololu Forum” category on the forum.

Here are some technical details about the migration: before migrating, the forum had around 11 thousand user accounts and over 45 thousand posts, so I was very happy to find that following the instructions from the Importing from phpBB3 topic worked well. One thing the importer does not support is handling redirects from the old phpBB URLs. We really wanted to keep all those forum links working, so I modified the import script to generate an Nginx configuration mapping the old URLs to the new ones. I also made an improvement to the Discourse string remapping utility to fix some of the BBCodes that were not rendering well. It has been convenient to contribute to Discourse because they use Ruby on Rails, just like we do for the main Pololu website.

Video: Phone-controlled BB8 droid build tutorial

Posted by Ryan on 25 January 2016

TechBuilder’s life-size phone-controlled BB8 droid uses a Pololu dual VNH5019 motor driver shield to drive two 19:1 37D metal gearmotors.

For step-by-step instructions for building this droid, see his DIY BB8 Instructables page.

Video: Rubik's Cube-solving robot

Posted by Ryan on 25 January 2016

This “World’s Fastest” Rubik’s Cube-solving robot uses six DRV8825 stepper motor driver carriers, one for each face.

Pololu and LVBots CES Open House 2016

Posted by Ryan on 4 January 2016
Tags: lvbots

Are you attending CES or in Las Vegas this Thursday evening? You can join Pololu and LVBots on January 7 any time from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for CES Open House 2016! Like last year, LVBots members will be showcasing their robotics and electronics creations, Pololu will be giving tours of our manufacturing and other operations, and you can present your company or your projects. We will provide pizza. Registration and other details are on the LVBots Meetup page.

VertiGo robot drives up walls with propellers

Posted by Ryan on 29 December 2015

VertiGo is a novel robot designed with one main goal: the ability to drive on floors and walls, even if the walls aren’t perfectly flat. To accomplish this, it uses tiltable propellers for propulsion rather than motorized wheels. The propeller tilting is controlled by two Pololu Jrk 21v3 USB motor controllers with feedback. Students at ETH Zurich made this robot in collaboration with Disney Research Zürich.

You can visit the VertiGo website for pictures and project news.

Pi Wars 2015

Posted by Ryan on 8 December 2015

There is a nice recap on the Raspberry Pi blog of the Pi Wars 2015 competition that was held last weekend on December 5th, 2015. It is a robotics competition held in Cambridge, UK that focuses on robots controlled by a Raspberry Pi. I noticed a lot of Pololu parts on the robots in the videos. Just a few examples are wheels and tracks, motors, and reflectance sensors. I didn’t see any A-Star 32U4 robot controllers in the videos, but I think that would make a great controller for a robot in the next competition because it can be used as a Raspberry Pi expansion board!

You can check out the Pi Wars 2015 post for more details.

New Products

Romi Chassis Kit - Yellow
Romi Chassis Ball Caster Kit - Blue
Romi Chassis Ball Caster Kit - White
Romi Chassis Motor Clip Pair - Black
Motor Driver and Power Distribution Board for Romi Chassis
Romi Chassis Kit - Pink
UM7 Orientation Sensor
Romi Chassis Ball Caster Kit - Black
Romi Chassis Kit - Red
Romi Chassis Motor Clip Pair - Red
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