For one more installment of the Adafruit Gift Guide 2012 series for the day — the always timely blinky kits! Here’s a selection of blinky projects and components from Adafruit and beyond for the people in your life who could use a little bright-light in their life.
Blinkies from Adafruit:
Digital Addressable RGB LED w/ PWM waterproof flexi strip: These LED strips are fun and glowy. There are 32 RGB LEDs per meter, and you can control each LED individually! Yes, that’s right, this is the digitally-addressable type of LED strip. And we recently upgraded these strips from the old HL1606 chipset to the latest and greatest, the LPD8806 – a chip that has a hig-speed full-color PWM built in! How about … 2 MILLION colors per pixel!
16×32 RGB LED matrix panel: Bring a little bit of Times Square into your home with this 16 x 32 RGB LED matrix panel. These panels are normally used to make video walls, here in New York we see them on the sides of buses and bus stops, to display animations or short video clips. We thought they looked really cool so we picked up a few boxes of them from a factory. They have 512 bright RGB LEDs arranged in a 16×32 grid on the front. On the back there is a PCB with two IDC connectors (one input, one output: in theory you can chain these together) and 12 16-bit latches that allow you to drive the display with a 1:8 scan rate. Check out our great tutorial to get these up and running in a blink of a bulb!
Adafruit Mini 8×8 LED Matrix w/I2C Backpack – Blue: What’s better than a single LED? Lots of LEDs! A fun way to make a small display is to use an 8×8 matrix or a 4-digit 7-segment display. Matrices like these are ‘multiplexed’ – so to control 64 LEDs you need 16 pins. That’s a lot of pins, and there are driver chips like the MAX7219 that can control a matrix for you but there’s a lot of wiring to set up and they take up a ton of space. Here at Adafruit we feel your pain! After all, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could control a matrix without tons of wiring? That’s where these adorable LED matrix backpacks come in. We have them in two flavors – a mini 8×8 and a 4-digit 0.56″ 7-segment. They work perfectly with the matrices we stock in the Adafruit shop and make adding a bright little display trivial. And check out some of incredible projects you can create from clusters of these — like Phil’s e-demon Halloween project below!
Flora RGB Smart Pixel: What’s a wearable project without LEDs? Our favorite part of the Flora platform is these tiny smart pixels. Designed specifically for wearables, we found the brightest RGB LEDs available (an eye-blistering ~3800mcd) and paired them with a constant-current driver chip that sits on the back. The pixels are chainable – so you only need 1 pin/wire to control as many LEDs as you like. They’re easy to sew, and the chainable design means no crossed threads. These pixels have full 24-bit color ability with PWM taken care of by the controller chip. Since the LED is so bright, you need less current/power to get the effects you want. The driver is constant current so its OK if your battery power changes or fluctuates a little.
Blinkies from Our Friends!
Blue 5 mm Clear 40 Degree LED from Evil Mad Scientist: Sometimes what your project needs isn’t a crazy control board or dense array of sources — you can do great things with simple, dedicated components like these new general-purpose 5 mm (“standard size”) ultrabright blue LEDs with a water-clear lens. They offer extremely bright light, projected in a wide cone. Check out a project that benefits tremendously from this light dispersal pattern: lightweight electric origami!
3x3x3 LED Cube Arduino Shield from the Maker Shed: What has 27 LEDs, is 3 dimensional, and is Arduino controlled? It’s the 3x3x3 LED Cube Arduino Shield designed and built by young maker superstar Joey Hudy. The cube’s 3D construction is straightforward and easy to solder using the included jig and instructions. Sample code is available and can easily be modified to make your own basic animations and displays. It’s available in both red and green so you can pick your favorite color and have it up and flashing in no time!
BlinkM MaxM, he ultrabright smart LED from ThingM: While ThingM’s blink(1) units aren’t ready for general sale after their Kickstarter project, their BlinkM MaxM units are great go-to blinky kit. It’s an intensely-bright smart LED that comes as a package of two components, a control module (MaxM Master) and a daughter board with three ultrabright LEDs (MaxM Blaster). MaxM Master runs ThingM’s unique firmware that creates virtually any RGB color, fades smoothly between two colors, and blinks in virtually any pattern (it can flash like a police light, for example, or flicker like a candle).
Blinky Grid Red SMT from Wayne and Layne: This is the surface-mount version of their Blinky Grid kit, and is a great way to learn and practice surface-mount soldering. While W&L won’t say that everyone can successfully solder surface-mount, you do not need extreme dexterity or super eagle vision. They have built a bunch of these with people who have never soldered surface mount before, between seven and fifty or so years of age – and everyone has been successful!
And Don’t Forget, You Earned Bragging Rights
LEDs – Skill Badge, iron-on Patch. You learned LEDs! (Light-emitting diodes)… Adafruit offers a fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. This is the “I made something with LEDs!” badge for use with educators, classrooms, workshops, Maker Faires, TechShops, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and around the world to reward beginners on their skill building journey! This beautiful badge is made in the USA. The badge is skillfully designed and sturdily made to last a life time, the backing is iron-on but the badge can also be sewn on.
Here are your 2012 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 14, 2012 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Wednesday 11am ET – December 19, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 20, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 21, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.
UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 17, 2012. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 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 14, 2012 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 23, 2012. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/12.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 14, 2012. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.
Gift Certificates are always available at any time.
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Wearables — Velcro dread
Electronics — Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your semiconductor is DOA
Biohacking — Data After Death
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