Adafruit’s Top Ten Best Selling Products of 2021 #AdafruitTopTen

Adafruit’s Top Ten Best Selling Products of 2021 #AdafruitTopTen


WOOF! To shake off another long year, we’re gonna look back and celebrate 2021’s most popular, tried-and-true electronics, from cables to motors to antennae, and more!

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10. ADS1115 16-Bit ADC – 4 Channel with Programmable Gain Amplifier

For microcontrollers without an analog-to-digital converter or when you want a higher-precision ADC, the ADS1115 provides 16-bit precision at 860 samples/second over I2C. The chip can be configured as 4 single-ended input channels or two differential channels. As a nice bonus, it even includes a programmable gain amplifier, up to x16, to help boost up smaller single/differential signals to the full range. We like this ADC because it can run from 2V to 5V power/logic, can measure a large range of signals and it’s super easy to use. It is a great general-purpose 16-bit converter.


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9. Adafruit 9-DOF Absolute Orientation IMU Fusion Breakout – BNO055 – STEMMA QT / Qwiic

If you’ve ever ordered and wired up a 9-DOF sensor, chances are you’ve also realized the challenge of turning the sensor data from an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer into actual “3D space orientation”! Orientation is a hard problem to solve. The sensor fusion algorithms (the secret sauce that blends accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope data into stable three-axis orientation output) can be mind-numbingly difficult to get right and implement on low-cost real-time systems.

Bosch is the first company to get this right by taking a MEMS accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope, and putting them on a single die with a high-speed ARM Cortex-M0 based processor to digest all the sensor data, abstract the sensor fusion and real-time requirements away, and spit out data you can use in quaternions, Euler angles or vectors.


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8. Adafruit Triple-Axis Accelerometer – ±2/4/8g @ 14-bit – MMA8451

So many accelerometers and so little time! We’ve expanded our accelerometer selection even more with this high-precision and inexpensive MMA8451 Triple-Axis Accelerometer w/ 14-bit ADC. You can detect motion, tilt, and basic orientation with a digital accelerometer – and the MMA8451 is a great accelerometer to start with. It has a wide usage range, from +-2g up to +-8g yet is easy to use with Arduino or another microcontroller

The MMA8451 is a miniature little accelerometer from Freescale, who are (by this point) masters at the accelerometer-design game. It’s designed for use in phones, tablets, smartwatches, and more, but works just as well in your Arduino project. Of the MMA8451/MMA8452/MMA8453 family, the MMA8451 is the most precise with a built-in 14-bit ADC. The accelerometer also has built-in tilt/orientation detection so it can tell you whether your project is being held in landscape or portrait mode and whether it is tilted forward or back.


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7. Raspberry Pi 4 Model B – 2 GB RAM

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the newest Raspberry Pi computer made, and the Pi Foundation knows you can always make a good thing better! And what could make the Pi 4 better than the 3? How about a faster processor, USB 3.0 ports, and updated Gigabit Ethernet chip with PoE capability? Good guess – that’s exactly what they did!

The Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest product in the Raspberry Pi range, boasting an updated 64-bit quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz with built-in metal heatsink, USB 3 ports, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless LAN, faster Gigabit Ethernet, and PoE capability via a separate PoE HAT.


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6. DC Gearbox Motor – “TT Motor” – 200RPM – 3 to 6VDC

Perhaps you’ve been assembling a new robot friend, adding a computer for a brain, and other fun personality touches. Now the time has come to let it leave the nest and fly on its own wings– err, wheels! 

These durable (but affordable!) plastic gearbox motors (also known as ‘TT’ motors) are an easy, low-cost way to get your projects moving. This is a TT DC Gearbox Motor with a gear ratio of 1:48, and it comes with 2 x 200mm wires with breadboard-friendly 0.1″ male connectors. Perfect for plugging into a breadboard or terminal blocks.


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5. STEMMA QT / Qwiic JST SH 4-pin to Premium Male Headers Cable

This 4-wire cable is a little over 150mm / 6″ long and fitted with JST-SH female 4-pin connectors on one end and premium Dupont male headers on the other. Compared with the chunkier JST-PH these are 1mm pitch instead of 2mm, but still have a nice latching feel, while being easy to insert and remove.

This cable can be used with Qwiic boards, to easily connect sensors and drivers to board with 0.1″ socket headers or to solder-less breadboards. Or you can always solder to the header ends directly as well. When used with Qwiic the colors are:

  • Red – 3.3VDC Power
  • Black – Ground
  • Blue – I2C SDA Data
  • Yellow – I2C SCL Clock

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4. STEMMA QT / Qwiic JST SH 4-pin Cable – 100mm Long

This 4-wire cable is a little over 100mm / 4″ long and fitted with JST-SH female 4-pin connectors on both ends. Compared with the chunkier JST-PH these are 1mm pitch instead of 2mm, but still have a nice latching feel, while being easy to insert and remove.


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3. Vibrating Mini Motor Disc

*BZZZZZZZZZZ* Feel that? That’s your little buzzing motor, and for any haptic feedback project, you’ll want to pick up a few of them. These vibe motors are tiny discs, completely sealed up so they’re easy to use and embed.

Two wires are used to control/power the vibe. Simply provide power from a battery or microcontroller pin (red is positive, blue is negative) and it will buzz away. The rated voltage is 2.5 to 3.8V and for many projects, we found it vibrates from 2V up to 5V, higher voltages result in more current draw but also a stronger vibration.


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2. Mini Aluminum Heat Sink for Raspberry Pi – 13 x 13 x 3mm

Looking for an ultra-thin heat sink for your Raspberry Pi 3? Check out this nice and slim 13x13x3mm Heat Sink!

This heat sink is made from high-quality aluminum and will work perfectly with any Raspberry Pi but is best paired with a Raspberry Pi 3 since it can run a little hot. It comes with thermal adhesive already applied to the back making installation super easy. Clean the surface of the chip of any dust or grease then peel off the protective film and press the heat sink firmly onto the chip. You can use this heatsink with any of our injection molded Adafruit Pi Enclosures, but it may not work with other enclosures and some HATs may not fit on top with the heat sink installed.


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1. Panel Mount USB Cable – A Male to A Female

This handy USB extension cable will make it easy for you to enclose a device that has an A-type (USB host) port. We think this would be most handy when putting a Beagle Bone, Raspberry Pi or, Mintyboost into a box.

The jack half has two mounting ‘ears’ with 12mm M3 screws installed, 30mm apart. The ears are flexible so the holes don’t have to be drilled very precisely. Can be used with box walls up to 0.25″ wide. The screws can be put on from the back for ‘reverse’ mounting if the box thickness is a problem. Entire unit is 13.4″ long from tip to tip (with 10.2″ cabling between USB connectors).


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


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1 Comment

  1. Number one product a USB panel mount thing? I guess it’s pretty cross-device compatible yet specialized. I guess somebody is just buying a lot of Raspberry Pi computers to bury in an enclosure that they want to expose USB ports from anyway 😉

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