Archive for February, 2008

Kondo’s new KCB-1 control board looks pretty sweet

Thursday, February 21st, 2008
The Kondo KCB-1

According to Robots Dreams, Kondo is releasing a new robot controller board.  It's called KCB-1, and it looks very promising.  The standard servo ports are gone, and in their place are six serial servo ports, 7 analog input ports, and 6 configurable digital I/O ports (4 of which can be set to PWM output).  What the heck does that mean?  Well, let's take a look.

Serial servo ports:  This means that Kondo is joining the networked servo club, along with Robotis and Futaba, and that's pretty cool.  This board will be compatible with Kondo's KRS-4000 series of serial digital servos.  Networking servos cuts down on wiring, and frees you from the pain of making sure each servo is plugged into the proper port on the control board.  The serial servo ports are bidirectional, so it may also open up the possibility of Bioloid-style serial sensor modules.

Seven analog inputs: Kondo will no longer be sadly deficient in the sensor input department, which is very cool.  Any generic 0-5V sensors should work.  IR, sonar, pressure, light, whatever you want.

Six digital I/O ports: The configurable digital I/O ports open up a number of interesting possibilities.  They could be used as inputs for foot switches, for instance, so your bot will know when its feet are flat on the ground.  They could be used to trigger external circuits.  The PWM outputs could be used to drive LED's, or H-bridge amplifiers for driving dc motors.

As an added bonus, a C++ SDK will also be available.  Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any plans to release the KCB-1 outside of Japan, so don't expect to see it in our catalog for a while.  Hopefully this board will make an appearance at the upcoming ROBO ONE competitions next month.  For some more specific info, check out the post over at Robots Dreams.

New Phidget: 0/0/8 Relay Controller

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Phidgets has just introduced the PhidgetInterfaceKit 0/0/8 I/O board, which gives you USB control over 8 Double-Pole Double-Throw (DPDT) relays.  The relays can’t handle quite as much juice as those on the 0/0/4, but you get a whole bunch of them!  The relays are DPDT, so you can control 2 separate circuits with each relay.  And now, just for fun, here’s a DPDT diagram:

You get eight of these.

Just like the rest of the Phidgets line, this device can easily be used with any of the mainstream programming languages, thanks to some very friendly API’s.  Still not excited?  Read this excerpt from the press release:

  “Users can plug the PhidgetInterfaceKit 0/0/8 into their computer, and use the relay outputs to route circuits. One typical application for the 0/0/8 is the performance of automated tests and monitoring – as the large number of contacts and their suitability for switching signals makes it easy to connect test equipment into circuits.â€? says Chester Fitchett, CEO of Phidgets.

Product Specifications

  • Contact Resistance (max at 6VDC 1A): 50mOhms
  • Wetting Current / Voltage:10uA / 10mV
  • Switching Voltage (max AC): 250 VAC
  • Switching Voltage (max DC): 220 VDC
  • Switching Current (max AC/DC): 2 Amps
  • Switching Power (max): 60 W, 125VA
  • Digital Control Update Rate: ~125 updates / second
  • Operate Time (at max load): ~18ms
  • Release Time (at max load): ~18ms
  • Switching Speed (at max load): 20 contacts / minute
  • Recommended Terminal Wire Size: 16 – 26 AWG
  • Terminal Wire Strip Length: 5 – 6mm (0.196â€? – 0.236â€?)
  • USB-Power Current Specification: 500mA max
  • Device Quiescent Current Consumption: 14mA
  • Device Active Current Consumption: 380mA max


  • Switching data communication lines – USB, RS232, etc.
  • Measuring resistances between various points in a circuit
  • Switching a voltmeter to various points in a circuit
  • Controlling a number of much larger relays, or RF relays.
  • Extra pole in relay can be monitored as a switch to verify position.
  • Switching power to external circuits.

Now go buy a Phidget 0/0/8, and start switching!

OR, you can check out the entire Phidgets Phamily.

Robotics Contest Ending February ’08 – Win Up To $500!

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Just a friendly reminder, February 29th 2008 is the last day to submit your project to the Project Showcase forums and win up to $500!

Have a look at the incredible projects that won last round:

Certificate to Trossen Robotics:
1st place – $500
2nd place – $250
3rd place – $100

hi trossen

We Want To Know What You Are Building!!

Trossen Robotics hosts contests all year round to inspire ingenuity and innovation for people who are creating cool tech projects in robotics, home automation, interactive arts, RFID, or similar technical DIY projects. Projects are judged at the end of each contest round. So If you have a project that you’ve been working on or have already completed, now is the time to tell the Trossen Robotics Community all about it!

This contest is not limited to any technologies, so everyone can submit projects:-)

For all the contest qualifications and details, please check out the contest page.

Good luck to everyone, and we hope to hear from you soon!

– The Trossen Robotics Team

New Products: gyros and compasses and Arduinos, oh my!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

We’ve just added a bunch of Spark Fun products to our catalog!  We are now proud resellers of the massively popular Arduino, and a bunch of other cool stuff!


Arduino Diecimila USB IO Board Arduino, Diecimila, Arduino Board, Arduino Kit, Arduino Diecimila USB IO Board, Arduino IO Board, Arduino Diecimila, Arduino Diecimila Board

Arduino Diecimila USB IO Board

Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple i/o board and a development environment that implements the Processing/Wiring language. Arduino can be used to develop stand-alone interactive objects or can be connected to software on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP). The open-source IDE can be downloaded for free (currently for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux).

Price: $34.95

Arduino ProtoShield Kit Arduino, ProtoShield, Arduino ProtoShield, Arduino ProtoShield Kit, Arduino Board, Arduino Kit

Arduino ProtoShield Kit

Riding on the waves of the very popular Arduino USB board is this small prototyping shield. The Protoshield mates with the Arduino USB board and gives the user a small soldering area, two general LEDs, access to a BlueSMiRF socket, a general pushbutton switch, and most important of all – the Arduino reset switch is brought to the top level.

Price: $16.95

USB Weather Board

USB Weather Board

Are you an aspiring meteorologist?  This USB weather station can immediately tell what the current pressure, humidity, and temperature is. Graphed over time you can watch weather fronts move in and the rain come down.

Price: $124.95

Compass Module with Tilt Compensation - OS5000-S

Compass Module with Tilt Compensation – OS5000-S

The OS5000-S is an extremely small form factor (1×1â€? square) three axis, tilt compensated digital compass. The flexible design allows customers to use RS232 Serial connection for system integration. The OS5000-S provides precise heading, roll and pitch data ideal for rapid attitude measurement. The compass offers an easy to use ASCII interface which includes hard-iron calibration and simple data configuration for your application.

Price: $269.95

Accelerometer Breakout Board - ADXL210AE +/-10g

Accelerometer Breakout Board – ADXL210AE +/-10g

Breakout board for the Analog Devices accelerometers in the E8 package. The ADXL is a solid state MEMS accelerometer with digital PWM or Analog output. The ADXL can measure both static and dynamic acceleration. This means the ADXL is suited well for sensing tilt (used in many Glove / Air Mouse applications) and for sensing brute acceleration (rocketry and general motion sensing applications).

Price: $39.95

Triple Output LED RGB

Triple Output LED RGB

Ever hear of a thing called RGB? Red, Green, Blue? How about an RGB LED? These 5mm units have four pins – Cathode is the longest pin. One for each color and a common cathode. Use this one LED for three status indicators or pulse width modulate all three and get mixed colors!

Price: $1.95

Serial Accelerometer Tri-Axis v5 - Dongle

Serial Accelerometer Tri-Axis v5 – Dongle

The SerAccel v5 is a 3 axis accelerometer up to +/-6g with a simple serial interface.

Your Price: $74.95

Gyro Breakout Board - MLX90609 - 150 degree/sec

Gyro Breakout Board – MLX90609 – 150 degree/sec

This is a simple breakout board for the Melexis gyroscope featuring both analog and digital (SPI) interfaces. Designed for dead reckoning navigation applications, the MLX90609-E2 is a 150 degree/s max rate gyro with low drift and programmable bandwidth, this gyro is perfect for digital stabilization and control.

Your Price: $59.95

Gyro Breakout Board - MLX90609 - 300 degree/sec

Gyro Breakout Board – MLX90609 – 300 degree/sec

This is a simple breakout board for the Melexis gyroscope featuring both analog and digital (SPI) interfaces. Designed for dead reckoning navigation applications, the MLX90609-R2 is a 300 degree/s max rate gyro with low drift and programmable bandwidth, this gyro is perfect for digital stabilization and control.

Your Price: $59.95

EasyDriver v3 Stepper Motor Driver

EasyDriver v3 Stepper Motor Driver

EasyDriver v3 is a simple to use stepper motor driver, compatible with anything that can output a digital 0 to 5V pulse. The EasyDriver requires a 7V to 30V supply to power the motor, and has an on board voltage regulator for the digital interface. Connect a 4-wire stepper motor and a microcontroller and you’ve got precision motor control!

Price: $14.95

Triple Axis Accelerometer Breakout - MMA7260Q

Triple Axis Accelerometer Breakout – MMA7260Q

Breakout board for the 3 axis MMA7260Q accelerometer from Freescale. With a low power shut-down mode, high sensitivity output with selectable ranges (+/- 1.5, 2, 4, and 6g), this sensor is one of the very first to market with three accelerometers sensors built onto a single IC!  Board comes fully assembled and tested with external filters installed.

Price: $39.95

Triple Axis Accelerometer Breakout - LIS3LV02DQ

Triple Axis Accelerometer Breakout – LIS3LV02DQ

Breakout board for the 3 axis LIS3LV02DQ accelerometer from ST Micro. With a digital interface (SPI or I2C), the user only has to initiate commands to get 1mg resolution! Independent channels can be shut off, the sensor can be powered down, even an interrupt threshold can be set and used to awaken the sensor from power down! Selectable ranges are available for +/-2g and 6g. This sensor is one of the first with triple axis and an easy to use digital interface. Board comes fully assembled and tested with external decoupling caps.

Price: $43.95

Stepper Motor

Stepper Motor

This is a simple, but very powerful stepper motor.


  • Step Angle (degrees) :1.8
  • 2 Phase
  • Rated Voltage : 15.4V
  • Rated Current : 0.28A
  • Holding Torque : 2.4kg*cm
  • Detent Torque : 120g*cm

Price: $14.95

There you have it, folks.  If you like what you see, click the links, read some manuals and spec sheets, and buy things.  As always: if you have questions, feel free to drop us an email, post in the forums, or if it’s an emergency and your leg is going to fall off if you don’t find out what the difference between an accelerometer and a gyro is RIGHT NOW, give us a call.