Master Brick 3.1 - USB-C and 7 pole Bricklet connectors

2017 ( we started to convert our Bricklets from 10 pole connectors to 7 pole connectors. This conversion was allready done for all of the Bricklets. Some Bricks are still equipped with the 10 pole Bricklet connector. With version 3.1 the Master Brick is now also equipped with four 7 pole Bricklet connectors.

The conversion of the remaining Bricks (Silent Stepper, IMU) will be done soon, such that in the future all Brick <-> Bricklet connections will use 7p <-> 7p Bricklet cables. For new projects it will be much easier to choose the right Bricklet cable, the 7p <-> 7p Bricklet cable will allways be the right choice.

Master Brick 2.1, 10p <-> 10p and 10p <-> 7p Bricklet cables will still be available in the shop. Spare parts as replacements for old projects will be available. These parts are listed in the "legacy" category. All non legacy Bricklets in the shop now only have the 7p <-> 7p Bricklet cable option left.

In comparison to Master Brick 2.1 the Master Brick 3.1 is equipped with 7 pole Bricklet connectors, but also with USB-C instead of Mini-USB. USB-C is at least as robust as Mini-USB but also has the advantage that the USB-C cables can be attached in both directions. Therefore it is much easier to use. Additionally the Master Brick 3.1 has a switchable Brickklet power supply. That means that you are now able to switch the power of connected Bricklets on or off during runtime with the API of the Brick.

Otherwise the Master Brick 3.1 is a one-to-one replacement for the Master Brick 2.1. Up to four Bricklets can be attached to the Brick. It is possible to build stacks of Bricks with up to 9 Bricks (1x Master Brick + 8x other Bricks). Master Brick 3.1 can be used together with Ethernet-, WIFI- and RS485 Master Brick Extension to connect attached Bricks/Bricklets with other interfaces than the USB interface of the Brick.

Availability Problems

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Four new Bricklets

We just released four new Bricklets:

The Industrial Dual AC Relay Bricklet can be used to switch 240V AC with up to 1.2A (max 12A surge current). Compared to the Industrial Dual Relay Bricklet it uses a solid state relay and it supports switching during zero-crossing.

The Industrial PTC Bricklet has the same functionality as the PTC Bricklet, but it uses the standardized 8-pole connector that we use for all Industrial Bricklets. This was often requested, since many customers use the PTC Bricklet together with other Industrial Bricklets and would like to use the same connector for all of them. For now we will stock both (the old PTC Bricklet and the new Industrial PTC Bricklet), but if the sale numbers of the PTC Bricklet start to drop off now we will likely retire it in the future.

The new DC Bricklet 2.0 and Silent Stepper Bricklet 2.0 are Bricklet replacements for the old DC Brick and Silent Stepper Brick. They come with the same driver IC and thus have the same capabilities. As a small bonus the Silent Stepper Bricklet has two GPIOs that can be used for end-stops and similar. With these new Bricklets you can now use the whole Tinkerforge ecosystem together with the HAT and HAT Zero Bricks! There is no feature anymore that is only available in the Brick-formfactor.

As the next step we will replace the 10-pole Bricklet connector on the Bricks with 7-pole equivalents. After that the whole system will use 7-7p cables and the 10p-10p and 10p-7p cables can be retired. We will still stock the Master Brick 2.1 with 10p Bricklet connectors for replacements in legacy systems, but otherwise all products with 10-pole connector will be completely removed from the shop.

Auslieferung WARP-Charger

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Component availability in 2021

We noticed since the end of last year that obtaining components becomes harder and harder. In march the situation got even more serious: Lead times of one year or more are now common for some components. Though this happened for some odd parts every now and then, currently the better part of processors, sensors, motor control ICs and so on are all out of stock. It is currently not known to us, how long this will be the case, however we assume, that the supply issues will last for the rest of the year.

Causes for the supply issues are the coronavirus pandemic and the rising demand for ICs for game consoles, laptops etc. This demand exceeds the number of available silicon wafers. Additionally, the outage of foundrys in Texas due to extreme snow fall, as well as a plant in Japan that was gutted by fire, further reduce the availability of ICs.

We, as well as many other companies, stocked up our inventory. Luckily we already had a large stock of the most important components, so we don't expect near-term supply issues for a large part of our products. However single products can have longer lead times in the near future.

The first product, that will not be available for the next months is the IMU Brick. It is already out of stock. Production was already planned and the components were ordered, but our shipment of BNO055 sensors was cancelled. It seems to be the case, that this sensor is globally out of stock and the manufacturer does not specify binding delivery dates. The sensor seems to be not available for the next six months. We have already placed orders and will start to produce the Bricks as soon as we get our hands on the sensors. As an alternative we still have the IMU Bricklet 3.0 in stock. This Bricklet also uses the BNO055 sensor and can be combined with a Master Brick to replace an IMU Brick (minimal software changes have to be made).

If you plan to order large quantities, feel free to contact us, so we can make sure, the necessary components can be supplied shortly.