Solderable LED Xmas Tree Ornament – Christmas the DIY Way

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DIY Tree I got this because it looked like a cool little project, and a neat (if tiny) gift for the missus. So that’s about the extent of my motivations. If you’re trying to put one of these together, I’m hoping that this video might answer a couple of your questions. It’s not really meant to be an educational video, though; More a demonstration of what’s involved in assembly for anyone considering a purchase. Speaking of which, if you want one you can pick one up for about 5 bucks over at banggood.com. And in case you were wondering, this is not a paid advertisement. I actually paid them for this thing, so it’s pretty much the opposite. (If this … Continue reading

$10 Credit Card Sized Cellphone (Matrix Relarded)

Tiny 10 Dollar Cell Phone - Featured Image

Here’s a tiny cellphone from Aiek (your top brand for cheap-ass mini phones, maybe). I got it for $10, and surprisingly it works pretty well! I forgot to mention in the video, but it’s GSM and definitely compatible with AT&T’s network. (I tested it using H2O Wireless, but they’re just a virtutal provider on AT&T’s system.) You can pick one up from Banggood, but unfortunately the price has jumped up twice since I bought it, and now it’s at an unfortunate $18.47 (October 8, 2016). I’m sure it’s sold elsewhere, so hopefully you can grab it for ten bucks from another source. The free delivery option was surprisingly fast to me here in NY at just over a week. This … Continue reading

Etekcity “Outdoor” Collapsible “Camping” LED Lanterns of Doom

Etekcity Collapsible Camping LED Lanterns - Featured Image

Here are some collapsible LED “camping” lanterns from Etekcity. The reason I put “camping” in quotes is because there is no sign of waterproofing on these things. I suppose if you’re camping in the desert they’d be fine. Wait, no they wouldn’t be. Because one out of the four didn’t work, and the soldering was abysmal. If you want to see details, I do a tear down in the video.

Let’s [Quickly] Open: AEDILYS Motorola Nexus 6 USB Dock

AEDILYS Dock - Cover Image

This is so close to being a good charging stand, except that the USB port is used to hold the phone in place! Its design is quite simple, as it’s just a USB 2.0 pass-through from a micro-USB port on the back of the dock to a male micro-USB on the front. There’s not much more to say about it in text, so check out the video to get a full look at it! And this does have the benefit of being one of my shortest videos, so you only need to invest about 2.5 minutes into it. :)

Lets Open: AgIC Circuit Marker – Can You Solder? (Kinda)

Let's Open: AgIC Circuit Marker

This video answers the age-new question: Can you solder to silver circuit trace ink? The answer is yes, but it probably would take some practice, and it doesn’t work all that well. Update: Overloading a Circuit Because the impedance of the silver ink was so high, I decided to try and overload it with far too much current to see what would happen. The video includes trying to power a 40W light bulb at 120 VAC through the paper circuit as well as a dead short at 30 VDC! The upshot is that it did not start a fire, and the silver trace failed in a controlled manner. That’s bad for the drama of a YouTube video, but a good … Continue reading

Let’s Open: Japan Crate Review

Hey, Look! It's Japan Crate!

Hey look! A crate from Japan! (California, technically.) Japan Crate sends a box of surprise Japanese candy, chips, and other edibles to your door every month. For a fee, of course. The missus got a 3-month subscription for me as a birthday gift, and I’ve been sitting on the third crate for over a month waiting to do a video on it (much to her chagrin). It’s now come to pass. I like the Japan Crate crates quite a bit, to spoil the whole review right now. Update: In retrospect, I probably should have tried everything on camera, and then just edited out the uninteresting items. The stuff that I thought was root beer flavored hard candies were in fact … Continue reading

Let’s Open: Cheap “Smart” Watches from AliExpress: Ken Xin Da W1 and U Watch U80

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This is a quick very long video about two “smart” watches, one which isn’t all that smart and another which is more of a phone than a smartwatch. In case you want one for some reason, here’s where I got ‘em: Bluetooth U80 Smart Watch (AliExpress) KEN XIN DA W1 Smart Watch Phone (AliExpress) Don’t take those links as an endorsement, though I do kinda enjoy the Ken Xin Da watch for music and emergencies on the go.

Let’s [Quickly] Open: Crappy NiMH Cells from AliExpress vs. Panasonic Eneloop Cells

Lets [Quickly] Open: Random Chinese NiMH Cells

A look at some possibly-fake random “NiMH” AA cells from AliExpress, comparing them to Panasonic Eneloop cells. From my somewhat limited testing, these little green guys had an actual capacity of about 342mAh, which is less than 10% of their claimed specification of 3800mAh (which is probably impossible anyhow for AA-sized NiMH cells. The part about them perhaps not being real NiMH cells? That’s not the weirdest thing. Unlike most of my AliExpress purchases, these shipped from The Netherlands, despite the seller being called Shenzhen DeKang International Trade.

Let’s [Quickly] Open: ORICO 4-Port USB Charger + Teardown

ORICO 4-Port USB Charger - Cover Image

I had been looking for a cheap and cheerful USB power supply for general charging of phones, tablets, and plenty of etcetera. Hence I ordered this ORICO 4-Port USB Charger with high hopes! I never have too much optimism when it comes to crap from AliExpress, but not only did this ship from California, it also seems to be a really good buy. Some of the testing I did on this was inspired by Clive at bigclive.com who does an absolutely obsessive number of teardowns on his YouTube channel. If you haven’t heard of him and you like that sort of this, give it a look! (Plus he has a much better accent than I do.) And finally, as promised … Continue reading