Tag Archives: electronics az

The Thermocube – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Farm Innovators Thermocube.  This little gadget is one of the most useful and slick little things you can get your hands on.  It is simply a two plug adapter, meaning you plug it into one outlet and you get two.  But inside is a mercury switch.  This makes it provide power only in a specific temperature range.

There are a lot of options with this device, the most useful to many homesteaders will turn on at 35 and off at 45.  This will keep say a green house on a heater from going below freezing for just one example.

These things also have options at the other end of the spectrum.  For instance on at 78 off at 70.  This could be useful for running say a fan in a chicken coop.  They way they are designed I am not saying they can’t fail, I just have not ever seen one do so.  They are designed with such simplicity there just are not many moving parts.

The temperature either causes the switch to be on or to be off, that is all, nothing more.

One little extra you may want to consider when using these is a Water-Tight Cord Lock.  To be clear this will not go over the Thermocube, you would plug that in at the outlet.  What this does is go over where your extension cord plugs into your device or where two extension cords are joined.  These are a great tool in their own right and I will review them stand alone on another day.

Another great little tip is consider using one of these slick little 1-foot extension cords if outlet space is an issue.

In any event the Farm Innovators Thermocube varies in price based on option and please note that some options are like for a 6 pack when making your buying decisions.  The on at 35 off at 45 is under 12 bucks and that is a great price given what it does.

When I had a small greenhouse one of these and a simple small electric heater was sufficient to get through the coldest nights with no losses.    Sure beats complex wiring, expensive thermostats, etc.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Streamlight Stylus Pro Flashlight – Item of the Day

streamliteEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Streamlight Stylus Pro LED Pen Flashlight.  This is my EDC light, sure there are better and far more expensive tac lights, but the beauty of this light is multifold.

First it uses standard AAA batteries.  Not some special form factor that is hard to find.  In our home we have good quality AA and AAA batteries on hand at all times along with enloop rechargeable batteries in both sizes.

Second it is cheap, as in under 20 bucks on Prime, I keep one in my night stand with my bigger lights, so when I misplace my EDC one or more likely give it away, I have a second one to replace it with.

Third it is rugged, if you check the Amazon reviews you will see one guy lost his for a year, found it buried in mud and leaves and after a year it still worked.

Fourth it is strong enough to use as a defensive too, basically as a small kubaton.  You have to know the techniques for that to be effect but it works quite well.

Long time listeners will tell you that I have been recommending this little light for over 5 years now, and until I find a better value, I will continue to do so.  I believe in having what you need in the best quality possible with the highest value to that quality.

The other thing I believe is EDC means EVERY DAY CARRY, it isn’t MDC, or SDC, most or some day carry.  This little light is so thin and just slides in a pocket to the rear and sits there, you forget you have it on you at times.  That means you will carry it and that means you will have it when you need it.

In short the Streamlight Stylus Pro LED Pen Flashlight is a winner and it makes a great gift.  I have bought at least a dozen over the years, carried them all and eventually given them to listeners and I am sure all of those are still in service.

The only down sides are first the finish will wear off in time especially if you carry it with keys, a knife, etc.  But for the price to you really care?  The other is the little canvas holster.  While well built I find it useless!

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

 

Lanshion 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip with 4 USB Ports Desktop USB Charging Station – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Lanshion 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip with 4 USB Ports Desktop USB Charging Station.  What I love about this product is how much it does with such a small foot print.  It is designed for desk top use, IE not crawling under your desk every time you need to plug something in.

From an AC standpoint it gives you a total capacity of 1875 watts and of course provides surge protection for all devices plugged into it.  It also give you 4 USB charging ports with a total of 4.5Amps of charging power between them.  This means very rapid charging of one USB device or solid charging speed of up to four at one time.  Again clearly this object is designed for desk top use.  However I see some other great uses for it.

One would be a simple charging station for phones and what have you that also gives you plenty of power outlets.  Set up on a entry table this would be a great way to provide USB charging for guests and still have plenty of power outlets for any needs.

Another would be a kitchen counter top.  Talk about a place where power can be at a premium.  Since it is compact and frankly looks good it can go back in a corner and out of the way yet be there for anything you need to plug in.  Likely you would never use all 8 ports that way but what ever you needed you’d have.

Then there is the best use I can think of, and why I ordered one!  A central distribution point for a Steven Harris Battery Bank or a emergency Generator.  Set this baby on a kitchen table and power it up.  Now you can charge your mobile devices, your enLoop Batteries and run your AC powered items from a central and most importantly a compact point, all with surge protection.

The last one and this seems like a really great use as well is a work bench out in a shop building.  The ability to plug in power tools, chargers, etc to a single compact space seems awesome, and the USB ports make it easy to charge your mobile device while listening to tunes and you complete your projects.

I of course checked FakeSpot and when I first reviewed it, it had a solid B grade with over 300 reviews and 4.5 total stars.  They have now dropped that gade to a C, mostly I think because Amazon removed some reviews.  As I recently covered on air, Fakespot is a good starting point but they are not always right.  I read a lot of the positive reviews and they seem legitimate to me.

I have had mine since September last year and it is still working great.  In fact I found a new use for it.  Fish tanks!  Any fish keeper knows if you have multiple tanks you end up with a plug in mess.  I am now running one set of my tanks on this device and it has made power management so much better. I also ran two USB cords off it up to the top of the cabinet so I can still charge mobile devices and my bluetooth speaker, etc.

In any event the Lanshion 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip with 4 USB Ports Desktop USB Charging Station is a solid performer with a great reputation and might be the perfect fit for your needs in one of many areas.  So check it out today.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

 

 

TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router – Item of the Day

routerEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router.  I did a TON of work when I last upgraded our router, this is the one I settled on, I have never regretted it.  It has now been running for three years and I have no desire to replace it.

We have a large house, not a mansion or something like that just a long house because the garage was converted to indoor space and lot of brick walls.  We always had trouble with the signal in certain areas, and especially out in the detached metal garage.

This thing bangs signal out hard and with one extender (which you can find here) I can hit almost any part of my 3 acre property.  It also has two bands one at 2.4 and one at 5 ghz.  We have found some of our devices like say our printer, just does better on the 2.4 ghz band.  Since they merge to a common network you just sign the equipment in on what works best and all is well.

It also comes with a guest network, so your visitors can be on the web but not on your network, which is very nice.  You can configure everything in your browser, the set up is step by step and anyone with a very basic computer knowledge can do it.

Best part?  Well it also has a smart phone app, this lets you pull up your network, see everything on it, change passwords, get your password if you forgot it, etc.  But the very best part of this is you can, reboot from you phone.  Yes you can reboot your router from your phone.

Imagine this, you and your spouse decide to hit the bed early and watch some Netflix, network issues ensue, you need a reboot.  Don’t get up like a fool and walk to the other side of the house, grab your phone and give the reboot command and all is well.

I dealt with a lot of buggy crap with three previous routers, unfairly yelled at Comcast customer service about their wonky internet due to one of those, found this and finally I am happy.  I can use my laptop or phone on network from my pool or in my garage, my guests have their own network, everything works and I have good signal in the entire house.

I am not a network administrator, or a MCSE or anything like that.  I just know this works, it always works, it is easy to set up and manage and does what I need.  If anyone wants a free router by the way I have three in my closet you are welcome to the next time you stop by.

So if you need a new router or are just ready to upgrade give the TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router a shot.  I finally agree with the NY Times for a change, it is in their words “the best router for most people”.  It is far from an enterprise product but for home networks it is the best thing I have found.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

 

Nebo 6350 Larry Work Light – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Nebo 6350 Larry Work Light.  I have to say this is one of  the most unique ways I have ever come to learn about a product.

I received an email from a guy that said he found one of these up in a drop ceiling doing some work at a customers building.  Given it was long abandoned with dead batteries he took it home.  Found that it took 3 AAA batteries and popped a set in, his first thought were “man this thing is bright”, his second thought was I wonder how much they cost.  A simple web search led him to find this amazing little light is only about 8 bucks.  He then emailed me about it.

I ordered two, and now I will be ordering more.  This little thing is just slick, super light weight and fits in a shirt pocket easily enough.  The base is flat so it will stand up on any flat surface and the clip has a magnet so it will both stick to metal or you can hang it on anything convenient in the area.

Many years ago (like in the mid 90s) I did a lot of cabling work in buildings for computer systems, I can tell you exactly why this thing was up in a ceiling, it would be GOLDEN for work like that!

How bright is this thing, try 170 lumens with only three measly AAA batteries.  To really get how bright that is see the video below.

One note, for some reason the description of this light says it is made with aluminum and that the base is magnetic.  There are definitely errors there.  The body is a good quality plastic and the magnet is in the clip not the base.  I checked and there are other colors of this light on Amazon, there are also like 4 packs of various colors.  None of those listings have these errors.

So why am I linking to the one with errors?  First because I do believe it is an error not a deception.  I have learned that this light is very well known in the electronics and computer world so I doubt they are trying to trick anyone.

The bigger reason is because this one is the BEST PRICE I can find, that is why.  The price on this is 8.53 with free shipping.  All the other single listings are over 9 bucks.  So this is simply the best deal.

Well unless you want 4?  Pretty close to the same price but you can get a 4 pack in 4 different colors 32.99 with free shipping, which is 8.24  piece.  So the 4 pack would save you $1.13 on four.  Not huge but a buck is a buck and likely you are going to want 4 of these things, I think they should be in every tool box, tackle box, range box and glove box personally.

So whether you just want to pick up 1 or 2 for 8.53 a piece, or you want to get a 4 Pack for 32.99 check out the Nebo 6350 Larry Work Light, it deserves a place in your kit and on your homestead.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

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Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter.  I really have always liked the 800 watt inverter as a prep item.  It is that perfect balance of being able to run most things you can run from you car and an equal bang for the buck balance.  For many years I recommended the Whistler XP800i 800 Watt Power Inverter.  That item is now discontinued so I have changed my recommendation.

I conferred a great deal with a few contacts on this including new expert council member Shawn Mills and in the end I am not leading with the recommendation for the Cobra CPI890.   It is a solid piece of gear, comes with a 2 year warranty and of course if you have any out of the box problems Amazon will exchange it.

As to reviews I have basically given up on inverters for reviews on Amazon.  In the end people are idiots, no you can’t run a 1200 watt microwave with a single marine battery and a 800 watt inverter.  If you plug a 400 watt inverter into a cigarette lighter in your car and actually attempt to pull 400 watts something is going to give.  Why?  The cigarette lighter connection can only deliver about 150 watts maximum.  And on it goes.  Yes the inverter is going to whine and stop working when your batteries are drained.

In the end the Cobra inverters are solid for what an inverter of this class is designed to do.  Yes they are modified sine wave inverters, that is why they cost so much less than a pure sine wave inverter, but unless you are runnign something that requires it, that doesn’t matter.

Inverters like this are good for what they have always has been a good low cost option for back up power when you need it.  It allows you with simply some extension cords and some power splitters to make use of the one or two “generators” sitting in your driveway or garage.  If you are sane you can power most things in your house with one or two of these just not all at the same time, you can run a fridge for a few hours to keep it cool then run other things.

It will easily run some LED lights to keep you able to see where things are.  It will of course give you all the power you need to charge all your devices, run a laptop and even a cable modem, again you just have to pick what you want to do at any time, you can’t do everything at once, but you can do an awful lot.

At 54.99 a piece I don’t know of any other single preparedness item that can do as much for under 60 bucks.  I also want to say this is a big time case for two is one and one is none.  This is a good product but inverters do fail, all electronics do, so keep two at least on hand. In spite of me picking on some of the negative reviews, some are reasonable.  Again any brand of inverter will have some failures, I have yet to find one that doesn’t.  Again these come with a two year warranty.  I recommend having a back up and simply using a warranty as designed if needed.

So check out the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter today and consider adding it to your black out kit.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – This inverter line is available in power from 130 watts all the way up to 2500.  I really love the 200 Watt Model and just ordered one.  I will likely bring it around as a stand alone item at some point.  It is designed to go into a cup holder and has one AC plug and two USB ports.  It is really perfect for charging small devices and say a laptop or running a small fan when camping.

Remember in all this, your car or truck is not a light saber, if you take more power from it than your alternator can make you will drain your battery.  Also any inverter above 200 watts needs to be clamped onto a battery not pluged into a 12vdc port if you want to pull anything above 150 watts.

Also larger inverters like say 1500 watts and above need to be bolted to a battery not clamped on.  And we are talking about real power in all these, just like the power from a wall plug, electricity can kill you.  If you don’t know what you are doing with a project get professional help.

Lastly I know I should not have to say this but if you hook up say a 2500 watt inverter to say a single battery, it may give you 2500 watts, for a few moments but it will quickly drain if you run anything with that much power.   So size your inverters to your systems accordingly.  Over sizing your inverter by more than say one level up is generally a waste of money.

Anker Astro E7 26800mAh Portable Charger – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day the Anker Astro E7 26800mAh Portable Charger.  I have tried a lot of back up power packs and this one is my current favorite.  This product has a great value to price ratio, coming in at 65.99 with free shipping on prime.  It currently has over 2,100 reviews on Amazon with 4.5 stars overall.

Frankly, Anker is just a stellar company, they build high quality products and back them with a great 18 month warranty, though I have never had the need to use said warranty.  Next is the power capacity of this particular power pack, 26800mAhs is enough power to charge a

  • iPhone7 10 times
  • iPad Air 2.5 times
  • iPad Mini 3 times
  • Samsung S6 6.8 times

To put that in perspective I get an easy 24 hours of light use with my iPhone and it still has quite a bit of battery on it.  And if you are in a grid down you minimize use to critical needs, that means this should keep your coms up with your iPhone for a good two weeks.

To me your phone is your lifeline.  It brings you news, it lets you call for help, communicate with loved ones and more.  While I have a generator and several battery banks in my home I am not always in my home.  So I always keep one of these in my pack fully charged as a final back up on power needs.  I recommend you consider the Anker Astro E7 26800mAh Portable Charger for your own needs.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

 

Oucomi iChocolate Mini Bluetooth Speaker – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Oucomi iChocolate Mini Bluetooth Speaker.  I was very conflicted as to whether or not to do this item as an item of the day.  Here is why, I found this by visiting a friend that had one, it was great and I thought for 45 bucks it was a hell of a deal.  I came home, I bought one, it has worked great in every way.

I always syncs easily with honestly less issues in syncing than my 300 dollar Bose Speaker.  It is water proof, like really water proof, like sit out in the rain water proof, just not throw in the pool water proof.  And I know it works that way because I took it in the shower one night with a beer and enjoyed tunes while I cleaned up and it never missed a beat!

So what is the problem, the problem is Oucomi is a bunch of cheaters, paying people with sock puppet accounts to leave positive reviews on Amazon to get more notice and of course sales.

So I was sitting here with this 45 dollar speaker that is as good as anything I have laid hands on under 100 bucks and thinking, what do I do, in the end I decided to do this.  I am telling you this speaker is a good value, it works great and I have had it for 3 months now and I love it.  I don’t get paranoid with it by the pool or when working out on property like I do with my expensive Bose speaker.

I am also telling you these people are system cheaters, they are building good solid products but they are manipulating the Amazon review system.  I would say the solution to such things is really in Amazon’s hands to provide a bit better oversight of their review, just like it was google’s responsibility to make their search algorithms better when people like me were owning the search engine results like a well beaten mule back in the early 2000s.

So the choice is yours, if you are looking for a low cost, reliable Bluetooth speaker with IPX5 level water proofing this thing pasts muster.  But if you don’t want to buy something from a company gaming the Amazon system, you should know that these people are.  Problem is at this price point I have yet to find a better water proof speaker than this one.  So I do recommend it for that reason, in short gaming the review system or not, the damn thing works and works great!

Personally I think the Oucomi iChocolate Mini Bluetooth Speaker is a solid piece of gear for the price, for more info and a demo of it, see the video below.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Since first reviewing this I have now had the speaker for over a year and it still works flawlessly.  The price has also now dropped to 39.99.  They still have an F from fakespot, but in the end this is only because Amazon’s review process is so easily manipulated.  I am 100% solid on this product’s quality.  I guess they listened to my friend David when he said, “if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying”.

WINOMO AA to Size D Battery Adapters – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day are the WINOMO AA to Size D Battery Adapters they also make WINOMO AA to Size C Battery Adapters if you need those.

I did quite a bit of research to find a set of these I could recommend.  There are lots of options but most got very low grades at FakeSpot.com for fake reviews.  These got an A.

The reason to recommend this type of adapter is simple.  Thanks to Steven Harris I think the most common back up power solution among this audience are AA Enloop Batteries and the Powerex Smart Charger to go with them.

With those and a simple 800 Watt Inverter and a few cans or reserve gasoline for your vehicle you have an almost unlimited supply of AA or AAA battery power.  You can also charge all your smart devices over and over and even run your fridge for a few hours a day to keep your food fresh.  Not to mention run a fan to keep cool.

Now I keep a good supply of D and C batteries on hand especially since I am a big fan of both C Cell and D Cell Maglites.  However if the power is going to be off for a while it makes sense to conserve those as much as possible.

That is where the WINOMO AA to Size D Battery Adapters come in.  Just pop two double As in each one and you have D cell power in a rechargeable format.  The reason Steven and I both recommend standardizing on AA and AAAs is two fold.  First they are the most common batteries in devices for your home, so you can use them day to day in everything from head lamps to remote controls.

The second is rechargeable Cs and Ds generally don’t perform well and don’t make a great deal of financial sense.  This is where the WINOMO AA to Size D Battery Adapters come in.  While they do not have the capacity of a full D cell it just doesn’t matter because if you are set up correctly you can recharge AAs until the power comes back on or the apocalypse comes, which ever comes first.

The big thing is adding this functionality to your back up power kit is stupid cheap.  How about 8.49 with free shipping for 8 of them?  Depending on how many D Cell Devices you have you may want to pick up two sets.  This is cheap insurance given they are about a dollar a piece, the first time you use them they will pay for themselves.

While you are at it why not pick up some additional AA Enloop Batteries as well.  Along with the Powerex Smart Charger and a 800 Watt Inverter they are an incredible bang for your buck in back up power assurance.  So check out the WINOMO AA to Size D Battery Adapters today and add major flexibility to your black out kit.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

 

Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun – Item of the Day

tempgun

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun.  This thing is cool it is basically a very accurate digital thermometer you use by just pointing it at a surface and pulling the trigger.  It emits a small red lazer dot, you put that dot where you want to know the temperature and just like that you know the temp.

So what can you do with that, oh so much.  Here are just a few things you can do with a temp gun.

The other day my buddy and I were working on my new aquaponics system and were wondering how much water the rain tanks were holding off of my barn.  Point this thing at it and look for where the temp falls off, there is your water line.

Cooking something that says to saute at say 220 degrees for your pan temp, how exactly do you get that info, well point, pull the trigger and done.  Same thing with your grill, find those cool and hotter spots on that grill for cooking and moving food to cooler safe spaces.

Want to know how much cooler that area under shade or shade cloth really is, not just the air temperature but the surface temps where say your live stock is living, point and pull and you know.

How about finding either warm or cool micro climates for planting trees, shrubs, etc on your property.  Or how about finding out how successful your micro climates you create on purpose are?  For instance the berms we put in our west pasture are on average 20 degrees cooler than the ground surface of the surrounding area, how do we know, with one of these.

What about finding hot or cold loss areas around your house so you can shore up energy losses.  As we all know the best ROI on energy isn’t solar panels, it is increasing efficiency of what ever system you have for energy.

Do you know how well your AC is working.  Try this take this and point it at your air intake and get a reading.  Let your AC run for a few minutes than take a look at the temps on your ACs output vents.  The difference in temps is the amount of cooling your AC is currently giving you.

Is your wood burning stove hitting a solid 400-600 degrees for a good efficient burn, are you sure, you could be sure you know.

So how many things in the world do this much for under 20 bucks?  Seriously?  One word of advice is measure temps at about 1 foot from the surface for best accuracy.  That is how the unit is calibrated to work best.

So check out the Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Temperature Gun today and let me know your thoughts on other things that it can do in the comments below.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com