Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

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Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:44 am

http://www.lowes.com/pd_150715-89573-80 ... ct_price|0

Yeah, I know... cheap LED flashlights are everywhere. But IMO the cool thing about these is the two sets of LEDs -- in the end *and* in the side. You can lay them down with the side LEDs aimed upwards. A pushbutton switch cycles them through off, end LEDs only, side LEDs only, and all LEDs.

These are great for working inside that computer under your desk -- just lay it in the bottom of the case.

Post your favorite cheap gadgets!
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:33 am

Some cheap-ish PC-enthusiast related gadgets I've come across.

$30 multifunction multimeter. While $30 is not that cheap, I've found my Vichy V99 to be very accurate (at least for DC voltage - haven't validated any of the other readings) and it costs quite a bit less than a Fluke. Should be all a PC/electronics hobbyist needs. It packs quite a few features at the price point. Way better than those cheap analog voltmeters they sell for not much less at Radio Shack.

Kill-A-Watt power meter. No idea how accurate these are, but for $20, its a great tool to see how much more power your overclocked CPU/GPUs are gobbling up and how much your PC uses over time (If you UPS doesn't come with this function).

$6 PSU Tester. I wouldn't use anything this cheap to actually test a PSU, but it's great for getting your PSU to power on while not connected to the motherboard. Particularly for those smart PSUs (eg newer Seasonic platforms) where shorting the Power pins (with a paperclip) doesn't work. (particularly useful for testing water cooling setups prior to installing the motherboard...
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:47 pm

I found this thing at the "As Seen on TV" store, but by god if it doesn't work like a charm.

OpenX Dual Blad Package Opener

As an aside, I highly recommend Kevin Kelly's website, Cool Tools for loads of cheap, effective suggestions.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:06 am

http://www.amazon.com/Swiss-Tech-UKCSB- ... +key+knife
lightweight multi-tool for travelling, gets by TSA checks too

http://www.amazon.com/La-Crosse-Technol ... sse+BC-700
Solid and flexible AA battery charger, I leave it on and charging spare batteries 24x7x365

http://www.amazon.com/SMARTmini-Bluetoo ... 4T3P3I9RER
Am happy with this tiny bluetooth hands-free, I find it quite useful for rentals. Works well with multiple iOS and Android 4.1 phones, better talk quality than the Belkin AirCast.

http://www.amazon.com/Patuoxun-Bluetoot ... ANWCW8KKJO
Planning to convert my old iPod docks into BT wireless speakers
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:07 am

Fenix E01, $15 - a fairly ordinary low-end single AAA LED flashlight, about 10 lumens give or take - not a powerhouse by any means (Fenix sells some single AAA powerhouses, but they're quite honestly overkill), but quite adequate for just about every situation where a keychain flashlight is useful. Feed it with Energizer Ultimate Lithiums, and you get about 16 hours at full brightness, and about another 10 hours of diminishing but still useful brightness. I give it a battery every 6 months to a year, and I've had it for 5 or 6 years now.

I also carry a Victorinox Rambler on my keychain, but that's not exactly cheap, although I certainly didn't pay $33. (I could've used a Manager instead of a Rambler, having a pen is honestly more handy than the crappy toothpick that the Rambler comes with, but eh, no biggie.) Use the damn thing every day, though.

The Husky 8-in-1 screwdriver is damn useful, especially when working on laptops or other small electronics (and they have a Torx version too). The bits corrode a bit easily, but it has a lifetime warranty, and it's friggin' $6. Quite a bit more comfortable than the "nicer" precision screwdrivers I've used, although the bits don't bite quite as hard as those nicer ones.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:16 am

http://www.transquip.com.au/products/WT ... Gauge.html

Tyre pressure gauge, it comes in handy because when you drop a tyre inflator once, thats its, its brown bread, its not coming back, its never going to give an accurate reading again, which all the ones at a petrol station have been dropped eleventy million times.

Use the petrol stations inflator to fill, verify with this bad boy :D
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:58 am

AMD Damo wrote:when you drop a tyre inflator once, thats its, its brown bread, its not coming back, its never going to give an accurate reading again

Really? Why is that? I'm genuinely curious... are we talking about 6 foot drops, or 6 inch drops?
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:05 am

nerdrage wrote:
AMD Damo wrote:when you drop a tyre inflator once, thats its, its brown bread, its not coming back, its never going to give an accurate reading again

Really? Why is that? I'm genuinely curious... are we talking about 6 foot drops, or 6 inch drops?


Probably just because you risk bending the part of the gauge that protrudes out, restricting its ability to slide freely and thereby increasing the likelihood it will get stuck at readings that don't accurately reflect tire pressure.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:38 am

trackerben wrote:http://www.amazon.com/La-Crosse-Technology-Battery-Charger/dp/B000RSOV50/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366109540&sr=8-1&keywords=La+Crosse+BC-700
Solid and flexible AA battery charger, I leave it on and charging spare batteries 24x7x365

I may need to get one of those. It really pisses me off that most consumer NiMH chargers insist that you charge batteries in pairs. Problematic for devices that use 1 or 3 batteries.

bhtooefr wrote:Fenix E01, $15 - a fairly ordinary low-end single AAA LED flashlight, about 10 lumens give or take - not a powerhouse by any means (Fenix sells some single AAA powerhouses, but they're quite honestly overkill), but quite adequate for just about every situation where a keychain flashlight is useful. Feed it with Energizer Ultimate Lithiums, and you get about 16 hours at full brightness, and about another 10 hours of diminishing but still useful brightness. I give it a battery every 6 months to a year, and I've had it for 5 or 6 years now.

Yup, those are nice. I seem to have misplaced mine though; haven't seen it in months. Guess I need to order another one.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:48 am

I'm using a Maha MH-C800S, myself. Not cheap at all, but seems to be quite good.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:04 pm

AMD Damo wrote:http://www.transquip.com.au/products/WTD-Heavy-Duty-Tyre-Gauge.html

Tyre pressure gauge, it comes in handy because when you drop a tyre inflator once, thats its, its brown bread, its not coming back, its never going to give an accurate reading again, which all the ones at a petrol station have been dropped eleventy million times.

Use the petrol stations inflator to fill, verify with this bad boy :D


I use this one:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00404 ... UTF8&psc=1
Pretty cheap price for a pretty well-built and accurate product. Useful not only for tires but for stuff like expansion tanks on hot water supply/heating systems. This model only covers from 0 to 60 psi but I don't need any more.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:34 pm

Magnetizer/Demagnetizer

Use it on your screwdrivers. It's like magic!
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:56 pm

bhtooefr wrote:I'm using a Maha MH-C800S, myself. Not cheap at all, but seems to be quite good.


Maha has many good mentions and is known for its unique pulse-charging. I couldn't find one in stock in the time I had so I went with the La Crosse.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:09 am

trackerben wrote:
bhtooefr wrote:I'm using a Maha MH-C800S, myself. Not cheap at all, but seems to be quite good.


Maha has many good mentions and is known for its unique pulse-charging. I couldn't find one in stock in the time I had so I went with the La Crosse.


I have a Maha 808M, though they can't be considered "cheap" per the title of this thread. I bought mine at a retail store a couple years ago and I like how I can charge up a bunch of batteries for my camera flashes or other devices very quickly.

Charges up to 8 of just about any kind in any order and you don't have to pair them off either. Also has a "refresh" cycle that will charge-drain-charge and possibly bring back a battery once thought to be a goner. I just wish it would charge 9-volt batteries too.
Last edited by BIF on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:28 am

An update on the flashlight combo pack mentioned in the first post, after using them for a week:

The good: The larger one has a magnet in it (not mentioned in the product description), so you can stick it to any steel surface, in any orientation. It is also *intensely* bright; if you aim it at a white ceiling, you can actually fill a small room with enough light to read by.

The bad: Based on some unscientific testing, I'm skeptical of their battery life claims; consider using rechargeables. The battery compartment in the larger one is very tight, and getting the batteries out is a bit of a PITA; so I pried the case apart (you can pop it open lengthwise along the seam without damaging it) and trimmed down the springs in the battery compartment (to about half their original length) to loosen things up.
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Re: Cheap (yet useful) gadgets

Postposted on Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:46 am

nerdrage wrote:
AMD Damo wrote:when you drop a tyre inflator once, thats its, its brown bread, its not coming back, its never going to give an accurate reading again

Really? Why is that? I'm genuinely curious... are we talking about 6 foot drops, or 6 inch drops?


No idea why, even a small drop onto the floor from your hand when standing up will do them in, they never read good again.

We've experienced this with Jamec Pem inflators which aren't cheap.
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