Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chinese BTY AA3000 NiMH batteries vs Energizer Recharge: A Review

In this photo, I have a Chinese BTY brand AA battery, AA3000 series.  It's rated at 3000mAh (according to the websites selling it - it doesn't actually list capacity anywhere on the cell), and costs about $0.50 retail.

In this photo, I have an Energizer Recharge rechargeable NiMh battery.  Same physical size (AA), rated at 2300mAh, and retails for around $1.50 or $2.

Shall we dare to compare?  I think we shall!  Read on for details of how crappy the Chinese batteries are...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Digital Lithium Li-ion NIMH Battery Capacity Tester Voltage Detector Discharger v 1.1.SP 2013/4/1

Let's say you want to measure the capacity of some sort of battery.  You've found something that looks exactly like this on a website that sells things, and want to know if it's any good - and also wouldn't mind a manual written in something that faintly resembles readable English.

Excellent!  Hopefully I can be of some use.

This post is the first of what I intend to be a series of battery testing device testing.  I've got a bunch of these things showing up, and intend to review and test them, ideally finding the best cheap battery tester for my needs.

This particular tester is a somewhat sophisticated resistor-based battery measurement device.  It dumps the battery into a resistor, and measures the current.

Mine came from eBay, and was sold as a Battery Capacity Meter discharge Tester 18650 li-ion lithium +PC online function.  I paid $14.52 shipped for it.

The instructions on the website selling it (often eBay) are some quality Google Translate jibberish.  I'm going to attempt to translate the important parts, and then try to test it out and see how it works.

If you're interested, read on.  If not, feel free to skip the next post.  This is pretty esoteric.  However, I did have an excuse to drag out my old oscilloscope, so there's some great vintage oscilloscope photos in here, if you like such things.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Schwinn Tailwind Review (in 2015)

The Schwinn Tailwind.  The name sounds powerful, fast, and sleek!  It sounds like the type of thing Snoopy might fly into combat against the Red Baron.

It's not a half bad looking bike, either!  But... is it any good?

As you've probably guessed if you read this blog frequently, you'll have to read on to find out!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Is the bike you're looking at a toy or a tool?

You're looking at a shiny new ebike on some indiekickbay website.  Is it any good?

Good question!  That depends on what you're about to do with it!  Play with it on the weekends in the summer, or ride it to work every single day, wear it out, repair it, and keep it rolling?

My bias here is clear: I commute on an electric bike, love them for that task, and want to see more commuter-ready electric bikes on the market.

There are an awful lot of electric bikes on the market today - they cover a huge amount of ground, from little 250W assist units to things like the Stealth Bomber and a lot of homebuilt ebikes that are full on electric motorcycles with pedals.  However, some of them are better suited to commuting, and some are better suited to being weekend toys.

This is a list of things to consider when looking at an ebike, and might help you decide if it's better suited to being a toy or a daily use tool.  I'm deliberately not listing brands or specific projects here, because I expect an endless stream of these things, and I don't want to be responsible for keeping up with them.  I'd rather be riding. :)

And, don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with a toy.  It's fun on the weekend, and you may very well be looking for something like this - but if you try to use it as a daily commuter, you might find yourself wanting a lot more.

Interested in things to consider?  Read on!