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Friday, January 13, 2012

Product Review - How cheap is a cheap power supply

Or, Exposing some fake electronics with too-good-to-be-true prices

Product Review - How cheap is a cheap power supply Author
Giorgos Lazaridis
December 28, 2011


The camera needs 2 AA batteries to operate. I use of course rechargeable batteries. But then i decided to buy a power supply to have my camera always ready on the fly. As a matter of fact, i wanted to make one power supply instead (big deal), but the DC jack of the camera was very small and i did not really knew which one to get, so i decided to buy one instead.

First stop - ebay. I immediately found one for this camera, and bought it for 4.99 USD including shipping. This is ridiculously cheap!

When i received the item, it looked as a normal power supply. I immediately plugged it in. At first, i did not notice anything strange, only that some times when i was moving the jack the camera would turn off. It was not very annoying. But after some time, things became really strange.

Go there...

Exposing some fake electronics with too-good-to-be-true prices

(Excerpt from Hack a Day Article posted Jan 4th 2012 3:01pm by
filed under: misc hacks)...

His first instinct was to hook up the adapter to his oscilloscope and see what is happening on the power bus. The signal is incredibly noisy. Shockingly so. [Giorgos] cracked open the case to see what is going on with the power supply circuit inside. You simply must view the video after the break to see the horror-show he found. The board is poorly soldered, components are not properly seated in their footprints, and our favorite is when [Giorgos] points out a squiggly trace which takes the place of the smoothing inductors.'

Watch the following video:

How cheap is a cheap power supply?

Video Link...

Good to know!:O Thanks Giorgos, for sharing that info and making the video. I don't like buying anything from China. And I try not to. But, it is getting harder and harder to even know where the parts inside of any Product comes from, these days. Oddly enough... The Manufacturer being "Ripped Off" here is in Japan. And I still remember, like it was Yesterday... Wen made in the USA Electronics were just beginning to be Copied and made in Japan. The stories told US, back then... Was that the Designs for our US Invented and Made, Electronics. Was "Shared" (Sold to the Highest Bidder for Greed and Short Term Profit) in order to help the "Rest of the World" to catch up to our "Great and Prosperous US Society". I was just a Teenager back then. But I knew that our "Prosperous Days were ever growing Shorter and were Numbered, when I saw our Technology being Sold to Foreign Competitors. The argument was actually... That these "Under Developed Countries" could never catch up or compete with the Wonders of our US Knowledge and Technology. "Pride Comes Before the Fall" and so does Greed!:O Now, I know, dear Grand Children... You have never heard of Electronics being Made in the USA. But, "Once Upon A Time" they were and they were considered the Best and Most advanced of all... Now, now we live in a world of Cheap Crap of all Types. That often is Broken when it Arrives to our Homes!:( What a World, What a World...


Exposing some fake electronics with too-good-to-be-true prices
Exposing some fake electronics with too-good-to-be-true prices - Hack a Day
Product Review - How cheap is a cheap power supply
How cheap is a cheap power supply? - YouTube
Projects - PCB Heaven
Homemade Soldering Station
Homemade Soldering Station

PCB Heaven Projects

Welcome to our project pages!

Here you will find the complete projects of PCB Heaven.

Hack a Hg Lamp to a Powerful UV Light Source
I got some UV curable paint for my homemade PCBs. This paint needs UV radiation to be cured. I thought that my UV artwork transfer box would work, only to discover that this paint needs much more radiation. So, i hacked a mercury vapor gas discharge lamp that i had and turned it into a high power UV lamp.

Triple PID Temperature Controller
A customer asked me to design a PID system that will control 3 different heating resistors and it will get temperature feedback from 3 J-type thermocouples. This industrial application will be used for an IMA edge-banding glue pot maintenance base.

Tiny LED Debugging Board for Breadboard Prototyping
I made a very simple tiny breadboard PCB with 4 LEDs and 4 resistors pre-wired, mainly for debugging purposes during prototyping. The boards are very small, two boards can be placed side by side and still will occupy 8 breadboard columns - each board occupies 4 columns, one for each LED.

K-Type Thermocouple PID Controller
I plan to make a pre-heater for my SMD works, and i will need a controller for the air heater. After learning how the PID controllers work, i will make my own PID controller. The controller will read the temperature from a K-type thermocouple pair. 3 7-segments will be used to display the current temperature and 3 more for displaying the set-temperature. A PWM output will be used to control the fan speed for the hot-air, and an optocoupler-TRIAC pair will be used to control the power of the heater.

DIY Battery Pack holder with dual voltage outputs
In this project, i make a DIY battery pack holder for 4 AA batteries with 2 voltage outputs, one for 3 volts and one for 6 volts.

Servo-Actuated Door Keylock Hack with capacitance touch-pad
Opening the apartment’s door by entering a security code is super cool and usually prepares those who enter of what they are about to see inside, in my case they face my techlab. In this hack, i will show you basically 2 things: First, how you can hack and mod the simple classic keylock mechanism to make it servo-actuated for less than $5, and second how you can make a very cool capacitance touch-pad to enter the security code, with extremely low power quiescence consumption to be long-term battery operated.

Acrylic Glass Folding Heater
I made a heating apparatus to heat the acrylic glasses so that i can fold them easily.

A Portable LED Head Lamp
During some experiments with LEDs and acrylic glasses, i came up with this idea of an LED head lamp. The construction and the electronic staff are so simple, that even a kid can make them. This project is addressed not to those who want to have a cheap head lamp, but to those who want to get some more ideas for LEDs and acrylic glass constructions.

A Camping LED Lamp
I chopped a very old electric lamp that i had and converted it into a sophisticated LED light lamp. The interesting part of this project is the way that the LEDs light. There are 4 scales, which not only control the brightness of the lamp, but also control the direction of the light.

An LED Pushbutton
With materials ripped off from old appliances and junk-PCBs, i made a fancy LED pushbutton. The LED is fully functional and can turn on and off independently, while if you press it, it makes contact at a NO micro-pushbutton.

Men Of War Game Console
Men Of War is my favorite game so far! I made a Game Console for this game, so that i can take advantage of game shortcuts. But more important is the joystick that this console will have. This joystick simulates the keyboard arrow keys along with the control key. In other words, this keyboard will engage and disengage Direct Control automatically upon move! This is the best feature that all Men Of War gamers would like to have, especially when playing this boring "Only Tanks"....

Instant Cold Coffee Machine
The Greek style instant cold coffee is an excellent coffee for the warm days. Yet, there is no machine built for this, as it would only sell in Greece. So, i have to make my own machine...

Homemade Soldering Station
For under $40, i made a professional-like sodlering station. This controller will read the temperature from the soldering tip, and will turn on or off the heater accordingly. This is a characteristic only for very expensive soldering stations. Cheaper sodlering stations have only (unlike my controller) a PWM or a similar power controller, that only sets the power delivered to the heater, WITHOUT TEMPERATURE FEEDBACK.

A 7-seg pre-wired Breadboard Module
Another project for my lab. I made a 5 digits 7-segment module for my breadboard circuits. It will save me a lot of time, as all digits are pre-wired for multiplexing. Also, the 13-pins connector has an offset of about 15mm from the breadboard, and this saves also a lot of space on the breadboard.

High Frequency Function Generator with the Maxim MAX038
Using the MAX038 function generator IC, i will make a function generator circuit with many capabilities. I plan to install this project on my workbench and use it for my experiments. According to the chip's documentation, i will have rectangular, sine wave and triangular waveform output up to 20 MHz, with duty cycle adjustment from 15 to 85%.

PCB Etching Bath with Heater and Agitation
Every lab must have an etching tank for home-made PCBs. I make my own etching tank with heater and air-bubbles for agitation. My design is for low production - high quality PCBs. The tank that i use can make up to 10 x 22cm PCBs.

Homemade Foot Pedal For PCB Drills
A really handy project for those who prefer to make their own PCBs, or those who just love the dremel-jobs. A foot pedal that turns on and off the drill makes drilling easier.

PC System Health Monitor
This project is a complete PC System Health monitoring system and has 6 PWM regulated fans with rpm feedback and rpm stabilizer, 9 NTC temperature sensors for the 6 HDDs and 3 positions in the PC box, 5 auxiliary analog inputs for future upgrades and 2 precision temperature sensors for the air inlet and outlet.

PCB Photographic Artwork Transfer UV Cabinet
This is my second PCB UV Photo Transfer cabinet. Unfortunately, the first one was rather old, and i don't really have any photos from the construction. It was made for single sided PCBs, and it used an 150W Hg lamp. This one is for double sided PCBs and has 140 UV LEDs, 70 for each side.

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