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 Post subject: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Sep Sun 04, 2016 2:07 am 
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Posts: 3785
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I decided to start a thread for posting reviews of tools and equipment we might find useful.

Anyone can post (in here) a review they think is helpful to others.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Sep Sun 04, 2016 2:34 am 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
My first review is on the Schumacher SEM-1562A Lead Acid Battery Charger/maintainers.
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I first bought 2 of these from a Schuck's (now O'reilly's) in Kirkland Washington while I was there moving my Dad back to Phoenix. My Dad had a firetruck in storage with 2 8D batteries. The truck was very difficult to start and being stored in the cold I need a battery charger maintainer to keep the batteries charged so I could sell the thing.

I brought them back to Phoenix with me, after selling the firetruck and I used them to maintain some deep cycle batteries I used in my popup trailer.

When I acquired my Dad's truck after he lost his license (for medical reasons) I needed to keep the battery charged since I do not drive it very often, I also needed to keep the battery charged in my Dakota for the same reasons.

I bought 2 more of these off of ebay because they do not sell the exact model I bought in 2012. So now I have 3 of the kind in the first picture, and 1 of the second.

The second one is more of a sort-of-smart charger in that it puts out 13.2 volts whether it is on the battery or not. When connected to the battery the voltage will climb over time to about 13.4 volts and when the battery is fully charged it floats at 13.2 volts and about 38 milliamps. Because of it's low charging voltage this charger/maintainer will work on regular flooded cell batteries, AGM, sealed lead acid batteries, and gell cells.

The first one is a "smart charger" it does not charge until it senses a battery, determines it's voltage and then will charge it. The charging voltage is about 14.4 volts and the float voltage stays about the same, it also floats at about 40 milliamps. It is not recommended for gell cells and Sealed lead acid batteries (they don't like voltages higher than 14.1).

I have no 6 volt batteries to test.

In the 3 years I have used these none of my batteries have lost any significant amounts of water when in float mode.

The only thing I have noticed about the SEM-1562a with the manual voltage switch is that when connected to a battery that has more than about 12.5v charge it will not try to charge it any more and will sit in float mode, which is ok I guess.

The fully automatic one will always charge any battery it is hooked up to, then switch over to float mode.

There is a newer version of these available but I have not used them, these 2 types are available on ebay for somewhat reasonable prices (between $20 and $30) They usually come with a pair of battery clamps and a pair of connectors that can be bolted to the battery.

EDIT: I have since determined that these do not run a continuous float charge, instead they charge the battery and then monitor the voltage and top the charge off if it falls below a certain voltage (unknown what that is).

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Last edited by Flinx on Mar Wed 01, 2017 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Sep Sun 04, 2016 2:43 am 
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Joined: Sep Mon 10, 2012 10:41 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Harbor Freight Cen-Tech Automatic float chargers

I picked up 2 of these to keep a float charge on a couple of deep cycle batteries I have.
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they output about 500ma.

A float charger can be left connected to a battery indefinitely without harming it...
Not these.

Both chargers would cause excessive loss of water.
One charger failed at some point and drained its battery down to nothing.

Not recommended.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Sep Sun 04, 2016 3:10 am 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
DIY FM, SD, USB, LINE IN MP3 players.

What these are is a small mp3 player, some have an FM stereo radio, along with a line in and some have bluetooth capabilities. They read SD cards and USB flash drives. The ones with displays have a clock and they support a 3.7v LIPO battery which can be used to keep the clock settings and even play mp3's but not from the usb port (when using the 3.7v battery).

If anyone is interested here is a link to a seller (that I am not affiliated with):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Useful-Blac ... SwzOxUW~db
I recently ordered 5 of these for future projects.

here is more info to help people out:
Image

If you want to try this look for the following:
Power switch
voltage regulator (yellow line points to it in pic below)
comes with the wires and connectors.

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I have ordered some of these (of different types in the past). Some come with a voltage regulator some do not. I found out the hard way by blowing one up (with no VR) when I accidentally put in too much voltage.

The LM7805 can output 5volts +/- .25vdc 1amp if I am reading the spec sheet correctly it can actually handle up to 35vdc input.

Some of the listings claim it can be used to charge a phone, but one review on a website claims that it will fry your phone, it did not occur to me to use this as a phone charger. I am not sure what the port in the picture above marked "in" and "Charging port" is for since that type of connector is usually used to connect a device to a computer. I am hesitant to plug something in to it.

The unit will scan and store all stations it can pickup to saved presets, it has very high gain for such a little radio. There is an EQ function which seems to only be for mp3's and not the radio. It has a clock. I have not found a manual for it so far. It has a small amp built in that puts out about 1 volt max so a preamp is needed for some applications. There is a built in volume control as well. Thankfully the boards are marked or else it would be very difficult to hook these up properly.

when I tested it with a 200mw amp and nice 8ohm speakers it sound just as good as any small stereo you could have.

The remotes for these are all the same except that the buttons may be marked different, I have 2 different units and the remotes work on either one, but on one the EQ button is scan up, pressing it does a scan up on this unit. other buttons labeled differently operate the unit the same as my other one with different markings.

They also make these without a radio. Some are just circuit boards you can add to something. Prices are all over the place with some for as little as $3 and other $18. In some cases you can buy a complete unit in an aluminum case with antenna and power supply for less than a bare unit. :?

The key to finding them is to search ebay with the word DIY and then any other options you might want. Like: DIY FM SD USB Bluetooth. They do NOT make one with AM or SW. The come in square, oval, round, and rectangular, some even have a full color LCD display.

The remotes work ok but sometimes they only see the remote when it is within 3 feet and directly in front of the player. The other problem with the remote is that the membrane with the buttons sometimes peels up due to the way they are made.

Here are some basic instructions I worked up for the players:
Code:
To auto program FM channels:
Press mode several times until the display shows an fm frequency and the word FM lights up.
Press and hold PLAY/PAUSE on the remote or the front panel and the unit should scan and store all the frequencies it can find.

To switch between the stored frequencies:
Press that number on the remote. for numbers over 9 just press that number and wait.
to manually enter a frequency on the remote unter that frequency for 94.5 press 945. For frequencies like 88 enter 880.

While in FM mode press the button on the remote marked >>| to move up the dial in stored frequencies and |<< to move down the dial.

The button marked EQ on the remote does not do anything in FM mode.

Pairing to Bluetooth:
Some phones may not see the device. My Android Turbo did not, but my MAXX did and so did my wifes mini.
in your phone under bluetooth settings search for devices, the unit will show up as "BT speaker".
The remote will control the phone. The volume on the phone in BT mode will have an effect on the volume level of the device.

For USB and SD/MMC card operation, just plug the card or flash drive in.
The unit will start playing the first song it can find.
This is where the EQ button will work now, The EQ modes are
bas -- Bass boost
POP -- Pop music
voc -- Vocals
jaz -- Jazz
cla -- Classical music
cur -- Country
nor -- Normal
To me the Jazz EQ setting sounded the best.

To play an line in device:
Press mode repeatedly until the display says "Line".

If the unit has a clock it can be set by pressing clock on the remote. Press clock once to access the clock, press and hold clock to set the time. use the left |<< and right >>| buttons to set the hour, press clock again and use the same buttons to set the minutes. The clock uses a 24 hour format. The unit will lose the time setting when powered off unless a 3.7v lipo is connected to the battery connection on the circuit board.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Sep Sun 04, 2016 3:15 am 
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Joined: Sep Mon 10, 2012 10:41 pm
Posts: 3785
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Knipex pliers and cutters.

I have a pair of flush wire cutters (78 61 150)
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the 78 61 150 can handle copper wire to 23/64 and mild steel to 1/16. these can also be used on fiber optic cable.

I also have a pair of diagonal wire cutters (7401 250).
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the 7401 250 can cut Up to 3/16-inch nail and wire pin; 9/64-inch wire rope strand and steel wire; 1/8-inch spring steel wire.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Mar Wed 01, 2017 5:59 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
WONDOM 2 X 15Watt @ 8ohm Class-D Audio Amplifier Board -TPA3110 Stereo 2 Channel
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I purchased one of these from an ebay seller several months ago to be used in a project:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=312208

Quote:
Features

Class-D architecture
Proprietary Digital Power Processing Technology
15W per channel (8Ω,10%, THD+N)
7.5W per channel (8Ω,0.1%, THD+N)
Easy engineering evaluation platform for Tripath Technology’s TPA3110 product
No heat sink required up to 15W per channel
MUTE and SLEEP inputs
Turn-on & turn-off pop suppression
Intelligent short-circuit protection
Intelligent over-temperature protection
Connects to any passive 8Ω speakers


These run off of any voltage from 10 to 26vdc, 16vdc Nominal. Mine is run from either a 12vdc Wall wart or a 3 cell LIPO battery.

Volume is controlled from the small FM Mp3 player I connected to it. Some versions of these boards have a connector for a volume control using a rotary encode (Not a pot). I am not sure if this is one of the models.

It is easy to use, has multiple voltage inputs (but you only use one), 2 audio inputs (RCA or Soldered), and 2 audio outputs (screw terminals or Soldered). Fit and finish is very good, with no solder blobs or crooked SMD parts. It sounds good with no hiss from the 4 inch speakers I used, and no clipping at max volume from the FM mp3 player at max volume.

These come in various sizes up to 2500 watts (unknown if this is RMS).

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Mar Wed 01, 2017 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sep Mon 10, 2012 10:41 pm
Posts: 3785
Location: Phoenix, AZ
UNI-T UT204A Digital Clamp Meter DMM AC/DC Volt Amp Resistance Frequency Test TA
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... A&_sacat=0

I needed a clamp meter that did DC amps and I did not want to pay a lot for it since I would not be using it very often.

I can say that it works just like it should, it is smaller than most clamp meters and so fits easily in my drawer-o-meters.

There are more in depth reviews on youtube.

It is definitely a good buy.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment, tools, and other useful reviews
PostPosted: Apr Sat 08, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Sep Mon 10, 2012 10:41 pm
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
PILOT ARC LGK-5000PD AIR INVERTER PLASMA CUTTER 110V / 220V 50A

I purchased this off of ebay a couple of months ago for $399.99.
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110 / 240VAC (60Hz/50Hz) dual voltage, single phase;
10-50 A cutting amperage;
Power factor: 0.93;
Rated input current: 25 A;
Efficiency: 85%;
Duty cycle: 100% at 40 amps and 60% at 50 amps ;
Max cut: 3/4";
Required air pressure: 45~60 psi at 4.5 cfm ;
Dimensions of the machine: 14" x 10" x 6";
One-year warranty.

I ordered it March 1st and received it on the 7th. It was properly packed and came with extra tips and expendables. It does not come with a plug and can be powered from 110v or 220v (possible anything in between). I recently had a 220v 50amp outlet installed on my back porch just for something like this.

Some pics of the guts:
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It comes with a pressure regulator that you attach to the back. You supply the quick disconnect fittings. I have used it a couple of times. This morning I cut up the tank of an old water heater and it went through it like butter. With the help of a guide it makes very nice straight cuts that require only a little cleanup. It can cut through 3/8th inch steel and aluminum with some people saying it can cut through half inch steel (slowly). 3/4" is pushing it a bit.

This model has a pilot arc which is very nice as you do not have to strike an arc to start cutting. It has a duty cycle of 100% at 40 amps it can run for a full 10 minutes before it needs a cooling off period. I have been running mine at 35 amps and 45 psi, and it hardly gets warm.

I have use this with a self darkening welding helmet and a standard #5 set of goggles. The self darkening helmet blocks more UV light but since these do not have as bright of an arc as my MIG welder it is harder to see what you are cutting, I prefer the #5 goggles and block the arc with the cutter.

From other reviews I have read and some youtube videos I have watched this unit will likely last a long time unless it is abused.

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