Category Archives: Gadgets

Cool Gadgets!

GT Power Supply – 600W 17V 36A

To supply power to my power hungry iCharger 3010b, I decided to invest in a power supply box which is able to handle the demands of the iCharger as well as be easy on my pocket. As such, I decided on the G.T. Power power supply box. It is able to deliver 17V, 36A and up to 600W! Heck.. my previous power supply was only able to handle 100W

Needless to say, I am happy with the performance of this box. It is able to provide constant power supply to my iCharger when charging at 5A on my 5000mAh 6S packs. Previously I was only able to push my iMax66 to only 2.2 to 2.5A (maximum of 50W). Of course if I wanted to go above 1C, I am theoretically able to push the icharger up to 23.8A which would mean I am charging at approx 4.7C. I wouldn’t want to try that although the thought of shortening down my charging time to effectively 12.7 minutes (from the original 2hrs) is indeed a nice thought. Of course figures will differ in real life situations.

The only drawback about this power supply is the fan noise. It’s quite noisy but then again it doesn’t really bother me that much and I have peace of mind knowing that the power supply is running cool at all times because of it. I would recommend this power supply to anyone who wishes to have a little bit more power to supply to their chargers.

G.T. Power 600W power supply, 17V, maximum 36 amp DC output, a simple Plug and Play power source. This power supply has an AC power input cable and two Pomona type DC output connectors. All the iChargers and GT Power B620 400W charger can be directly connected to the unit.

Parameters:
Input voltage : 100–240V AC (selected by switch)
Output power : 600W
Output ampage: 0-36 A
Output voltage : 17V DC
Dimensions (LxWxD) : 22.5 x 8.6 x 4.5 cm
Net Weight : 1.97 kg/ 4.4 lbs

 

iCharger 3010b – 1000W 30A charger

Have you ever stayed up waiting for your batteries to be fully charged? Or have you fallen asleep only to be awaken by the beeing of your charger informing you of a completed charge? After having waited many times for my batteries to charge… Up to 2 hours to balance charge my 5000 mAH 6S packs… I decided I needed more charging power since my iMax charger could only charge at a maximum of 2.2 amps or so for my larger packs. Although my power supply could pump out 100 odd watts or so, my iMax charger could only handle 50 watts hence the limiting factor. I wanted a charger which could charge my larger 5000 mAH packs at up to 5A at least (1 hr charge time)… Or better still allow me to parallel charge my 3 packs at 15A (also 1 hr).

Hence my purchase of the iCharger 3010b. This baby can charge up to 30A! What that means is that I can theoretically charge 6 x 5000 mAH packs in 1hr… Or charge my 3 packs at 30A in only 30 minutes! Now that’s what I call power.

After having used the charger for a few weeks now, I am glad I made the purchase. I like the usability of the unit, quietness (fan is quite quiet and only comes on when required), speediness and the features. One feature which I like is the ability to check the Internal Resistence of each individual cell in a pack. With that I am able to monitor and judge when the cell is degrading or requires replacement. Through some formulas and smart calculations, you can tell how much voltage the pack is able to generate and how much of the power is lost through heat generation (Resistence). The build of the charger is also very solid and I am sure it will last me quite a while… which is good thing since the charger ain’t exactly cheap…

Nintendo Wii Re-BrewED

After having taken a sabatical from messing around with the Nintendo Wii, I decided to do an update on the system so as to keep it up to date. A quick check with the Homebrew page at http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_setup led me to do an update and installation of the HackMii (http://bootmii.org/download/) followed by an update of the firmware on the Wii from Version 3.2 to 4.3

I have never updated the Wii Firmware past 3.2 due to warnings that the system might brick or remove the brew in one way or another, however I didn’t think twice when I read a (kinda misleading) NOTE at the top of http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_setup” which stated:

WiiBrew recommends that you run the latest version of the HackMii Installer and then optionally update your Wii to 4.3 using Nintendo’s official updater.
Only update using the official update procedure. Downgrading or installing patched updates is unsupported, dangerous, and may permanently brick your Wii.

The statement didn’t really state that updating to 4.3 removes all HOMEBREW on Wii systems, which meant right after performing the update, I immediately lost my Homebrew. In order to get it back, I had to do some research and some downloading. Basically since I wasn’t able to find pirated versions of Wii Games easily, I had to download the IOS of Super Smash Bros Brawl not to play (though the games is pretty neat) but to take advantage of the “Smash Stack” exploit by Comex to load unauthorized code on the Wii. It was released on August 20, 2009. It works for all System Menu versions (up to 4.3 as of current). See http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Smash_Stack to learn how to use it.

So my advice to whoever wants to get their Wii up-to-date and Brewed; perform a system update to 4.3 on your Wii, then run the Smash Stack exploit to get your Wii. Before proceeding, make sure you have the game and fully understand how the smash stack exploit works before proceeding with this. Please proceed with caution and at your own risk. I was able to get it done and I wish you luck too!

Nokias… Not giving good impressions.

About a few months ago, I decided to hand my Nokia n97 mini over to my dad for him to use. The new firmware was finally released (I think a good few months after February when I was trying to “use” the phone) and it seemed to correct the hanging issue I faced when I was using it. The phone seems to have been behaving well after the firmware update. I was even told by my friend that the latest version of OVI MAPS on the nokia was really cool as it had an “Offline” mode where GPRS is not needed to download maps on the go. I always thought GPRS was needed which made the map updating & scrolling pretty slow and unpredictable. The offline mode and stability of the phone really made me think.. maybe I should give Nokias another go.

With the introduction of the N8 which my friend recently got hold of one, I thought, wow.. now that’s a cool phone to get. However since I already have my trusty iphone, there wasn’t a real need for me to get hold of another phone. I thought to myself… now Nokia might actually get back a portion of their market share with the introduction of this new model. Then during the past week, it has emerged that the Nokia N8 has been suffering power problems that renders the device virtually useless for a subset of its users (mainly early adopters. Oh my poor friend). Somehow I wasn’t really surprised but I was a little disappointed. Somehow Nokia doesn’t seem to garner a good impression anymore. The leader of the yesteryears with their cool blue screen of the 8250 and the slim corporate look of the 6300 which I used to own and love is now a thing of the past. It’ll definately take a lot to convince me to use a Nokia as my next phone. I gave them a chance with the n97 but nothing much has come out of it (not the initial impression at least). I don’t fancy blowing another RM2K+ on a piece of overpriced paper weight. Perhaps if I gave them a couple of years to catch up… I wonder if they’ll still be around.

Nokia n97 mini

I recently got hold of a Nokia n97 mini as a replacement for the Samsung Omnia i900 which I have been happily using for the past year and a half (well almost). Why did I get the n97? Well its a combination of factors but the main reason would have to be the presence of a physical keyboard for text entry. I also opted for an N series (Entertainment) Nokia phone instead of an E series (business) because it had a full touch screen which I am already so used to from using the Omnia.

The Omnia has been one of my better purchases as of late but  due to the lack of a physical keyboard, something was just lacking. Text entry was a chore and the thought  of replying simple SMS messages was a nightmare. If Samsung  or the Windows Mobile device had a better text entry like the iphone, it would have been much more pleasant to use. Nonetheless, I still had fun with the Omnia and it was totally useful since I was able to use the Garmin XT GPS navigation software to get around and the Internet Connection Sharing  to hook up my notebooks to the mobile 3G network while on the go.

The n97 did not fall short in my requirements, as I have also managed to install the Garmin XT software it. I have also purchased a copy of Joikuspot  Premium (at a promo rate of 7 Euros) to hotspot enable my phone so that I can easily connect my notebooks to my 3G via wifi to my phone. This is a great APP and I recommend it to anyone who needs to get connected easily.

Keyboard wise, the touch screen on the n97 was more receptive and text seem to enter more precisely under the TXT9 (abc) mode than as compared with the Omnia. As mentioned, there’s just something lacking here which makes data entry on the Omnia a chore rather than a joy. The n97 also has a slider keyboard (as can be seen on the image) and typing on it is easy. I can tell you I get 99% of the characters right on the n97 as compared to perhaps 60% on the Omnia. I might be exagerating a little here but I seriously “swear” that I was hitting the backspace more than any other keys on the Omnia virtual keyboard. Pudgy fingers don’t help as well on touch screen keyboards.

Camera wise, the n97 packs the same punch as my i900 as it comes with a 5 megapixel camera on the back (and of course a 3G capable video camera on the front). I haven’t really tested the camera extensively but the pictures which I casually snapped turned out pretty alright. I have yet to test the camera for indoor shots. As you can see from the picture below, the design of the camera which comes with double LED flashes are nicely designed into the back of the phone.

Overall I’m so far pretty happy with the phone. There doesn’t seem to be many apps which I am able to install onto the phone but it is after all my intention to have this as a “business” cum “entertainment” phone which allows to me type easily as well as check my emails as well as do some basic facebooking and surfing. Various widgets come with the phone that allows you to check on news, videos, podcasts, weather, facebook, youtube & etc. Basically to make the most of this phone, it is advisable that you sign yourself up for an unlimited package with your mobile provider like I have. With most widgets turned on (i.e. Facebook and Email checking constantly) plus ability to stay connected via Fring, the battery is a little lacking here. I can’t seem to get through 1 day without having to charge the battery before the end of the day. Then again, perhaps I’m just connected too much and of course if I compare it to my i900, this battery seems to outlast the i900 many times over. I guess this is due to advances in technology…

Why didn’t I get an iphone? Well… as mentioned, my main intention was to get a phone with a physical keyboard and while the iphone has great apps, the keyboard is still slightly lacking for me. Perhaps in the near future I might pick one up… just so that I can fly the new Parrot Ar.Drone (http://ardrone2.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/en/index.html). Pretty kewl I think! Perhaps if someone can get me a cracked version from the US then I don’t have to pay heaps for the one provided here by the local mobile telco.

Midomi on Samsung Omnia

With the release of the Samsung Omnia II which is an improvement over the Samsung Omnia I which I am still happily using, I am now able to use the Midomi Application on my Omnia. Since the two companies have entered an agreement to allow usage of the Midomi on the new Samsung Omnia II, there are parties who have extracted the Midomi Application from the new ROM which now allows us to install the application via a CAB file onto our old Omnias.

If you haven’t heard of Midomi, here’s a brief rundown. It is an application which is easily downloadable onto the Iphone (previously and now onto the Omnia) which allows you to HUM or SING a tune onto the phone and it will do an online search onto the Midomi Database to find out the NAME and ARTIST of the song.

No longer will you need to crack your head to find out the name of a song/tune that has been stuck to your head. Try out the application at their website at http://www.midomi.com/. You can use your PC’s mic and use the online app on their webpage to see for yourself how it works. It’s really cool and I’m glad I now have it on my Samsung Omnia I. Sorry I don’t have the link here on my site but a quick search on the internet should bring you to some sites which link to the CAB file.

GPS Voice Navigation on the Blackberry & Other Phones

For those of you who have been wondering how you are able to get your Blackberry’s GPS to work like that of the Garmin GPS, think no more. I managed to locate on the internet (though I’m not the first to do so),  a FREE GPS program that does the job of voice navigation pretty well on the Blackberry. Whilst I don’t think it is as good as the Garmin Mobile XT on my Samsung Omnia, I think it does the job well enough to get you from Point A to Point B. It could and would have done a better job if the maps were more updated (not that they are that outdated to begin with). All in all, it will get you places even though the program is not as feature packed and heavy as other GPS programs.

Do note that the “amAze” software is not limited to Blackberries, it also works for a host of other handphones as well, so if you wish to give it a try… check it out if your phone has an in-built GPS. The software is free. The only cost you will need to pay is for “DATA” Transmissions as Maps are not stored locally, they are downloaded on the go. An unlimited data plan is recommended.

For those of you who are interested, you may check out the “amAze” GPS software at http://www.amazegps.com/ . The coverage support ranges from Europe, North America, Australia and parts of Africa and Asia (Malaysia included as I have tested). Have fun!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 added to the fleet

Panasonic GH1
Panasonic GH1

Five months after the launch of the Lumix DMC-G1 Micro Four Thirds camera, Panasonic has unveiled an HD version of the same in the shape of the Lumix sdasdDMC-GH1. The 12.1 megapixel camera’s Live MOS sensor can record up to 1080/24p or 720/60p high definition videos, with continuous AF and a built-in Dolby Digital Stereo Creator for quality sound recording. The GH1 comes with Panasonic’s designed-for-video Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm lens. The camera includes a new Face Recognition feature that remembers individual faces, and offers four different aspect ratios with the same angle of view using a system similar to that in the company’s DMC-LX3 compact.

I think I’m gonna have lots of fun with this baby!

Forcing 3G connection on Samsung Omnia i900

Have you ever felt frustrated when you’re happily surfing on 3G or 3G+ and suddenly it switches to Edge? How can that be when you’re not even moving between cells? Well apparantly according to Samsung experts, the phone automatically selects the strongest signal and switches to that (even if that means switching to a suckier connection).

Well I’ve managed to find on the internet how to FORCE your phone to lock onto the 3G connection no matter the signal strength. If you feel the need to do the same, please read on for the instructions:

You CAN force 3G preference for your phone.

  1. dial *#1546792*#
  2. don’t press the call button, it will automatically take you to the Admin Settings.
  3. select ‘3 Network & Call Settings’
  4. select ‘Network Order’
  5. select ‘WCDMA first’
  6. press Done
  7. press the End Call Button

For those of you interested in getting 3G all the time if possible (up to the lowest possible signal) while maintaining GSM as a backend if in case you don’t have any signal,  simply leave the Network Mode to auto and then change the Network Order to WCDMA first in order to prioritize WCDMA regardless of signal strength.
 
Note: The information provided here is to be used at your own risk and I take no responsibility for this information. No need to worry though because I have done the above to my phone and so far the connection has remained at 3G & 3G+ without dropping to E (Edge).

Samsung Omnia Hard Reset

For those of you who wish to perform a hard reset, you may follow the following steps:

  1. Switch off  / Power off your phone
  2. Hold the CALL, CANCEL & POWER BUTTON for about 5 seconds
  3. A screen will pop up showing you instructions like step no. 4
  4. Click on the Call button to continue with formatting/resetting or Cancel button to abort.

If step 2 is done correctly, Step 3 will show up, else the Omnia will just boot up like normal.

Note: This hard reset does not erase the 16GB memory. If you wish to reset everything, use the software hard reset by going to Settings > Hard Reset.

Additional Notes for: UPGRADING / DOWNGRADING

For those of you who are doing a hard reset (as I did to rectify Omnia ROM version detected problem during updates), you may also try the following:

– Get your favourite registry edit
– change HKCU\Control Panel\Version\CustomVersion from DZHK3 to any version number that is lower than the one you are trying to install

This will allow you to upgrade or downgrade your ROM to any version. This needs to be done because Omnia updates only allow upgrades to newer versions but not downgrades to older versions.