Monday, 28 January 2013

Experiments with really cheap hardware

Recently a new "pound shop" opened near my place of work.  Everything costs £1.
You'd be surprised how many people at the till still say "how much is that then?" 

Anyway, they sell all the usual pound shop stuff; sweets, plastic flowers, unknown brand batteries, blue powerade that no doubt makes your brain itch.

They also have an aisle that has random bits of tech.  So I thought I'd try some out. 

The first I tried was a micro bluetooth USB dongle. I took the lid off it to make sure it wasn't just going to short out and burn my PC to the ground - it looked ok, so I tried it on an old sacrificial PC..  and it worked just fine.. Not the fastest in the world, but functional. 

The next thing I tried was the headphones.. Not quite so successful as the cable is only about 750cm long, and my tower PC is on the floor - so I end up stooped over to hear anything. Also the plug seems to be a little bit too short, and you have to really wiggle it around to get both speakers working correctly.  

Next - A "Blakberry USB charger cable" - yes, that's how it was spelt.  It's actually a standard micro USB cable, I checked the pins using a multimeter and they appeared to all be connected as they should be. Tried it on a sacrificial PC again, and an old phone (paranoid much?!)   and yep, worked first time - full data connection.  Not bad for £1.   

They also do car phone chargers, watches, HDMI cables, SCART cables, and all manner of things with LEDs in. All good stuff for future projects.

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