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I have always been a fan of Anker products. As an impulse purchase, I bought this flashlight. As usual, Anker impressed. The flashlight uses a Li-ion 18650 cell, it’s waterproof, and charges the battery via a micro-USB port in the base of the flashlight. The mode can be set (high, low, flash, SOS) so it uses that same mode the next time you turn it on. This beast is rugged and bright!
Speaking of Anker, they also make really great USB chargers. I got tired of a bunch of chargers hogging my wall outlets. These chargers solve that problem by using an actual cord and by being able to charge up to 10 devices at once! Anker uses a smart charging algorithm that allows smart phones and tablets (Android and iOS) to charge at their maximum rate, up to 2.1A per USB port. I’ve been using these for years and have never had a problem. If you use the MNWis YSF Reflector, it’s hotspot bridge is being powered by one of these power supplies.For portable operation, included is an Anker USB power brick. It uses the same smart charging circuit and is a real brute with 20 Ah of battery capacity!
I’m not a fan of Anderson Power connectors. However I have found a connector I like. It will handle 50 amps, it is water tight, and it’s cheap. These are the connectors that are used by solar panels. So you can use them outside and they will handle 50 amps continuously. (I discovered that Anderson 45A connectors are not all that reliable when you have 30+ amps flowing through them continuously.) You don’t need the crimping tool, but I’d recommend it. If you’re using stranded wire, I’d also recommend soldering it. These are rugged connectors that make electrical contact over a LARGE surface area.
Speaking of power, a solar charge controller can be very handy. It is much less than the made-for-ham-radio battery charge controllers and does everything you need.
Input: From solar panel or power supply.
Battery: AGM, flooded lead acid, etc. You select.
Load: Your radio.
When there is enough power from the input, your equipment is run from that input. If the battery needs charging, it will also charge the battery. If the input power goes away, it will then use the battery to power your equipment. If the battery voltage gets too low, it will cut off the battery to prevent over discharge. Nice, eh? A cheap UPS for your Ham equipment as you probably already have the AC power supply. I’ve used mine with a cheap “lawn tractor” battery, but an expensive deep discharge battery is better. (Note: Can be used with Li-ion, but the Li-ion battery needs to have its own charge controller.)
Baofeng tri-band HT. 5 watts out on 2, 220, and 440. I got this because I wanted a cheap way to get on 220. Note that you need to swap between the 220 and 2/440 antennas. Like any Baofeng, good battery life, plenty of audio, best to program using Chirp, okay receiver but not great with strong signals.
These are great, rugged, converters when you need to change one voltage to another with high efficiency. I typically use them for powering HT’s from a 13.8 VDC source. One of these has been running on MNWis for years.
I needed a USB to serial port converter. I wanted one where I wouldn’t have to fool around with drivers and it would just work. These really fit the bill. I bought several and use them constantly. For example, one is used to allow me to connect to the serial port on my Scom 7330 controller. These work on Mac, Windows, Linux, and even the Raspberry Pi.
Everyone needs one of these. If you’re running an HRI-200, it’s always a good idea to check that the computer’s USB port is providing enough current without voltage drop. This model allows you to connect to devices to one USB port: One port only has power connected to it; the other port has both power and data. These were sold by Radio City (for about $10 more) before they shut down.
The advantage with this USB power monitor is that it can total up the amount of power used. I use this to monitor the performance of Li-ion batteries on my USB power packs and phones. Discharge the phone or battery and see how much power it takes to charge it. The amount of power needed will decrease over time and that will indicate the battery is loosing capacity. Excellent quality and accuracy for the money.
I have one of these on my workbench and love it. It stays where you put it, it’s bright, and the lens is very good. I spent years looking for a good bench light/magnifier and concluded I would be spending $500 as the cheap ones just drove me nuts because they kept moving relative to my work surface. This is a small outfit that makes these. I even got an email from them after purchase asking if it was working out okay. The price has gone up $20 since I bought it, but I still think it’s a good deal. The $500 units are better, but not $400 better.
This mini-router is amazing! It can create a VPN and do a whole bunch of nifty stuff. The firmware is open source and the documentation is excellent. If you need a bridge, VPN, or router for the road, this is a very handy device. You can get a more expensive model with an external antenna, but I think this unit with an internal antenna will work for most. It is easily powered from a Li-ion USB battery pack.
In my experience the Eneloop (Panasonic) are the best NiMH batteries around. Of the ones I have tested, these are then ONLY that actually deliver on their rated capacity. I have been buying these batteries for years now and have yet to have one fail. These are the same batteries that were sold by Sanyo years ago.
If you want lower cost cells, Tenergy seems to be pretty good. They’re a bit optimistic with their capacity ratings, but performance is still pretty good. I have a dozen that are 6 years old. They are still performing well.
In both cases, the Panasonic and Tenergy batteries I tested were consistent from unit to unit and over time. A very good sign.
The charger is better than most basic chargers. It charges each cell individually – which I consider a must. 750 mA charge rate is good. The LED indicators make it easy to spot the state of each battery: Defective (flashing red), low (red), partially charged (yellow), near full charge (green), and done (off).
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