Chinese Power Adapter Teardown

IMG_0198I got this power bank yesterday from China. Obviously it’s not a Samsung product but the power bank does seem to work fine. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t connecting to data so I sliced the cable open. It only connects the power wires, thankfully. I bought a cheap USB voltage and current measurement tool on eBay but it won’t be here for a long while, especially with their national holiday. I’d like to measure the current coming out of the outputs.IMG_0187Anyways, it came with this really sketchy power adapter. The USB slot is like a half USB slot where your plug doesn’t fit in all the way or latch in properly. You can also feel the assembly was loose inside of it by just shaking it. I was definitely not planning on using the plug so I decided to open it up and see what was inside.IMG_0188Three sides of the front plate were already loose. I just had to slide a knife down the fourth side and a quick tug on the plug popped the assembly out.IMG_0189There’s a transistor between the transformer and a capacitor but there’s barely enough space for it so they put it on an angle. For whatever reason, the other transistor nearby is also at an angle and they’re both pushing over another capacitor. I thought it looked funny.
IMG_0190Dave from the EEVBlog explains in a video what’s crap about it, more than I ever could, but it was interesting to look at one myself.
IMG_0199Here’s a closer look at one of the boards.

So yeah… I’m not expert enough to rip on the board, but anyone can point out it’s a piece of junk just by holding the thing.


Where I sit in the war of smartphones


With Apple’s keynote tomorrow to announce some things, and with me missing it (because I’m out tomorrow, but also because it’s probably Mac-only again to view it), I thought it would be fun to weigh in on this smartphone war upon us. It seems like everyone has chosen a side: Android, Apple, Windows, or Blackberry.

The picture in this post is from the day I upgraded from my Nokia 5800 to my Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket/LTE. I think it’s quite obvious which side I’m on. When I activated my first Android smartphone, I moved my email and calendar over to Google. Over time, I started to embrace the new things they were coming out with.

The only Apple product I’ve ever owned was an iPod Touch about four years ago (I can’t remember which generation, maybe third). I liked it since it was the only smart and new device I had at the time. I used it daily. While I had some good games going on it, I used it mostly for travelling with music, so since I could do that with my new phone (which was marketed as a music-focused device), I didn’t see the need to carry an additional device.

Fast forward to May 2012 when I get my new Android device. Even though the next generation of the Galaxy phone would come out literally a week or so later, the hardware has lasted over a year now. I’m rooted and running Android 4.3. There are things I’ve gotten used to on this Android phone that I take for granted while my friends with Apple devices complain about certain things (iTunes syncing, file management, etc).

One of those tech YouTubers made a good point in saying that Apple is more of a design company than a tech company. It’s so true. I mean, if you want a device that looks nice and just works, Apple is your best bet. But if you like customization (with risks depending how you go about it) and having more hardware choices, Android is waiting for you.

And while we’re at it, if you like physical keyboards, Blackberry. That’s it for that.

Now about Windows phone… I’ve always been curious about that OS. It looks smooth and fluid, but I’ve gotten used to Android’s customization and the more populated ecosystem. I’m not a huge fan of the live tiles, even though I like the Windows 8 start menu. Maybe I’ll be more interested in a few years when more apps make it into the store. Right now, it brings back memories of going into the Nokia store when I had the 5800 and seeing nothing but silly change-your-voice apps.

On the topic of Windows phones [and tablets], I can’t stand their commercials that make fun of the Apple vs Android war or comparing their products to everything else. I wish they’d take a moment to focus on their products by themselves. If they can’t sell their product like that, then they need to come up with something more eye-catching.

So that’s what I’ve got to say about smartphones. I can only wonder how this will be different 5 years from now.