Favorite electronic Gizmos(Not your phone)

ledbetter

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
888
Location
California Central Coast
Some electronics are just an improvement over the past. And I guess a gizmo is very specific and specialized - everybody's got a phone! Also, I'm not going to suggest any Microsoft or Mac computer tech since I'm no expert, but I do like an iPad. Here are some of my favorite non lighting gizmos I use around the house and for travel:

Panasonic bq-cc87 usb battery charger and power bank with eneloops. Also like cheap single 18650 holders from China with your choice of battery(flat tops fit best) and they make easy gifts. The xtar double 18650 power bank also looks tempting.

Brennan b2 cd ripper. Awesome storage and easy play of cd collections.

Olight usb single battery charger. So easy and light.

Cottonpickers li ion battery meter. Is there anything out there that's this easy and portable?

Any reliable stud finder. Any decent battery powered drill with new bits.

Gene Cafe coffee roaster. Yeah, I really like caffeine!

Ok, one app! Spotify and a portable tribit max blue tooth speaker. Sounds pretty good to me but I grew up with crappy am/fm radios.

Maxus digital scale. Tiny and cheap with aaa batteries.

Griot's Garage air pump and rechargeable battery jump starter. Discount jump starter brand works fine in temperate zone. Cold weather? I'd pay more.

Uniden radar detector. Pays for itself.

Look forward to hearing about your favorites.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
642
Garmin Inreach Explorer+ for when I'm solo in the back country.

Satellite text messaging. SOS that triggers SAR. Position tracking that I can share every 10 minutes with the wife and others. Navigation with maps and waypoints. All with absolutely no cell coverage.
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
14,361
Location
In a handbasket
I use a network tester at work that has a time domain reflectometer function in it. Plug it into one end of a network cable or co-ax and it will tell you how long it is by sending a pulse down the wire and measuring how long it takes for the reflection to come back from the other end. It's sort of like radar for cables. CAT-5/6 cables have a length limit of 100 meters (328 feet) so this is a lifesaver in terms of finding cable runs that are out of spec. It also tests for correct pair mapping and other stuff.
 

RickQuixote

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
3
My Garmin Edge Explore cycling computer coupled with the Garmin Varia RTL515 Rearview Radar. Not only can I see where I'm going but it warns me of vehicles coming from behind me and displays how fast they are approaching. It has saved my butt a couple of times when I was about to make a left turn and didn't see the approaching cars in my rear view mirror.
 

Dingo07

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
13
I use a network tester at work that has a time domain reflectometer function in it. Plug it into one end of a network cable or co-ax and it will tell you how long it is by sending a pulse down the wire and measuring how long it takes for the reflection to come back from the other end. It's sort of like radar for cables. CAT-5/6 cables have a length limit of 100 meters (328 feet) so this is a lifesaver in terms of finding cable runs that are out of spec. It also tests for correct pair mapping and other stuff.
Nice tool! Does it also test bandwidth? At one time I used a Validator for stuff like that.

My best electronic device is probably my Fluke network tester that allows me to tone live data cables without disrupting the data on the switch. My Fluke multimeter is another great tool. Aside from that, what gives me the most Fun is my Carrera slot car track and all necessary tools to fix and maintain the cars. I also fly RC helis and have two 1:5 scale on-road cars that I used to race - those are fun toys and filled with electronics.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_8626.JPG
    IMG_8626.JPG
    316.4 KB · Views: 139

ledbetter

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
888
Location
California Central Coast
Wow! Very cool slot car set up and selection of cars. Reminds me of a write up in R&T magazine on a builder who makes slot tracks based on actual race tracks and of the actual period - usually 60's and 70's - and with crazy authenticity. Guys were basically artists.
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
14,361
Location
In a handbasket
Nice tool! Does it also test bandwidth? At one time I used a Validator for stuff like that.

My best electronic device is probably my Fluke network tester that allows me to tone live data cables without disrupting the data on the switch. My Fluke multimeter is another great tool. Aside from that, what gives me the most Fun is my Carrera slot car track and all necessary tools to fix and maintain the cars. I also fly RC helis and have two 1:5 scale on-road cars that I used to race - those are fun toys and filled with electronics.
It does not do bandwidth tests. I think you and I are using the same Fluke instrument though. :) What a great little tool.

I have an older pair of Fluke network test gadgets that can test up to 100mb and it could do certifications, check for near-end crosstalk, all sorts of things. Sadly it's become obsolete now that 1gb networks are so common in business.
 

Dingo07

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
13
Thanks @ledbetter for the compliment! I think I know who you're talking about... the name escapes me atm though...

I almost forgot to mention the trickest network tool I have... it's a Fluke LinkSprinter 200. You connect the small simple device to an ethernet cable that you want to find the other end of. It sends you an email with all the details: voltage of the POE connection, performs a switch test and tells you what switch port your connected to, confirms DHCP and pings a web address that you can specify, then emails you the report page.
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
14,361
Location
In a handbasket
Thanks @ledbetter for the compliment! I think I know who you're talking about... the name escapes me atm though...

I almost forgot to mention the trickest network tool I have... it's a Fluke LinkSprinter 200. You connect the small simple device to an ethernet cable that you want to find the other end of. It sends you an email with all the details: voltage of the POE connection, performs a switch test and tells you what switch port your connected to, confirms DHCP and pings a web address that you can specify, then emails you the report page.
That is pretty cool. I'm going to look into that tool.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,218
Location
John 3:16
My favorite gizmo is a mechanical tide watch that shows moon phase, tide and season along with a bezel that twists for monitoring the length of a surfing 'heat' during a contest. It runs off a battery but other than that it's a mechanical marvel.
C57FE07D-E3C0-4A1F-AEA0-760A9C1D2961.jpeg


My favorite gadget is a combination of an older MP3 player by Sandisk with a 64gb micro-usb card, an Anker bluetooth broadcaster and a pair of Bose noise cancelling ear phones.
724A4854-32B3-4DF9-84FB-80CB77665C85.jpeg

I also like the Stevie Wonder could see it carrying case.
 

3oni

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
140
Location
Seattle
I love my G-Shock Rangeman. Having a wrist-mounted barometer is great for hikes, and I get good mileage (no pun intended) out of the altimeter, too.

The compass makes a nice backup for my traditional compass, and the chronometer is handy for timing my walk out so I have an idea of how long my walk back will take.
 

electrolyte

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
61
My gut first reaction is anything with nixie tubes. Related, decatron tubes get me excited, but I've never owned anything that used them. I have some nixie tube multimeters. Decades ago, I used some laboratory equipment with them, pH meters and nuclear counters. The latter might be partly why I enjoy them so much because when the display was a blur du to rapid change it generally meant that something was working well for me.

On the other hand, I love having an excuse to get out my Triplett Model 630 VOM, curved top bakelite case. I think that they were first made in the late 40s. I have not tried to date mine and they still make them today, but I am pretty sure mine is much closer to the 40s than today. I've got that and a Model 601 Type 2. Probably 15 years ago I wrote email or maybe a web form to Triplett asking about the availability of manuals for them. When an original booklet-form manual for the 601 arrived along with a photocopy of the 630 manual, I almost cried. Even back then customer service like that was highly unusual.

Dekatron and Nixie Tube Clock - YouTube
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
14,361
Location
In a handbasket
My gut first reaction is anything with nixie tubes. Related, decatron tubes get me excited, but I've never owned anything that used them. I have some nixie tube multimeters. Decades ago, I used some laboratory equipment with them, pH meters and nuclear counters. The latter might be partly why I enjoy them so much because when the display was a blur du to rapid change it generally meant that something was working well for me.

On the other hand, I love having an excuse to get out my Triplett Model 630 VOM, curved top bakelite case. I think that they were first made in the late 40s. I have not tried to date mine and they still make them today, but I am pretty sure mine is much closer to the 40s than today. I've got that and a Model 601 Type 2. Probably 15 years ago I wrote email or maybe a web form to Triplett asking about the availability of manuals for them. When an original booklet-form manual for the 601 arrived along with a photocopy of the 630 manual, I almost cried. Even back then customer service like that was highly unusual.

Dekatron and Nixie Tube Clock - YouTube
Nixies and decatrons are pretty cool. I've seen some really oddball display tubes at hamfests also.

On a related note, a long time ago I bought a magic eye tube just to play with it and learn how to control it. And I used to have a VOM similar to the Triplett 601. I think it was 20k ohms/volt and it had the mirrored scale to reduce parallax error. Quality stuff and a real workhorse.
 

electrolyte

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
61
Way cool, I have never been exposed to magic eye tubes. I went to Wikipedia for a look and found video. They mentioned EM84 tubes there and I found some video for them as well. I think it easier to get a semi-quantitative judgement from them than the circular display. Either way, I had no idea they were an alternative to a swinging needle as late as they were because the familiar swinging-needle displays were very expensive.

BTW, If anyone has to do any peaking manipulation with electronics with a DMM and are able to switch to to an analog meter, you will appreciate the analog instrument!
 

PhotonWrangler

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
14,361
Location
In a handbasket
Way cool, I have never been exposed to magic eye tubes. I went to Wikipedia for a look and found video. They mentioned EM84 tubes there and I found some video for them as well. I think it easier to get a semi-quantitative judgement from them than the circular display. Either way, I had no idea they were an alternative to a swinging needle as late as they were because the familiar swinging-needle displays were very expensive.

BTW, If anyone has to do any peaking manipulation with electronics with a DMM and are able to switch to to an analog meter, you will appreciate the analog instrument!
Oh yes. Analog meters don't have the "digit rattle" problem.
 
Top