Achoro 4 port USB 3.0 HUB Review

USB Hubs can be very useful – especially in my case where I needed more than one of my peripheral components plugged in on the opposite side of me to my computer. Quite honestly, any hub would do, but I really like having the ability to plug in high speed devices at the convenience of right next to me rather than on my computer which is a few feet away. Perhaps I’m lazy, but when it’s taken me a few minutes to finally get settled just right in my seat – it’s worth every effort to stay put.

First – receiving the hub was quick and painless – thanks Amazon. It came in a simple somewhat unmarked cardboard box just slightly larger than the size of the hub itself. The USB 3.0 cord that came with it is very short… maybe 1.5 feet… so I had to to order another one on Amazon (15ft).

Second – regarding speeds: I always seem to get the worst luck with my usb 3 devices speed wise. My PC was only able to have throughput speeds up to about 14MB/s (that’s 112 Mbps) with a high quality USB 3.0 thumb drive plugged into the front USB 3.0 ports. The leaflet included in the box mentions up to 5000 Mbps, but is dependent on hardware capable of such speeds.
Running tests, the hub had throughput fairly close to directly plugged into the PC (about 12 MB/s) on average (using multiple size files during transfers).

As far as I can tell, the hub performs near as well as being plugged directly into the PC, so I really can’t complain about that. I plan on using this mostly for a graphics tablet, HOTAS, flight stick, and gamepad, so I really am quite happy with the performance. These also come with ports for an SD card and miniSD card for easy and fast transfers from other media.

At $17 each on Amazon – it’s really about what you’d expect from any hub at similar cost.

LED Headlights from Small Ant Tech – Poor Engineering

One of the best bang for your buck upgrades for your vehicle is getting rid of those old crappy halogens and installing some LED or HID lights. I’ve used some great performing LED headlights in the past – although those did need some fabrication of some new retainers. These headlights in more than one way leave me wanting.

Product: 9006/HB4 LED Headlights with built-in fan and canbus
Cost: $35.99
Available at:

These lights come in a nice hard plastic case securely held inside with some foam – but that’s about the best engineering about these. The physical appearance of the materials looks good, but they lack the amount of aluminum I would expect for a heatsink – even with a built in fan.

I noticed immediately that the collar is very loose and you can physically jiggle the light housing around the collar, which results in headlights that move and jiggle over every inconsistency in the road. The design of mounting the collar is by simply twisting the housing out of the collar, which works fine when tightening the light into your vehicle, but makes for an absolute pain in the butt when trying to uninstall. When removing the light from my car, the light loosened out of the collar (by design) and I had to really fight with it to finally work the collar out of the assembly mount in my car. The plug is also longer than standard – which didn’t impede installation, but was a nuisance.

A brighter light is expected with LEDs, but these fall far from the mark. Although the light pattern is sharp and flat as it should be, these are considerably dimmer than my standard halogen.

Overall, I am very disappointed with these and cannot, in good conscience, recommend these to anyone. The manufacturer needs to pull these off the market and send them back to get re-engineered.

Halogen on top, dimmer LED on bottom.

Pogo Sport Bicycle Chain Cleaner Review

I’ve been needing a bicycle chain cleaner for a while – quite a while. I can typically keep my chains clean, but the kids just can’t seem to keep things clean if their lives depended on it!

The Pogo Sport chain cleaner is much like any other you can find on the market. It’s a comparable price and feels similar to other brands. There is an easy to fill port on the top of the unit. Getting it onto the chain and off is as simple as pressing a tab by the handle, sliding the handle off, and then sliding the top of the case, allowing the top to come off. Place the cleaner so the chain runs through the brushes, replace the lid, and replace the handle.

Hold onto the handle firmly and pedal the bike backwards a few times to clean the chain!
This simple cleaning will keep the chain functioning smoothly for years to come.

On Amazon:

Victagen Multi-type Battery Charger Review

The Victagen battery charger is an almost all in one charging station. This charger automatically detects the type of battery in each bay separately and can charge lithium ion, ni-mh, or nicd batteries. The user can manually choose the current of the charge as 1 amp, or .5 amp. The led readout shows what current rate the batteries are charging at, the type of battery, and the level of charge.

After some pretty rigorous testing, the springs in the slides have held up well and still stretch to fit the largest lithium ion 18650 batteries I have and will still shrink down to accept the CR123 rechargeable lithium ions. There was no problem with charging a nimh and lithium ion at the same time! Another cool feature is that when there is a battery in the first bay, you can use this as a usb battery backup!

And to top it off, the charger comes with two 3200mAh protected 18650 rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

This charger is definitely staying on my shelf. The only thing that could make it better, is more bays, and room for larger nimh/nicd like D, and 9V sizes.

Available on Amazon for only $18.97 at the time I bought mine:

Ancord Works Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker REVIEW

This is the new model to one that I’ve reviewed previously. The differences with this newer model are found in the styling (it’s a bit slimmer) – but otherwise, still has great sound, is waterproof (tested in the shower), has aux input, usb-c charging, and a tested bluetooth distance of about 50 feet outside, but it would certainly be less in a house with walls between. This speaker still has a mic built in so you can actually take calls through it. One of my favorite features though is the tripod mount on the bottom so you can set this up on a tripod outside at a party or event… or even while just working out in the yard or in the shop!

Compared to the other brand name speakers out there, this is less expensive, but sounds as good. Compared to others in the price range, the question is always: “is this a piece of junk? or is it actually worth its weight?” Well, this one is worth its weight.

Although you can really use this thing just about anywhere, I am mostly excited for this speaker to be in my off-grid shop. No power – minus the small 100W solar panel I’ll be hooking up. Just enough power to keep some LED lights active, a fan for circulation, and maybe a weather station. With 8 hours of play time, I won’t really need to worry about this needing to be plugged in while I’m out there, but even if it did, the solar panel/battery setup can easily charge this through usb.

My other plan for this speaker is actually sitting on the back of my bicycle while I do big rides – because earphones on a bike ride is dangerous!

$26 on Amazon when I got this:

Berzo 3 LED Headlamp Review

Unboxed Headlamp with Accessories
I wish I had six arms so I could do more of what I needed to (can’t have enough arms to do everything). When I’m trying to get something done in the dark, I either have to hookup a work light, or hold a flashlight… and running power out for a worklight is inconvenient. Portable worklights can be pretty expensive. A headlamp would be a good solution, but there are so many that don’t fit, are too heavy, uncomfortable, or break within the first week unless you spend enough to buy a worklight.

Thankfully, there are many decent headlamps coming out now that we can actually afford! I’ve looked around for a good choice – and there really are quite a few good choices. I finally settled on this one and am impressed for a few reasons.

This headlamp is comfortable, doesn’t feel heavy, and is definitely bright enough. I was impressed with the build quality: smooth finish and no rattles.
Clicking the button on top of the center LED housing cycles through the modes: Center, Outer Two, All Three, Strobe. The center LED is plenty bright, the outer two are a little brighter than the single center, and all three are obviously the brightest. The outer LEDs are very well aimed to converge with the center, seemingly at any distance. The fitment adjusts to fit kids as well as adults.

Fits all sizes - really!
Mode Low - Center Light
Mode Medium - Outer Lights
Mode High - All Lights

The only thing I think could have been better is if the battery pack used the smaller 14500 (AA sized) lithium ion batteries. The 18650s are pretty big, which provides two benefits that I can see: balances out the weight of the LED housings and gives a long life between charges. I really love that this comes with a charger accessory for just about everything, 12V DC (Car Adapter), USB, AC.

Overall, I think this light is a pretty sweet find and will serve its purpose very well. For camping, caving, bike riding at night, taking the dog out for the nightly potty break, etc… I give this a 5 out of 5.

Worn on head - Mode High - All Lights

Bicycle wheel lights by POLIYU

Last year was my first bicycle ride event that included more than 12 people – the ride: Antelope by Moonlight is a night time ride along the shore of Antelope Island, Utah. Every cycle is required to have some fashion of headlight – other lighting is optional. Being the LED fiend that I am, of course I fitted the bikes with LED strips along the frames, wheel spoke lights, tail lights… but why stop there? I wanted to test these lights out that are advertised to make cool patterns as your wheel spins in a cool blue light. These lights from POLIYU – available at – screw onto the valve stem of each tire (don’t worry, they come with a Presta and Schraeder adapter). These lights are powered by 3 button cells that are fairly cheap so you can buy lots more without breaking the bank. Motion and lack of light is what activates these lights and they will automatically shut off if either light is present, or there is no activity for about a minute.

For these lights to really light up your wheel, you have to be moving at a decent pace, which they do point out on the product description. Installation was literally as easy as putting the batteries in, and then taking the valve stem cap off and screwing this back on. They’ve held up well for a the few rides I’ve been on already and they’re tough enough that I expect a long life out of them.

Unicorn Stamps Party Favors Review

Unicorn stamp party favors – I know what you’re asking: “where can I get them and for how much?!”

Despite our every effort, my little girl is princess through and through, loves pink, unicorns, Barbies, princess anything, jewelry, etc. I really don’t mind too much since she is just so cute, but she also has a good time with Hot Wheels, making destruction sound effects, playing Minecraft with the boys, playing in the mud, etc. She’s so well balanced collectively that she is just such a beautiful person.

These princesses of ours deserve the very best, and when their birthday is coming and you’re not sure what to use for party favors, I suggest throwing in some unicorn stamps. Not only was my little girl ecstatic to see these stamps, even my boys were excited to stamp stuff up! I had a feeling my kids would enjoy these and boy was I right. I really wish I had some of these at my high school yearbook signing day.

In this set of stamps, there are 24 stamps: 4 sets of 6 different stamps. They include stars (dark blue ink), rainbow (light blue ink), unicorn head (pink ink), full unicorn (orange ink), “Magical” with stars (green ink), “I believe in you!” with diamond stars (purple ink).

These stamps aren’t of the highest quality, nor should you expect them to be at $0.50 per piece, but they will give the kids something fun to do until the ink is gone. Having grown up with stuff like this, I know that once the stamp is dried out, if it’s really that important, you can easily get a bottle of ink (color of your choice) and add a couple drops to it. The ink soaks in over a few minutes and you’re loaded up for another thousand stamps!

I got 24 stamps for about $12 on Amazon here:

Adam Elements – Go Healthy Bluetooth Smart Scale REVIEW

We lost our scale a few years back when we lent it to a neighbor… and it just never made its way back. We haven’t been super sore about not having a scale, but there have been so many occasions that it would have been nice to have one. I’ve really always wanted to get another one, but priorities were elsewhere.

So I’ve finally got a scale. I really didn’t need the extra features, but for the price, I really did like that it comes with all the health measurements built in. My primary objective in buying a new scale was to have something that looked nice and cool. Something that I would look forward to getting on. Well, this scale does not disappoint. It has a beautiful design, it’s thin, has a backlit lcd, a dark greyish blue glass top. It’s really nice to look at.

This scale uses bluetooth to send the measured data to the free GoHealthy App. For the most part, the app works well. You can record a history of your measurements and set a weight goal. Editing your profile once it’s setup isn’t really possible due to the app crashing anytime you try. A strange quirk I’ve noticed is that the first measurement will sometimes be off a few point on every measurement… but then measuring again puts you back to where you’d expect. Really kind of annoying if you’re really watching your numbers, but otherwise not a big deal.

The measurements include weight, body fat %, water %, bone mass, muscle mass, and BMR. You can set reminders, goals, view your trends, history, and of course, current check. Another quirk is that you have to switch the app to the history, then back to check for a subsequent measurement – and you have to use the app to see anything other than the weight, which can be switch between pounds or kg on the scale itself.

All in all, I like this scale, but you’re hardcore, a more expensive one might suit you better.

I got this scale on Amazon:

EL-AURORA USB Charging Cable Review

Although the cable looks cool – I received a micro type C (instead of the advertised micro type B), so I really can’t say much as far as its charging performance. The material feels good and solid. The EL wire embedded within the cable lights up and then slowly blinks in a Christmas Light ‘chase’ sort of fashion. The blue EL isn’t quite as bright as I’d hoped it would be, but the real clincher is just that they sent me the wrong usb type.