Detailed Big Screen Multimeter Review

It seems like large-screen cheap meters are really catching on. [TheHWcave] does a very detailed review of a KAIWEETS KM601, which is exactly the same as a few dozen other Chinese brands you can get from the usual sources. You can see the review in the video below.

If we learned nothing else from this video, we did learn that you can identify unmarked fuses with a scale. The fuses inside were not marked, so he wanted to know if they appeared to be the right values. We would have been tempted to just blow them under controlled conditions, but we get he didn’t want to destroy the stock fuses until after testing.

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Converting Your Bike To Electric: Why You Should, And When You Shouldn’t

A decade ago I was lucky enough to work for an employer that offered a bicycle loan scheme to its employees, and I took the opportunity to spend on a Brompton folding bike. This London-made machine is probably one of the more efficiently folding cycles on the market, and has the useful feature of being practical for longer journeys rather than just a quick run from the train. A 3-speed hub gearbox is fine for unhurried touring, but sadly my little folder has always been a bit of a pain on the hills. Thus around the start of the pandemic I splashed out again and bought a Swytch electric upgrade kit for it, and after a few logistical and life upheavals I’ve finally fitted it to the bike. I’ve ridden a few electric bikes but never had my own, so it’s time to sit down and analyse the experience. Is an electric bike something you should have, or not?

A Box Of Bits Becomes An Electric Bike

All the parts of a Swytch kit
All the parts of a Swytch kit. From the Swytch assembly manual.

Swytch sell their kits via crowdfunding rounds, so I’d been on a waiting list for a while and got an early-bird price on my kit. It took quite a while to arrive, much longer than the expected time in mid-2020 because of the pandemic, finally being delivered some time in February last year. It came in a modestly-sized cardboard carton which would be an easy carry on the Brompton’s luggage rack, containing neatly packed a new front wheel with motor, as well as the battery and all sundry parts.

Fitting the kit shouldn’t stretch the capabilities of a Hackaday reader, with probably the trickiest part being the positioning of a Hall-effect sensor near the crank. The kit works by providing a motor assist when you pedal, so part of it is a set of magnets on a plastic disk with various attachments for different cranks and pedal sets. The Brompton front wheel is removed and its tyre and tube transferred to the Swytch one, which is then put on the bike. Once the magnet disk and Hall sensor are attached, the cables follow the existing ones and emerge at the handlebars where a sturdy bracket for the battery box is fitted. Continue reading “Converting Your Bike To Electric: Why You Should, And When You Shouldn’t”

Mustool Scopemeter Review And Teardown

There was a time when calculators became so powerful it was hard to tell them from little computers. The same thing seems to be happening now with multimeters. They now often have large screens and basic oscilloscope functionality. The specs keep getting better. While early cheap scopemeters were often relatively low frequency, many are now claiming bandwidths that would have cost quite a bit a few decades ago. A case in point is the Mustool MDS8207 which [IMSAI Guy] reviews and does a teardown of in the videos you can see below. It claims a 40 MHz bandwidth with 200 megasamples per second on a single channel.

The only downside in the claimed specifications is that the sensitivity isn’t great given that the lowest setting is 500 mV per division. Then again for a meter that runs under $100, any scope function would seem to be a bonus. The meter does all the other things you expect a meter to do these days, such as reading voltage, frequency, capacitors, temperature, etc. The response time of the meter is relatively slow, but you can get used to that.

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$60 PC Oscilloscope Review

Owning an oscilloscope is a real gamechanger and these days, scopes are more capable and less expensive than ever before. However, there is a big difference between scopes that cost several hundred dollars which are usually quite good and many of the very inexpensive — below $100 — instruments that are often — but not always — little more than toys. [Adrian] looks at a PC-based scope from Hantek that costs about $60. Is it a toy? Or a useful tool? He answers the question in the video below.

The Hantek 6022BE sports two channels with a 20 MHz bandwidth and 48 million samples per second. The device included probes, too. Of course, you also need a PC, although there is apparently third-party software for Android if you don’t want to lug a laptop around.

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How Good Are The Head(amame) 3D Printed Headphones?

3D printing lets the average maker tackle building anything their heart desires, really, and many have taken to using the technology for audio projects. Printable speaker and headphone designs abound. The Head(amame) headphones from [Vector Finesse] are a design that combines 3D printed parts with hi-fi grade components to create a high-end listening experience. [Angus] of Maker’s Muse decided to try printing a set at home and has shared his thoughts on the hardware.

Printing the parts has to be done carefully, with things like the infill settings crucial to the eventual sound quality of the final product. Using a properly equipped slicer like CURA is key to getting the parts printed properly so the finer settings can be appropriately controlled. The recommendation is to print the pieces in PETG, which [Angus] notes can be difficult to work with, and several prints were required to get all the parts made correctly.

Assembly is straightforward enough with kits available with all the fasteners and electronic parts included. Subjectively, [Angus] found the sound quality to be impressive, with plenty of full bass and clearly defined highs. Overall, it’s a positive review in the areas of comfort and sound quality.

Detractors will note that the kit of parts costs over $100 USD alone, and that after hours of work and printing, the user is left with a set of headphones made out of obviously 3D-printed parts. It seems destined to be a product aimed at the 3D printing fanbase. If you want a set of headphones you can customise endlessly in form and color, these are ideal. If you prefer the fit and finish of a consumer-grade product, they may not be for you.

It’s a good look at a design sure to appeal to a wide set of makers out there. We’ve seen 3D printing put to good use in this realm before, too. Video after the break.

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Hands-On: MNT Reforms The Laptop

When we met our contact from MNT in the coffee shop, he was quietly working away on his laptop. Jet black and standing thick it was like an encyclopedia that didn’t quite blend in with the sea of silver MacBook lookalikes on the surrounding tables. After going through all the speeds and feeds we eagerly got our 64 piece driver kit out to open it up and see what made this marvel tick, but when the laptop was turned over it became clear that no tools were needed. The entire bottom of the machine was a single rectangle of transparent acrylic revealing everything from sharp white status LEDs on the bare mainboard to individual 18650 LiFePO4 battery cells in a tidy row. In a sense that’s the summary of the entire product: it’s a real laptop you can use to get work done, and every element of it from design to fabrication is completely transparent.

a view of the inside of a MNT Reform laptop, showing screen and keyboard
The MNT Reform

The device pictured here is called the Reform and is designed and manufactured by MNT, a company in Berlin, Germany (note MNT stands for MNT, it’s not an acronym). The Reform is a fully open source laptop which is shipping today and available via distribution through Crowd Supply. If the aesthetic doesn’t make it clear the Reform is an opinionated product designed from the ground up to optimize for free-as-in-freedom: from it’s solid metal chassis to the blob-free GNU/Linux distribution running inside.

We’re here to tell you that we’ve held one, it’s real, and it’s very well built.

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Review And Teardown Of Economical Programmable DC Power Supply

[Kerry Wong] isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and is always more than willing to open things up and see what makes them tick. This time, he reviews and tears down the Topshak LW-3010EC programmable DC power supply, first putting the unit through its paces, then opens it up to see how it looks on the inside.

The Topshak LW-3010EC is in a family of reasonably economical power supplies made by a wide variety of manufacturers, which all share many of the same internals and basic construction. This one is both programmable as well as nice and compact, and [Kerry] compares and contrasts it with other power supplies in the same range as he tests the functions and  checks over the internals.

Overall, [Kerry] seems pleased with the unit. You can watch him put the device through its paces in the video embedded below, which ends with him opening it up and explaining what’s inside. If you’ve ever been curious about what’s inside one of these power supplies and how they can be expected to perform, be sure to fire up the video below the page break.

Speaking of power supplies, most of us have ready access to ATX power supplies. They are awfully capable pieces of hardware, and hackable in their own way. Our own Jenny List will tell you everything you need to know about the ATX power supply, and how to put it to new uses.

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