Reviews

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

Review: RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon

A Review of the RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (Model: RP_PB057).

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black A versatile, affordable, and necessary aftermarket accessory for your Nikon camera.

For the sake of clarity, this is an independent review of the RAVPower 2100mAh rechargeable camera batteries and charger set (model: RP-PB057), intended for a variety of Nikon cameras including  the Nikon 1 V1,  D600, D610, D750, D800, D800a, D800e, D810, D7000, D7100 and D7200.

The product reviewed in this article was purchased from Amazon with hard-earned cash and the batteries tested extensively in a Nikon D7200.

Check the link below to obtain the latest price of this RAVPower charger set.


EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) – Black

Good to know: This battery and recharger set comes complete with a free 12 months extended warranty when you register your purchase online.


REVIEW: RAVPower RP-PB057 Battery and Charger Set for Nikon Cameras

Product Description

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

The RAVPower EN-EL15 2100mAh rechargeable camera battery and charger set is an affordable aftermarket camera accessory that offers a tonne of features and benefits over the Nikon MH-25 battery charger.

This RAVPower battery and charger set aims to provide a complete backup power solution for your camera. With an extra two replacement batteries and a dual charger to keep empty batteries charging on the go, you will always be prepared for those unexpected moments when your camera battery runs out of juice.

With this kit, you will have the potential to triple your camera’s run time with the two extra batteries alone. And, with the charger being able to connect to any micro-USB power source,  this makes charging extremely versatile, as batteries could even be charged in remote locations with a portable battery, such as the RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank.


RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank Portable Charger 3-Port 5.5A iSmart Output External Battery Pack for Mobile Phones, Tablets and More RAVPower 26800mAh Power Bank Portable Charger 3-Port 5.5A iSmart Output External Battery Pack for Mobile Phones, Tablets and More

Good to know: This power bank is capable of recharging one EN-EL15 2100mAh battery approximately 12 times from a full charge.


Package Contents:

  • 2 x Replacement Batteries for Nikon EN-EL15 2100mAh
  • 1 x DC Dual Battery Charger
  • 1 x micro-USB Cable
  • Warranty Card

Batteries:

RAVPower claim that their replacement batteries (RP-PB057 Savior Series) are made to the exact specifications of the Nikon EN-EL15 battery but with a slightly larger capacity of 2100mAh/14.7W compared with the 1900mAh/14W of the Nikon EN-EL15. This equates to a 10.5% increase in battery capacity over the original.

RAVPower RP-PB057 SAVIOR Series Nikon EN-EL15 Battery V Nikon Original

RAVPower RP-PB057 SAVIOR Series Nikon EN-El15 Battery Pack V Nikon EN-EL15 Battery

In my own tests, where I used these batteries continuously for 3 days in a Nikon D7200, I found no discernible difference in battery performance when compared with the original Nikon EN-EL15 battery. The RAVPower batteries charged just as quickly as the Nikon original; shooting duration and number of shots obtained were also on par with the Nikon.

RAVPower RP-PB057 batteries will charge inside camera if your camera model supports this feature. However, note that some models, like the Nikon D7200 do not support inside camera charging.

Charger:

The RAVPower battery charger is light weight, but well made from a relatively strong, fire resistant plastic. It features two battery compartments and a pair of LEDs labelled CH1 and CH2.

RAVPower Charger for EN-EL15 Batteries

RAVPower Charger for EN-EL15 Batteries

The LEDs indicate charging status and glow red when a battery is charging. The LEDs glow green when a battery if fully charged or when a battery bay is empty.

CH1 No Battery (Green) | CH2 Battery Charging (Red)

The RAVPower charger is capable of charging the original Nikon EN-EL15 battery alongside a RAVPower equivalent.

RAVPower RP-PB057 Rechargeable Battery and Charger Kit

CH1 Nikon EN-EL15 Battery Charging (Red) | CH2 RAVPower Battery Charged (Green)

The RAVPower battery charger needs to be connected to a power source via the USB to micro USB cable provided.

RAVPower recommend that you connect to a charger capable of delivering at least 2.1 Amps to maximise charging efficiency. However, connecting to any USB power source will still charge the batteries. It will just take longer.


Raspberry Pi 3 Power Adapter

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Power Adapters 2.5 Amps +

Good to know: A power adapter for the Raspberry Pi 3 is an ideal companion for this battery charger as they are rated at 2.5 Amps minimum.

 


A Recommended Buy

The RAVPower 2100mAh rechargeable camera batteries and charger set (model: RP-PB057) is an affordable, quality made, aftermarket accessory for your Nikon camera. It is less expensive than the Nikon MH-25 charger; portable and offers a wealth of charging versatility with the two replacement batteries and the USB charging station.

With no detectable difference in battery performance from the original EN-EL15 Nikon battery, this kit represents excellent value for money and provides a total power solution for your camera.

Often promoted on Amazon with a substantial price discount, you should grab one of these today. Check the link below to obtain the latest price.


EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) - Black

Buy the RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon

 

 

 

EN-EL15 RAVPower 2100mAh Rechargeable Camera Battery and Charger Set for Nikon (2x Replacement Batteries, 2.1A USB Input, 100% Compatible with Original) – Black

 

 

 


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Review: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4G Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick For PC, Playstation 3, Android and Steam

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick for PC (Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10), the PlayStation 3, Android devices and Steam.

For the sake of clarity, this is a review of the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick for PC (Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10), the PlayStation 3, Android devices and Steam. It was purchased with hard-earned cash, so this review reflects that in terms of value for money.

The controller was purchased to compliment a RetroPie set-up and for occasional use with games on Steam.


The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick is designed and manufactured by Dongguan Zhi Dong Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. in China. They are Amazon Marketplace Sellers and offer an incredible piece of gaming hardware for the money. A wired version of this model is also available with the same features as the wireless one. Both controllers are Plug and Play and PC fully compatible. They both contain a 360 core, which means that they are recognized as XBOX 360 controllers.

Check prices on amazon.co.uk:-

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRELESS Controller Gamepad Joystick

 

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRED Controller Gamepad Joystick


Packaging

The ZD V Full Feedback wireless controller arrives quickly and is packaged in a brown cardboard box when ordered from Amazon. Inside is the blue cardboard box that houses the wireless controller and its accessories.

Packaging: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Packaging: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Two polystyrene inserts protect the ZD V wireless controller during shipping. You will find the controller in a plastic bag (not shown) for additional protection. The palm grips of the controller are protected further with easy-to-remove plastic film.

Inside the Box: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Inside the Box: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Inside the box are the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick itself and  a second bag containing a 2.4GHz USB dongle; a USB to micro USB cable; a USB to micro USB adapter to enable connection to Android devices, and a folded piece of paper containing the operating instructions, product specifications and manufacturer details.

Contents: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Contents: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Manufacturer Details & Product Specifications:

  • Dongguan Zhi Dong Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., China.
  • Model: ZD-V208
  • Product size: 156 x 105 x 65mm
  • Working modes: XInput / Direct Input / Android
  • Interface: USB 2.0 / 3.0
  • Product weight: 210g
  • Battery: Non-accessible, rechargeable polymer lithium battery.
ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Features & Operation

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick is equipped with the following buttons, triggers and joysticks:

Controls: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Controls: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Both the LEFT STICK and RIGHT STICK are stick buttons and can therefore be clicked: LSB and RSB.

The trigger buttons [LT & RT] feel like single click buttons. They are, in fact, pressure sensitive buttons that provide linear graduation through pressure sensing. This means that the harder you press them, the greater the input value sent to your game. This feature means that the gamepad can be used in conjunction with racing games that require progressive braking and acceleration, or shooting games, where a one click shot is all that is needed.

Shoulder and Trigger Buttons - ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Shoulder and Trigger Buttons – ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Integral Rechargeable Battery

A micro USB port, located in between the shoulder and trigger buttons, is used to charge the on-board lithium battery and connect the controller to an Android device. The battery can be charged by connecting the device to a suitable 5 volt power supply via the supplied USB cable. A computer USB port or mobile phone charger will suffice. A charging unit is not supplied with the product, presumably to keep the cost of the units low.

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick is shipped with the battery partially charged. The temptation is to start using the game controller straight out of the box without fully charging the battery. I encountered numerous problems when I did just this, problems that disappeared when the device was fully charged later.

Since the lithium battery is integral with the controller, this means that it cannot be changed easily.

Important points for consideration are these:-

  • If the battery runs flat during a gaming session, the battery cannot be replaced. Instead, you would have to connect the controller to a charger, which means that you are now tethered to your charger until the battery has sufficient juice for you to remove it.
  • Lithium batteries have a finite lifespan due to the repetitive cycle of power depletion and recharging. When the battery begins to fail to hold charge for a decent period of time, then changing it may be difficult and expensive.
Rear View: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Rear View: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

After a full charge, the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick battery power lasts for a considerable amount of time. On a full charge, the battery lasts between 8 and 15 hours of continuous game play. These figures are in line with the published specifications.

Connection

Connection to gaming hardware if relatively simple. Just insert the wireless USB dongle into a USB port of your gaming equipment and select the operation mode of the gamepad with the HOME button.

On a PC platform, the gamepad is Plug and Play – except for Windows XP. For use on Windows XP, you will need to download and install the 360 controller driver from Microsoft’s official website before plugging in the USB dongle.

PS3 and Android platforms are Plug & Play.

How to Turn the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick ON and OFF

  • TURN ON: Press the HOME button.
  • TURN OFF: Long press the BACK & B buttons together. Alternatively, the gamepad will automatically turn off after a reasonable time of inactivity.

Mode and Indicator Light Status

Press the HOME button to cycle through the input modes compatible with your device. The  colour of  the indicator light specifies what mode the gamepad is in.

The indicator light will flash until it detects a suitable driver on your gaming system. The indicator light will then shine constantly. Modes can be forced by long holding the HOME button.

Input Modes: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

Input Modes: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

  • Use the XInput mode to enable the full vibration feedback feature. It is recommended for PC / XBOX360 games that have been written to provide vibration feedback.
  • Use the Direct Input mode for the PS3 and other platforms like the Raspberry Pi.
  • Use the Android mode when paired with an Android device.

Note: the full vibration feature will only work in XInput mode AND when the games have been written to support it.

Exchange D-PAD and LEFT STICK Functions

A great feature of this gamepad is that the D-PAD and LEFT STICK controls can be swapped easily, back and forth, by pressing BACK and the LEFT STICK BUTTON at the same time.

D-PAD LEFT STICK Exchange: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

D-PAD LEFT STICK Exchange: ZD V Full Vibration Feedback Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick

If you want to use the ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz Wireless Controller Gamepad Joystick with RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi, then this function is fantastic for choosing the optimal left thumb controller for a particular ROM, quickly.

Conclusion

The ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4 GHz Wireless Controller GamePad Joystick is rich with useful features that make it a versatile gaming accessory. With its 360 core and its range of compatibility modes, it can be used in conjunction with many gaming platforms. And, being a wireless controller means that you will not be tethered to your gaming hardware and restricted in range as you would be with its wired counterpart.

This gamepad feels good in the hands of both adults and children. It has been designed and produced to a quality resembling that of a PS3 controller. The construction is good; the buttons respond well and the joysticks work with precision.

Positives:

  • A versatile wireless controller with a XBOX 360 core, resulting in cross-platform compatibility. Fully compatible with PC, PS3, Android and other devices using Direct Mode.
  • Full vibration feedback when used in conjunction with compatible games.
  • Integral battery with continuous play time of 8 to 15 hours.
  • JD-Switch: The ability to swap the D-PAD and LS controllers in-game.
  • LT & RT are pressure sensing switches. This means linear and precise control in racing games is possible, depending on how you press.
  • Very good build quality, resembling that of a PS3 controller.

Negatives:

  • The controller is made from black glossy plastic, which attracts fingerprints. Very easy to wipe clean though.

Buy:-

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback 2.4GHz WIRELESS Controller Gamepad Joystick

ZD V Full Vibration Feedback WIRED Controller Gamepad Joystick

Ecoair DD1 Mk5 Dehumidifier

EcoAir DD1 Classic MK5 Desiccant Dehumidifier

For the purpose of clarity, this is a review of the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier (formerly DD122 Classic), purchased with hard-earned cash.

Overview

The EcoAir DD1 Mk5 Desiccant dehumidifier sets the bar for home desiccant dehumidifiers with its innovative design and a wealth of comprehensive features that optimize performance and save energy. It rectifies problem areas quickly and maintains them intelligently by toggling between full power, economy and standby modes as it senses the environment around it. This means that once your environment is under control, dehumidification requirements will be adjusted continuously so that power is only consumed when absolutely necessary. It works effectively at cold temperatures, even as low as 1ºC. Its operating range of 1ºC-40ºC makes this machine incredibly versatile for use in almost any home enclosure.

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier

EcoAir DD1 Mk5 Classic Desiccant Dehumidifier

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier can be used to dry laundry indoors quickly yet keep humidity levels within a comfortable range. Clothes dried with the assistance of this dehumidifier smell fresher than those dried more slowly indoors.

The 3D-Louvre on top of the machine can be controlled to tackle problem areas quickly, like mould growth on a wall, by channeling airflow towards a target in a precise manner.

3D-Louvre

3D-Louvre

The selective Ioniser purifies the air by releasing negative ions from the air outlet. This has a normalizing effect on the human body, providing ideal conditions for breathing and relaxation. A silver filter traps airborne particles and kill bacteria on contact. The filter is designed to be cleaned very easily.

Desiccant technology means no more noisy compressor at the heart of the machine. This model is advertised as Whisper Quiet at only 34 dB(A). Measurements made confirm this fact, but whether or not you could sleep with this unit running in the same room is a moot point. However, it is barely audible at night when operating on a landing behind a closed bedroom door.

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The unit has intuitive controls, a filter that is quick and easy to clean and a neat carrying handle that folds flush with the top of the unit.

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier Water Collection

EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier Water Collection

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier has a water  tank capacity of 2 Litres, which is simple to empty and replace. An anti drip mechanism prevents water drips when the tank is removed. Continuous drainage is possible with a supplied hose that can be plumbed into existing waste outlets.

What’s in the box?

Packaging and Contents

Packaging and Contents

The EcoAir DD1 Classic MK5 Desiccant Dehumidifier arrives well packaged with the main unit protected with polystyrene blocks. Included with the dehumidifier is a transparent hose 1.2m in length and 12mm in inner diameter. This can be connected to the dehumidifier if continuous drainage is desired. A manual, which contains the 2 Year Guarantee Card on the final page completes the ensemble.

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier manual

Specifications

  • Temperature range: 1ºC to 40ºC
  • Dehumidification extraction rate: 7 Litres/day @ 20ºC and 60% RH
  • Water tank capacity: 2 Litres (Continuous drainage possible)
  • Voltage: 220-240V @ 50Hz
  • Net weight: 6 Kg
  • Dimensions: 290mm x 475mm x 175mm

Review

Design

The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier is impressively smart and fashionable in design and would compliment most decors and furnishings. It is slender enough to tuck away in a corner when not in use. And, it does not seem obtrusive at all when brought out for use. The blue light in the front grill is in vogue with modern appliances and rounds off a very pleasing design.

Operation

The push button controls on top of the unit are intuitive and easy to press. The dehumidifier can be programmed for simple or specific tasks with just a few button presses.

Essentially, the amount of noise emitted from the machine is governed by the two power settings, economy and high. The type of sound that is created is akin to the noise made by the fan in an extraction hood, common to most kitchens. If you want some idea of how this unit will sound, and more importantly, how loud it will be, go into your kitchen and listen to your extractor fan on low and high settings. The video below compares the sound from the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier with the fan of an extractor hood. Sound intensity levels from both units are also measured and displayed for comparative purposes. Advertised as Whisper Quiet at 34 dB(A), measurements made during the making of this video confirm that the intensity of the sound emitted is correct. However, the type of noise created is unlike a whisper, and in my opinion, it is not pleasant to listen to. Nontheless, behind a closed door, the noise is barely noticeable.

Sound measurements taken at a distance of 1 metre (3ft) from all sources.

Buy the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier from Amazon UK

On the high power setting, the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier will dehumidify a room to comfortable levels within a very short period of time. Additionally, the unit will dry partially dried washing very quickly and wet washing reasonably quickly, and at the same, heat the room and maintain a comfortable humidity level. Clothes dried rapidly in this way smell fresher than clothes that are dried more slowly on radiators or airers. Although this dehumidifier cannot compete with the drying times of tumble driers, the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier is a viable alternative for those seeking to dry their laundry in a smarter way; where space is at a premium or home occupancy is low.

This model uses 300W and 590W of power in economy and high power modes respectively. You can calculate the cost of using this appliance by entering these details and your electricity tariff in this calculator. To give you an idea of the energy cost, you will also need to enter how often you expect to use this device.

Don’t be alarmed when you see the prediction! The EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier really is an efficient device. This means you will not need to run it as often as you first thought. It will get humidity levels in your home under control very quickly and then it will be a case of running the unit when needed to maintain those levels, or to dry laundry effectively.

Change your habits

Condensation will not disappear instantly when a dehumidifier is in operation. If you are generating excessive amounts of water vapour from cooking, boiling a kettle, washing, showering or bathing, it will be necessary to ventilate your property by opening windows and using extractor fans to expel the excessive humidity.

Digital Temperature - Hygrometer

Digital Temperature – Hygrometer

Invest in a digital hygrometer that will measure and display the humidity level of the room you keep it in. Switching on your dehumidifier only when humidity levels are excessive will keep your energy costs low. If you own a home weather station or a modern smart phone, then the chances are that you already have a hygrometer at hand.

Conclusion

Positives:

  • Sleek, modern design and aesthetically pleasing. Its slender design makes it easy to store.
  • Incorporates intelligent features that run in parallel to optimise efficiency and reduce power consumption.
  • Desiccant technology means a consistent extraction efficiency over a large temperature range. Extraction rate of 7 Litres/day @ 20ºC and 60% RH.
  • 2 Litre water collection tank capacity with the option for continuous drainage.
  • No compressor means a quieter product.
  • 3D-Louvre system can target problem areas by channeling airflow precisely.
  • Purifies the air with negative ions to aid breathing and relaxation.
  • Silver filter scrubs air particulate matter and kills bacteria on contact.
  • Dries laundry very quickly while maintaining comfortable humidity levels and thereby preventing condensation.
  • Works so effectively that you will use it occasionally rather than continuously. This keeps energy costs down.
  • Built in shutdown timer.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry at only 6Kg.

Negatives:

  • Although the intensity of noise produced is low and in keeping with that stated by the manufacturer, the type of noise produced in unpleasant to listen to, especially in the high power mode. However, the noise is barely detectable through closed doors. That said, deployment times and locations can be organised so as not to annoy people in the home.
  • Although this dehumidifier contains a hygrometer to measure the humidity level around it, it does not display that measurement. This would have been a useful feature.
  • The humidity thresholds at which the dehumidifier switches to economy, high power and standby modes are preset and cannot be altered. The option to change these would have been beneficial for refining power savings.

A very good product and value for money.

Buy the EcoAir DD1 Classic Mk5 Desiccant Dehumidifier from Amazon UK


Humidity Guide

There will always be water vapour (or moisture) in the air. Water vapour in the air is measured as the ratio of the actual amount of water vapour in the air to the amount it could hold when saturated, and expressed as a percentage. This measurement is known as % Relative Humidity (% RH). Too much or too little moisture in the home can be unhealthy and uncomfortable. The optimum humidity range is 40% – 60% RH.

It is important to maintain a consistent humidity range to preserve your home and possessions and at the same time, remain comfortable and healthy.

Low Humidity

If indoor humidity is too low, this can lead to excess drying which in turn can cause skin irritations, eczema, chapped hands and a dry nose. It can also cause damage to wooden furniture, musical instruments and works of art by drying them out too much.

High Humidity

High humidity indoors causes condensation and damp. The damp left by condensation can damage plaster, wall paper, furniture, vehicles, timber, windows, doors and clothes.

Damp areas are breeding grounds for anaerobic bacteria in the air, which land in patches of moisture and then thrive, ultimately resulting in visible mould, fungus and the accompanying musty smells.

% Relative Humidity Guide

% Relative Humidity Guide

Condensation

The graph below shows the relationship between temperature and the amount of water that can be held in the air at 1 Atmosphere of pressure.

Amount of Water in Air (g/Kg) Versus Air Temperature | Graph calculated from http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/humidity/relative-humidity.htm

Amount of Water in Air (g/Kg) Versus Air Temperature | Graph calculated from http://www.lenntech.com/calculators/humidity/relative-humidity.htm

Warm air has the potential to hold more moisture than colder air. When the air inside the house becomes colder, the moisture content in the air can no longer be held as the air becomes saturated and water molecules coalesce to form droplets of water on colder surfaces like windows, bathroom mirrors and walls. This is condensation caused by a rapid increase in % relative humidity.

Samsung 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit

A Review of the Samsung MUF-BB 128 GB USB 3.0 MicroFit Flash Drive – Silver

For the purpose of clarity, this is a review of the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit as shown in its packaging below.

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit in packaging

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit

Summary

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is a discrete unit that will compliment the look of any laptop and at the same time, provide 119GB of fast storage space. The short length of the device means that it cannot be knocked from a laptop port, thus preventing data corruption. It is fast enough to integrate with a smart TV to provide time-shifting and programme recording. It can store at least 35 hours of recorded HD content due to its large capacity.

Additionally, this flash drive incorporates a number of unique features to protect your precious data. It is resilient to water, shock, magnets, temperature and x-rays. And, transfer speeds are very good when used in conjunction with either USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is manufactured in Taiwan and comes with a 5 year limited warranty.

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit additional information

Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit additional information


Buy the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit from Amazon.


It can be used with old and modern hardware and a variety of operating systems. At the time of writing, this flash drive offers excellent value for money and is highly recommended as a versatile storage device.

Introduction

This tiny device, just 2cm (3/4″) in length, boasts transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s and is backward compatible with USB 2.0. Samsung claim that this storage device is water proof, shock proof, magnet proof, temperature proof and x-ray proof. These are welcome features that can protect your data from being lost accidentally.

Size of Samsung MUF-BB 128 GB USB 3.0 MicroFit Flash Drive

The Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Fit is just 2cm (3/4″) in length

For out-of-the-box compatibility across computers and game consoles, the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit comes pre-formatted in FAT32. This format provides cross platform usability but with a 4GB limitation on individual file size. If you intend to copy huge files to this drive, you will need to reformat the drive to the NTFS format, where no such limitation exists on individual files.

Windows detects this drive immediately as a Samsung USB.

Samsung USB shown in Windows Explorer

Samsung USB shown in Windows Explorer

Windows reports that the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit has a usable storage capacity of 119GB when formatted.

119GB usable capacity when formatted as FAT32

119GB usable capacity when formatted as FAT32

The free program H2testw, which can be used to detect fraudulent drive capacities, shows the true capacity of this drive to be that reported by Windows, 119GB.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit - H2testw Results

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit – H2testw Results

Note: H2testw reports the usable capacity of the Samsung MUF-BB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit as 122,335 MBytes. Expressed in GB, the capacity of this drive is 122,335/1024 = 119GB.

The H2testw test was performed with the drive in a USB 3.0 port. The procedure took 55:40 mins to write data to the drive and 17:45 mins to verify it. The average writing and reading speeds were 36MB/s and 115MB/s, respectively.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Speed Test

CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 x64 was used to determine the sequential read and write speeds of the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The different benchmarks of the CrytsalDiskMark are explained in this article.

USB 3.0 | FAT32

The benchmark, Seq Q32T1, writes and reads sequential 128KB blocks of data with multi-queues and threads. The average read and write speeds reported were 154MB/s and 102MB/s, respectively.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 3.0

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 3.0

USB 2.0 | FAT32

With the drive in a USB 2.0 port, reported Seq Q32T1 read and write speeds were both 39MB/s. These transfer speeds are remarkable for a flash drive connected to a USB 2.0 port.

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 2.0

Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB Flash Drive Speed Test | FAT32 / USB 2.0

Computer – In Use

Although the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit is a small device, the plastic moulding on the end of it enables its easy removal from a USB port. A faint, blue light is emitted from the centre of the moulding when there is read and write activity. The moulding also incorporates a cut away so that it can be attached to a lanyard or keyring to prevent loss. This unit is certainly discrete and would compliment a laptop or smart TV. It even looked good when connected to my black desktop computer.

As expected, writing speed to the USB varies considerably during the transfer of many files. Typical write speeds when copying over 35GB of photographs from a hard disk drive to the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit, ranged from 35MB/s to 72MB/s.

Writing speed when copying lots of small files

Writing speed when copying lots of small files

During intensive copy operations, the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit does get warm. However, the heat produced does not result in a device that is too hot to handle, nor does it affect performance. The device cools quickly when intensive operations cease.

Smart TV – In Use

The Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit performs admirably when used as an external hard disk drive for a Smart TV. Once connected the drive enables faultless time-shifting and programme recording.

How many hours of recorded television can a 128GB flash drive store?

Ultimately, the resultant file size of a recorded programme is dependent on the bit rate of that transmission. That bit rate will be relatively low for Standard Definition (SD) channels and much greater for High Definition (HD) channels. There is even bit rate variation within these two groups. Sports broadcasts tend to be of the highest quality and so have the highest bit rate and consequentially, the greatest storage rate.

The table below shows the expected recording time for the range of SD and HD channels on Freeview. These data were compiled by making random recordings from different channels then noting the recording time and file size. The storage rate was then calculated and then the total recording time for a 128GB USB flash drive.

Smart TV file storage rate and total recording time

Smart TV file storage rate and total recording time for a 128GB USB flash drive

The maximum storage rate of 56MB/min was courtesy of BBC ONE HD Match of the Day. The table shows that if this was the only scheduled weekly recording, a 128GB USB drive would be able to store approximately 35 hours of this programme. In comparison, one thirty minute recording of  ITV HD Coronation Street utilises 1.2GB of storage. A storage rate of 40MB/min.

So, to answer the question: “How many hours of recorded television can a 128GB flash drive store?”

Anything between 35 and 124 hours of recorded material, dependent on what you watch.

Conclusion

If you are looking for high capacity, fast, inexpensive flash storage then the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit will not disappoint. It is discrete, aesthetically pleasing and versatile and contains a rich set of features to protect your data from harsh environments. Highly recommended.


Buy the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit from Amazon.


Competition

There are many 128GB USB 3.0 flash drives on the market. Still unsure about the Samsung MUF-BB 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit? Check out the competition on Amazon by clicking the link below.


A list of 128GB USB flash drives available on Amazon right now.


200M PLC Passthrough Adapter Power Packet Utility – InTellon

InTellon Power Packet Utility for 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters

This review provides download links to the InTellon Power Packet Utility and User Manual for the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters that were manufactured circa 2005-2009. The links are provided at the very end of this document beneath the original copyright notice.

Power Packet Utility

Power Packet Utility

Check the photographs and description of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters to make sure that the Power Packet Utility software is the correct version for your units.

Introduction

These 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were manufactured in China. Based on the Intellon INT6400 chipset, they  were one of the first incarnations of the HomePlug to go on sale in the UK. Relatively inexpensive, they were able to extend the reach of  local area networks by utilizing the existing electrical wiring of the home. They were a welcome arrival for those suffering the woes of weak and unreliable wi-fi.

The main features of these 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were:

  • Transmission of data up to 200Mbits/s across the household power line.
  • Every socket became a connection. No new wire required.
  • Effortless creation of high speed networks that could carry video, voice and data consistently, with zero drop outs.
  • The passthrough feature meant not having to give up an electrical outlet. The product provided a female socket to which devices or power strips could be connected.
  • Built in noise filters to improve data transmission.
  • 128 AES encryption.

The 200M PLC Passthrough Adapters were sold in pairs and each pair came bundled with a small user manual and miniature CD containing Power Packet software: Powerline Ethernet Adapter Series Utility. Two RJ45 Ethernet cables were also provided to complete the kit.

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | User Manual & CD

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | User Manual

Overview of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Front

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Front

The front face of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter features the pass through female electrical socket to receive a 240 volt UK male 3-pin plug. Three green LED lights in the bottom right hand corner of the unit display Power, LAN and PLC activity.

  • Power: The Power LED illuminates when the adapter is powered on.
  • LAN: The LAN LED flashes to indicate activity over the Ethernet connection.
  • PLC: The PLC LED flashes when there is activity over the power line connection.
200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Right

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Right

On the right hand side of the unit are two switches labelled  RST and NMK.

  • RST – Resets the unit to factory defaults.
  • NMK – Network Membership Key. Adds new devices or removes old devices from a HomePlug AV logical network (AVLN).
200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Ethernet Connection at Base of Unit

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Ethernet Connection at Base of Unit

At the base of the unit is the connection for an Ethernet cable.

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Rear of Unit

200M PLC Passthrough Adapter | Rear of Unit

The rear side of the 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter contains important information about the default settings of that unit, namely: Mac Address, password and serial number.

The default password is required when adding that HomePlug adapter to an AVLN with the supplied Power Packet Utility software.


In 2009, I purchased four of these Ethernet passthrough adapters in order to extend the range of my home computer network. And, it is fair to say that they have withstood the test of time. Seven years on, they are still working admirably. Except for one that is, that got reset accidentally when I moved it to a new location.

To reconfigure that one unit would have been easy enough if I still had the Power Packet Utility software installed on my computer. But,  three operating systems and another PC later I’m dead in the water. I can’t find the original CD or find the correct version of the Power Packet Utility online. And, InTellon no longer trade under that name.

Working on another project today, I found the original Power Packet Utility CD and manual purely by chance.

I thought it only right to make that software available to others who might be in need of it.

The original copyright notice allows me to do this providing I display that original notice:

Copyright (c) 1999 – 2005 NetGroup, Politecnico di Torino (Italy).
Copyright (c) 2005 – 2009 CACE Technologies, Davis (California).
All rights reserved.

InTellon Power Packet Utility - Version 5.0, Build 2.0 - Released 3 Nov 2009

InTellon power Packet Utility – Version 5.0, Build 2.0 – Released 3 Nov 2009

Download 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter User Manual.

Download 200M PLC Passthrough Adapter Power Packet Utility, version 5.0, build 2.0, released November 3 2009.

InTellon Power Packet Utility Installation Files

InTellon Power Packet Utility Installation Files

Install WinPcap_4_1_1.exe first – this contains the drivers for the Passthrough Adapters, then install setup.exe.

Works on Windows 10 64 bit!

Coms Plc Broadband Review

Coms Plc Broadband Review

ADSL24 to Coms Plc Migration

As a broadband user who lives miles from the nearest telephone exchange with no fibre in the area, my expected download and upload synchronization speeds are never going to be the best with conventional telephone wires. And that’s why, years ago, I signed up with ADSL24 and remained with them for years. They provided an unadulterated broadband connection, and worked with me to optimize my broadband speeds, reduce latency and improve line stability. On moving to them from Tiscali, my average download speeds increased from 0.5Mb/s to an achievable 3Mb/s; with upload speeds almost doubling from 0.5Mb/s to 0.9Mb/s. And more than that, they provided first-class contention and did not engage in stealthy traffic shaping techniques during busy periods: no port blocking and no port throttling. The connection was fast and consistent at all times. And the few problems that I had were dealt with professionally and promptly.

Unfortunately, ADSL24 were purchased by Coms Plc in May 2013 and despite assurances from Coms that my ADSL24 service would not be adversely affected upon migration to them, my download speed dropped by half to 1.5Mb/s and my upload speed dropped back to the former 0.5Mb/s after the switchover. Latency increased and stability issues were a nightmare. The connection kept dropping frequently, resulting in ridiculously low synchronization speeds upon reconnection.

Assurances Made by Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers | Sent December 2013, Prior to Migration

Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers

Coms Plc to ADSL24 Customers. Assurances of next generation networks, continuous improvements, and commitment to high quality services.
The promise of no adverse effect on monthly usage limit, or maximum available download speed.
Why is my broadband connection with Coms Plc so terrible then?

 Numerous calls to Coms technical support to get the line synchronization speeds raised to those that I was accustomed to resulted in:

“You live over 7km from the exchange. You should be grateful you’re getting what you have!”

And despite constant pressure from me, the very best speeds I’ve been able to attain through the Coms technical support are nothing like I achieved with ADSL24.

And it gets worse.

Coms Plc Broadband – Stealthy Traffic Shaping & Port Throttling

On Sunday 13th April 2014, I noticed that my broadband connection had been subjected to port-throttling or traffic shaping without being notified that this would happen.

I ran the Glasnost test a number of times throughout the day to determine if this was the case. The ports for bit torrent peer-to-peer communication had been throttled back. The ports for news server connections (nntp) had also been severely restricted.

Coms Plc Glasnost test results. Port throttling.

Coms Plc: Bit torrent peer-to-peer port throttling confirmed with Glasnost

 

Coms Plc Glasnost test results. NNTP News server port

Coms Plc: Hindrance of control flow transfers on port 119 (nntp) for news servers

 

I contacted Coms Plc about this and they replied with:

Concerning Coms’ Traffic Management Tools, please see below, Coms’ most recent confirmation on services/time affected;

A basic policy set was deployed to:
Prioritise real-time traffic during peak time (18:00-00:00 weekdays; 10:00-00:00 weekends) e.g.
VoIP, gaming, video etc. to ensure a consistent user experience

::De-prioritise peer-to-peer traffic outside of off-peak (00:00-07:00 daily)

::Ultimately reduce to peer-to-peer traffic during peak time to reduce 95th percentile bandwidth consumption

There are no exceptions to these measures, and the main data protocol that will be affected is peer-to-peer and NNTP.

There has never been, and will be NOT be any blocking of ports.

We are awaiting a final decision to be made at Coms’ concerning this policy.

Our customers can expect communication from Coms once this has been fully implemented as Coms are still trialing these methods.

I take exception to my broadband connection  being used as a test bed to trial these traffic shaping methods, especially when I had received assurances from Coms Plc that my service would not be adversely affected upon migration to them. My speeds have already been halved by their next generation network and by restricting what little bandwidth remains just adds insult to injury. Their broadband is not fit for purpose. I want an ISP, not a http and https provider.

So the original service that I had with ADSL24 has changed despite assurances to the contrary when I was switched to coms.
 
 I received no notification that Traffic Management Tools / Traffic Shaping techniques were going to be trialled. 
 
 I was paying for a very good ISP service with ADSL24, now it seems I am paying for a very expensive http and https service.
 
 Not happy.

Apparently, all ADSL24 customers were sent this, but I never received it.

Upon migration from Adsl24 to Coms, our customers received communication outline the below;

“Are there any changes to my existing contract?

There are no changes to any existing minimum contract term.  If your ADSL24 service was still within a minimum term this will be transferred to your Coms service.  Your Coms service is subject to our standard terms and conditions, a copy of which is available at www.coms.com/broadband-terms.html.”

Adsl24 also had a Fair Usage Policy; however I cannot confirm the exact details of how it was implemented across the network.

We apologise that you had not received communication from Coms; however Coms are under no obligation to inform customers of such policy changes.

Once again, we apologise that you feel you are not receiving the level of service you expect from your ISP.

Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.

Coms are under no obligation to inform customers of such policy changes.

Hmm, I think a change as significant as this should have been communicated fairly and properly. At least give advanced warning so customers can escape unnecessary suffering by transferring to a capable ISP.

Coms Plc Broadband – No SNR Management Tools

With ADSL24, I had the ability to alter SNR margin myself within my account profile. It is an important feature for someone like me that wants to tweak and experiment with SNR values to get the best performance from a long line. This has been lost with the migration to Coms Plc.

Coms Plc Broadband – In Brief

  • Despite assurances from Coms Plc that my broadband usage would not be affected upon migration from ADSL24, my download and upload speeds  decreased significantly; latency has increased and line stability has declined.
  • Coms Plc technical support take too long to respond to problems. They have not been able to resolve my speed issues and regain my former speeds.
  • Coms Plc employ stealthy Traffic Shaping and Port Throttling techniques to manage their congested network. They prioritize VOIP, gaming and video at the expense of peer-to-peer and news server connections.
  • There is noticeable high congestion at weekends and in the evenings. Even with their Traffic Shaping controls in place, internet browsing speed takes a massive dive.
  • No line controls such as SNR margin selection. You’re at the mercy of their technical support.
  • Clearly, Coms Plc are arrogant in their belief that they can make significant changes to customer agreements without informing them.
  • Only suitable for occasional browsing if you can stomach the lag at weekends and evenings.
  • Expensive and not value for money.

MAC code obtained.

See other complaints about Coms Plc broadband on ISP Reviews.

 

 

Recover Hidden Files Gallery Lock

Recover Hidden Files Gallery Lock

How to recover hidden files from Gallery Lock Pro (Android) | Gallery Lock Pro vulnerability | Gallery Lock Pro License Validation Error | Gallery Lock Pro forgotten password

There are plenty of reviews about Gallery Lock Pro for Android devices. They all say pretty much the same thing and it’s held in high regard. Yet they all fail to point out that this app is not fully secure. The files you have hidden away and password protected can be recovered easily from that virtual safe. A fact that I only discovered recently, when my copy began to crash and I reinstalled the app.

The following method demonstrates this vulnerability. It is also useful to recover Gallery Lock hidden files under these circumstances:

  • Forgotten password for Gallery Lock
  • Accidental uninstall of Gallery Lock
  • Gallery Lock crashes – Gallery Lock app won’t start
  • Gallery Lock License Validation error problems – app terminates

How To Recover Hidden Files With Gallery Lock Pro

In your Android settings, select Applications Manager.

Select Applications Manager in your Android Device Settings

Select Applications Manager in your Android Device Settings

Scroll through your list of installed apps and select Gallery Lock.

Select Gallery Lock

Select Gallery Lock

Click Uninstall and wait for the application to be uninstalled.

Gallery Lock - Uninstall

Gallery Lock – Uninstall

Now, re-install the Gallery Lock application. Once installed, open the app.

Note: The act of re-installation resets the password to the default: 7777

Enter the Default Password: 7777

Enter the Default Password: 7777

Enter the default password and you will be shown a new, empty, hidden vault.

Gallery Lock's Hidden Vault

Gallery Lock’s Hidden Vault

At the bottom of the screen, click Settings.

Gallery Lock: Settings

Gallery Lock: Settings

Then click Advanced settings.

Advanced Settings:

Advanced Settings: Search and Recover Lost Files

Then, click Search and Recover lost files.

Gallery Lock will then scan your device and search for previously hidden files. This may take some time, especially if you had a lot of files hidden away. When the search is complete, Gallery Lock will inform you of how many files it has found that can be recovered. You will be asked if you wish to recover those files. Select Yes.

Gallery Lock will proceed to recover those hidden files, placing them in the following folder on your SD card:

\DCIM\recover

Once recovered, those files can be viewed from that folder in the normal way.

Now how secure was that?

Why bother with a password?

If you are seeking true encryption, then check out the EDS Lite app on Google Play.

It uses the same encryption methods employed by the TrueCrypt software for Windows and Linux. You can learn about the benefits of this technique there.

EDS Lite does not have the same, intuitive interface that Gallery Lock has. But it will lock away your files securely. Very securely.

ASUS 1GB GeForce GT 430 PCI-E 2.0 with Low Profile Bracket Review

ASUS 1GB GeForce GT 430 PCI-E 2.0 with Low Profile Bracket Review

I purchased the ASUS 1GB GeForce GT430 graphics card to upgrade my Dell Slimline 540s and convert it to a Home Theatre PC. An upgrade was needed because my machine struggled to play High Definition video content smoothly with its original graphics card in MediaPortal and XBMC.

ASUS 1GB GT430 PCI-E 2.0 with Low Profile Bracket

ASUS 1GB GT430 PCI-E 2.0 with Low Profile Bracket

The original graphics card was an ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series and did not have the power to decode High Definition video content quickly enough. This resulted in dropped frames and choppy playback. Handing the decoding over to the Dell’s CPU was no better; the Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz in my Dell would typically run at approximately 85% utilization or greater. And that’s not good when there’s windows services running in the background and choking the decoding process. HD content was unwatchable.

The ASUS 1GB GeForce GT430 is endowed with 96 CUDA cores, which means it can decode HD content flawlessly while taking the heat off the Dell’s CPU. And it seems to do it effortlessly. It has transformed my weak and feeble Dell into a very capable HTPC.

The other key points:-

  • With a HDMI connection to my TV and the latest nVidia drivers,  the GPU up-scales everything to 1920 x 1080p.
  • The card can alter it’s screen refresh rate to match the frame rate of the encoded video. This is essential if you are likely to be watching video from different countries and sources. It assists in making playback fluid.
  • The GPU works at approximately 60% when decoding 1080p, high frame-rate video. There’s nothing that I’ve found it can’t handle. I downloaded some really high frame rate 1080p test samples from the internet and it played them, no problem.
  • It handles Blu-Ray decoding beautifully.
  • In conjunction with the LAV codecs, it decodes the four Freeview HD channels with ease from my TBS 6280 DVB-T2 tuner card. My original graphics card had no chance decoding these. – Just remember to select the CUDA option in the LAV Video decoder settings to off-load the decoding to the ASUS GT430 –
  • And since the GPU does all the work now, the Dell’s CPU typically runs at approximately 10% with ample overhead for those pesky background services.

Playback with all material is fluid and smooth. No dropped frames, choppiness or stuttering.

The down side:-

  • Initially, the GPU fan was quiet and operated at acceptable noise levels for a HTPC. Shortly after a year though, it became noisy and I performed a BIOS hack to reduce its speed and noise output.
  • The graphics card itself does over-hang the neighbouring PCI slot as the GPU heat-sink is quite deep, but I was aware of this before I purchased it.

A superb piece of electrical engineering that’s breathed new life into a dying PC.

J1nx Linux XBMC Firmware on a G-Box Midnight

XBMC Linux on a GBOX Midnight – J1nx or Static?

The G-BOX Midnight has received a mixed reception in terms of it’s advertized capabilities and its ability to run XBMC on an Android platform with acceptable performance. Certainly, the purported output of 1080p is a moot point. And every version of Android XBMC that I tried  had one problem or another; mainly audio out of sync with video, and choppy playback of HD content. Thank goodness for the Linux XBMC versions then, courtesy of static and J1nx.

Flashing the G-BOX Midnight with any flavor of Linux XBMC negates the Android operating system-bloat and allows the device to boot straight into XBMC. And for me, this is a real benefit. With the supplied remote, it’s near-on impossible to  navigate the Android Home screen with any sort of speed and dexterity. Trying to find the  XBMC icon and then click on it is a major undertaking.

I have tried the static and J1nx versions of Linux XBMC on the G-BOX Midnight v2.2 and this is what I found:

static XBMC Linux v0.2 beta

  • Very good playback of HD content. Fluid playback. No dropped frames.
  • Menus very responsive.
  • Remote fully programmed.
  • CPU usage relatively low (compared with Android versions).
  • Audio sync issues – audio out of sync with video by 125ms (average).
  • WakeOnLan add-on did not work.

J1nx XBMC Linux beta2

  • Excellent playback of SD and HD content. Playback is smooth. No dropped frames.
  • Menus very responsive.
  • Remote fully programmed.
  • CPU usage relatively low (compared with Android versions).
  • Every add-on I’ve installed works.
  • It rarely goes wrong. It’s extremely reliable.
  • Everything works as it should! This is the version I’ve kept.

My Installation

I bought the G-BOX Midnight to fuel a wall-mounted TV I put in my kitchen. An aerial connection to the TV would have resulted in unsightly wires running up the wall. Plus, I wanted the G-BOX to supply everything to the TV; live tv, recorded tv from my MediaPortal server, and everything else that XBMC can supply.

Mounting the TV

Fitting the TV Bracket Wall Anchors

Fitting the TV Bracket Wall Anchors

TV Mounted on the Wall

TV Mounted on the Wall

G-BOX Midnight Attached

G-BOX Midnight Attached and Running XBMC – TV Catchup

As shown above, I have the G-Box Midnight connected to the internet via a Home Plug and Ethernet connection, normally all tucked away behind the TV. I’ve not tried it’s performance with a wireless connection.

It plays HD video content across my home network flawlessly; both 720p and 1080p encoded files. It plays live TV too via the TV catchup add-on. And with J1nx’s version of XBMC, sound is perfectly in sync with video. A problem that was really annoying me with the Android versions.

This is good little, unobtrusive, low-powered unit that delivers the goods now that I’ve found the right firmware to suit me.

A Quick Demonstration of J1nx XBMC Linux beta2

This video depicts the boot time of my G-BOX Midnight v2.2 running the J1nx Linux beta2 firmware. It takes approximately 1min 15 seconds for XBMC to be ready and responsive.

And because of this, I leave the G-BOX switched on at all times so it’s available for immediate use when the TV is switched on. The difference in power consumption between the off and on states is negligible – unless you unplug the transformer when you’re not using it.

The first demonstration is  the playback quality of a 720p HD video, streamed over my LAN. There are no dropped frames and playback is fluid.

The second demonstration is Shoutcast radio.

And to finish off, BBC 1 via TV Catchup. Near-live TV without an aerial.

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD Dual Tuner Card Review

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD Dual Tuner Card Review

The TBS6280 DVB-T2 Freeview HD dual tuner is a low / high profile PCIe x1 card that generates mpeg transport streams at hardware level to enable the playback and recording of free-to-air Freeview HD and standard definition channels. Driver support for Windows and Linux means that this card can be used with many of the popular, free-source, Home Theatre software packages such as MediaPortal, Argus TV, TVHeadEnd & MythTV. It’s an excellent piece of kit for any HTPC enthusiast.

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Freeview HD PCIe x1 Tuner Card

TBS 6280 Dual DVB-T2 Freeview HD PCIe x1 Tuner Card

What it does

Hardware Transport Stream Generation

The TBS 6280 DVB-T2 tuner card has two tuners to receive free-to-air, terrestrial digital television broadcasts and convert that data into a MPEG transport stream (MPEG-TS, MTS or TS files) for immediate playback or storage. Effectively, the transport stream is a format container for multichannel audio, video & subtitles. It uses error correction data to preserve continuity when the broadcast signal is weakened. And since all this is done in the hardware, there is negligible loss of your PC’s resources. The dual tuners have good sensitivity, which means better reception for those in poor reception areas.

Simultaneous Multichannel Recording

Terrestrial digital television services are transmitted  on multiplexes (or Mux) and many stations can occupy a single broadcast frequency.

Since there are two tuners in the TBS 6280, it can receive the broadcasts from two multiplexes at once. This means that it is possible to watch and / or record more than two channels at once, provided that the chosen channels occupy the same two multiplexes.

I receive broadcasts  from the Mendip transmitter where channels are assigned to the mulitplexes shown below:

Mendip Mulitplexes & Channels (17/09/13)

Mendip Mulitplexes & Channels (17/09/13)

So, for example: recording all the HD channels simultaneously would utilize just one of the tuners, leaving scope to watch or record channels from one other mux with the second tuner.

Since our favorite channels span just two multiplexes, there is rarely a time when a programme cannot be scheduled to record because there is no spare tuner.

What it does not do

The TBS 6280 tuner card plays no part in the final reproduction of the transport stream. If you experience micro-stutter, dropped frames or degraded picture quality the items responsible will be your choice of codecs and / or the hardware of your PC.

What’s in the box?

  • TBS 6280 DVB-T2 dual tuner card PCIe x1
  • Low profile bracket for conversion
  • Remote control and infra red receiver
  • A mini in-door aerial
TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Dual Tuner Card: Box Contents

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Dual Tuner Card: Box Contents

TBS 6280 Physical Installation

  • The card is packaged with a low profile bracket and swapping it with the supplied taller one is relatively straight forward.
  • Fitting the card into an available PCIe x1 slot is a breeze. It couldn’t be easier.
  • This card boasts a RF IN and RF OUT connector (aerial pass-through). Fantastic news for those people with just one aerial connection at the back of their TV sets. My aerial connects here, then I use a connector cable to supply the RF signal to my TV. There seems to be no apparent loss in signal strength at the television by connecting in this way.
  • As my installation was part of an upgrade, I opted to continue using my more versatile, Windows Media Center remote instead of the one supplied. And as for the in-door aerial: it may work if you happen to live next door to the transmitter.

TBS 6280 Driver Installation

How to install the TBS 6280 driver – Windows

Visit the download section of tbstv.com by clicking here.

Download the Windows Driver set-up program; run it and install the appropriate driver for your operating system (XP/Vista or Win7).

Once installed, you have the option to install bundled software such as TBSViewer and TBSVHID Tool. Don’t bother with these unless you intend to use them.

There is no requirement to re-boot.

How to install the TBS 6280 driver – Linux

These directions are based upon the driver revision v130909. Visit the download site to ascertain the current revision and make that substitution if necessary.

You will need the unzip program installed. This can be obtained through the Software Centre application.

Launch a terminal window then type each line followed by ENTER:

mkdir driver
cd driver
wget http://www.tbsdtv.com/download/document/common/tbs-linux-drivers_v130909.zip
unzip tbs-linux-drivers_v130909.zip
tar xjvf linux-tbs-drivers.tar.bz2
cd linux-tbs-drivers

Depending on which version of Linux you have (x86 or x64), you will have to identify the correct driver to install from those just created from the above uncompression.

Type:

uname -a

Then depending on the output, select the correct driver for your operating system.

  • for x86 kernel 3.x (x86 32 bit installations of kernel 3.x): ./v4l/tbs-x86_r3.sh
  • for x86 kernel 2.6.x (x86 32 bit installations of kernel 2.6.x): ./v4l/tbs-x86.sh
  • for any x86_64 kernel (x86 64 bit installations of Linux): ./v4l/tbs-x86_64.sh

Then, type the following to install the correct driver for your system. This example shows the installation of the x64 bit driver. Substitute the highlighted file path and file name with the one appropriate for your system.

sudo ./v4l/tbs-x86_64.sh
sudo make && sudo make install

When complete, reboot so the driver can take effect.

sudo shutdown -r now

TBS 6280 DVB-T2 Review

I have set TBS 6280 DBV-T2 tuner card up and had it working with various combinations of operating systems and HTPC software. And it has performed flawlessly; waking from the PC’s sleep state without problems and never missing a recording.

The Good Points:

  • Dual tuners with good sensitivity
  • Receives terrestrial, free-to-air, Freeview SD & HD channels
  • Ability to watch and / or record multiple channels simultaneously, from two multiplexes
  • Works in Windows and Linux
  • The developers, TurboSight, seem committed to Linux as drivers are continually revised
  • Low profile option for media center PCs
  • Aerial pass-through
  • Wakes from PC sleep state without problems

The Bad Points (And these are minor bad points):

  • The Linux drivers are not open source
  • There is no infra red remote driver available for Linux, so the supplied remote will not work. However, Windows Media Center remotes work as normal.

OVERALL SCORE 5/5

The Codecs I Use for Windows Playback

With the right selection of codecs, both SD and HD video are crisp and vibrant while playback is smooth and faultless. I use the LAV filters in Windows, available with the installation of MediaPortal or separately here, at Sourceforge.

Not only is the video codec the best, but the LAV audio codec resolves a lot of the problems associated with audio playback on the Freeview HD channels. If you’re having problems with your set up, try these codecs out.

Google