Insanely cheap Chinese electronics on Ebay.

Discussion in 'computers, web and general tech' started by gentlegreen, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    I seem to be having an Ebay "splurge" - perhaps it's the time of year ...

    Along with some things I actually need, I couldn't resist this :-


    DIY RADIO 40M CW Shortwave Transmitter QRP Pixie Kit Receiver 7.023-7.026MHz UK

    A short wave transceiver for £1.99 !

    To be honest, though I actually passed my ham radio theory test in 1980 and even found out my callsign, I have never actually gone on air - I believe they've even dropped the Morse requirement which was the biggest hurdle.

    The biggest problem with ham radio is it's just a load of blokes talking about their equipment. - a bit like the early days of the Interweb.

    Part of getting my house sorted out is that it means I get my hobbyist facilities brought up to scratch so I can learn to do monitoring and control stuff using micro-controllers and it looks like I couldn't have chosen a better time.

    If this works, I may look at it as a way to secrete telemetry equipment a mile or so away - hopefully the data bursts will be far too sporadic to attract the attention of local hams ...
    Pickman's model likes this.
  2. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  3. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    Awesome! One of my hobbies is playing with microcontrollers and the like (arduino sorta stuff) and it is amazing how cheap to buy all sorts of little circuits and parts.

    The hardest part is actually finding interesting projects to make and it sounds like you've got a good start there.

    What sort of stuff are you looking to monitor? There are also very cheap and simple WiFi microcontrollers available which might be another way to transmit your data.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  4. DownwardDog

    DownwardDog Riding a Brompton with a power meter.

    Bike path speed trap?
  5. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    You're giving me ideas now :D

    More likely temperature initially - I had this idea in the back of my mind to use modified PAYG mobiles to periodically send photos ... in retirement I hope to have an acre of garden to look after - plus I like the idea of monitoring the weather and stuff.

    Yes tiny WIFI web servers are definitely on the cards for domestic monitoring - though faced with moderate distances, multi-element antennas are a possibility.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  6. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

  7. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    Thanks - I'll try that :)

    I actually relented yesterday and signed up for TomTop - after years of them nagging me after a purchase or two ... I bought a VR headset thingy for when I finally get a new phone, and an HD IP security camera for £17 - which is bonkers if it gets to me intact - more or less a trial purchase.
    I'm currently speculating on a couple of £30 action cams from two different sources - although via Ebay ...
    The first camera seems decent enough though it has awful low light performance. Annoyingly I think it has an IR filter, so that potentially interesting avenue is denied to me (used in combination with IR illuminators).

    I await the second with trepidation - the first one claims to do 4D, but I haven't got a good enough SD card and I would have to hunt around at work for a monitor fancy enough to display it.
    I'm more interested in 720p @ 120FPS. ...
  8. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  9. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  10. snadge

    snadge metal alchemist

    moisture detector circuit maybe
    gentlegreen likes this.
  11. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    I despair often :-

    bi0boy likes this.
  12. two sheds

    two sheds Least noticed poster 2007

    light goes out when you stop breathing so you know you've died?
    a_chap and gentlegreen like this.
  13. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  14. two sheds

    two sheds Least noticed poster 2007

    i've for a long time wanted a go on a biofeedback type thingy. They're a hundred quid though :eek: will wait a bit til they come down to $5's good for cheapo stuff too
    gentlegreen likes this.
  15. a_chap

    a_chap Needs no introduction; a man who cries gravy

    And it emails you too.
    friedaweed and gentlegreen like this.
  16. two sheds

    two sheds Least noticed poster 2007

    true that, although i hate clicking links in e-mails
    gentlegreen likes this.
  17. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    It's such a popular product for manufacture, even the LM358 dual opamp is being marketed as the "breathe chip" ...:confused:
  18. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    Oh dear, I accidentally the computer-controlled receiver kit - under £20 -shortly after I realised there are quite a few surface mount components and my eyesight is appallingly bad.

    ... so elsewhere I find you can convert an infra-red toaster oven into a soldering reflow oven :hmm:

    Anyway .. I'll order some solder paste and fine bits and tweezers ...
    electroplated and two sheds like this.
  19. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  20. two sheds

    two sheds Least noticed poster 2007

  21. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

  22. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    Bloody hell ...

    An arduino starter kit, plus loads of extras is winging its way to me :oops:

    I'd better order some shelving to organise it on.
    two sheds likes this.
  23. dervish

    dervish if you flibble when you wibble, don't wobble

    I love aliexpress. I pretty much permanently have up to ten items in my basket, then bulk buy when I have a spare £20.

    You might like as well, they do slightly more gadgety stuff. Or for components.
  24. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    As a surreal contrast to buying billions of transistors for a few quid, I found myself watching a series of Youtube videos about the early (Japanese) semiconductor industry :-

    I started playing with electronics in 1971 with point contact germanium transistors that I had to save up for, plus chocolate block connectors and a 65 watt Solon wooden-handled soldering iron with a huge bit that regularly burned my fingers and eventually caught fire.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  25. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    Oh dear.

    I haven't received the starter kit yet and I've ordered a Linux-running WIFI bolt-on.


    It would actually be very helpful for work if I learned to use Linux - and this was under £20.

    And this surprising little thing which is intended to add WIFI directly to the Arduino, but is a micro-controller in itself with enough I/O to do things and has a hacking community all of its own - "Internet of Things" here we come :)

    Only a couple of quid, but needs a 3.3 volt supply and drains a fair bit of current ...
  26. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    ESP8266 is a fantastic piece of kit. A real game changer. You can actually run Arduino code it directly now - loads of guides on google. I've got my first project running on one of those and it is an absolute stonker. Couldn't believe how responsive it is.

    As you mention 3.3v and also quite 'raw', I'd recommend a version on a breakout board - I've got a few like this - which can run off a microUSB cable or powered on the Vin pin which has voltage protection etc. For initial prototyping etc they are a bit less vulnerable to burning out and quicker to get up and running.
    dervish and gentlegreen like this.
  27. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    The Arduino starter kit arrived - have to wait a few days for some other bits I ordered - extra sensors etc - because my local Amazon lockers were full for some reason :p

    Crazy shit being done for that WIFI dongle - composite video output and a BASIC interpreter (!)
    Thinking about it not so surprising when BBC BASIC and OS was only 16K.
  28. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    About to order a Raspberry Pi :facepalm: :D

    The only tech thing I need after that will be a MotoG 4 plus ...

    Then I will start being able to do stuff.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  29. two sheds

    two sheds Least noticed poster 2007

    what you using it for?
  30. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen sproutarian

    Mostly it's about learning Linux and stuff .. By all accounts you can play Chinese whispers using the PC to talk to the Raspberry which in turn can do stuff via an Arduino :hmm:

    ...but I also desperately need a back up to access the net. My 5 year old PC periodically crashes ...

    My 5 year old phone barely qualifies as "smart" now - even my Work Nokia Windows phone shows it up.

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