Category Archives: Household Products

JBL Sengled Pulse LED Wireless Speaker System

JBL Sengled Pulse LED Wireless Speaker System

The Sengled Pulse LED light with built in speaker is the perfect way to light your home and add great sounds to the area all controlled by your smartphone.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

sengled pulse

Home automation is not the wave of the future, it’s here today with things like controlling your home’s AC while you’re at work or simply without having to get off the couch. Combining lighting with speakers is logical while controlling this from your smartphone just adds to the convenience of living.

JBL has partnered with Sengled to create a unique line of light bulbs that use energy efficient LED lighting with home automation, smartphone control and wireless internet enhancement features. Sengled has LED light bulbs that have built in speakers, full 1080P cameras or a Wi-Fi repeater to enhance your home.

The Sengled Pulse is a pair of LED lights with built in JBL multi-channel speakers that can be controlled by a smartphone app on an android or iPhone device. The App is free while the pair of speaker lights cost about $120 for great sounds and lighting that is controlled from your phone.

The Sengled Pulse comes in gray or red and the pair comes as a kit with a Master and a Satellite speaker light but you can purchase extra satellites for about $60. Pairing the master is as easy as using Bluetooth to control your speaker while the Sengled App is used to control both volume and light intensity.

sengled pulse with app

You can skip the app and simply pair the speakers as you would a regular pair of Bluetooth speakers and enjoy music but the controls for dimming lights makes much more sense. The app and speakers themselves work flawlessly without any problems over the last month I have had them.

My only complaint is the level of light from the LED bulb which is about 600lumens from the 15 watt LED lights which is about equivalent to a 50 watt incandescent light bulb. The light is just not bright enough for general work in my kitchen but it does make good lighting for smaller areas.

I can really see the advantages of this in a business environment as well as a home with spot lighting for displays or parts of a store. At home you can simply light smaller areas with the dimmer controls while rocking out to your favorite music or use them for entertaining.

Music apps like Pandora and Amazon Prime worked flawlessly with the Sengled Pulse lights and I have no complaints whatsoever with how well the light speakers worked. They also sound great with your typical fantastic sounding JBL quality that I have seen in all the products I have received that bear their name.

The Sengled Pulse sounds great but they are a smaller speaker so getting pounding bass is not going to happen even though they do pretty good. Highs and mids are strong and not tinny while bass does sound good but you just don’t get full sound from speakers this small.

They do a great job for what they are and are well worth a look for parties and entertaining as well as general lighting in your home that also have great little speakers. I have a great idea to use this pair in weatherproof wooden enclosures on each side of my deck that will have a Japanese style roof.

That’s for the future but for now I can enjoy great tunes while using my smartphone to play music as well as control the lights that I have been using in my kitchen. I highly recommend the Sengled Pulse LED wireless speakers for a great way to enjoy tunes as well as light up your life.

Sengled Pulse Website

Sengled Pulse @ Amazon

Pros
Easy to use app
Simple Bluetooth setup for music
Easily plays tunes from any smartphone

Cons
The price is a bit high

Lotus Essential Oil Diffuser by doTerra

Lotus Essential Oil Diffuser by doTerra

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features: 3/5
How much I enjoy:  1/5

Recommendation:  1/5 Stars

The Lotus Essential Oil Diffuser by doTERRA works well for vaporizing essential oils that work toward better health and a happier life.

I would like to start off this review with an honest opinion of the main topic, essential oils and their impact on health. I have read a good number of articles and am not one to believe things some say just because they publish it.

Aromatherapy, massage therapy, homeopathy and even some chiropractic techniques are questionable in their healing ability. While you can find plenty of people that say any form of alternative medicine helped them there is also another willing to state the exact opposite.

doTERRA Lotus Essential Oil Diffuser
doTERRA Lotus Essential Oil Diffuser

Just like dieting there are numerous ways to do things and tons of “experts” who will tell you how you can achieve goals like losing weight. My VA physician states it very simply when talking about losing weight, get out and do something and you can lose weight.

If you walk, bike, run or just do anything that burns more calories than you consume in a day you will lose weight, but you need to eat better because what you eat is as important as how much you eat. Improving your well-being can be as simple as having fun or enjoying life more but some products can help as well.

Healing and general well-being is more than just medicine and doctors but medicine is a science that has years of history backed by effective techniques. A patient who feels better and wants to get better has a better chance at being healthy so aromatherapy has its uses.

Studies have shown that relieving stress and having a positive outlook is better for your health and for general well-being so your environment affects your health to some extent. Medicine is founded on the past experience of scientists and doctors with plants and extracts as their first medicines.

Lotus Interior and Cover
Lotus Interior and Cover

Today plants like peppermint are used in medicine and do have proven health benefits but others do not have any scientific or clinical proof they help to heal. Lavender is also a plant that has proven promising in improving sleep quality and to help relieve anxiety but clinical trials are scarce.

It has also been long known that menthol has anesthetic and counterirritant properties so I do have something to back up some of the claims of some essential oils. Others however do not have any known or proven effects on health but health can also be looked at as general overall well-being.

I feel that things like aromatherapy can help improve your health but you need to make sure that your health is taken care of by a real medical professional first. Seeing your doctor who is a real licensed professional with years of education in medical schools is the most important part of being healthy.

General well-being at home can start with eating right and getting exercise but smells and inhalants like lavender at night or lemon during the day can also help. Getting essential oils to help improve your environment will help your overall well-being some and getting that essential oil into the air is a first step.

doTERRA Lotus Controls
doTERRA Lotus Controls

Essential oils are concentrated water repelling oils from plants like mint and lavender that are sold to help improve your health and well-being. One way to use essential oils is to diffuse them into the air of the room you’re in such as your living room or bedroom while you sleep.

The doTERRA Lotus diffuser is an ultrasonic humidifier diffuser that uses ultrasonic frequencies to agitate water so that molecules are vaporized. The Lotus has been redesigned taking the shortcomings of the older design and tweaking them according to customer complaints.

The doTERRA diffuser has a removable power adapter to power it and controls on the back with both light and timer buttons along with indicators. The doTERRA comes with a cleaning brush, small filling pitcher and a user’s manual but I’m not sure if it does come with any samples of essential oils.

The new design lasts from 1 to 3 hours and has a small light that you can shut off on the top where the diffused oil water moisture is expelled. A humidifying diffuser uses either heat or ultrasonic vibrations to get the oils into the air with the Lotus using ultrasonic vibrations to release oils.

The lotus has a front cover that slides off to reveal the small container that holds about a quarter cup of water with the ultrasonic mechanism at the bottom. The ultrasonic mechanism that diffuses water and oil into the air simply agitates the water at a very high speed or frequency.

Simply put it beats the water so fast that it tosses up tiny molecules of water into the air and this water vapor floats up into the room. The essential oils of your choice are also made into small droplets that float up into the air to circulate around a room.

doTERRA also sells essential oils from single oils to mixes that are created to help with specific applications such as better breathing or mental clarity. You can also simply mix your own blends using the single oils to create scents you like that also help your individual needs.

Essential oils are one small tool in a complete tool box for better health and living but one single company does not stand out to me more than others as a supplier for these products. I have done some research and have found some good local supplies of essential oils as well as internet stores to buy from.

I don’t buy the blends but buy single oils and only want the oils that are 100% pure but which ones are all natural oils and not processed or have additives? There is no regulation for essential oils just like other alternative medicines and you only have the company claims and labels to go on for what is in the bottles.

Simply read the labels and find ones that say they are 100% pure and not blends or have additional ingredients like almond oil or read from experts. Testing is a good way to find out and I found a blogger who has done independent chemical tests from various essential oils.

Lea Harris has asked volunteers to donate money to run tests on essential oils from companies like doTERRA and have some results posted on that testing as well as the replies from those companies. Results are either in compliance or not in compliance with ISO standards (International Standards Organization), very interesting reading.

I prefer to just buy locally to help support my local businesses like a popular small store called Tochi or to buy from grocery stores because I don’t have to wait for shipping or even pay for it. Purity of essential oils is a myth more than a fact and claims are just that, any claim of purity or standards are just words the companies use to try and market their products.

The doTERRA Lotus diffuser works well and is simply a good diffuser to get essential oil vapors into the air to help improve your quality of health. I am more skeptical about the essential oils that doTERRA sells mainly because of their claim of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.

That term is simply a trademark of the company and not a special government regulated testing or standard for essential oils as there is no standards or FDA regulations. All essential oils are therapeutic grade as they are therapeutic in nature but the grade part is misleading because there are no standards whatsoever in the industry.

I could debate this point ad nauseam but I won’t, I am simply pointing out that essential oils are not regulated when used externally as an inhalant. Any oils used for ingestion are regulated under FDA law but are redistilled to make them less potent which would make them less effective as an inhalant.

The doTERRA diffuser works well and I have no complaints with its design or performance over the last few weeks I have had it as well as the samples of peppermint, lavender and lemon oil. I can recommend the doTERRA as a great diffuser and the oils I received were just fine but they did not stand out any more than the other essential oils I have purchased from other companies.

I also do not like the cost at about $120 for the diffuser directly from the doTERRA website when I found others that work almost as well for well over half the cost. I would actually recommend a diffuser that costs less so you can spend that savings on essential oils instead of just a diffuser.

Lotus Diffuser @ doTERRA

Pros
Easy to use and fill
Lasts up to three hours
Quiet

Cons

None for diffuser itself

Caution is recommended when using essential oils
Essential oils should not be used topically or ingested without careful preparation/dilution

Carson MagniLamp Pro CP-80

Carson MagniLamp Pro CP-80

The MagniLamp Pro from Carson Optical is a hands free magnifier lamp with an adjustable arm system and a heavy base for hobby and work use such as soldering or inspection.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

The MagniLamp Pro CP-80 is a 4X 5 inch LED magnifier that has a solid base and arms with knob fasteners to tighten each adjustment. The LED lighting provides enough light for hobby and work use like inspections or soldering but room may be a bit of a problem under the lens.

The five inch lens allows a good viewing area but to keep things in focus and work you may need to adjust your subject a bit close depending on your eyesight. The magnifier has sixteen sets of LED lights around the lens that is powered by a detachable power adapter.

Carson Optical MagniLamp Pro
MagniLamp Pro CP-80

 

The base of the unit is heavy enough to swivel fully around but if the lens is at full height and out as far as it will go the lens may be tipped over accidently due to being top heavy. This is not much of a problem once you use the magnifier some and you can always clamp the base down to your work surface.

I received the MagniLamp Pro while looking for a magnifier lamp for both hobbies like model building and jewelry making but for use in inspections of electronics devices like smartphones. I wanted to see if there was anything better than those swing arm magnifier lamps that would be more useful or handy around the house and shop.

LED Lights of the Carson MagniLamp Pro
LED Lights

 

The MagniLamp Pro does work well for inspection but when trying to solder some components I did not have enough room to use a soldering iron under the lamp lens assembly. To keep items in focus you will need to adjust the lens or move your object up and down which works well for many situations.

I had no problems using the lamp while doing some model building and my wife likes it a lot for working on small parts for jewelry which is probably where the lamp will work the best. The lamp does not work well for soldering because the work piece needs to be a bit too close to the lens when working with smaller components and wires.

Model Building with the Carson Magnifier
Model Building

 

Stereo microscopes are much better for soldering while magnifier lamps like the CP-80 work much better for medium magnification and objects not quite as small as electronic components. The MagniLamp Pro works much better for those small links and rings of necklaces and bracelets.

The base gives you a nice working surface and being able to individually adjust the lamp in many different directions allows you to have it set up for your particular needs. Not having a bendable arm like many magnifier lamps means you can adjust and quickly move the lens to your needs without having the lens move and bounce when adjusting.

Perfect for Jewelry
Perfect for Jewelry

 

The MagniLamp Pro has a dust cover for the lens on a chain so it doesn’t get lost and can be stored on the lens or on the horizontal arm when not in use over the lens. The on off switch on the lens top means no searching the base for the power switch.

The MagniLamp Pro is a professional quality magnifier lamp and well worth the cost for a handy and well-made magnifier with the base and arms metal while the lens is glass. I highly recommend the MagniLamp Pro for a professional quality magnifier for work or hobbies.

Inspecting a Circuit Board
Inspecting a Circuit Board

 

MagniLamp Pro @ Carson Optical

MagniLamp Pro @ Amazon

Pros
4X 5” Glass magnifying lens
Metal base, arms and lens body
fully adjustable

Cons
None

Imprint CumulusPRO Comfort Mat

Imprint CumulusPRO Comfort Mat

The Imprint CumulusPRO is a fantastic comfort mat for preventing foot and back pain while having to stand for hours on end at a counter or standing desk.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

imprint cumuluspro comfort mat
CumulusPRO by Imprint

Quality comes first in my mind when spending money and I have come to appreciate spending the extra money to get top quality products. Spending a few extra dollars to get a mat to stand on hours at a time is money well spent because pain and fatigue are no fun.

When researching comfort mats which are also called anti-fatigue mats many of the top contenders are under $100 but there are several over this price. I just hate to think about spending more than a hundred dollars for a mat that sits on my kitchen floor.

I asked several companies and only got one to respond with a product sample and this company has me sold on buying from them in the future. I need some more mats for my kitchen and the CumulusPRO is going to be that comfort mat for several reasons.

Imprint CumulusPRO
Imprint CumulusPRO

The CumulusPRO has a ten year warranty which is the highest I could find for these mats and they are made from a single material. Polyurethane foam is used in the construction and Imprint uses the term Cushion Core Technology to describe their process.

The side view of one of these comfort mats shows the outer edges of the mat are a denser material than the center which gives it a resilient bounce back property. This also means a tougher outer shell while still maintaining that soft comfort for hours of standing.

The home version called Cumulus9 is made from different pieces of materials and glued together which in my eyes is a bad thing. Glues age over time and lose their binding properties so a one piece technology is the best for having a product for years of wear.

top and bottom of comfort mat
Top and Bottom

The CumulusPRO comes in four colors and two different patterns or simply plain with all models having a beveled edge that reduces the tripping hazard. The design prevents curling at the edges and the mats material makes it naturally no slip on top and bottom.

The comfort mat will not move once you place it and the top remains nonskid even with liquids and ingredients like flour spilled on it. I have been using my CumulusPRO for a few weeks while baking and cooking and the mat has remained unscarred.

I have dropped utensils on the mat and there are no marks to show but the real test is the two cats and dog that also reside with us. I have witnessed the animals tearing through the kitchen and have found no holes or scratches in the mat that they routinely careen over.

cumuluspro anti-fatigue mat in my kitchen
CumulusPRO Comfort Mat in my kitchen

The cats especially have not used the mat for a scratching post for whatever reason which was my major concern when looking at comfort mats. We already have a bed and couch that are routinely used for sharpening claws along with the ones we want them to use and I don’t need another one.

The major test for an anti-fatigue mat is the use and I had no problems baking and cooking while using the mat for hours on end. In the past few months I have had increasing leg pains and I realized it was because of the hours in the kitchen that I had not been doing before my leg pains started.

The CumulusPRO has proven itself as an effective comfort mat and has reduced the pain in my legs from standing at the counter a couple days a week. I have really enjoyed reviewing the CumulusPRO comfort mat and will be buying another one to use in front of my sink.

The most comprehensive review I could find on anti-fatigue mats was from another site and they have had these mats forsix months without problems. They recommend the CumulusPRO as much as I do and without hesitation because they perform so well while simply lying on the floor.

I highly recommend the CumulusPRO comfort mat from Imprint as a fantastic comfort or anti-fatigue mat that will last for years guaranteed.

CumulusPRO @ Imprint

CumulusPRO @ Amazon

Pros
Soft yet resilient
Beveled edges prevent tripping
Resists cuts and claws
Decent price
10 Year Warranty

Cons
None

Pelican 1660 Case

The Pelican 1660 Case is a fantastic storage and transportation case that is watertight and has an automatic pressure equalizer along with options for internal protection.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

I received some very neat die cutting machines from Sizzix and Spellbinders but wanted to make sure they are protected when I transport them to classes I teach through 4-H. The Pelican 1660 Case is the perfect size for the Sizzix Big Shot Pro as well as for electronic equipment and other valuable objects.

The Pelican 1660 is 28.2 inches wide by 19.66 inches long and 17.63 inches tall not including some extra space due to the measurements being the optimal. At the very lip of the case the width is 29 inches by 22.5 and 13.5 inches tall with the lid about 3.5 inches tall.

The interior dimensions of 28.2 by 19.66 is the very bottom of the case which is a real switch when looking at cases and totes because most companies put the largest dimension of the case. Instead Pelican puts their smallest dimension on their site so you know if something that size will actually fit inside their case.

The Pelican 1660 is a large case that could easily fit a desktop computer inside along with a 27 inch monitor but you would have to remove the stand from the monitor. I am going to use the case exclusively for the Sizzix die cutting machine so that it can be protected when I bring it along to classes.

The tough case is made from a polypropylene copolymer that has an open cell core and solid walls for a tough but light weight structure. The other materials like the wheels and handle are a similar tough plastic while the O-ring seal is made from EPDM that is a synthetic rubber.

Pick N Pluck foam
Pick N Pluck Foam

The 1660 has seven latches and four stainless steel protected padlock loops to secure the equipment in the case as well as stainless steel pins in the three hinges. The latches are a snap shut type that is replaceable for a tough long lasting case that will not wear out quickly. The bottom of the case has a luggage handle that pulls out from the bottom of the case and has two positions for use and a stored position.

The Pelican 1660 comes in three different versions with and without foam padding and one version that has two levels of padded dividers. The padded dividers are a way to protect smaller equipment while the Pick N Pluck foam allows you to customize the padding to your needs.

The 1660 I received came with three 4 inch thick Pick N Pluck foam pieces that fit inside the case to protect your equipment or electronics. The Pick N Pluck pieces have an outer solid foam about a half inch thick and the inner foam is partially cut from top to bottom to allow easy removal of each half inch square.

inside the  Pelican1660
Inside the Pelican 1660

You can pick out any half inch squares to make an outline of whatever you want to store using the foam for custom protection inside the 1660. There is also a bottom one inch thick piece of foam that is slightly smaller that fits on the very bottom between the indents for the wheels and the handle.

The top also has a foam insert that is half solid and half egg crate for protecting the top and cushioning items when moving the case. All four pieces of foam are loose with the three Pick N Pluck pieces and the top fitting snuggly while the bottom piece is loose.

Protection of the things inside is what the Pelican cases are all about and the 1660 is tough, tough enough to stand on without breaking. Military, governments, bands, universities, schools, collectors and just about anyone who wants to protect their valuables and cargo are users of Pelican cases.

bottom of pelican 1660
Bottom of Pelican 1660

The Pelican 1660 Case is a perfect case for larger items just like the Sizzix Big Shot Pro but also makes an excellent case for other equipment and electronics. The Pelican 1660 comes in Black, OD Green and Desert Tan with the colors being made into the copolymer instead of being painted on.

The Pelican 1660 Case costs about $340 while the 1664 which is the 1660 case with the dividers costs about $475 and has the model number of 1664. You can buy the Pelican 1660 and other pelican cases form Amazon, popular photography sites and Amazon but a large site that has a great selection is called The Pelican Store.

big shoot pro in pelican case
Big Shot Pro Inside Pelican Case

I highly recommend the Pelican 1660 as the perfect carry and protection case for the Sizzix Big Shot Pro and other equipment or electronics.

My Pelican Case Video

Pelican 1660 Case Website

Pelican 1660 @ The Pelican Store

Pros
Tough and Durable Case
Customizable Foam Insert
Additional divider trays available
Latches for watertight storage

Cons
None

Milwaukee M18 LED Flood Light

Milwaukee M18 LED Flood Light

The Milwaukee M18 LED Flood Light is a bright LED light with a rechargeable M18 battery pack that is simply a great way to brighten your work site.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

Milwaukee M18 LED Flood Light

I keep losing my handheld flashlights, I simply set them down in some out of the way place and when I need it the next time I can’t find it. A larger light works well but one that I have several rechargeable batteries for works even better for me and for my work.

The Milwaukee M18 Cordless System uses the same battery for a wide range of tools including drills and SAWZ-ALL tools as well as the LED Flood Light. The Milwaukee LED Flood Light only uses the M18 Lithium-ion battery but this is a great battery system that I have been using very extensively for years now.

I have used the Milwaukee drill/driver, SAWZ-ALL and circular saw using the M18 batteries for both at home do it yourself projects and some extensive work fixing up a building. I put the M18 tools through their paces and had plenty of weeks to check out their duration and ease of charging.

M18 LED Flood Light With & Without Battery

Part of my work was replacing siding and rotted out trim boards so both the circular saw and drill/driver was used extensively for days on end. The M18 Lithium-Ion batteries really have held up well as my little extra job lasted from June till October with daily use for at least five or six days a week.

The batteries have held up just fine and still hold a charge for those odd jobs around the house including my new project of rebuilding my kitchen. The M18 LED Work Light has been a handy light when running the wiring in my basement and working in the pantry and closet.

The M18 Work Light has also come in very handy for a quick grab and go flashlight when searching in the dark recesses of my garage or in my car. I have used the Milwaukee work light when working on my car and the light is really handy when working under a car or under the hood.

M18 LED Light on Conduit

The M18 work light has a tough plastic body that takes abuse like drops and has a larger top and bottom than the center where the LED light and buttons are. The battery inserts behind the center section of the body and snaps in place using the two buttons on the battery.

The body has a hole and recess for setting the light on a rod or conduit 1/2 inch in diameter or less and there is a key hole for using the light on a screw or nail. The handle is on the top and the buttons are on the one side of the light where there are eight LED bulbs.

The M18 LED Work Light has a low and high setting but it only lowers the output of all eight LED bulbs for the low setting instead of using some of the bulbs. The high setting is bright and has plenty of power when compared to other lights which I did a little comparison to show on my video.

M18 LED Light on Low

When comparing the M18 Work Light to corded lights I found a 500 watt halogen work light only put out 66 lux compared to the 133 lux that the M18 did at the same distance. This means the M18 work light is about twice as strong in light output when compared to a halogen light without nearly the heat that halogen gives off.

The M18 Flood Light does not get hot enough on the plastic lens covering the bulbs that you cannot touch it so heat is never an issue. The light is not waterproof but other than that it makes a fantastic work and flood light for jobs and general use around the house.

Milwaukee states an 8 hour run time which is reasonable if you use one of the extra capacity Red Lithium batteries Milwaukee sells. I have a couple of these batteries and found over 7 hours of run time but I am not sure about run times because these batteries are at least a year old.

M18 Flood Light on High

The M18 LED Flood Light does work well and even on batteries that are quite used the light lasted a good long time in my tests. The M18 batteries only take 15 minutes or so to charge so having a couple spare batteries works out well for on the job work with the M18 LED Flood Light.

The M18 LED Flood Light costs about $100 which is a good price for a rechargeable light that has the LED bulbs for a better work light. I highly recommend the M18 Flood Light as a fantastic work light for job sites, at home for do it yourself work and general everyday needs.

Milwaukee M18 LED Light Video

M18 LED Flood Light @ Milwaukee

M18 LED Flood Light @ Amazon

Pros
M18 batteries are tough and long lasting
Roll cage design protects important parts
Easy hang up options
Handle makes for convenient handheld flashlight

Cons
Not waterproof

SRAM RockShox High Pressure High Volume Convertible Air Pump

SRAM RockShox High Pressure High Volume Convertible Air Pump

The RockShox High Pressure High Volume Convertible Air Pump works for both bicycle air shocks and for tires as an all-around pump that includes a frame clip with Velcro strap.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

RockShox Convertible

I was in a dilemma and needed a high pressure air pump to help with another review so I asked around and receive the SRAM RockShox Convertible Air Pump. The RockShox Convertible Air Pump is a high pressure and high volume air pump that includes a frame clip with a Velcro strap to secure the pump on your bicycle.

The RockShox Air Pump has a small locking tab at the handle end that is used to lock the inner cylinder into the body which is for use as a high volume pump. To use the RockShox Convertible you swing the t handle out and use the smaller rod for high pressure and low volume.

High pressure and low volume is for things like shocks which is what I wanted for a hand espresso maker that needs to be pumped to about 200 psi. The low pressure and high volume cylinder twists to lock into position for use in high pressure and unlocks by twisting to use it for high volume pumping.

You simply unlock the inner cylinder and hold it while pumping the t handle so that the larger cylinder is pumping the air instead of the smaller cylinder. There is a small groove between the plastic inner cylinders top that the t handle clips on when you put it into the stored position.

RockShox High Pressure High Volume Air Pump

The hose has a small indent near the end to secure it in place when stored but is kind of loose near the end when not secured using the frame clip and Velcro strap. The frame clip has two screws and mounts on a bike frame using the two holes most bikes have for a frame pump or water bottle.

The Velcro strap simply secures the pump in place and ensures you don’t lose the pump when rough riding but the pressure gauge does come off. The air gauge on the pump has a seal and a keyed end to secure it in place on the pump that can be used facing in either side of the pump.

The end of the RockShox air pump has a rubber cap for when you don’t have the gauge on the pump and you can use the pump without the gauge in place. When the gauge is removed a valve closes to seal off where the gauge connects and pushes open when you install the gauge.

The rubber hose is pretty thick and I am not sure if it has steel cables reinforcing it but the crimped ends are pretty tough. The seals and other connections are pretty well designed and do not leak at all when using either high pressure or high volume pumping.

RockShox Components

I bought a cheaper pump and the hose leaks and the seals are too small for the connections so adding slightly larger seals helped but design and quality manufacturing make a difference. The RockShox also includes an air release button and the Schrader valve works just fine for that type of shock or tire connection.

The RockShox Convertible does include an adapter to fit Presta valves so the pump is good for either of the main types of valves. You can use the RockShox Convertible to pump up tires as well as shocks but you may have to pump a few more times to fill a regular mountain bike tire.

I emptied a tire on my mountain bike and used the RockShox to fill it for a test and it took about forty or fifty pumps to get the tire up to pressure. For high pressure and low volume shocks it will take much less to bring the shock up to pressure but the RockShox can be used for tires as well.

I have not tried the RockShox pump on a shock but I have been using it quite often for my Handpresso espresso maker and it works well to get the 200 psi easily. I highly recommend the RockShox Convertible Air Pump for a high quality pump for bicycles and more.

RockShox Convertible Video

RockShox Air Pump @ SRAM

RockShox Convertible @ Amazon

Pros
High Quality easy to use pump
Schrader Valve with Presta Adapter
Can be used for high pressure and high volume
Gauge removes and can be used on either side

Cons
None

ClickClack Cube Storage Containers Review

ClickClack Cube Storage Containers Review

ClickClack Airtight Storage Containers are the perfect fit for kitchen and pantry storage for all your food and freshness needs.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

ClickClack Cubes Food Storage Containers

 

ClickClack specializes in food storage containers is a brand of Innova Products that also includes glassware, home and industrial brushewares. ClickClack Kitchenware is their line of food storage containers that have been manufactured for twenty years.

ClickClack Cubes are stackable airtight food storage containers that also come in a round version with a variety of sizes. The ClickClack Cubes comes in sizes from 1 quart up to 4.5 quarts with red, white and stainless steel colors and are sold separately or in sets.

ClickClack Cubes Large Set

 

I received the two sets of three cube containers with one set including the 1 quart, 2 quart and 3.5 quart sizes and the second set including the 1.5 quart, 3 quart and 4.5 quart sizes. Both sets make great everyday kitchen storage but the larger sizes are perfect for flour, sugar and other often used ingredients.

Flour, brown sugar and powdered sugar are in the one set that has red lids while the smaller set has oatmeal, sugar and pet treats. I can’t ignore the smaller members of our household and they deserve treats everyday just like we do so the ClickClack keeps them handy.

ClickClack Small Set

 

ClickClack Cubes are square storage containers with clear plastic bottoms that are about 3 mm thick with airtight lids. The lids have two indents on the top with two push toggles that have pivot points to make them depress the inner diaphragm.

The inner diaphragm is the seal and is a one piece flexible plastic that snaps onto the lid and when flexed using the toggles releases its seal against the body of the container. You can also remove this diaphragm using a spoon or other flat non sharp tool so you can clean and thoroughly dry the containers.

ClickClack Lid Taken Apart

 

When I first receive the two sets of ClickClack I did not read the websites frequently asked questions and just dunked the lids and containers in my sink of soapy water. The lids got water in them so I gently pulled the diaphragm apart to drain them and after a night of drying they were ready for their first use.

You can wash the containers and just wipe the lids but for occasional cleaning the lids can be taken apart for a better cleaning. You should avoid using the ClickClacks in the microwave, freezer and dishwasher as they are not made to handle heat or cold.

ClickClack Food Storage Containers in my Kitchen

 

Simple storage is what ClickClacks are all about and good looking pantry or kitchen storage is easy with the cube shaped containers. The lids are also indented to allow stacking but of course you need to put smaller containers on the larger ones.

I have been using the ClickClacks in my kitchen for a month and really like the see through design but ClickClack does have some round containers that are tinted if you prefer. The company sells a good range of round and cube shapes in a variety of colors so you should have no problem picking out the design and color you want to match your kitchen style.

The large set of ClickClack cubes sells for about $40 while the smaller set sells for about $35 and is available from online sites like Target and locally at The Container Store. I highly recommend the ClickClack Containers to keep your essential foods fresh and ready for use in your kitchen.

ClickClack Website

ClickClack @ The Container Store

ClickClack @ Amazon

Pros
Airtight and easy to use
Lids come apart for easy cleaning
Stackable and square or round for easy storage

Cons
May break if dropped

Zerostart Little Buddy Interior Warmer

Zerostart Little Buddy Interior Warmer

The Zerostart Little Buddy Interior Warmer from Zerostart is a household powered heater you install in your vehicle to heat the car before you go off to work or play.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

Little Buddy Interior Warmer

The Little Buddy Interior Warmer is a small electrical heater powered by 120 volt electricity and warms your vehicle when plugged in. The Little Buddy does not run when you’re driving so it is only for warming your vehicle when it is parked at home or wherever a plug in is handy.

The kit comes with the heater itself with a shorter cord attached that ends with a special three prong connector, a longer cord with the other end of the connector, a three prong household plug, rubber grommet, cable ties, screws and plastic mounting bracket.

Read the instructions first as they always warn so you know what you’re doing but also check out your vehicle to see the best place to install your Little Buddy heater. The Little Buddy heater can be installed under the dash, on the side panel or on the center console side as well as in the rear of a vehicle like a minivan.

Whats in the Box

Finding the best place for your install will require a little thought but it should not be too hard to figure out depending on your vehicle. You do need to make sure you have at least ten inches in front of the heater to ensure it is not too close to anything and it should have a few inches behind to get air into the heater.

I just screwed the mounting bracket to the side of my center console and ran the wires behind it and through the firewall by the main electrical connection. I was lucky and found a blank hole in my firewall that had nothing in it but a rubber grommet and just cut a hole in that and ran the wire through it into the engine compartment.

If you need to drill a hole you can but just be careful to not drill into something important and place the rubber grommet in the hole after it is drilled. The wire with the connector on one end and the stripped ends goes through the firewall while the shorter wire attached to the heater connects to that.

Little Buddy Wire through Firewall

Running the wires should not be difficult and the cable ties help to secure the wires in place but you could use more if you need to. I always have cable ties around and secured the wires in the hood and under the dash well to keep them out of the way especially by the gas pedal.

Once the Little Buddy heater is installed you simply plug it into your household power and let it warm your car and help to clear the windows. On really cold mornings like the day I installed it I can raise the temperature 30 degrees in ten minutes starting with outside temperatures around -2 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the use a bit easier I also installed an AC plug adapter that has a male outlet and a female connector on a 16 inch cable that mounts on my fender. The plug is made for RV and boat use and can mount on a bracket to make mounting easier on your vehicle which I now have two on the car.

Zerostart Little Buddy Installed

The Little Buddy heater makes for a nice cozy morning for my wife when she has to go to work but does not heat the car up to high temperatures like 70 degrees. After a half hour the car’s interior can reach about forty to forty five when it is about zero degrees outside.

The Zerostart Little Buddy Interior Warmer may not actually melt all the ice off your windshield and windows but it does get a good start on it. It definitely helps to make the job of clearing your windows easier as well as making your car warmer a lot faster than your car’s regular heater.

Zerostart Little Buddy Installed on Console Side

Like most cars heat from the engine does not start until the cars engine has warmed up which can take several minutes while the Little Buddy starts to heat your vehicle as soon as its plugged in. The Zerostart Little Buddy Interior Warmer is a great product but does require a bit of handyman know how to install it properly.

I highly recommend the Little Buddy Interior Warmer from Zerostart as a great solution to those cold vehicles and to help clear the windows. Zerostart is a brand of Phillips and Temro Industries and the Little Buddy is sold at Amazon and automotive stores for about $100.

Plugins for Heaters

Little Buddy @ Amazon

Phillips & Temro Catalog (Little Buddy is on page 86)

Pros

Heater works well and heats interior of a cold car
Mounts anywhere on flat surface given proper clearance
Easy to install for some vehicles

Cons
May not completely clear snow and ice from windows
May require drilling in firewall of some vehicles

BA9 Solar Battery and System Tester Review

BA9 Solar Battery and System Tester Review

The Solar Battery and System Tester BA9 by Clore Automotive is an excellent battery and charging system tester to help diagnose automotive electrical problems.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

BA9 Solar Battery and System Tester

The Solar Battery and System Tester is a handy automotive tool that checks your battery and charging system for problems for professionals and enthusiasts. Not to be confused with sun powered, Solar is a brand of Clore Automotive that sells a wide variety of automotive charging and test products mainly dealing with batteries and charging systems.

The Solar brand manufactures battery and charging system testers and battery chargers for the automotive repair and trucking industry for both professional and amateur car repair. The Solar Battery Tester model BA9 is an easy to use tester for Starting Lights Ignition Wet Cell, Absorbed Glass Mat and Gel Cell batteries.

The BA9 tester has two main tests with the automobile off and testing the battery itself and the vehicle on to test the charging system. The battery test simply checks the battery voltage and after entering battery type and cold cranking amp capacity analyzes the ability of the battery according to the battery capacity.

Whats in the Box

Once you check the initial battery state you then go to the charging test which checks the system after cranking the engine to test the charging system. During the starting and charging system tests you do need to make sure all high draw items like your headlights, heaters and air conditioning are off otherwise tests will not read correctly.

You should also test the vehicle in a warmer climate like a garage if it is extremely cold outside as this will affect test results. The instructions state the recommended ambient temperature should be between 32 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit but I have used in colder weather.

To check your alternator you enter battery type and cold cranking amps of the battery and then go to the test of the battery by hitting the enter button. If you have entered the cold cranking amps from the same battery this should already be set so you only need to hit enter again.

Solar BA9 Tester Clamps

It is extremely important to read and follow the directions because a false reading can result as well as damage to your tester or automobile. The tester reads the electrical system while devices like the heater, air conditioner and headlights may interfere with a proper reading if they are on.

When testing in the cold of winter the tester worked fine as long as you let the car warm up some to allow the engine to idle at a lower speed. I did check out three vehicles using the Solar BA9 tester and did find two of the vehicles should be getting a new battery soon.

I found when testing the battery without the engine running using the up and down arrows you can check the state of charge and state of health for the battery. The State of health is also a good indication if you need to replace your battery and is a simple percent along with the CCA or cold cranking amps indicated.

Cleaning Battery Terminals

I was originally looking into the tester because my minivan was having some problems and I wanted to make sure it was the alternator or battery before removing either. I found the tester on the internet at the Clore Automotive website and wanted to get my hands on one.

The tester showed my alternator was having problems with one of its diodes by having a high ripple voltage reading during my initial testing. Taking the alternator to my local Napa store they confirmed the results on their tester with the same bad diodes that also gave them a high ripple voltage reading.

I installed the new alternator and the minivan has been running just fine without any problems and the tester shows good starting and ripple voltage. The instruction also warn that you should clean the battery terminals and clamps before testing the system to ensure a good solid connection.

Bad Alternator Test

Looking at the clamps of the tester I am very impressed with the double secure connection with two wires going to each clamp and the wires attaching to two points of each clamp. This type of double connection with two wires ensures proper testing and a good connection so I can easily see the quality of the simple tester just in looking at the clamps.

The newer digital testers are also much faster and more reliable so this type of digital tester is sure to become a standard not only with professionals but at home users and car enthusiasts. I did have a bit of a difficulty with the tester but not because of the Solar tester but due to the weather conditions here in cold Minnesota.

You should try to test a vehicle when it is warmer or in a garage but you can use the results to help diagnose at least some of the vehicle problems. If your ripple voltage is bad it is more than likely a bad alternator as this test checks out the diodes inside the alternator.

When it is cold the engine is running faster with a high idle which does make the alternator run faster as well so that is why I was seeing higher voltages when it was cold out. The tester did confirm my bad alternator with a specific failure for the diodes which was confirmed by my local Napa auto parts store.

I highly recommend the Solar Battery and System Tester form Clore Automotive as an excellent tester for both professionals and home repair enthusiasts. The Solar BA9 tester costs about $90 but is not widely available probably because it is such a new product.

Solar BA9 @ Clore Automotive

Solar BA9 @ ToolRage.com

Pros
Easy to use

Low cost compared to other testers
Dual wiring and connections at clamps

Cons
Cold weather may affect results