Dec 312009

I saw this for sale in a Tucson Whole Foods yesterday. Pure crap. How can you trust anything in the store if they are selling stuff that is a blatant rip-off?

“Protect yourself from potentially hazardous electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted from your cell phone or other electronic devices like computers. Simply attach the neutralizers in this packet to any device that poses a risk.”
It’s bad enough that this is even in the store, but they’ve even made a second label endorsing it. It’s like Whole Foods is giving this product their imprimatur. The Whole Foods website claims that every product that they sell is carefully evaluated. How did The Neutralizer slip through?
Check out the back:

Here’s the manufacturer, although I suspect that these are really made in some sticker factory in China.
Check out the “research papers” here and here. Maybe I’ll actually go through one of the papers and critique it in detail, but even a cursory glance is enough to see that they are laughable.

These things are suspiciously like those fake Smogbuster stickers. Sad.

 Posted by at 6:45 PM
Dec 222009

I picked up a GS407 GPS receiver based upon the ublox-5H chipset in order to evaluate it for use in my autonomous robot. Unfortunately, it has a crazy small 0.5 mm pitch connector. I’ve used these connectors on another project and hand soldering them to a PCB isn’t so bad, but I wanted to rig up a test connector while I was waiting for this nice breakout/battery backup board from DIY drones to arrive.

Here’s the result: pre-tin everything and use flux. Flux is magic. Use a magnifier to check your work.

I glued the connector to the perf board with some CA glue and once I made sure everything was OK, I covered the connections to the tiny connector with thick CA to prevent any stress on the pins from causing shorts.

The other key discovery is that the FTDI breakout board can’t supply enough current at 3.3V for the GPS module to work properly, It’ll see satellites, output NEMA strings, and generally look like it’s OK, but it’ll never get a fix. Adding a beefier 3.3V supply fixed that issue.

 Posted by at 11:40 PM