Inside a defrost thermostat and thermal fuse

From bigclivedotcom. Quite an interesting and cost-engineered construction. The thermal fuse turns out to have a sliding contact that is held in place against a contact in the ceramic cap by the short and more powerful spring that is also pressing against a compound that melts at a specific temperature. When it does melt, the…

Blowing a high voltage fuse

From bigclivedotcom. I found this high voltage fuse on the transformer in a microwave. It seemed a good idea to blow it for educational reasons. Note that most modern home-microwave magnetrons do not use beryllium oxide insulators, despite the negatarian folklore. But always play safe and assume the worst. If you enjoy these videos you…

Amazon fake 5G safety stickers hazard

From bigclivedotcom. These stickers are sold as "safety" devices that will shield you from RF energy from your phone and other home appliances. In reality there’s nothing safe about them. Worse still, they may pose a genuine safety risk by exposing the user to an unnecessary level of radiation from what is presumably the thorium…

Inside a casino slot machine beacon

From bigclivedotcom. A look inside one of the beacons used on gaming equipment around the world. One of the most notable differences between this gaming beacon and a traditional factory machine tower light is the grounding strap used to limit external influence from external electrical influences like RF generators and high voltage zappers. If you…

Exploring a mystery gadget

From bigclivedotcom. Initially I thought this was a quack medical product like a radionic energy blaster for curing middle aged Karens of sadness. It turned out to actually be a real medical style device, albeit perhaps only suitable for use in some countries. The construction is actually really neat, and while it’s not very serviceable,…

Safety recall smart socket

From bigclivedotcom. Update:- There IS a very minimalist wiring guide in the setup instructions that clearly shows two brown wires going to both the live and the earth terminals. If wired like that, the case of an earthed appliance plugged into the socket would become live at full mains voltage. Note that while there is…

The most deadly project on the Internet

From bigclivedotcom. There’s a reason I never make videos featuring MOTs (Microwave Oven Transformers). The high voltage, and more importantly – high current, means they are as dangerous as playing with overhead lines. This does NOT apply to the spot welder projects where the dangerous high voltage secondary is removed completely and replaced with a…

Hot pink and dangerous (just how we like it)

From bigclivedotcom. Another splendid piece of pink danger-ware for exploration. This ticks every box including melting paint and the smell of hot plastic when left on for a while. Extra points for the inappropriate LED resistor and flimsy copper coated aluminium flex. On a plus note this one will probably keep your cup of coffee…

eBay vehicle battery disconnectors/isolators

From bigclivedotcom. A look at some cheap eBay battery disconnectors that allow you to quickly disconnect a battery for working on a vehicle or preventing battery draining while a vehicle is not in use. When I bought these I thought they might be solid brass, but it appears that all that glitters is neither gold…

Inside a cheap multi-voltage tester (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. If I had to have a single test tool for electrical maintenance work it would be a voltage tester (test lamp) as they are the best way to check for the presence of voltage reliably by applying a load to the circuit being tested. Normally I’d suggest a Fluke tester for professional work,…

Make custom LED neon shapes

From bigclivedotcom. LED neon or LED flex is a very handy material for creating neon-like signage and effects. As time goes on it’s harder to find places that still make traditional glass neon. This is largely due to the advances made with LED technology providing a safe low voltage alternative for illumination of channel letters…

Inside a better quality Elitech thermostat (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. This is better! There’s a reason traditional core ‘n’ coil transformers are used in stuff like this. Using an old fashioned transformer gives better electrical separation and gets rid of the stressed out low-ESR capacitors. I didn’t originally intent to go quite so deep with the schematic in this, but it turned out…

A look at the Barrowland’s neon sign controller

From bigclivedotcom. Glasgow had an era in the past where it had neon signs that rivalled Las Vegas, many of which were created by a company called Franco Signs. But they fell from architectural favour and at this point the Barrownland’s sign is possibly the only "neon spectacular" left in Scotland. Special thanks to Jim…

Pound shop USB disco light teardown (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. I think the best lesson that can be learned from this cheap USB disco light is the importance of supply rail decoupling in the vicinity of audio circuitry. There’s an audio amplitude detector circuit that triggers continually when used on anything other than a perfectly noise free USB power supply. That said, it’s…

Inside a Glasgow Subway RFID train ticket

From bigclivedotcom. The first time I got one of these tickets it took me by surprise. I was used to the magnetic stripe tickets when they switched to a paper ticket with RFID circuitry inside. The Glasgow Subway is the third oldest underground railway in the world, and is completely underground for its whole route.…

Lidl self powered jogging light teardown (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. I thought this was going to be a gimmick, but it’s actually very good. Even the slightest movement will make the LEDs light. The construction is strongly reminiscent of the first shake lights, but there are some unusual twists – notably the hollow core neodymium iron boron magnet. I don’t know if that…

Pound shop ring light teardown (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. This seems to be a very common little light. It clips onto your phone to provide illumination from all directions and avoid shadows. This one came from a UK Pound shop called One Below, and cost around £2. Not bad for the functionality and components. I’ve tried this style of light for macro…

Teardown of three STC-1000 style thermostats

From bigclivedotcom. How to use the classic STC-1000 clone thermostats, and a look at the circuitry inside them. I think the original version of these units may be Elitech. These modules are shockingly cheap for what is effectively an industrial control module. It’s almost as if the software got out into the wild and everyone…

Chinese cleaning sheets for deep pantie stains

From bigclivedotcom. An unusual laundry detergent product that I got the urge to explore. It’s detergent in convenient dry sheet form. You put 1 or 2 sheets into the washing machine with your clothes and they instantly dissolve into the water as the detergent. Each spongy-feeling sheet weighs about 1.2g each and when dissolved in…

Wireless power transfer modules (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. Some very small modules designed to transfer power wirelessly for battery charging or direct powering of sealed devices. The power transfer is low, but perfectly suitable for low current devices. Standby current with no load is about 24mA at 5V, so about a tenth of a watt. For best coupling the antennas have…

Novel rosin vapour short circuit finder

From bigclivedotcom. At first I thought this was just a gimmick to sell naughty devices on eBay, disguised as being an electronic tool. But in reality, it works really well for the suggested application. The idea is that a heater in a ceramic cup evaporates solid rosin, as used in solder flux, and allows you…

Did this pose a fire risk?

From bigclivedotcom. Another video on restricted advertising for being about a vaping device. (Despite not actually promoting vaping.) While buying further disposable vapour devices for technical exploration, I got a larger capacity one to see if it had a decent rechargeable lithium cell inside. The first one I got had malfunctioned horribly inside the packaging…

Easy custom illuminated crystal on wooden base

From bigclivedotcom. I bought one of these bases on AliExpress a while ago to experiment with using it to illuminate 3D printed covers. It looks really good, and is a very easy way to make custom illuminated ornaments. No woodturning or electronic skills are required to make this project, although it will require a 3D…

Easy custom LED crystal with wooden base.

From bigclivedotcom. I bought one of these bases on AliExpress a while ago to experiment with using it to illuminate 3D printed covers. It looks really good, and is a very easy way to make custom illuminated ornaments. No woodturning or electronic skills are required to make this project, although it will require a 3D…

Purple LED tube with neat driver

From bigclivedotcom. I’ll guess that the main use for this tube will be in window displays or theming. It provides a nice splash of vibrantly coloured light. The construction is different to what I was expecting. The tube opened easily, but kinda self-destructed in the process. I’m guessing the LED strip is glued on with…

LED signage COB module teardown

From bigclivedotcom. A close look at a COB-style LED module as used for signage illumination. I chose blue so we would be able to see the bare LED chips. These low voltage modules are used as an alternative to neon and fluorescent tubes inside signage. They have the huge advantages of being relatively safe to…

Poundland lady-toy teardown (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. Despite the name, Poundland isn’t actually a sex shop. It’s the UK equivalent of a dollar store. That said, they do actually sell a range of sex toys in the medicines area. I saw this on their Valentine’s Day display and decided to go back and get one a week later to take…

Dangerous bare 230V LED tape

From bigclivedotcom. I’m not sure what application this bare mains voltage LED tape is intended for, but the implication in the listing that it can be used under kitchen cabinets, in bathrooms and children’s play rooms may not be appropriate. Despite operating at full mains voltage, this tape can still be cut every 100mm (4")…

Faulty PIR switch meltdown

From bigclivedotcom. An outdoor PIR switch that popped a fuse, and when a new one was put in it glowed orange inside before blowing the new fuse. This unit is an excellent example of design by someone with no real experience of PCB design involving 120/240V. The one routed anti-tracking slot is almost a token…

Big light, but it’s PISH! (With schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. An AA (Automobile Association) light that was sent by Robert for our exploration. The circuitry is minimalist and interesting, the LED mounting and reflector are good, but the battery itself is a bit lacklustre, and the intensity rapidly declines with battery voltage. The choice of a lead-acid battery is odd. If I was…

Simple NiMH battery charger (with PCB files)

From bigclivedotcom. A gloriously dumb USB powered NiMH and NiCad battery charger that will guarantee a full charge every time, but only if you’re not in a rush. A trashy 500mAh cell will take about a day to charge, while a luxuriously high capacity cell could take most of a week to charge – but…

Inside a high voltage LED

From bigclivedotcom. A look through a microscope at a high voltage 24-LED array in a tiny 2835 style package. Quick correction, I worked out that roughly 18V is being dropped across the linear regulator. Not 18mA like I said. The combined voltage of the LEDs is so high that very little more has to be…

Fast-print tool battery connector

From bigclivedotcom. This 3D printed battery connector is for a very common cheap power tool battery sold in Europe. It goes by the brand Parkside Tools here and is sold by Lidl. It may be available in some countries under a different brand. There are quite a lot of battery connector designs on Thingiverse, but…

Simplest Ryobi and Parkside battery connectors

From bigclivedotcom. I got the urge to make a battery connector that fits on my Ryobi or Parkside power tool batteries. Thingiverse had lots of designs, but they all seemed quite complicated and would have taken a while to print, so I designed super minimalist versions that print in less than 15 minutes. For both…

Resistor firework fuse ignition

From bigclivedotcom. A very cheap way to remotely light wireworks. Use a quarter watt, 10 ohm, carbon film resistor. When 12V is applied across it, the resistor passes about 1A and burns out quickly – igniting the firework fuse.

IP65 LED tape coating fail

From bigclivedotcom. I was using this tape above my computer for ambient illumination. Over time it imperceivably changed from warm white light to a dull orange glow. When it got the point that I couldn’t identify component colour bands I decided to take a closer look. The gel they use to make it waterproof (more…

240V LED sign module teardown (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. These strings of LED modules are commonly used for illumination in signage with 12V and 24V power supplies. But these are the first I’ve seen that run directly from the mains supply. Obviously I had to buy a string and take one apart…. Things worthy of note. The mains voltage strings allow long…