Updating a 70,000 hour LED lamp

From bigclivedotcom. I made a video about this glitter lamp eight years ago and didn’t realise that this lamp has been running 24/7 for eight years! That’s over 70,000 hours! Perhaps a good demonstration of the exponential effect of over-driving LED lamps, since this "3W" lamp runs at only 2W and is therefore a lot…

Fixing a heater and an apology to my bro

From bigclivedotcom. I’m not sure where Ralfy has been storing this heater. The contacts and the plug pins were heavily oxidised. That makes a refreshing change from him restricting airflow and wrecking thermal trips and fuses. (My brother Ralfy and I are polar opposites in every way. He’s not technical at all.) The thermal cutouts…

Inside a soviet ionizer from 1990 (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. Such an odd thing. Very similar circuitry to a classic needle ioniser, but uses a long linear emitter wire instead. The circuitry has a nice soviet feel to it, with very chunky Russian components that seem a bit retro compared to UK ionisers from the same era. Ionisers are blighted by a history…

Can we fix a high voltage igniter?

From bigclivedotcom. During a live stream I was demonstrating this igniter unit and waved it back and forth vigorously to show how the spark changed. Then it suddenly stopped working with the green "charged" LED lit. The circuitry is interesting, but quirky, and has some weird features like a MOSFET that bypasses the power switch…

Lithium cell balancer reverse engineering with schematic

From bigclivedotcom. I’ve never really investigated cell balancing too much, so I got a two cell protection and balancing board to explore. The module has three distinct circuitry sections. A two cell protection circuit with charge/discharge MOSFETs to protect against overcharge and over discharge of the cells, where the first cell to reach 4.25V while…

Tiny RGBW strobe light teardown with schematic

From bigclivedotcom. Although this USB rechargeable strobe is probably intended for bikes, this could also be used as a warning beacon for other purposes. Note that it has a very small rechargeable lithium cell in it, so it’s not really going to be very useful for 24 of its 31 modes, but the short duration…

The trashiest of all miracle heaters (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. I bought three different flame effect PTC style "miracle heaters". Two turned out to be the same style despite having different listing pictures, and this one (which cost the same!) turned out to be somewhat less complex (huge understatement). I think the best way to avoid this heater is to make sure you…

Inside a boot dryer (possible Peet clone?)

From bigclivedotcom. I’ve always wanted to explore one of the classic American Peet boot dryers, but they never seemed to do a version for 220-240V countries. While having a random browse for similar items I came across a single eBay listing for just one item and bought it to explore. The box came in a…

USB fairy light controller (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. A look at a common style of USB Christmas light controller, with some slight hackability. It’s very simple, but sadly it doesn’t have a memory function to hold the last light setting. It also has a timer function which some people may like, but I don’t really care for it, as it messes…

Upgrading a downgraded light

From bigclivedotcom. The accountants have clearly had a part in the redesign of the circuitry on this classic Chinese light panel. They are intended for use in ceiling bulkhead fixtures, where the new panel sticks to the steel backplate with magnets. This type of light has no easy way to change a lamp. You will…

High voltage igniter teardown with schematic

From bigclivedotcom. These seem to be a very common style of component on Aliexpress and sometimes on eBay too. It’s a spark ignitor for gas that could be used for cooker, ovens or other applications. Unlike oil igniters or larger scale gas units, it doesn’t have a continuous hot spark, but just pulses low current…

Lithium cell factoid

From bigclivedotcom. When you consider that disposable lithium cells contain much more lithium than rechargeable ones, it doesn’t really seem logical to keep using disposable cells for many applications. This also addresses the myth that rechargeable lithium batteries are dangerous because of the amount of lithium in them. It’s actually the huge amount of energy…

I got scammed on eBay (what a surprise)

From bigclivedotcom. Normally when I buy scam products I know what I’m buying and get them to explore and reverse engineer, but this time I bought what I thought was a non-scam product and it was a completely different product in the case. For those who will inevitable say that I can’t hear the ultrasonic…

DIY coffee pod disaster

From bigclivedotcom. I just got the urge to try and make a refillable nespresso style coffee pod for my coffee maker. Perhaps the choice of PLA filament for the prototype wasn’t a good call. The machine did its best to squirt the entire pod through the mechanism. Maybe a higher temperature plastic would work better.…

Chinese LED line-generator light

From bigclivedotcom. A common online lighting device that generates multiple focussed beams of light that create illuminated lines on surfaces like walls and ceilings. The construction is optimised for the function, including a machined alloy casting. The circuitry is simply two high power LEDs wired in series with a common current regulated power supply. To…

Big Clive Live Stream

From bigclivedotcom. No UK TV licence is required to view any of my content, whether live or pre-recorded. The clock in the background is displaying UK time. If superchat is enabled, please keep any contributions low as if you’re buying me a coffee or drink at the bar. There is a dedicated live stream channel…

Very cool tool – HVAC schrader core changer

From bigclivedotcom. You may get Deja-vu from this video, as it’s the full length (and horizontal) version of an earlier short. Because China has a huge infrastructure, there are some very cool tools available cheaply from online sites like eBay. This is one of them. It’s a schrader valve core changer, but is designed to…

Whoofler fireball generator

From bigclivedotcom. A foolish project I conceived to create fireballs from a custom 3D printed whoofler that plugs directly onto a can of butane lighter refill gas. The liquid is just well diluted dishwashing liquid. If you ever consider making one of these (which I would obviously advise against) note that it does pose a…

Exploded British General USB socket

From bigclivedotcom. This was sent to me by a friend who had been using it for a while, but after refitting it during redecoration it failed catastrophically with sparks. That does make me wonder if something happened during the process that either resulted in ingress of dirt/liquid or a bad connection causing arcing, which can…

WiFi socket repair fail

From bigclivedotcom. If this had been a simple fault it would probably have been an easy repair unless the power supply had failed with sooty track carnage. My first thought was that it would have been the usual drying of the secondary side smoothing capacitor, as they are put under a lot of stress by…

Two wire flasher module teardown with unexpected find

From bigclivedotcom. This was such a pleasure to reverse engineer because of the unexpected hybrid circuitry that uses a very retro component to control a modern one. And bizarrely, the "retro" component is in a modern surface mount package. A search on Aliexpress found an SMD transistor called P27 which may be a modern variant…

Water/alcohol air-still distiller teardown

From bigclivedotcom. These devices are intended for purifying water by boiling it and then recondensing the steam back into liquid. That removes any solid matter like minerals and salts, giving very pure water for technical uses and for drinking. They’re also used for distilling ethanol from sugar washes to make high percentage alcohol for cleaning,…

Parkside soldering iron secret calibration mode

From bigclivedotcom. After my video showing the circuitry of the Lidl Parkside soldering iron, and how a physical component change could allow the default ferocious 500 Celsius tip temperature to be customised, a few viewers got in touch and described a calibration mode that you can access via the single button on the front. Here’s…

Testing a new 2-part style of LED “neon”

From bigclivedotcom. I saw this a while ago and decided to get some to try. It’s designed to go into routed channels as a "bendable" LED strip with a separate diffuser section that presses into the routed channel. Not having a router, I used one of my existing 3D printing scripts to make a square…

“Miracle” heater teardown – with schematics

From bigclivedotcom. This seems appropriate, since there’s a current surge in unscrupulous marketers cashing in on the current "fuel crisis" by claiming that this style of heater will heat your whole house for pennies. In reality, a watt is a watt and a 500W heater like this will take four times longer to heat a…

Stinky feet cure

From bigclivedotcom. Stinky work boots and trainers/sneakers are a fact of life for some people. All it takes is for fungus or mold to get established in the hot humid environment, and it will be transferred from shoe to shoe. This is where boric acid comes in. Despite being an acid, it’s so weak that…

Desiccant drum dehumidifier teardown

From bigclivedotcom. A complete teardown of a desiccant drum dehumidifier, just in case you wondered what’s inside one. These are an interesting alternative to the classic compressor based units. They are much quieter and will perform very well at low temperature. They put out a continuous stream of warm dry air, which is useful in…

Fake power saving plugs

From bigclivedotcom. These scam products have been about for a long time. They were originally sold by "salesmen" using a trick involving a display case. But recently they’ve been marketed aggressively on sites like Facebook from countries with poor financial accountability. The marketing generally has a story associated with it, often involving young inventors who…

Fake product with stolen software? (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. There’s something VERY suspicious about this fake fuel saving product. Why would they use analogue circuitry to turn a microcontroller on and off? This is a fake OBD engine optimiser which incorporates rogue network interface circuitry with the usual pretend network activity LEDs, but it uses an on/off button that could have used…

Hackable Halloween poop

From bigclivedotcom. I’d guess this product is sold under different brands around the world. It’s got a nice case that could work well for many projects, but the original effect is excruciatingly dire and very repetitive. I tested it with a bigger speaker hoping for some extra bass, but there’s none. It’s all screechy treble.…

Worst fake OBD fuel saver yet (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. As designs go, this has to be the laziest and cheapest fake engine tuner plug there is. Most of these units try to look convincing by emulating data transfer with flickering LEDs, but this one has just one flashing LED with circuitry that hints that the designers didn’t even know basic electronics. Worse…

Aldi glowing rock (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. The circuity on this solar rock light had a few weird features that took me a long time to suss out. They’re good features though – especially the polarity protection on the changeable lithium cell. There’s also an option on the PCB to replace that with a link for hard wired cells. The…

Fake fuel saver

From bigclivedotcom. If you were thinking of getting one of these common eBay plug-in fuel savers for your vehicle, then save your money. They’re not just a scam, but this one adds a significant 20mA extra current draw to your vehicle at all times. #shorts

Red Sea Mall death-dapter teardown

From bigclivedotcom. On his travels around the world, Vince the crew chief kindly bought me a suitably shady looking death-daptor to examine. The first and strangest fail was the wrongly colour coded pins. Supporting the channel with a dollar or two on Patreon helps keep it independent of YouTube’s quirks, avoids intrusive mid-video adverts, gives…

6W vs 10W vs 13W LED lamp showdown (with schematics)

From bigclivedotcom. I thought it would be interesting to compare three different power ratings of lamps from the same brand. These lamps came from a retail outlet called One Below, which is the reincarnation of Pound World. The 13W lamp was slightly more expensive than the others. The circuitry is very typical of how non-dimmable…

Nicest solar light I’ve seen (with schematic)

From bigclivedotcom. The refreshing design of this solar light from Pound Stretcher is inspiring. It makes you realise that you can do so much more with a simple solar garden light. From the way it sheds water to the nice little extra features, it seems like someone really wanted to create something different. As usual…

Pound shop Xmas disaster

From bigclivedotcom. As we enter the last third of the year, which is one continuous Halloween and Christmas season, the local pound shops (UK dollar stores) have started introducing their seasonal stock. In this case it includes this lovely LED string USB charging cable with an exciting new approach to driving LEDs. It’s interesting to…

Inside a snow machine blower

From bigclivedotcom. I’ve often explored the pumps, but I don’t think I’ve taken a snow machine blower assembly apart. I’ve experimented with snow fluids in the past – with both shampoo, bubble bath and surfactants (Surface Active Agents – they’re the chemicals that make water foamy). The manufacturers are very cryptic about their ingredients, but…

Disney bubble wand teardown

From bigclivedotcom. The science involved in this unit is extraordinary. A lot of development and fine tuning must have been involved to create the correct flow and meniscus generation to create the continuous stream of tiny bubbles without any liquid getting down into the air blower section. I’ve just realised that the unit has a…

Learning from other’s mistakes

From bigclivedotcom. This unit has a very perplexing design. It seems like the designer copied many protective elements from other designs, but then failed to apply the same concept to their own output. The PTC self-resetting overcurrent thermistor and clamp diode approach is common on better designed DMX devices, as it protects the data inputs…

Inside the DMX-cat event-industry lighting tool

From bigclivedotcom. DMX is a very common lighting control network in the event industry. It was originally designed to reduce the amount of wiring in dimmer racks from one wire per dimmer to just a single twisted pair for up to 512 dimmer channels. As the lighting industry evolved to automated lights it was then…

Inside a wireless DMX receiver

From bigclivedotcom. I feel guilty making a video about this sensibly designed system that paints it in a bad light, but we’ve had a pretty rough time with these units on a show that uses these in mobile risers (podiums) with video floors that the performers stand on, side RGB LED channels, RGB under-glow lighting…