Posts tagged cables
The Mesh Potato, a wireless mesh phone and broadband service in a box. Village Telco
When he started getting complaints from relatives back home in Puerto Rico about the lack of reliable phone or Internet service in the mountainous center of the island, Jose Soto took things into his own hands and built his own wireless service—with a little help from his cousins. And with a little elbow grease, a few dollars, and a willing broadband provider, you could do the same.
In the mountainous center of Puerto Rico, many cell phone users need to travel 30 to 40 minutes from home to get a reliable cell phone connection, Soto said. And fewer than 25 percent of people in the region have access to the Internet, despite government programs to subsidize networks. that absence of service is largely because of the topography of the area—it’s impractical and too expensive to run cables through the mountains and valleys. Soto is now six months into an effort to change that by creating a wireless ISP and Voice over IP service, with a little help from friends and family.
Soto’s startup, Coquitel, is on the verge of providing Internet and telephone service to ten municipalities, colloquially called “pueblos,” in inner Puerto Rico, with a potential customer base of 150,000 people. And he’s ready to go live with the full service as soon as the fiber-optic line he’s paying for out-of-pocket gets hooked up to his wireless mesh network, built with open source software and inexpensive hardware designed by Village Telco, a nonprofit organization in South Africa.
The mesh network will use unlicensed spectrum and is based on Village Telco’s “Mesh Potato,” a weatherproof 802.11g wireless access and VoIP connection point that is designed to work well with relatively little or unstable power. in fact, it runs on about three watts—meaning it can be powered by solar or battery power, Power over Ethernet (PoE), or Power over Telephone Line (PoTL). Costing about $80 per unit, the Mesh Potato—manufactured by the Chinese VoIP hardware company ATCOM—is intended to be mounted outdoors, on a pole or the roof of a house. Users can connect to it with a standard ATA telephone connection or over WiFi.
The Mesh Potato is, Soto says, extremely easy to set up. it is configured with a Web-based interface, or by punching in configuration codes from a connected handset. that interface handles all the configuration of the underlying software in the system, which includes the open-source VoIP PBX software Asterisk. Soto has already set up mesh networks in two communities, totaling 80 users, providing them with local calling. Each connected household gets an extension on a private phone network, as well as wireless data service. Once Coquitel has a connection to the Internet, it can be connected to a VoIP provider without requiring the company to acquire additional licensing.
The view from Coquitel’s “backhaul” tower in Orocovis, Puerto Rico.
Coquitel is just the latest adopter of the Village Telco model, which was originally developed to give communities in Africa a self-contained telephone network. Steve Song, the founder of Village Telco, said that the Mesh Potato, which has been deployed so far mostly in small communities with under 100 customers, “has proved to survive anything short of a direct lightning strike.”
“You can plug 240V into the Ethernet port and the MP will just reset and keep going,” he says. “It is also very flexible, and can accept [any] input between 10 and 40V DC—which means it can be powered by a car battery or other alternative sources.”
In terms of the range of the network, however, Song said, “the Mesh Potato is quite ordinary.” because it’s designed to create a mesh network, linking with multiple other access points, it uses an omnidirectional antenna with a maximum power of 20 dBm (100mW), so it can operate within most countries’ wireless regulations. that means that it works well in clusters—but requires a longer-haul network to connect between communities.
Coquitel’s initial customers are already using the network to make calls to one another. With volunteers, including some of Soto’s cousins, helping to get the word out about the potential service he’s aiming to provide through the Mesh Potatoes, he expects to have between 500 and 600 customers ready to sign up within the first month or so—once he has a stable backbone connection to the public switched telephone network and the Internet. so far, that has been his biggest challenge.
Soto, who has had experience in the cellular phone industry in the US and splits his time between Puerto Rico and Florida, said he was first looking to use a wireless network provider’s microwave connections for his network’s “backhaul,” but found the microwave often drops because of weather—heavy rains cause frequent “rain fade” for wireless links and satellite. Soto told Ars he is now partnering with “one of the major cable companies” to get a direct fiber-optic connection. He’s also building his own wireless backhaul networks to connect the pueblos, using 5GHz wireless bridges, and is planning on obtaining licenses for other local spectrum to increase the capacity of his network as he adds more communities. Solo may ultimately use discarded satellite television service dishes to add directional antenna capabilities to Mesh Potato so that additional households can be connected over longer distances and through heavy vegetation.
The next generation of the Mesh Potato, Song says, will be faster, more capable, and less expensive. “We’re working on a second–generation Mesh Potato based on an Atheros 802.11n SoC chip that should about halve our manufacturing costs while giving us the benefit of 802.11n performance,” he told Ars. “It will also have an internal USB plug to which users can add a 3G dongle for redundancy or more RAM for running more sophisticated applications or anything USB-related that the user can think of. we also plan to make it easy to connect other devices like an Arduino so that people can design networks that can do more than just voice and data.”
Eventually, when his fiber is in place, Soto says he plans to offer Internet and long-distance calls for $29 a month (with cellular-style caps on data use). The project has gotten attention from local and territorial government officials—including public safety officials, who see the new network as a big gain in an area where there’s very little reliable wireless service, and as a potential back-up 911 system. And Soto says Coquitel is part of the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative—an effort to improve broadband service and create Internet-based jobs in Puerto Rico.
The Air-Fi AF9 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless Headset with Microphone from MEElectronics is a small Bluetooth receiver (with controls and mic) and stereo headset. it provides hands-free talking and Bluetooth stereo media playback/control in a convenient-sized device providing unconnected (to your phone, anyway) use with any Bluetooth-enabled device.
Inside the Box
The AF9 comes with a generous supply of cables and rubber ear buds. You’ll get two USB charging cables (one for home and one for work, maybe?), the Bluetooth module (labeled AF1 on the side of the module), the AF9 stereo headphones, an audio extender cable that doubles the length of the headphones cable, 4 sets of ear buds in various sizes, and a clamshell carrying case.
The AF9 Stereo headphones are of a lower build quality than the MP9s I reviewed back in 2011, but then again this whole package is only $15 more than those headphones.
They’re still noise isolating in-ear earbuds, and they have decent sound and in-ear comfort. They’re also only headphones – no mic is included on them, as it’s on the AF1 body. Still, with the included extender cable they’re usable as wired headphones and their shorter main cable is a more manageable length for use with the AF1 receiver. Given the hit in sound quality you take when using Bluetooth anyway, they’re quite serviceable.
The AF1 Bluetooth Receiver/Mic
This little rectangle is the meat of this device. In the tiny 10.1 gram obelisk is your Bluetooth radio and a battery rated at 5 hours of talk or 6 hours of music playback and 100 hours standby time.
On the right side is the microphone. the top is where you’ll find a 3.5mm headset jack and the charging port. There’s a clip on the back, and four control buttons on the front. if that sounds like a lot to pack into 1.5″ X 0.5″ X 0.25″ to you, then you’re in the same boat as me. the control buttons are cramped, but fortunately they function well and have nice “click” feedback. Oh, and since this is a Bluetooth device, it includes an annoying bright blue blinking LED on the front – apparently this “make you look silly” blinking blue LED is required of all Bluetooth devices.
The supplied pair of USB-to-charging pin cables let you charge the Air-Fi off any USB port in about 4 hours.
Grab your Partner
Partnering the AF1 to a Bluetooth device is no longer the exercise in trial and error that it was in the early days. you press and hold the “multifunction” (phone symbol) button until the AF1 glows solid blue, and then you look for it (it’s called AirFi) in your pairing device’s “device scan.” it uses the PIN of 0000, which most devices will try for you when connecting a headset. I was able to pair it with ease with an iPhone4, Windows Phone 7, Android tablet, and several Win7 PCs. it seems to remember at least 4 pairings before overwriting the oldest device. it will reconnect to the last connected device automatically. In other words from a Bluetooth perspective, it works just like most other Bluetooth headsets.
What’s the Frequency
Radio performance of the Air-Fi was decent, but not earth shattering. it was rock solid at 12 feet and under, and seemed tolerant of use in areas with other radio waves about (WiFi, microwaves, wireless home phones, and who knows what else.) beyond 12 feet out to about 30′ (less if not in sight), things get a little more hit and miss, with increases in drop outs or hiss/noise near the far end of the range. Battery life was also passable. the two charge cables mean you don’t need to carry one with you between work and home, but you’ll not make it through a whole day on a single charge if you use the Air-Fi for extended listening. You’ll also not be listening during recharges, as the unit doesn’t work when charging. In my tests of listening, the runtime was just about 6 hours. Standby lasted 4 days (paired to my desktop, sitting there, doing nothing but being on and paired.) I can’t imagine talking for 5 hours, but that seems plausible given the listen time.
Can you hear me now?
Evaluating the performance of audio gear is tricky enough when you get past a certain age, and then add-on variables like cell phone call quality and Bluetooth wireless interference, and things get downright subjective. certainly compared to other Bluetooth headsets, call quality and my voice as heard on the other side of the call were both reasonably clear and understandable. the mic isn’t noise cancelling, so you’re going to have background noise, wind noise, and garment noise (if you’re moving) more so than with a high-end headset. Pretty much it will be no worse than with a wired headset and mic.
Music playback was acceptable as well. In a noisy environment I can’t really tell much difference between the Bluetooth stereo profile and a wired headset on MP3s, but in a quiet room with high quality audio sources, the typical Bluetooth compression/loss of dynamic range is evident.
Wearing a Wire
The whole point of these devices isn’t high-fidelity of course, it’s not being directly connected to your audio source. to achieve that you’ve got two options – either the receiver and battery are IN the headset, or they’re in some blob you plug a headset into. With the blob approach, you still end up with a wire going to the blob, with the blob clipped somewhere on you. Then your phone or other device is in your pocket or on a nearby table, or you’re using your laptop or desktop. You’re free to move around a bit, but you’ve still got a wire. the upside is far less weight on your head or ear. I found the combo to be quite comfortable for walking and talking, or exercising and listening. it was also good for use around the office taking VOIP calls & online meetings, while allowing me to move freely about a desk-sized area without getting tangled up.
Over and Out
The Air-Fi AF9 is an inexpensive way to break the connection between your head and your phone/media playback/PC, provided they have Bluetooth support. It’s not immune from the typical drawbacks of Bluetooth, but then at this price I’d not expect it to be. the use of a completely stand-alone receiver unit with integrated mic allows you to use any headphones you’d like with a 3.5mm jack with the AF1, should you wish.
All the connections to the Analog Discovery lab instrument hardware are made though the 30 pin male header (0.1 inch centers) connector. This is a very common, generic connector and is simple to attach wires to as with the various female to female cables supplied in the kit. Double length square male pins are included to change the female end of the wires into male pins that can be easily inserted into the solder-less breadboards often used in the lab for building prototype circuits. Using these male adapter pins can be less than ideal when they fall out and get lost. I’ve found that having a set of wires where the female connector on one end is replaced with a permanent (i.e. soldered on) male pin to be more convenient when connecting Discovery to breadboards.
But there are many cases where unshielded wires with simple male and female square pins are just not sufficient. it might be desirable to connect Discovery to other conventional Lab instruments or generic 1X:10X scope probes for example. Figure 1 is a schematic of a small adapter board I’ve put together. it provides single ended BNC connections to the two scope inputs (C1+ and C2+) with jumper selectable AC or DC coupling. For the two AWG outputs (W1 and W2) again two BNC connectors are provided with jumper selectable 50 ohm series termination resistors. A three pin header (JP5) is included to provide connections to the two user power supplies and ground.
Figure 1 BNC to female header adapter schematic
The two sided PC board layout is shown in figure 2. The board is notched out to allow access to the remaining connections (mainly the digital I/O) on Discovery. Note that the female header connector should be mounted on the bottom of the board, so it can plug into the connector on Discovery and the rest of the components go on the top of the board as usual. The BNC footprints are set up for a couple different styles of PCB BNC connectors. it would be simple to swap out the BNC connectors for other connector variations like SMA or SMB or even RCA connectors.
Figure 2 BNC to female header adapter layout
I’ve found this adapter very useful and have built three variations with female BNC, SMA and RCA connectors. The RCA connectors are especially convenient for attaching Discovery to home audio equipment and analog video signals (from DVD players for example).
The Discovery hardware itself is rather small and light weight and special care should be taken when using this adapter with heavy and stiff coax cables. it is probably best to avoid using stiff coax when possible but one thing that might work somewhat better would be to insert the BNC connectors on the bottom of the board so that they extend back over the top of the Discovery board rather than out in front of it.
I’ve attached a zip file containing the Gerber PCB files for the board shown in figure 2 to this blog. as always I welcome comments and suggestions from the user community out there.
Ethernet splitters are a great way to reduce the amount of network cable you have in your house and save money. Splitters work by simply allowing two lanes of traffic to travel down an ethernet cable. Ethernet cables only use 4 out of the 8 wires they have when sending and receiving data. A splitter makes it possible for you to force two lanes of traffic down one cable. This allows you to almost halve the amount of cable between to network connections by using one cable instead of two. if you want to make your own ethernet cable splitter then the good news is that they are actually very cheap and anyone should be able to construct one without any outside help. if you are up for the challenge then here is what you need to do to make your own splitter.
The main components of the splitter are very basic and extremely cheap. It shouldn’t cost anymore than a few dollars to get everything you need. The parts that you will need include two RJ45 crimpable plugs, four RJ45 keystone jacks and some scrap ethernet cable. In addition to this you’ll also need the following tools to make assembling the splitter possible. one RJ45 crimp tool, a cutting knife (craft cutting knife is recommended), a 110 punch down tool and some super glue. That’s everything you will need and once you have that you can start assembling it all together.
The first step is to crimp the RJ45 plug onto the ethernet cable. Wire 1 needs to be matched to white and orange. Wire 2 is matched to just orange. Wire 3 is matched to white and green. Wire 4 is matched just to blue. Wire 5 is matched to white and blue. Wire 6 is matched to green. Wire 7 is matched to white and brown. Wire 8 is matched to brown. once you’ve done that, the next step is to cut off the other end of the scrap ethernet cable, about 9 inches, and punch down the four pairs of RJ45 keystone jacks. The wiring for the jacks should be as follows:
1 White/Orange to pin 1keystone jack
2 Orange to pin 2 keystone jack
3 White/Green to pin 3 keystone jack
6 Green to pin 6 keystone jack
4 Blue to pin 2 keystone jack
5 White/Blue to pin 1 keystone jack
7 White/Brown to pin 3 keystone jack
8 Brown to pin 6 keystone jack
You are almost done. The next step is to super glue the keystone jacks together and then you are done. Since splitters need to be used in pairs, you will need to make a total of two of these. Simply repeat the steps above to make a second ethernet splitter.
Splitters can be used anywhere that you need to connect two networks together. Network here could mean computers or hubs and switches. It isn’t important, what is important is that you setup the splitters in pairs. Since splitters force two lanes of LAN traffic down one LAN cable, you need one splitter on one end to funnel the traffic into the single lane and then another splitter on the other end to separate the traffic as it comes out. IF you use just a single splitter, what you will find is that no data can be sent or received along your cable, because there is no separation of the traffic being done on both ends.
The Firestone Mini headphone amp, shown with the cables that come with it.
Some “portable” headphone amplifiers aren’t all that small, but the Firestone Audio Fireye Mini is downright tiny.
It’s just 1.5 inches by 1 inch by 0.5 inch, and the soft-rubber-shelled amp weighs almost nothing, so you can hang it off youriPod,iPad,iPhone or any device with a 3.5mm headphone output. Plugging in a headphone turns the Mini on and lights a bright blue LED, unplugging turns the amp off. Charge the Mini via the USB connection and it’ll play for up to 24 hours. It’s available in green, gray, purple, red, and white.
The Mini is no giant-killer, but it definitely bumped up the detail and resolution of my Monster Turbine Copper, Ultimate Ears UE-4, and vPulse in-ear headphones. The Mini made each one sound like a better pair of headphones. Radiohead’s “Amnesiac” had a more expansive soundstage, bass definition firmed up, and treble sparkle improved compared with what I get straight out of my iPod Classic. The amp’s definitely worth $39, so if you’ve already invested in a nice set of headphones, why not see how good they can sound? once I got used to having the Mini on my iPod the sound was drab without it. One caveat: your headphones’ mic and phone controls won’t work when plugged into the Mini; you can still hear the tunes, but that’s all.
The Mini connected to an iPod Classic
Measuring a still-compact 2.4 inches by 3.2 inches by 0.6 inch, the Fireye DA USB digital-to-analog converter/headphone amp ($199) isn’t much bigger than the Mini. The machined metal chassis, volume control knob, and switches exude quality. The DA was designed to work with computers, but not with iPods/iPhones, etc. I used a Mac Mini as a music source for all of my listening tests.
The DA’s sound has a solid foundation, so weighty bass impact is the star attraction here. Definition and punch are strong, and there’s a bass boost switch on the front panel that adds even more kick to the low frequencies on my Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones.
The DA has two output jacks: a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 3.5mm line output/optical/digital. The front panel has bass boost and gain switches, while the second one pushes the volume level up for hard-to-drive headphones, like my 300-ohm Sennheiser HD 580s.
The Firestone DA headphone amp
In direct comparisons with the Fiio E17 USB headphone amp ($139 on Amazon) with big orchestral scores punctuated with bass drums, both amps reached down to the deepest bass frequencies with ease, but the E17 sounded fuller and richer. The DA exerted greater control, so each drum hit was more distinct. The E17′s warmth extended up through the midrange so strings sounded great, while the DA was leaner, but clearer-sounding. I was listening over the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 earphones, and switching over to the Sennheiser HD 580 headphones presented a very different sound, with a more distant perspective.
The HD 580s need more power than the M50s, but flicking the DA’s high-gain switch fixed that problem. even so, the Sennheiser sound was more laid-back and mellower than the M50s’. Classical and other types of acoustic music sound more realistic with the Sennheiser/DA combination than with the Audio-Technica. A quick switch over to the Fiio E17 was a bit of a letdown because the sound lacked the DA’s resolution of fine detail. Amy Winehouse’s music didn’t change my feelings about both amps; the DA unleashed more of Winehouse’s swagger and edge.
Finishing up with the Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones, the E17 sounded veiled compared with the DA. I like both amps for different reasons. if you prefer warmth over detail, go for the E17; if you crave maximum resolution the DA would be a better choice.
We rely on technology to keep us connected now more than ever before. and while computers, servers, and other hardware are all vital for doing so there’s one that most people overlook but that is nevertheless important to consider. The kind of Ethernet cable you’re using will have an impact on your connection speed and your ability to use the net. as a result, it’s important to get the right one. There are options for everyone regardless of their budget, their operating system, or their setup situation. it doesn’t take long to figure out all of the basics behind these cables.
An Ethernet cable is also referred to as a Category 5 or Cat5e cable. It’s a twisted wire design that usually lacks shielding. That’s because the twisted wires actually help cancel out signal interference and maintain a clear signal even over longer distances. It’s highly flexible and versatile and today is often utilised for phone, video, and data connections. as a result it’s one of the most commonly used types of cable and is readily available and fairly inexpensive. If you’re thinking of setting up a basic Ethernet connection then you’ll want to use these to complete the connection in most cases.
Usually the Ethernet cable will run from the router or modem to the computer, and in some cases depending upon the type of connection used may actually run from the router to the wall jack as well. In DSL connections a standard phone line may be used while in cable internet hook-ups a cable connection will be used. But the Cat5e cable will remain a part of the setup, and in most cases it will be included in the purchase of a router or when you sign on with an internet service provider. They’re in nearly every home and office in the country.
It is important to remember that all Ethernet cables will usually be influenced by various things. While it can carry a signal for a very long distance without degradation, it can’t be crimped or extended too far beyond its standard location without having an adverse impact on the signal. it may still work, but the speed of your connection may be lessened due to nothing more than a crimped or overextended wire. as long as you install with care, these cables are the perfect option for setting up home or office networks and internet connections.
- Overclockers Facebook Page
- Follow Overclockers on Twitter
- 80 Plus gold certificated to Deliver at least 90% efficiency at 50% load.
- Use of the Japanese solid capacitors to extend the lifespan.
- DC-to-DC voltage regulator modules ensure stability and enhance efficiency.
- Modularized Cable management system designed to eliminate clutter and improve case airflow and cooling.
- Single +12 V rail output ensures the maximum power to the CPU and display cards and the stability not to be influenced by 3.3 V and 5 V output.
- 20+4 Pin Motherboard Connector x1
- 8 (4+4) Pin ATX/ EPS +12 V CPU Connector x1
- 8 Pin +12v/ CPU Connector x1
- 4 Pin Molex Easy Swap Peripheral Connector x8
- Serial ATA (SATA) Connector x8
- 4 Pin Floppy Connector x2
- 8 (6+2) Pin PCI-Express Connector x6
My thoughts? Well… the capacitors in the picture don’t look like what most people call solid capacitors to me, admittedly what most people call solid capacitors aren’t especially solid either. the connector list looks great, we’ll see what is hard wired and what is modular later on. 135 mm fans are nice. 80+ Gold is great. DC-DC 5 V and 3.3 V rails are pretty much required to hit 90+ Gold, so their presence isn’t a surprise. I am definitely a fan of modular cables, though I must say that the fat bundle of hard wired cables in the picture concerns me. Last is the single 12 V rail, those I am less fond of. there is a long winded and complicated explanation, but the short version is that well designed multiple rail PSUs do everything a single rail can while being safer. in certain failure modes single rail PSUs can cause serious issues. the number of 12 V rails has little to do with whether the CPU/GPU is influenced by the 3.3 V and 5 V rails, so I don’t know why that is mentioned.
Moving right along, the official specifications!
The InWin site is fairly brief about the specs, so I’ll be including a picture of the PSU label for rail wattages and such.
InWin Glacier 900 W SpecificationsNameGlacierTypeATX 12V 2.31 & EPS 12V 2.91 VersionPFCFull Range Active PFCFan13.5cm silent Double Ball-Bearing FanEfficiencyUp to 90%MTBF>120,000 HoursFull ProtectionOVP、OPP、SCPDimension (WxLxH)150*165*86 mmSafetyCB / CE / FCC / UL / TUV / CCC/ BSMI / WEEEAC Input115-240V,47-63Hz,15A/7.5A
Pretty standard stuff, might be a little short on protection measures if it really does lack Over-Temp Protection. Here are the output specs:
792 W on the 12 V rail is surprisingly low and really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as every watt that come out the 5 V and 3.3 V rails first goes through the 12 V. That said 792 W of 12 V on a 900 W is generally considered perfectly acceptable, it’s only the recent DC-DC regulation crazy that has led to 12 V ratings near the entire unit rating. of course, this is a DC-DC unit. in any case we’ll move onward to testing at this point as I can only comment on a label for so long before I start to repeat myself or diverge on wild tangents.
We’ll start our photographic expedition with the box, as usual.
All told it’s a nice box, it isn’t obscenely flashy but it still has some marketing and pretty colors. the carrying handle is a nice touch, one that I would like to see other manufacturers adopting on their high end units. I’m assuming the glacier theme is to give the impression that the PSU runs cool, rather than that it is melting and threatening to flood coastal areas. in any case it’s about time to open the box and see if the PSU looks like a glacier. I have to say that I would be absolutely psyched if it did.
The InWin Glacier 900 W PSU does not look like a glacier. it does look like a PSU however, which is probably for the better anyway. this PSU is very well packed indeed! I would be quite surprised if it sustained any damage while packed like this.
The Glacier 900 W has a nice matte black finish to it, with a bit of a texture to it. I would call it a “semi-crackle” finish. the distinguishing features are the Fan of serious looks and the nice shiny gold label. an interesting note is that the serial number stick is also the warranty-void-if-you-break-this-sticker-to-open-the-PSU sticker. I haven’t seen that before and I rather like it, that’s some efficiency right there. if you’re wondering about the cables you’re in luck, they’re next!
I’m disappointed to see both a 4+4P CPU power connector and an EPS12V 8P CPU power connector hard wired. Very few boards use both and only server boards actually require both. Most users will have to stash one in their case somewhere. other than that the hardwired cable selection looks quite good. You get the two CPU power cables, two PCIe 6+2P power cables and the ATX20+4P main motherboard cable. the modular cable selection is good, you got an additional four PCIe 6+2P power cables, two SATA cables with four connectors each, two Molex cables with four connectors each and two more Molex cables with two Molex plugs and a FDD power plug each. the box says eight Molex plugs, I count 12. two of the PCIe power cables have eight pin connectors on the PSU end and two have six pin connectors. Why? I don’t know. Realistically speaking six is fine, as there are only three 12 V and three ground wires that carry significant amounts of power, the other two ground wires in a PCIe 8P power cable are sense wires that tell the GPU that the connector is plugged in, but are not actually used as ground wires. Oddly there is a cable tie holding the sleeving and wires together just outside the PSU, I suspect that it is supposed to be on the inside but slipped out during manufacturing or packaging as there is room for it to leave the PSU if it feels like it. on the note of the sleeving, it looks great and goes all the way into the PSU and down to each plug. it doesn’t have any glue inside to hold it in place at the ends, just heatshrink. this could be a con if it slips up the cable and annoys you, or it could be a pro if you need to move the sleeving back a bit to shift the wires around for cable management. also of note at this point is that I actually examined two of these PSUs, the first was an early production/review seed model from right when the Glacier 900 W was launched, the second is a recently built full retail flavor. the recent full retail model has two cable ties on the sleeving just before it leaves the PSU, rather than outside. as to why I looked at two units, we’ll get to that in the testing section. Speaking of which, I think it’s time to get to the testing.
Testing will come in two parts, first up is load testing for voltage regulation. I’ll be loading the PSU with my home-built load tester consisting of power resistors bolted to a large and creatively designed water cooled heatsink. being a purely resistive load it doesn’t introduce any ripple or other anomalies. Voltages will be checked at the main ATX24P connector with a Cen-Tech #90899 multimeter. in this phase I will be looking at three things. the most important thing is the ability of the PSU to put out the wattage it says it can. the second most important is how close to 12 V the 12 V rail stays, 5 V to 5V and so on, this is the regulation I spoke of moments ago. Last, there is the question of how hot the unit gets and how loud the fan is at full load.
The ATX specifications call for voltage regulation to be within 5% of the rail voltage, so 12.6 V to 11.4 V on the 12 V rail, 5.25 V to 4.75 V on the 5 V rail and 3.465 V to 3.135 V on the 3.3 V rail. Ideally, we’ll see something lower, under 3% deviation is nice, under 1% is wonderful. the ATX spec doesn’t actually mention that the unit cannot explode at full load, I guess it’s assumed.
With that out of the way I give you… Load test results!
Load Wattage12 V Rail5 V Rail3.3 V Rail0/0/0w126.96.36.19996/0/0w188.8.131.52192/50/23w (265w)184.108.40.206336/100/46w (482w)220.127.116.11528/100/46w (674w)18.104.22.168720/100/46w (866w)22.214.171.124816/0/0w (CL1)126.96.36.199
Now that is some regulation. 0.3% on the 12 V rail? Yes please. That’s including intentionally overloading the 12 V rail a bit to see what it thought about it. 5 V came in at a not quite as good, but still excellent 0.8%, while 3.3 V was in the middle at 0.6%. All around some tremendously good regulation.
I never did hear the fan, that’s a good sign.
Ripple is the short duration deviation from the voltage average. the way a modern SMPS PSU works means that some ripple is completely unavoidable. the ATX specifications call for a maximum of 120 millivolts (0.120 volts) of ripple on the 12 V rail and 50 millivolts on the 5 V and 3.3 V rails.
Ripple comes in three flavors with three different causes. there is long duration ripple that is caused by the voltage regulator controller’s efforts to maintain an even voltage (they tend to overshoot), there is short duration ripple caused by the charging and discharging of the inductors and capacitors and then there is really short duration ripple (I call it transient ripple) caused by the switching of power to those inductors. the first sort isn’t always present in meaningful amounts, the second sort you flat out cannot get away from in a SMPS unit, and the third can be quite difficult to control. the first and second sorts are quite important, while the transient ripple is less of an issue. the ATX specifications call for all forms of ripple to be within the 120 mV/50 mV numbers in the above paragraph however.
I tested ripple at three load levels, first with 48 W of load on the 12 V rail, then with the unit fully loaded and last with a heavy 12 V crossload. the 48 W load for the low level test is because the unit is not rated for zero load operation, because of that and the fact that zero load will never happen in normal use I gave the unit something to chew on. Were the PSU rated for zero load operation it would be tested there, unrealistic or not!
Low load shots are on the left, full load are on the right. in all the shots the scope is set to 5 microseconds per divider (left/right axis), in the low load shots it is set to 10 mV/divider (vertical axis) while in the full load it is set to 50 mV/divider.
Houston, we have a problem here. Low load ripple is okay, it’s within spec by a decent amount. I’d like to see less on 5 V and 3.3 V, but it’s all fine. With the unit fully loaded however, there are issues. the 12 V is out of spec by 68 mV, I’m willing to let that slide when I consider the amazing voltage regulation. 5 V is out of spec by 130 mV, which is rather hard to ignore. Harder still is the 3.3 V rail being out of spec by 148 mV, almost 0.2 V of ripple is far too much for the poor 3.3 V rail.
I spent some time with my scope tracking down the source of the ripple and it all comes down to the switching of the 12 V rail, as you can see in the scope shots there are some impressive transients caused by switching the power on and off in the transformer. the output filter capacitors don’t seem to be able to mop it up, and it gets passed right on to the DC-DC regulators for the 5 V and 3.3 V rails. They can’t get rid of it either and it comes right back out of them into the 5 V and 3.3 V rails. Unfortunately, what was out of spec by a decent bit on the 12 V rail is far beyond spec on the lower voltage rails. when we get to the dissection section we’ll take a hard look at the output filter capacitors and see what they’re up to.
When I alerted InWin to the ripple issue they responded in standard (for the PSU world, at least) form by sending a second unit for me to test, hence my having two units. Unfortunately, the second unit had the same ripple issues, implying that it is a design issue rather than a defective unit.
Transient ripple is far less likely to cause issues than the other sorts, but some lower voltage devices may dislike having a significant portion of their input voltage slammed around.
Disclaimer: Power supplies can have dangerous voltages inside them even after being unplugged, DO NOT OPEN POWER SUPPLIES. It’s just not a good idea, and doing so could very well kill you. Don’t try this at home. Don’t try this at work. Just don’t do it.
I’ll start with the fan, as it is the first bit I have to remove anyway.
Don’t see Globe Fan as often as some other brands. as usual these days there is some plastic to prevent air from sneaking right out the exhaust grill. Thankfully, I did not find any mammoths, I can certify this PSU as mammoth-free.
With the fan out of the way (quite literally), we’ll go through the PSU and follow the power on it’s somewhat torturous path from the wall to the output wires. That means we start with the input transient filter. Its job is to mop up transients in the incoming AC so that the rest of the PSU can have a nice smooth sine wave to work with. Most PSUs have some of the transient filter attached to the receptacle on the back of the PSU and the Glacier 900 W is no exception.
Two X capacitors (yellow boxes), two Y capacitors (blue doodads), one inductor (copper coil wrapped in light yellow plastic). also a grounded copper shield that sits between the receptacle and the 3.3 V DC-DC conversion daughterboard. on the wires to the main PCB we see a ferrite bead.
In case the receptacle’s transient filter isn’t enough there is more on the main PCB!
Two more X capacitors, two more Y capacitors, another inductor and lastly a MOV for surge protection. in the above picture, we also see the rectifiers from the side. next come said rectifiers and the APFC circuit.
Unfortunately, the rectifiers are either unlabeled or facing the wrong direction for me to see the markings, so their identification is a mystery. the yellow tube is an X capacitor on the rectifier output to clean up transients (again…) caused by the diode’s in the rectifiers switching on and off. Diodes are noisy beasts, oddly enough.
The APFC is tasked with taking the newly rectified voltage and bumping it up to something in the high 300 V range, it then stores it in the bulk storage capacitors. if you think back to the features section you’ll remember that the bulk storage caps were claimed to be Japanese solid capacitors. these are definitely Japanese, but look to be standard electrolytic capacitors. there is absolutely nothing wrong with electrolytic capacitors in this application, why the box attempted to mislead us is beyond me.
The switches are a pair of 32N50C3 MOSFETs (32 a @ 25 °C, 20 a @ 100 °C, 560 V), the boost diode is a Cree C3D10060 (10 a, 600 V). the storage caps are Rubycon 105 °C rated units.
Next the power is sent on its way through the main transformer by the main switches, a pair of 24N60C3 MOSFETs (24 a @ 25 °C, 15 a @ 100 °C, 650 V). After that it is rectified into 12 V DC by four 028N08N MOSFETs (100 a 80 V), two 60L60PT Schottky diodes do extra rectification duty. I cannot find a datasheet for the Schottkys, but based on their part number I would guess 60 amps and 60 volts.
At this point the power hits the output filter capacitors, there are three large electrolytic caps and a smattering of smaller polymer caps. I suspect that more and/or varying sizes of capacitors would have had a better time mopping the ripple transients up.
After being rectified to 12 V and filtered by the capacitors and inductor, the beefy yellow wires take some of the 12 V elsewhere while the 5 V and 3.3 V regulators eat the rest of it. Here they are:
The 5 V and 3.3 V boards are nearly identical, both feature four 90N03 MOSFETs (60 a @ 25 °C, 47 a @ 70 °C, 30 V) in a standard buck regulator setup.
Lastly, there is a thermistor for the fan control circuit as well as the storage caps for the 5 Vsb rail.
Okay I lied, that wasn’t actually the last bit, we need to look at the modular output board and the soldering on this whole operation. Note that this is the second PSU that I am examining, it is a full retail unit unlike the first I got which was a pre-production or early production sort of thing. the pre-production version was entirely hand soldered and quite excessive and messy.
We have a few thing going on here, to kick things off the modular PCB has an extra polymer cap per rail, that’s a nice touch. the soldering on the modular PCB looks great on the whole, where the wires go in is hand soldered and a bit messy but nothing serious. the screws that hold the standoffs in place are soldered in, then the standoffs are threaded onto that, lastly there are more screws that go in through the PSU’s case into the standoffs. the standoffs wanted to come off the soldered screws rather than the external screws when I was pulling the unit apart, annoying for me but not an issue for most people. the main PCB soldering is good by and large, there are a couple areas of hand soldering that could be prettier, but I don’t see anything offensive. Interestingly the PCB is set up for four 12 V rails. there are a few long component leads, but nothing serious.
The InWin Glacier 900 W power supply has been a real roller coaster to review, it has a number of features I like quite a bit and some things I really rather don’t. I’ll hit a few of the high and low points, then it’s pro/con time!
The PSU looks great, it has a nice slightly-crackly black matte finish and a gloriously shiny gold label on one side. the cables are sleeved rather nicely, though the sleeving not being glued to the end of the cables may annoy some people. the choice of two hardwired CPU power connectors annoys me. the voltage regulation is fantastic, I am very impressed on that front! the ripple control, however, has some rather serious issues, 3.3 V is almost four times the maximum spec and 5 V isn’t far behind. 12 V is closer to spec but still well over it. the fan is very quiet, no issues there. I can only find one retailer selling the Glacier 900 W and that is InWin themselves. They want $230 for it, which seems excessive. 800 W of 12 V on a 900 W DC-DC regulated unit is odd, I wouldn’t call it major issue, but I would expect more.
To summarize, there are pros:
- Spectacularly glorious voltage regulation, especially on the 12 V rail. (0.3%!)
- Looks nice. Sleeving is nice as well.
- Quiet fan.
Unfortunately there are cons too:
- Ripple has transients far over spec on all rails.
- Short on 12 V wattage for a 900 W unit in this price range.
- Price is excessive by at least $30.
- Two hardwired CPU power connectors.
All told InWin was close with this unit, if they can make a V2 out of it that gets the ripple under control and cuts $20-30 off the price they’ll have a solid unit. as it is I am forced to apply the Meh stamp, as painful as it might be given the voltage regulation results.
I highly recommend clicking the Meh and reading the page it links to as that explains the Overclockers.com rating system and what the ratings really mean.
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Tags: 900w, Bobnova, glacier, inwin, inwin glacier, Power Supply, PSU, review
When you require extremely fast internet or networking capabilities, you may want to consider a gigabit Ethernet. this type of system is set up to move data very quickly from one place to another. this type of set up has the ability to move up to twelve megabytes of data in one second. that is very fast. It is referred to as a gigabit.
However, most computer savvy people think in terms of bytes not bits. It will take eight bits to make up a bit. when you look at the 12 megabyte number it is much easier to understand the capabilities.
In order to set up this type of internet or networking unit, you will need several things. first you will need a router that is capable of handling these speeds. Next you will need to make sure you have a CAT6 Ethernet cable for your system.
There are currently three different types of cables which include CAT5, CAT5E and CAT6. Typically networking systems currently only require a CAT5E but if you are trying to get more speed you will want to use the CAT6.
In addition, you will need to make sure your computer is equipped with the proper network interface card. Most manufacturers have been installing standard Ethernet cards in their equipment for many years. but if you are trying to set up a gigabit Ethernet, you will need a card specifically made for this purpose. once you have all of the proper parts, you will be ready to hook everything up and be downloading and transmitting very quickly.
There are a few negative points to installing this type of networking system. one major issue is the cost involved in changing over to the faster equipment needed. you can have a fast connection as it is available but if you do not have the proper hardware, it will not be helpful to you at all. there are ways however to save money on the switch.
First, confirm that you actually need to purchase anything new. If you already have a router for internet connection, you can use this and just purchase a switch that allows for the faster transmissions. The cost difference can be between fifty and seventy dollars if you only need a switch versus purchasing a router.
The cost of the hardware is typically more expensive for this set up than for a typical connection of this sort. however, as with all new technologies, the price is gradually coming down to being nearly equal with the standard type of networking connection so this added cost may be an issue for a very short period of time.
Today in the business world, fast connections and transmittal time are very important. many organizations are using online conferencing programs to conduct business without needed to leave the office. this cuts back on travel expenses and entertainment by allowing the meetings to take place and no one needing to buy lunch or dinner or pay for a hotel room overnight.
It’s important for every computer owner to have a power supply with which he will be able to operate the entire system of his computer. there are PC cases with power supply, stand-alone power supply sources, and there are many other forms of power units which you can use to activate your computer. but if you’re looking for efficiency together with low cost energy consumption, the Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 Power Supply is a perfect device that will definitely provide all your computer power needs. this review will cover everything you need to know about this product.
General Description and Specifications
This is a very simple but very efficient power supply unit that you can make use of for any computer system. it has a compact build with dimensions 5.9 x 3.4 X 6.3, making it easy for you to carry it and use it for different computers when you want to. the system supports ATX12V v2.2 standard and the older ATX12V 2.01 spec units. the unit has extra long cables which you can use even for full tower size chassis and CPU cases, eliminating the need to use extensions or the limitations which are posed by short power supply cables. there are several connectors in the system to make it perfectly compatible with your computer. There’s an ATX connector, an EPS connector, 4 PCI-E connectors, 8 4-pin peripheral connectors, 8 SATA connectors, and 2 floppy connectors for the most optimal use of this PSU. With the inclusion of a fan, you’re sure to get the best out of this model and you won’t have to worry about your power supply even if you’ve been using the computer for several straight hours.
There are PC cases with power supply and there are power supply units that can be included in the system. the TX750 is a stand-alone unit which you can install inside the CPU so you won’t have to buy a new CPU case to replace your older one. the good thing about this model is that it already has a built-in fan so you don’t have to buy an entire new case – just the power supply unit. the 120mm double ball-bearing fan is not only great for disseminating heat and keeping the entire system cool, but it’s also ultra-quiet which makes the system silent even in the middle of the night when you’re the only one up. it doesn’t make any audible noise that can be distracting or annoying. it also has a dedicated single +12V rail which offers maximum compatibility with the latest components that you can add in your computer system. but this isn’t just a simple power supply with a fan – it also has over current/voltage/power protection, under voltage protection, and short circuit protection which all provide maximum safety to your system components which we all know are extremely valuable and irreplaceable. the device is also a certified 80 PLUS device which means that it has the capacity to save 80% energy as compared to other non-80 PLUS devices.
The make of this system should not be underestimated as well. it makes use of Japanese capacitors which are designed to provide unimpeded performance and reliability. the universal AC input 90264V is added to automatically scan and detect the correct voltage that the system should use and incorporates the right voltage without causing any problems like short circuits or system failure. the approximate MTBF of this model is 100,000 so if used properly, it would take approximately 100,000 hours before you experience any failures or damages in this PSU.
Why buy PC cases with power supply if you can just buy the Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 Power Supply and install it in your CPU? this will save you not only a lot of time but also a lot of money too. I highly recommend all PC owners to add this PSU to their computer systems to ensure not only the safety of the entire system but also the optimization of the efficiency of the entire device.
The new iPhone is getting a smaller socket on the bottom — which is bad news for your cables, docks and speakers. Fortunately iMore reports that Apple plans a special adaptor to save your docks.
Leaked photos reveal the new iPhone is expected to feature a new 19-pin connector port in the bottom for charging and connecting to your computer or audio accessory, such as an iPod dock or speakers. The problem is those accessories and all your existing cables match the larger 30-point dock found in iPhones, iPads and iPods over the last few years.
That means all those cables and accessories could be obsolete when you upgrade to a new iPhone — unless Apple includes an adaptor. I hope it has a smiley face like the micro-USB adapter, pictured above.
why would Apple deliberately ruin all the accessories you already own? even the smallest saving of space inside a phone makes a difference, allowing more space for a battery or other components like a 4G chip, all squeezed into a thinner case. of course, a cynic would argue that Apple gets to sell you new cables and accessories all over again.
an adaptor would prove the cynics wrong, but I can’t help being dubious about the possibility of Apple chucking in an adapter. an extra doohickey just to make your phone carry out basic tasks is a decidedly un-Apple move, and hardly fits with the ‘it just works’ principle. I can’t see Steve Jobs approving extra bits and pieces in the box.
More likely, Apple will sell an adaptor separately, meaning you won’t have to buy a bunch of new docks and speakers, but it’ll still cost you. like the man said, if they ain’t got you one way they’ve got you another.
Other space-saving measures in the new iPhone include a smaller nano-SIM, as well as a potentially slimmer screen design. Leaked photos also reveal that the iPhone 5 will sport a 16:9 widescreen display when turned sideways for watching movies without black bars, which will make the phone longer and could stop it fitting into docks and accessories with enclosed slots for the phone.
Pocket-lint reports that Apple are quietly encouraging dock builders to move to wireless connection between phone and speakers to avoid being left behind by changes such as these.
Would you shell out for an adaptor to save your dock, or is Apple ripping you off? tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.