While designing a project that required 5v USB power ports from a much higher voltage source (eg. 12v or 24v), it occurred to me that there are circuits already designed to do this. In fact, not only do they exist as low-cost, easy-to-purchase modules, but some of them already have the USB port soldered onto the board.
Four Step-down converters with USB ports were picked out and reviewed in an attempt to find “the best cheap USB switch-mode step-down converter” for 12v power supplies.
Updated 05/26/2016: If you are one of the 12 million Nintendo Wii U owners out there, chances are that you know how awesome the Wii U truly is. As you may recall with the regular Wii, there were the larger games found on disc and online shopping known as “WiiWare” that you could download. Because this downloadable content was rather small, it didn’t really take up much space on the internal memory system. And if you really needed more storage, there was always the SD card slot. No big deal.
With the Wii U, there are two models:
The white model with 8GB of internal flash storage
The black model with 32GB of internal flash storage
By today’s standards, both sizes are rather paltry. And now that it is possible to download full games directly to the Wii U, it is quite easy to fill up the internal memory. (Xenoblade Chronicles X… Super Smash Brothers… etc…)
The USB port is one of those things in the 21st century that provides the necessary “lifeblood” (electricity) to charge and re-charge all of our fancy cellphones and gadgets. Yet rarely in this process is there a good way to know that things are going well in the power transfer process. Maybe you’ve experienced plugging in your phone to charge and yet for some reason it doesn’t appear to take a charge or perhaps it’s just charging too slowly. And how does one figure out what to do about this? Surely, there is a little gizmo that can help us out here!
And sure enough, there is. In fact, there’s more than just one. There’s a whole bunch of them. They go by the names “charger doctor”, “USB detector”, “USB meter”, and even “USB power monitor”. At the end of the day, they’re mostly just digital multimeters designed for the USB port, but what they do is insightful!
And the best part is that they sell for under $15.
The last article I wrote about was a review of 1TB portable USB 3.0 hard drives. During this review, I tested each drive with a variety of computers and other devices that had USB ports, including my Nintendo Wii and Wii U consoles. Part of this review was trying to answer the question of “Which is the best hard drive for the Nintendo Wii U?” — which I couldn’t definitively answer. I found that all of these slim 1TB drives worked just fine with the old Nintendo Wii (the previous generation console), but only 1 of them worked with the Wii U (the most current Nintendo console.)
Well, I should say that only 1 of the drives almost worked with the Wii U. That is, until I figured out a clever hack to get it to work reliably.
After reviewing the whole SanDisk SD card line-up recently, it seems obvious that we all need to move more and more data around, faster and faster. So how to choose which SD card reader for getting pictures and videos off our cameras?
Looking on Amazon.com reveals a whole mess of USB 3.0 SD card readers. Some as cheap as $5, others are more expensive costing $10 and $15. But how do you really know what you’re getting? The average Amazon.com review isn’t all that comprehensive.
Three USB 3.0 SD card readers were picked from the pile (all around $10), put under the microscope, and then a bunch of SD cards were thrown at them to see what happened. Surprisingly, each SD reader had its own advantages and disadvantages with no clear winner. Choosing which one will come down to personal preference, mostly.
When reviewing the Top 16GB USB flash drives under $20 of 2014, it was observed that the ever-tiny Leef Supra 3.0 was surprisingly fast for such a small thing. This warranted a closer comparison to something like a Lexar 633x MicroSDHC card (with USB 3.0 Lexar reader) which was a tad larger, but overall, pretty close to the same size. In addition to this, a generic USB 2.0 MicroSD card reader was thrown in for contrast.
The nagging question was “How does the Leef stack up to the competition?”