Questions tagged [consumer-electronics]

For engineering questions involving consumer electronics. Support / troubleshooting questions about consumer electronics are off-topic and will be closed.

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50 votes
13 answers
14k views

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

My mother was born 1950. Me in the mid-1980s. All my life, she's been saying that I must never stick a metal object, such as a knife, into the toaster, because it will electrocute me. I've always been ...
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is this small rotating part from a cell phone?

What is this tiny rotating piece of hardware that I found inside my Samsung GE1202? It has E9C written in blue on it.
  • 153
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why does the manual to a 1989 TV almost dedicate a page to the "pin assignment" of the SCART connector?

It is a bit unclear whether this is the "user manual" or the "service manual", the latter which may have only been used service people, but nevertheless, why would it go through ...
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Unknown metal-piece connected to the case of an iPod Nano 2

I disassembled an iPod Nano 2 yesterday and was surprised to find a round brass-coloured plate glued to the back. I didn't find any mention of it at the teardown over at ifixit.com, as they didn't cut ...
  • 83
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do modern phone cameras apparently have three or even more different camera lenses in almost the same spot?

I saw this today: It's not the first time I see it, but I wonder what this is about. Why do they have three big what I assume are camera lenses? And what's the two smaller "spots" in the ...
4 votes
2 answers
475 views

Does a transformer use power when devices aren't attached?

I have just purchased a 45 W 12 V transformer with an integral photocell for landscape lights. I measured the voltage while it was plugged in and the photocell closed the circuit (off) and there was ...
  • 41
3 votes
2 answers
55 views

How is it possible that "fiddling around with" batteries can apparently give them more power?

I have a flashlight which I use when I have to get up in the night in the pitch-black room. It takes three AAA batteries. Recently, it has been rather dim, so I assumed that I would have to switch ...
  • 31
3 votes
2 answers
250 views

Why are LED blinking?

If you carefully look at LED in flashlights, they are blinking at fast rate despite the batteries are DC. It's even more obvious on flashlights with separate R,G,B LED (to allow the control of color) ...
3 votes
2 answers
64 views

How do 120V AC dimmable LED bulbs advertised as "flicker free" work?

I'm a layperson, not an engineer, so forgive the ignorance. I want to replace some dimmable 120V AC G8 xenon bulbs with LED bulbs, but so far three different LED bulbs I've tried, all advertised as &...
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3 votes
1 answer
40 views

Analog addressing flat panel display

Cathode ray tubes (CRT) are analog addressing displays because you can light a point on its surface applying a continuous electric or magnetic field to deflect electrons beam. Virtually, there is no ...
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why do modern consoles require active cooling when old consoles did not?

I grew up with the Pong, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, Saturn, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Game Boys, etc. None of these made any kind of noise when powered on. They were 100% silent. You just flicked them on, ...
2 votes
3 answers
151 views

Why does audio equipment buzz/humm when a long signal cable is used and how do I eliminate it?

I have two 5.1 speaker sets, one in the front and one in the back of my living room. I have connected them together with an "audio wire" (non-shielded unfortunately) that's 12 meters in length. Since ...
  • 123
2 votes
2 answers
642 views

Do smoke alarms become more sensitive as they get older?

From what I understand a smoke alarm works by emitting some sort of radioactive particle and then counting how many of these particles hit a receiver. When there is smoke in between, it blocks some of ...
  • 121
2 votes
3 answers
474 views

Did toasters ever make the toasted bread jump up in the air when done?

In numerous cartoons, video games, movies, etc., I've seen how a toaster makes the toasted bread jump high up in the air when done, forcing the user to catch them mid-air or pick them up after they've ...
2 votes
4 answers
264 views

How can the ink dry so quickly after it comes out from an inkjet printer?

Every time I print a page with my inkjet printer, knowing that it literally "jets" ink all over the sheet, I'm baffled by how it's immediately dried. I cannot smudge it with my fingers even ...
2 votes
2 answers
157 views

Identifying affordable alternatives for low-frequency high-current DC-DC solid state relays

Please note, this is not a shopping question; this is a what type of component works best for this scenario question. I have an induction heater circuit and a 5A max. / 24V wall wart, and I'd like ...
2 votes
1 answer
81 views

What version of Bluetooth does the Echo Show 5 support? [closed]

Title says it all. I can’t find the Bluetooth version, only that it supports Bluetooth. Also, forgive me if this question is off topic here.
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2 votes
0 answers
36 views

Electrical component most likely to fail in window AC unit after power surge?

I have a window AC unit, 115 VAC, 10 amps. Power went out earlier in the week due to the big storm on the east coast and once it came back on every LED on the control panel was lit (not typical) and ...
  • 2,337
2 votes
0 answers
29 views

Health hazards of disassembling electronic devices?

I´ve been disassembling a lot of electronic devices in order to recycle them, separating plastics, electronic boards and bolts/other metal parts. Is there any proof of health hazards for doing it ...
  • 21
1 vote
1 answer
289 views

Why do microwaves get louder when the timer goes off?

With most microwaves I've used, I've noticed that once the timer goes off, there is a couple seconds where the "microwave sound" gets louder and it seems to be cooking more intensely before it ...
  • 119
1 vote
3 answers
483 views

Why Sony headset's charging station doesn't charge other NiMH batteries rather than which came with it?

I've got a Sony MDR-RF4000 wireless headset, which is already 7 years old, so obviously its NiMH battery (Sony BP-HP550-11, basically a pair of AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries tied together) shows the ...
1 vote
1 answer
490 views

Why does the manual to my floor fan tell me to pull out the cord whenever it's not in use?

In the manual to my just-bought floor fan, it says this (among many other weird requirements/expectations): Pull out the plug from the power point when the product is not in use. Do not pull the ...
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Looking for a current multiplier circuit - if possible

I used a very inexpensive circuit based on the TP4056 chip and built a Lithium Ion battery charger for 18650 batteries. The problem is, the batteries I use have so much capacity that the circuit, ...
1 vote
2 answers
100 views

Is it possible that an electronic device "half-works" when the power adapter supplies too much voltage?

I work in a lab, and I've been trying to replace a lost AC-DC power adapter. I got one recently that has the exact specs that I need, which are apparently pretty rare (15V, 400 mA). However, when I ...
1 vote
1 answer
233 views

Is using your mouth and lungs to blow away dust inside your computer somehow bad for the computer?

Bottles of compressed air are very expensive where I live. While it would be nice and ideal to have and do a "proper" cleaning, I've always used my mouth and lungs to blow air onto the dust ...
1 vote
2 answers
89 views

Why was air conditioning so early and wide-spread in the USA specifically?

As far as I understand things, air conditioning was standard in cars in the USA as early as by the mid-1950s or so. Perhaps even sooner. In the late 1990s, our car (common model of Volvo, albeit a few ...
1 vote
2 answers
61 views

Electronic component datasheet handling

What is $V_{IH}$ and $V_{IL}$ in datasheets? I found High-level input voltage and Low-level input voltage on the datasheet?
1 vote
2 answers
61 views

Why am I getting such conflicting safety advice regarding opening up and dedusting/servicing my CRT TV?

I have asked questions on Stack Exchange. I have watched many videos on YouTube. I have asked professional TV repairmen. I get wildly different advice on the safety of opening my 1989 28" CRT TV. ...
1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Is it only "home-burned" CDs/discs that "expire" in a few years, or does that also apply to "professionally pressed" ones as well?

I've many times heard things along the lines of: Those CDs/DVDs won't last forever. In fact, the data will be gone/corrupted in just a few years. Does this apply only to discs that were "burned&...
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1 vote
3 answers
151 views

Why do the "LINE OUT" connectors not seem to output audio, but "HEADPHONE JACK" does?

I have a "Clas Ohlson TCD-983WEC CDMP3". It's a cheap "multi-unit" music player bought maybe 10 years ago or longer. I'm using it exclusively for its (cheap) tape player, since my ...
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

Is it still a bad idea to keep modern electronics plugged into the charger cable for longer than necessary?

I have an "DaVinci IQ" portable vaporizer. Since the battery quickly runs out of power, I often keep it lying next to me, plugging from the computer into its USB-to-Mini-USB (or maybe it's Micro-USB --...
1 vote
1 answer
523 views

Can one build a custom Android TV by buying different components of the system? [closed]

With a spec as good as Nvidia Shield plus one with a build in TV tuner?
1 vote
1 answer
40 views

How to use consumer electronics for industrial application on high temperature

I need to measure the width of a bar made out of glowing red steel (900-1200 degrees Celsius) using computer vision. In order to ensure resolution of a 0.5 millimeters/px, the camera is needed to ...
1 vote
1 answer
133 views

How to join between two PBX telephones wirelessly?

I have two PBX telephones. Each one has a line cables to the houses, but there is no connection between these two pbx telephones, neither wire nor wireless. How can I join between them wirelessly? ...
1 vote
0 answers
65 views

What on Earth is a "mute module"?

Studying the extremely intimidating manual for my newly found and rescued 1989 JVC television set, which makes me feel very stupid and as if I'm looking at some sort of alien technology, I found this ...
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
121 views

Analysing UART Signal From E-Scooter Controller

I'm currently working on a project with an electric scooter, I intend to install a larger battery into the scooter and also replace the stock 300W controller for a VESC. BUT I want to keep the ...
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

What are these mysterious switches on my old VCR? [closed]

I have a Samsung VX-306/EDI (VHS PAL) VCR bought in/from the 1990s. I have lost the physical manual and was unable to find any digital copy of it online (what a shocker...). Now I'm wondering what the ...
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

How long can I reasonably expect my external USB HDDs and memory sticks to last?

I have a number of external USB HDDs (nearly all of them 2.5") in my fireproof safe. They are between 7 and 9 years old. (For a period of two years, I bought one almost every month until I had ...
1 vote
1 answer
34 views

Is there yet such a thing as a "dynamic sheet of paper"? [closed]

I know about "e-ink", but I haven't heard anyone even mention that since like 2006 or something. I'm looking for essentially a single A4 (or "Letter" size) sheet of paper which is ...
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
157 views

LED Lights Dimmer Electronics

I have a Wemo Smart WiFi Smart Dimmer with me that can control CFL, Incandescent and LED lights. (https://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F7C059/). I am curious to know how one device can handle all type of ...
1 vote
2 answers
132 views

Compensating for a magnet in a device with a magnetometer

I'm working on a device that relies on data from a magnetometer. Unfortunately, the device also needs to have a fairly powerful magnet on it. Given that the design is fairly flexible, and within ...
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

I would like to run a smartphone using a primary battery instead of rechargeable for a project. What are the 4 contacts used for on the factory LiPo?

Most phone batteries will have a connector of some type with 4 contacts. Of course two of those I'd expect to be +- Voltage, but the other two compose some sort of mystery input to the phone (...
1 vote
2 answers
64 views

Is there no longer such a thing as varying quality of hardware for USB memsticks? [closed]

I'm trying to buy a new 128 GB memstick, for the first time in a very long time. It's going to store important files, and while I will have at least one "copy", I still don't want either of ...
0 votes
1 answer
49 views

Is it dangerous for a child (or anyone) to bang away with a hammer and unscrew an old clothes washing machine?

In the mid-1990s at the latest, possibly something like 1992-1993, our family's clothes washing machine, presumably from sometime in the 1980s, broke down. My dad brought it out on the driveway ...
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
36 views

Why do I not get zapped when I hold my fingers on each end of an AA battery, like 3R12 ones?

When I was a kid, I got an 3R12 (or are they called R12?) battery. I don't know why, but I tried to put my tongue so that it touched both of the little metal things, which made it tingle. It felt ...
0 votes
1 answer
48 views

How to know which opto-coupler is suitable for high current application?

I would like a suitable opto-coupler to use as isolation from a 12V and around 30A current and another for 5V and around 30A. Are there any good opto-couplers for those ratings?
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0 votes
1 answer
47 views

Is it really sane to drop buckets of water into a (CRT) TV on fire after unplugging it?

Today, I read this absurd (to me) claim on what to do if your TV catches fire: Collect water and fill the unplugged TV. You can fill in only from the side. This is a necessary security measure. The ...
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
38 views

Mackie CR3 bookshelf speakers only play incredibly quietly on max volume

I've got a set of Mackie CR3s which the company sent to me when I warrantied my purchased set whose L/R selector corroded (was able to save that set by removing the component and hard-wiring). The set ...
  • 101
0 votes
2 answers
61 views

Why does my 1989 TV have two separate power buttons on the front?

First, there is a big, square one always visible, which seems like the "master" power button (besides the cable). It is pressed in and you clearly "feel" that the TV is turned off. ...
0 votes
2 answers
85 views

Does an iPhone on airplane mode continue to emit electromagnetic radiation field?

I've been told that it does because it's still searching for networks or something, which doesn't really make any sense to me. But what does fit somewhat with that are notices in the android interface ...
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