Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FIRE DANGER: cheap US/EU plug adapters

A cheap Chinese EU/US
travel adapter
A couple of weeks ago I posted a story on bridged fuses and the danger they can present in a home. Well, here is another one:

This cheap Chinese EU/US adapter bought off eBay for 1$ is a fire waiting to happen AND it is rated for 250V and 10Amps!

I was using this one with one of my USB chargers and prongs were becoming a little loose so decided to take it apart to see if I could do something about it. Here is what I discovered...

Friday, 21 March 2014

A must have for electricians (only): the Facom PZ2 ADB 1000V screwdriver (Slotted Pozidriv)

The Slotted Pozidriv ADB screwdriver from Facom
It is a little different from the
Protwist at the base of the handle
Electricians are screwing cables into socket, switches and circuit breakers a lot. Some prefer using a PZ2 screwdriver some a flat one. No matter how careful you are your precious and favourite screwdriver will eventually wear out.

What if you could apply strength and reduce your chances of slipping?

Most sockets, switches and circuit breakers have a slotted PZ2 screw (with a groove for flat screwdrivers as well). This is where this ADB Slotted Pozidriv screwdriver comes in: it is both a flat and PZ2 screwdriver at once and will maximise the strength you can apply. 

The Slotted Pozidriv (ADB) head

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The wire stripper side cutter from Knipex (14 26 160), a nice tool for a niche market

This wire stripper is a fairly innovative pair of cutting pliers than can both cut and strip wires and is also insulated for 1000V. 

It is very good at its job.

That being said, I would not particularly recommend buying these unless you are frequently working with electrical cables and either want to reduce the storage space your tools take or want to reduce the number of tools you have to carry around, e.g. you have to crawl into small spaces, climb long ladders/flights of stairs or go to work with the bus or on a bike. 


This tool combines both cutting and stripping (1.5 and 2.5 square mm) functions you need for e.g. domestic electrical work. I personally use it in my smallest toolbox. That toolbox also contains a 1000V insulated screwdriver (and its bits), a torch (led), a leatherman kick, a plastic Stanley knife and a couple of zip ties. That's it!

The wire stripping part works very well and doesn't need the adjustment wire strippers usually require when working with both 1.5mm² and 2.5mm² usually found in households.

As with all Knipex pliers, it is very well made and has a lifetime warranty.


The 1000V insulation prevents your hand
from slipping and touching the wire

The Knippex stripping a 2.5mm² wire

Monday, 3 March 2014

Outcome for bridged fuses: fire (or replacement)

These bridged fuses have been used for more than 30 years.
This is a disaster waiting to happen.
Less and less people have fuses at home. If you still do, read what follows as you might have bridged fuses and not know it.

When a fuse blows, it means something went wrong with the electrical installation. Unless the problem has been identified and solved, simply replacing the fuses is asking for problems.

When somebody is in the dark because of another of these fuse problems, the temptation will be high to simply replace it. If that person is out of replacements, he will probably bridge it with some electrical wire... this is where it becomes dangerous.

You never know when and how your bridged fuse will burn or blow. They could heat up and start a fire or let the electricity flow. Any other cable or appliance in your home can then start a fire.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Abus 86TI/55 and 86/55: a padlock that can use your home key

The Abus 86TI/55 and its packaging
What if you could use the same key for your home and bike? This is exactly what the Abus 86/55 and the newer Abus 86TI/55 padlocks are about, you simply have to add a half euro cylinder.

Specifications and features

  • Dimensions: 55 x 92 x 27.5mm
    This is a standard large padlock.
  • Internal shackle dimensions: 26.5 x 25mm
  • Strong and lightweight.
    On the 1 to 10 security scale of Abus, it ranks 8. Note that lightweight is only applicable for the Abus 86TI/55. Remember to use a secure enough half euro cylinder with it.
  • The Abus 86TI/55 is made of TITALIUM™, an aluminium alloy (durable and lightweight) and has a stainless steel like finish)
    Read below, the aluminium alloy makes a huge weight difference !
  • The hardened steel shackle is double bolted and is coated to assure security and corrosion resistance
    This is standard on any quality padlock

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Abus GRANIT WBA100 - A stronger anchor would make no sense

The Abus granit WBA100
in its packaging
The Abus GRANIT WBA100 is designed to lock two-wheel vehicles in places such as garages, houses, cellars, carports... it is tough, very tough. It can be installed either inside or outside (weatherproof) on the ground or wall.

 When you take the packaging in your hand you immediately feel the strength of this anchor by its (crazy) weight: 2kg ! Note: This means your wrist will hurt if you attach it to the wall and take too long to make make marks before drilling :-)

The whole thing is nothing more than a metallic shackle but it is very well designed which makes a very secure alternative:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Choosing and using a Felling Axe

A felling axe with a glass carbon handle

An axe to cut wood: well...

It depends, it really depends on the type of job you need to do. If you want to make firewood, a chainsaw and a splitting maul are probably the way to go. The felling axe is however a versatile tool with many uses...

Splitting wood along its grain

If your answer splitting wood along its grain as in splitting logs to make them thinner to fit within your fireplace, the tool you need is splitting maul which is a blend and heavy axe. As a second choice, a felling axe works as well.

Cutting across the grain of wood

If cutting wood across the grain is what you need, you will probably either want a steel bow saw (or chainsaw) or an axe.