The Difference between Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest

Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest are new additions to the company’s lineup of VR headsets, which will be available in Spring 2019. Both headsets offer 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) by using a new tracking system called Oculus Insight. It doesn’t require external hardware to track your movement. Instead, built-in cameras on the headset scan your surroundings all the time and update your position every millisecond. The main difference between Rift S and Quest is one needs to be tethered to PC, and the other is an all-in-one standalone device. Because of this big difference, they aren’t really comparable products. But, since they are planned to be released at the same time, let’s see the details and differences of these headsets here in the same post.

Display

Oculus Rift S has a single LCD with the total resolution of 2560 x 1440 which is the same as Oculus Go except for refresh rate. As compared with the old Rift, it’s slightly better. But old Rift has dual OLED with IPD adjustment. A single LCD can’t have physical adjustment. So, if your eyes aren’t in the common distance, it may be hard to get a perfect view through the headset.

Oculus Quest has a display with better resolution and lower refresh rate than Oculus Rift S. Dual OLED with the resolution of 2880 x 1600 has IPD adjustment to allow you to have a perfect view. Reportedly, both headsets have a less screen-door effect than older models.

 Oculus Rift SOculus QuestOculus RiftOculus Go
Weighta little heavier than Riftabout 100g heavier than Rift470g (1.04lb)468g (1.0lb)
Type of DisplaySingle LCDDual OLEDDual OLEDSingle LCD
Resolution2560 x 14402880 x 16002160 x 12002560 x 1440
Refresh Rate80Hz72Hz90Hz72Hz
Field of Viewslightly larger than Riftabout 100 degrees110 degrees101 degrees
IPD AdjustmentNYYN
TrackingOculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Oculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Constellation
(External sensors)
n/a
Number of Cameras542 or 3
external sensors necessary
n/a
Price$399$399$599$199

Design

Oculus Rift S has shifted the design from head straps to a headband. Its overall design is similar to PlayStation VR or Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Lenovo helped its design, and the logo is printed on the side of the headset. Unlike other headsets with a headband, Oculus Rift S still has a strap run on the top of your head to keep the headset from slipping down.

Oculus Quest sticks with the design with head straps, which have Velcro adjustment on both sides and the top. The head straps are stiffer than ones of Oculus Go because they are made with rubber and fabric, not only fabric. They are actually similar to ones of the old Rift except for the absence of bulky headphones.

Sound

Both headsets have built-in speakers either headband or head strap brackets. It offers 3D spatial audio. The sound can be heard by people nearby. For a complete immersion or privacy, you also have the option to use a pair of external headphones plugged into a 3.5mm audio jack on the side of headsets.

Processor

Oculus Rift S needs to be tethered to PC for processing. The cord length is 5 meter while the old Rift is 4 meter. The system requirements of old Rift and Rift S are almost the same except for the type of video port.

Oculus Quest is a standalone headset. The processor is built in the headset as well as all other components like display and lenses. The processor, Snapdragon 835 is also used in many smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S8, Note8, Google Pixel 2, etc. Obviously, it doesn’t provide the same performance as a gaming PC.

Tracking

Both headsets use the new tracking system called Oculus Insight. It no longer requires external sensors. Instead, built-in cameras see your surroundings all the time and update your positional data every millisecond.

Oculus Rift S has 5 built-in cameras, two facing to the front, two on each side, and one on the top of the headset. Oculus Quest has 4 built-in cameras, one in each corner of the front plate.

Controller

Both headsets come with a pair of Touch Controllers. There is no difference between the controllers of Rift S and Quest. But, the controllers are slightly different from the original come with old Rift. They are redesigned for better tracking and more intuitive gameplay. And Oculus Insight keeps tracking the controllers and offers 6DoF as well.

Conclusion

Oculus Rift S is for those who already own or plan to buy a powerful gaming PC. It has a lot of improvements over the old Rift. The new tracking system eliminates external cameras and offers a much easier setup and better tracking. But, it lacks IPD adjustment and still needs to be tethered to a PC.

Oculus Quest has more freedom. All-in-one standalone device doesn’t require any external devices. It lets the tracking environment expand and offers great portability without a hassle of setup. If you want to have VR experience with 6DoF, and don’t want to spend a thousand dollars for a gaming PC, it’s probably the best VR headset to start with.

Related Posts

 Oculus Rift SOculus QuestOculus RiftOculus Go
Weighta little heavier than Riftabout 100g heavier than Rift470g (1.04lb)468g (1.0lb)
Type of DisplaySingle LCDDual OLEDDual OLEDSingle LCD
Resolution2560 x 14402880 x 16002160 x 12002560 x 1440
Refresh Rate80Hz72Hz90Hz72Hz
Field of Viewslightly larger than Riftabout 100 degrees110 degrees101 degrees
IPD AdjustmentNYYN
TrackingOculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Oculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Constellation
(External sensors)
n/a
Number of Cameras542 or 3
external sensors necessary
n/a
Price$399$399$599$199

Preview of Oculus Rift S – coming soon in Spring 2019 with Oculus Quest

Facebook announced that a new version of PC-tethered VR headset called Oculus Rift S. It would be released soon, along with the release of a new standalone headset, Oculus Quest, in Spring 2019. Interestingly, these two new devices will be released at the same time and at the same price. One thing in common is that they will be the Oculus’s first devices equipped with Inside-out tracking system called Oculus Insight.

Oculus Insight

One of the major differences between the original Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S is the tracking system. A new version doesn’t need external sensors for tracking. Instead, the tracking sensors are built into the headset. This tracking system is called Oculus Insight. The same system is used for Oculus Quest, which will be released at the same time. There are 5 tracking sensors built into the Oculus Rift S, while 4 sensors are built into the Oculus Quest.

Design

Oculus Rift S uses a headband instead of a head strap. In general, a headband can be tightened more than a head strap. That’s why a headband is suitable for gaming involved a lot of movements. It is used for many Windows Mixed Reality headsets, PlayStation VR headset, and Lenovo Mirage Solo. Actually, Lenovo helped design and manufacture Oculus Rift S, and the logo of Lenovo is printed on the side of the headset.

Oculus Rift S eliminated bulky headphones attached to the head strap of the original Oculus Rift. Just like Oculus Go and Oculus Quest, it has open-to-air speakers. The speakers are built into the headband offering a 3D spatial audio. The sounds from built-in speakers can be overheard by people nearby. If you need complete privacy, you need a pair of external headphones plugged into a 3.5mm audio output on the side of the headset.

The Controller

A pair of Touch Controllers are expected to come with Oculus Rift S. It’s slightly different from the original Touch Controllers come with the original Rift, and exactly the same as ones come with Oculus Quest.

Games

Oculus Rift S is compatible with all games and apps in the original Rift platform. However, the platform of Oculus Quest is different from the platform of Oculus Rift. It’s worth noting that some games and apps available on both platforms may support cross-buy and cross-play. It means that if you buy a game or app from one of the platforms, you don’t have to buy it from the other platform. However, it’s not strictly enforced, so developers always have the choice whether or not they make their games and apps cross-buy.

Prices

The price is $399 USD. It’s very interesting that It’s the same price as Oculus Quest.

Resolutions

  • Oculus Rift S: 1280 x 1440 per eye (2560 x 1440 total) 80Hz
  • Oculus Rift (original): 1080 x 1200 per eye (2160 x 1200 total) 90Hz
  • Oculus Quest: 1440 x 1600 per eye (2880 x 1600 total) 72Hz

Who is Oculus Rift S for?

Is Oculus Rift S worth upgrading for existing owners of original Oculus Rift? Ease of setup is not much benefit for them because they already set up old Oculus Rift. Both original and new Rifts need to be tethered to PC, anyway. So, they don’t make much use of Oculus Insight tracking system. The resolution is better, but not that shockingly improved.

What about a new user? Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest are the same prices $399. But, Oculus Rift S needs a powerful gaming PC. I don’t think a new user wants to spend over a thousand dollars on starting VR experience when the other headset (Oculus Quest) allows you to do that for $399. And two new headsets are release at the same time. So honestly, I have no idea who Facebook wants to target at with Oculus Rift S.

Conclusion

It’s been saying that Oculus Quest will be a break-through for VR market. More and more people are expected to get into VR technology with the Oculus Quest. But, what about Oculus Rift S? Oculus Insight tracking technology eliminates external sensors. It gives users benefits of ease of setup and freedom of choice where you start playing VR to a certain degree. Unlike Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S has to be still tethered to a gaming PC. Although it has built-in sensors, the VR environment is still in a room where there is a gaming PC and within the length of the wire to the PC.

Related Posts

 Oculus Rift SOculus QuestOculus RiftOculus Go
Weighta little heavier than Riftabout 100g heavier than Rift470g (1.04lb)468g (1.0lb)
Type of DisplaySingle LCDDual OLEDDual OLEDSingle LCD
Resolution2560 x 14402880 x 16002160 x 12002560 x 1440
Refresh Rate80Hz72Hz90Hz72Hz
Field of Viewslightly larger than Riftabout 100 degrees110 degrees101 degrees
IPD AdjustmentNYYN
TrackingOculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Oculus Insight
(Inside-out)
Constellation
(External sensors)
n/a
Number of Cameras542 or 3
external sensors necessary
n/a
Price$399$399$599$199

goTenna Plus in-app yearly subscription – Is it worth?

goTenna Plus is a yearly subscription that allows you to use some features in addition to basic features for goTenna Mesh devices in the goTenna App. You can subscribe through the app. It costs $29 per year with a free 30-day trial. (limited-time introductory of $9.99 per year now!) Let’s see all the features of goTenna Plus.

image of gotenna plus

SMS Relay

If a goTenna user who has a cellular service is within the range of your goTenna device, you can send a message to someone via SMS relay. In this case, the recipient doesn’t have to be a goTenna user.

image of gotenna plus sms network relay

This feature seems very useful, but it totally depends on how often you are in such a situation. The situation is kind of unique and specific. Only you are out of cellular service, and other goTenna users within the range have cellular service. And, a person to whom you send a message is outside of the range of your goTenna, but he or she has cellular service.

Location Tethering

This feature allows you to share your location with a desired recipient automatically. You can choose the frequency from every 1, 5, or 10 minutes and duration from 15, 30 minutes or any duration between 1 to 12 hours.

Download a Topographic Map

Topographic maps show more geographic detail than street maps. You need to download a map in advance where cellular or internet is available. Topographic maps may be useful for hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activities.

Google offline maps are useful in cities of foreign countries. But in a wilderness, without cellular or internet service, Google’s offline maps show only Default (street maps) not Satellite or Terrain. So, you can’t tell the elevation with Google’s offline maps.

However, I suggest you get a decent map with more details such names of trails, locations of facilities, etc. Topographic Map feature is better than nothing, but it doesn’t have much information.

Record Trips Statistics

You can record the route, distance, elevation, and time. This feature uses topographic maps which you need to download in advance.

Group Delivery Confirmation

This feature lets you know who within your group has received your message. The number available for a group is up to 6.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that you don’t need to provide payment information to start a free trial. It means the subscription doesn’t automatically start when a free 30-day trial ends. If you like these features, you can subscribe through the goTenna app. Tap “goTenna plus” found on the bottom of the main menu and tap “SUBSCRIBE NOW.”

image of gotenna plus promotion

For some people, the features of goTenna Plus are useful. Just use them with a free 30-day trial, and you can determine whether or not it’s necessary for you. The price isn’t that high, anyway. It’s $29 per year. (limited-time introductory of $9.99 per year now!) The goTenna app is available at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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goTenna Mesh Stationary Relay Setup Ideas

goTenna Mesh is a device for communication that uses a smartphone’s app and establishes its own network without the need for cellular service or internet. Any devices within the range act as relay nodes, so your or someone else’s messages just hop on them until it reaches to the recipient.

Read Also: goTenna Mesh | Off-Grid Communication Device for Travel or Emergency

To use a device as a relay node, the device has to be powered on, and it’s not necessorily paired with a smartphone. So, you can buy extra goTenna devices and set them up as stationary relay nodes where they work for you conveniently and strategically. Here are some goTenna Mesh stationary relay setup ideas.

Power from the outlet

image of extra long micro usb cable

Whether you use a goTenna device as a relay node or a transmitter and receiver paired with your smartphone, the device needs to be charged. A goTenna has an internal battery charged through a USB cable. If you set up a device as a stationary relay node, and there is a power outlet nearby, you can simply connect the device to the power outlet with an AC adapter and USB cable.

Once you set up, there is no worry about running out of battery. However, places for this type of setup is limited. It has to be in or near a house or building such as a window, balcony, attic, roof, pouch, etc. And you may need an extra long USB cable.

Using a portable battery charger

You can set up the device with a portable battery charger for taking care of its power for a certain period. Since power supply from a portable battery charger is limited, you need to recharge it from time to time. A frequency of recharge depends on the capacity of the portable battery charger you use.

image of portable battery charger 6000mah

According to the manufacturer, a battery capacity of goTenna Mesh is 589mAh. And it lasts 24+ hours. So, if you set up a goTenna with a 6000mAh-capacity portable battery, it may last a week with staring to use a fully charged goTenna device. 6000mAh*2/3 (a third of energy loses during charging) / 589mAh = 6.79.

Read Also: How do you know the capacity of portable battery charger you need?

In this example, you need to retrieve the portable battery charger to recharge every week. But, don’t worry, while the portable battery is being recharged, the internal battery of goTenna has enough charge for a day. So, the goTenna continuously work as a relay node in this way.

Of course, the actual frequency for a recharge may vary due to many different factors like temperature, reception, condition and quality of the battery, etc. So, it’s important to try out a couple of times to know how long the portable battery actually lasts without a recharge.

With this type of setup, you don’t need an extra long USB cable. Instead, you will need to retrieve and recharge a portable battery regularly. If you want to set up the goTenna on hard-to-reach places like the top of a tree, or roof, it’s not suitable.

Using solar charger

A solar panel converts solar energy into electricity. Using a solar panel to charge a goTenna Mesh seems a perfect solution for power source because it doesn’t need a wall outlet or retrieval of a charger. As long as you choose a solar panel that produces enough energy for goTenna, it can be set-and-forget.

image of ravpower 24w solar panel charger

At least how much output does a solar panel need to produce? According to the manufacturers, it takes two hours to charge goTenna. 589mAh / 2h=294.5mA. This is the maximum current flow that goTenna allows into itself when charging. The power output a solar panel requires will be 294.5mA*3.7V=1.09W. However, a power loss is assumed 50% when converting solar energy to electricity to the battery. So, an output for a solar panel requires at least 1.09W*2 =2.18W. So, if a 3W-solar panel is set up with goTenna at somewhere it’s exposed to direct sunlight for at least a few hours per day, goTenna is fully charged every day.

image of solar power bank 10000mah

Fortunately, most solar panel chargers on the market have an adequate capability for charging goTenna. However, you have to consider many factors affecting the performance of a solar panel such as weather, angle to the sunlight, duration of the day, etc. You also keep the surface of the solar panel clean so it can produce maximum energy out of given sunlight.

Most importantly, you have to try out first. If you don’t obtain consistent results and think it’s not reliable, you may consider using a combination with a portable battery charger or a 2-in-1 battery charger with a solar panel. It may help to keep goTenna from running out of the battery for a situation like bad weather for days.

goTenna Mesh | Off-Grid Communication Device for Travel or Emergency

image of gotenna mesh off grid communication device

goTenna Mesh is the device for off-grid communication using unique network technology. It’s sold in pairs. Each device connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth. As long as they are within the effective range of the devices, you can communicate with each other using their own radio signal without cellular service or internet. A type of communication is very limited, though. You can only send and receive text messages and share your locations on an offline map using a smartphone’s GPS. What the unique network technology goTenna Mesh uses is the range of the device can increase significantly when more devices are in the vicinity.

What is the range of goTenna network?

It is difficult to assess or predict the range of goTenna network. It depends on many different factors such as the terrains, the number of devices your group uses, and most importantly, the number of devices outside of your group use in a given area.

Let’s think of the simplest situation to understand how goTenna works. Say you and your friend use a pair of goTenna devices, and they are connected to your smartphones. You guys can send messages to each other and also share your locations in the app when you two are within the range of the devices. The range of the devices depends on types of terrain, existence of buildings or electric interference. According to the manufacturer, the signal can travel up to 4 miles point-to-point range in an open area. In the area like a forest, mountain, ravine, or city, the signal is still expected to travel up to 0.5 miles.

Now, you guys start walking in different directions. When you are far away from each other, you think you got outside of the range, you try sending a message. The message is delivered, and you got a response. You share your locations, and then you know you guys are now 10 miles away from each other. Why can you still communicate?

Imagine someone who has goTenna appears between you and your friend, and someone’s device is within the range of both you and your friend’s devices. Although your two devices are far outside of the range, you can still communicate with each other by using someone’s device as a relay. The “someone” doesn’t need to be your acquaintance. Your messages just hop on his or her device. He or she doesn’t even know that you are using his or her device as a relay to send your message to your friend. He or she may be using your device as a relay to communicate with his or her friend.

image of network

What’s fascinating about goTenna network is that you can use anyone’s device as a relay as long as it is powered on. (not necessary to pair with a smartphone) Plus, there is no limit on the number of users. When more people use goTenna, the range of the whole network will expand.

Read Also: goTenna Mesh Stationary Relay Setup Ideas

Who is goTenna for?

goTenna is good for a group of people who travel to a remote area where it is outside of a cellular network. Sometimes, a group of people may separate to some degree, but they are most likely still in the same area. It’s handy that you can communicate with each other and also relieving that you can share your exact locations on the map. In case of emergency, for example, you broke your leg when you are alone, you can tell the rest of the members that you are in trouble.

image of gotenna mesh for camping hiking traveling

You can also use goTenna as a backup communication tool around your neighborhood in case cellular and internet services are down. Keep in mind buildings or other electric interference narrow the range of goTenna network. And, as mentioned above, it’s hard to assess or predict the range of goTenna network. So, you can’t fully rely on goTenna in case of emergency, but it’s good to have as a backup method of communication.

Conclusion

goTenna Mesh is a communication device that works with your smartphone. Unlike two-way radios, you can’t talk. All you can do with it is to send and receive text messages and share your locations. However, goTenna network is unique, and it has great potential. When there are more goTenna devices are around, the range of network will expand. It’s good for a group of people on a backcountry trip or a backup communication method in case of emergency. Click here to see the latest price of goTenna Mesh.

5 Travel Gadgets and Accessories for clothes, laundry, and packing

There are many new products released every day. It’s too many for you to keep up with unless you pay attention to them by reading a magazine or watching ads. The truth is that there are many travel gadgets and accessories you may not even know their existences, and they can enhance your trip and solve common travel problems. Here are some useful travel gadgets and accessories related to clothes and laundry, which make your trip easier and more comfortable.

Scrubba Wash Bag

World’s smallest and lightest washing machine on the go. Scrubba Wash Bag is a pocket-size and lightweight wash bag with a flexible washboard inside and see-through window to see the progress. 2018-version has an improvement on the valve over the 2016-version. (Twist style vs. squeeze style) It only needs 2 to 4 liters of water and detergent and less than 3 minutes of rubbing.

image of scrubba wash bag

It’s good for those who go on a trip of any kind for a long time. For large clothes, you will still need to rely on a laundromat or hotel service, but for small clothes, you can wash for yourself with Scrubba. It will save you money.

image of scrubba for camping hiking backpacking and travel

And Scrubba is also good for places with limited water supply. For example, camping and backpacking trips. With Scrubba, you don’t have to keep wearing dirty and stinky clothes for days. You can keep your clothes fresh and clean every day.

HAWATOUR Portable Travel Elastic Clothesline

HAWATOUR Portable Travel Elastic Clothesline is an elastic bungee cord with 12 clothespins. The clothespins can hold many different types of clothes.

image of hawatour portable travel elastic clothesline

There are black clips between each clothespin to prevent clothespins from sliding and gathering in the center of the cord. Thus, clothes stay apart and dry up quickly.

image of hawatour clothesline not slide to the center

Both ends have a steel hook so you can attach it anywhere easily. The length of the rope is 70 inches (=5.83 feet). It can be stretched up to 10 feet. It comes with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty.

Spacesaver 8x Premium Travel Roll Up Compression Storage Bags for Suitcases

This item works just as it sounds. It comes 4 medium (28 x 20 inch) and 4 large (24 x 32 inch) bags that can reduce the original volume of clothes by up to 80%. They will create more space in your suitcase.

image of spacesaver 8x travel roll up storage bags for suitcases

You don’t need a vacuum pump or vacuum cleaner. To squeeze the air out of a bag, Just roll up the bag, and air never gets back in until you open it. It’s not only for creating more room in your suitcase, but also protect against mildew, water, insects, and odors. It’s durable and reusable, what’s more, it comes with a lifetime replacement warranty.

Steamfast Mini Travel Steam Iron

It measures 3.1 x 2.9 x 5.3 inch and weighs 0.96 pounds. It’s probably the smallest steam iron in the world. It has a 1.4 oz water tank and three temperature settings. It quickly heats up in 15 seconds.

image of steamfast mini travel steam iron

The low power of 420 watts unlikely blow a fuse of universal adapter. And dual-voltage input is suitable for international travel without worrying about different voltage at destinations. It includes a travel bag and measuring cup.

Read Also: How to choose a Travel Adapter for international trips

Portable Folding Clothes Hangers

A hanger is foldable to pack small and carry easily. This idea and design seem very simple, but they are brilliant and practical. When unfolding half of it, it’s for kid’s clothes or women’s dresses. When unfolding fully, it’s for adult clothes. Even when fully folded, you can use it as a hook to hang a cap, handbag, etc.

image of portable folding clothes hangers

Please note that it’s not that durable. It’s not recommended for heavy winter coats and jackets. This item is a 12-pack black folding hanger set come with 30-day money back guarantee.

How to choose a Travel Adapter for international trips

A travel adapter is a must item when you travel abroad no matter how many electric devices you carry. Unfortunately, there are many different types of plug and outlet around the world. On top of that, the voltage also varies from destination to destination. So, you may also need a voltage converter or transformer. This post helps you determine which one you need for your international travel.

What is a travel adapter?

A travel adapter is a gadget that allows you to plug your electric device into a different type of outlet in different countries. Please note that most travel adapters don’t convert voltage. If the voltage is different from your country, and your device is single-voltage, you will need a voltage converter or transformer.

What is a voltage converter or transformer?

The voltage used by countries varies as well as electrical plugs and outlets. In the U.S., it’s 110-120V, while many other countries are 220-240V. If your device is single-voltage, you will need either a voltage converter or transformer.

Read Also: Travel Voltage Transformer, Converter, or Adapter. Which one do I need?

On the other hand, if your device is dual-voltage or multi-voltage, you don’t need them. But, you may still need a adapter to make your device fit into a foreign outlet.

To know your device is single, dual, or multi-voltage, check your device. You may find the information on the device itself, a label attached to the cord, or owner’s manual. If it’s single-voltage, it says like, “120V 60Hz“.

If it’s dual-voltage, it says like, “110/220V 60/50Hz”. Make sure that you need to toggle a switch manually. The device can’t tell which voltage of outlet you plug into automatically. A picture below is the switch on the dual-voltage hair dryer.

image of dual voltage switch on a hair dryer

If it’s multi-voltage, it says like, “100-240V 50/60Hz”. Most wall chargers of recent electronic devices such a laptop, cell phone, digital camera, etc., are multi-voltage. These days, you can find either dual or multi-voltage devices for typical travel items. Buying these items for travel will eliminate the need for voltage converter or transformer, so you can pack light and compact.

Universal or Individual Travel Adapter

There are many types of plugs and outlets used around the world. Universal adapters are compatible with multiple types of outlets, but they often exclude some types of outlets. Most universal adapters are equipped 4 major types of plugs, Type A, C, G, and I. If it has these 4 types of plugs, it can be used in many counties. That’s because Type A plug fits Type A and B outlets. Type C plug fits Type C, D, E, F, H, J, K, L, N and O outlets. Type G and I plug fit only Type G and I outlets respectively.

Whlzd All in One International Power Adapter

image of Whlzd All in One International Power Adapter

Whlzd All in One International Power Adapter is equipped 4 retractable plugs which are the most common types (Type A, C, G, I). These plugs are compatible with outlets in 220 countries. It has 3 USB ports and one USB-C port to charge your mobile devices directly. It also contains a 6.3A fuse to protect your device in case of an electrical surge or prevent a fire in case of short-circuiting. However, if the fuse is blown, you will have to replace it to a new one which is probably hard to find in a foreign country. And, because of this protection, you can’t use high wattage devices like an iron, hair dryer, electric kettle, etc. If you use them, a fuse will be blown.

Ceptics South Africa, Namibia Travel Adapter Plug with Dual Usa Input – Type M

image of Ceptics South Africa, Namibia Travel Adapter Plug with Dual Usa Input - Type M

Most universal travel adapters are missing Type M compatibility, which is used in South Africa and some other countries. The item is 3-pack of Type M plug with Type A and B input. It doesn’t contain a fuse to protect a device. You rely on a circuit breaker in a building for protection in case of an electrical surge. A circuit breaker in a building is most likely higher than 6.3A. So, you may use high wattage devices. The drawback is that in case of an electrical surge, your device (especially electronic devices) may burn out before a circuit breaker cuts the power.

Ceptics GP-12PK International Travel Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set

image of Ceptics GP-12PK International Travel Worldwide Grounded Universal Plug Adapter Set

If you travel to one country at a time and are sure of which plug you need, this 12-pack comprehensive adapter set can be a good option for you. It includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M, and N. As Ceptics Type M adapter, all adapters in the set don’t contain a fuse. So, you may use high wattage devices like hair dryer, iron, electric kettle, etc.

Conclusion

Although many electric devices for travel are either dual or multi-voltage, you should make sure of that by looking at devices itself or instruction manuals. If it’s dual-voltage, don’t forget to toggle the switch in a country using a different voltage and toggle again when you are back home.

Most universal adapters have a fuse as surge protection. While the fuse provides extra protection for your devices, it limits the wattage so you can’t use high wattage devices. If a fuse is blown, the adapter is useless until you replace a fuse to a new one.

In contrast, simple individual adapters don’t contain a fuse so you may use high wattage devices. Double-check your device is either dual or multi-voltage. And, every time you use these devices, pay attention to the devices for abnormal heat, unusual sounds, etc.

Travel Voltage Transformer, Converter, or Adapter. Which one do I need?

You may be aware of the difference in physical plug and outlet shape around the world. But, that’s not only the difference. If you take your electric devices and use them in other countries, you should be careful with the difference in the voltage at your destination. However, the first thing you should do is to check the label, back of the plug, or instruction manual or your device you want to use abroad. If it says, “100-240 V, 50/60 Hz, you can use it anywhere in the world. All you need is an adapter to make a fit to an outlet at your destination. If it says something like, “120 V, 60 Hz”, you will need a travel voltage transformer or converter in addition to an adapter.

image of plug and outlet

What happens when you use 110V electric devices in 220V outlet?

This can be dangerous. Some heating devices like hair driers or electric kettles will produce more heat than they are supposed to do. If electric devices have a motor such as fans, circular saws, they move faster than they suppose to do. These results are because more electricity flows to the devices. It could burn out wires very quickly. Hope that some protection devices such as fuse in the device or circuit breaker cut the power. Otherwise, a wire in the device melts and break the device. What’s more, overheated devices can cause a fire.

image of 220v warning

What happens when you use 220V electrical devices in 110V outlet?

On the contrary, when 220V electric devices are used in 110V outlet, they perform poorly. Heating devices never reach the desired temperature, electric fans spin slowly. These results are because of not enough electricity flowing to the devices. There is no risk of burnout or fire, but 220V electric devices can be useless when they are plugged into 110V outlet.

What is happening?

image of ohms watts laws

The Ohm’s law and Watt’s law explain everything. Here is the Ohm’s law, I (current) = V (voltage) / R (resistance). When turning on the switch, electric current flows to a device. The current is under control because a voltage is fixed, and so is resistance. Some devices, say a heater, can change resistance. When you set in high temperature, it reduces the resistance so more current flows to the heater. When you set in low temperature, it raises the resistance so less current flows to the heater.

When a 110V device is used in 220V outlet, 2 times current flows to the device. If a device is a low wattage item such an electric fan, 2 times current doesn’t turn off the breaker in the house. However, it’s too much for the device. Besides, according to Watt’s law, W (wattage) = I (current) x V (voltage), the fan spins 4 times faster. If it’s a heating device, it produces the heat 4 times hotter. The devices will burn out and cause a fire.

When a 220V device in used in a 110V outlet, half current flows to the device. Instead of no risk of burnout or fire, the performance of the device is 4 times less.

Does a small difference in voltage matter?

image of akihabara tokyo japan

The small differences between 110V and 120V or 220V and 240V are within tolerances of most (but not all) electrical devices. However, 100V and 120V can be large enough to make a difference in performance, shorten the life of electrical devices, or cause burnout or fire. Japan is the only country in the world that uses 100V outlets. Taking the U.S 120V electrical devices to Japan, or bring Japanese 100V to the U.S., in both cases, it’s recommended to use a step up/down transformer.

What is Hz?

Hz = Hertz. It’s a unit of frequency. Unlike DC (Direct Current), AC (Alternating Current) continuously changes the polarities. Hertz shows how many times per second this cycle is happening. You can ignore the difference in the frequency for electrical devices that produce the heat. For devices with motors or clocks, they may perform either faster or slower. However, recent electrical devices typically carried for travel work on both frequencies. Check the label, back of the device, or instruction manual. If it says, “50-60Hz”, it will work with both frequencies.

Transformer or Converter

image of voltage transformer

If you want to use a 120V device in a 220V outlet, you can use a transformer or converter. Conversely, if you want to use a 220V device in a 120V outlet, you will need a transformer. There are three types of transformer, step-up, step-down, or both step-up/down. Step-up transformers are used for a higher voltage device into a lower voltage outlet. Step-down transformers are used for a lower voltage device into a higher voltage outlet.

image of travel voltage converter

Converters only step down voltage, not raise it. They can be lighter and more compact than transformers. And they can handle large wattage. But, they are not designed to operate for long hours. And they can’t be used for electronic devices, which contains chips or circuits such as a computer, and even a battery charger. Most electronic devices, however, are originally multi-voltage and frequency (100-240V 50-60Hz). They most likely don’t require either transformers or converters in the first place.

When you buy a transformer or converter, you should make sure that wattage of the transformer or converter is greater than the wattage of your device that you want to use abroad. Some devices don’t show a wattage. If so, you can simply calculate the wattage by multiplying the voltage and the current. If it shows “mA”, divide by 1000.

Conclusion

image of dual voltage switch on a hair dryer

These days, most electronic devices (contains chips or circuits such as a laptop, chargers for mobile devices) are multi-voltage and frequency. They work anywhere in the world without a voltage transformer or converter, but they may need an adapter.

Many electrical devices such as a hair dryer and electric kettle may also be dual-voltage. So, you can use them abroad without a transformer or converter.

image of Whlzd All in One International Power Adapter

If you need a voltage transformer or converter, make sure that a transformer or converter should output greater than your device’s wattage. And remember voltage converters only steps down the voltage, not raise it. Transformers are either step-up, step-down, or both.

Read Also: How to choose a Travel Adapter for international trips

Best OBD Scan Tools in 2018 – use your smartphone as a sophisticated scan tool with them

OBD2 scan tools are essential to tackle with engine emission problems. In the U.S., any vehicle manufactured in 1996 and later are equipped with OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostics II) system. You can read trouble codes and engine parameters with a scan tool plugged into an OBD2 port. OBD2 adapters are paired with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and the adapters are connected with the vehicle computer through an OBD port. Now, your mobile device works as a sophisticated scan tool. In general, the adapters are less expensive but more features than the conventional scan tools. Thus, they are trendy among both home and auto mechanics. Here are the best OBD scan tools in 2018.

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool ($99.95)

image of bluedriver bluetooth obd2 adapter

BlueDriver by Lemur Vehicle Monitors is a professional grade OBD adapter. It uses Bluetooth to connect with Android or iOS devices. The adapter exclusively works with their original app called BlueDriver app, which is free to download from Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS devices. There is no app for Windows.

In addition to basic features like reading/clearing codes, freeze frame, and live data, you can perform Enhanced Diagnostics for supported vehicles. Enhanced Diagnostics allows you to scan vehicle modules other than the engine, such as ABS, Airbag, TPMS, Transmission, and so on. At the time of writing, the supported vehicles are GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan (available worldwide), as well as BMW, VW, and 2003+ Honda (available in North America). Please note that this coverage is expanding. The company has been working on adding more and more manufacturers to be supported for Enhanced Diagnostics.

There is another notable feature called Repair Report. Based on the trouble code you retrieve with the BlueDriver adapter, you can access Repair Report containing the details of the problem, the frequency, possible causes, and confirmed fixes verified by certified auto mechanics. The report eliminates the need of searching all these information for yourself and saves you time.

Pros

  • Compatible with Android and iOS devices
  • Enhanced Diagnostics
  • Repair Report
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with Windows
  • Not compatible with third-party apps

BlueDriver is good for those who focus on vehicle diagnostics and fixes. If you don’t mind you can’t use any third-party apps with it, it would be the best choice. The company, Lemur Vehicle Monitors, offers good customer support. And, the adapter comes with a 1-year limited warranty. Click here to see the latest price of BlueDriver.

OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner ($99.95)

image of obdlink mx+ mx plus

OBDLink MX+ by Scantool.net LLC is the newest addition to the market in 2018. It has all features of existing OBDLink MX plus a compatiblity with iOS devices in addition to Android and Windows and a capability of Enhanced Diagnostics.

OBDLink MX and LX are also Bluetooth OBD adapters but they are not compatible with iOS devices. OBDLink MX+ is the first adapter by Scantool.net LLC compatible with all Android, iOS, and Windows.

Like BlueDriver, Enhanced Diagnostics allows you to access other vehicle modules than engine computer such as ABS, Airbag, TPMS, Transmission, and so on. However, the supported vehicles are fewer than BlueDriver. At the time of writing, the supported manufacturers are Ford, GM, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota.

Please note that Enhanced Diagnostics works in their original app called OBDLink app with Enhanced Add-on activated. The activation used to cost $9.99 per add-on, but now all of them are free. If you had purchased before they became free, contact the company, and they will issue a refund.

Unlike BlueDriver, OBDLink MX+ is compatible with many third-party apps such as Torque, DashCommand, Harry’s Lap Timer, etc. And, it supports GM SW-CAN and Ford MS-CAN protocols that allow accessing additional parameters. You may be able to remote-start and lock/unlock the doors with the third-party app called obdCANeX.

Pros

  • Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows
  • Enhanced Diagnostics
  • Compatible with third-party apps
  • Free OBD software for Windows
  • 3-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Supported vehicles for Enhanced Diagnostics are fewer than BlueDriver

OBDLink MX+ is the most versatile OBD adapter on the market. There are a lot of possibilities with it. The OBDLink app is free to download for Android and iOS devices. There are no extra costs or in-app purchases. You will have a license to activate OBD software for Windows called OBDwiz. And the company offers a long 3-year warranty. Click here to see the latest price of OBDLink MX+.

BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner ($21.99)

image of bafx products bluetooth obd2 adapter for android

BAFX Products OBDII adapter uses Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. It’s compatible with Android and Windows. If you own iOS devices, you should choose the WiFi version of BAFX Products adapter ($26.25).

It’s a generic adapter that provides basic features. There is no original app by the company, but the adapter is compatible with many third-party apps.

BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter have been very popular for many years. It’s one of the longest selling OBD adapter on the market. The reason why it’s been popular for a long time is its inexpensive price and reliability.

Many other adapters at the same price range are copied or cloned. There are a lot of defects. They can be hit-or-miss. However, BAFX Products adapters are created and sold directly by the company. As long as you buy from Amazon, you will get the right one with 2-year manufacturer warranty.

The size of the adapter is relatively large. The overall length is 3.5-inch. This size can be a trouble your driving depending on the location of an OBD port.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Compatible with many third-party apps
  • 2-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Basic features only
  • A large size
  • Not compatible with iOS

BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter is one of few reliable OBD adapters in the same price range. There are no special features with it, but the price is very inexpensive. It’s a good entry-level item for those who are not sure about the need of OBD scan tool for yourself. It comes with 2-year manufacturer warranty. Click here to see the latest price of BAFX Products Bluetooth adapter.

Related Posts

How do you know the capacity of portable battery charger you need?

Does a battery of your cell phone, tablet, or laptop last every day before you arrive home? Have you ever experienced the battery was gone quickly when you travel because of frequently seeing a map and taking pictures? Carrying a portable battery charger gets you free from the problem. There are so many brands and a wide price range for them. But, you should choose the best one for you based on capacity, features, design, and dependability. Here is the post about how to know the capacity of portable battery charger you need.

image of portable battery charger

Capacity of Your Device

To find out what capacity of portable battery charger you need, the first thing you need to know is the battery capacity of your device. If you can see the battery directly, it most likely says the capacity in mAh somewhere on the battery itself. For some electric devices, the batteries aren’t accessible by users. If so, you can search it online with device name or model number. If it’s a smartphone, the capacity can be found somewhere in settings. For example, to find out the Samsung S9’s battery capacity, go to Settings > About Phone > Battery information. As you see in the picture below, the battery capacity of S9 is 3000 mAh.

image of battery capacity of samsung galaxy s9

Energy Loss

Now that you know the battery capacity of your device, you know the capacity of portable battery charger. You may expect a 15000 mAh charger to give 5 times of charges to S9. But, in reality, some energy will be lost in charging process. So, just remember 2/3 of the capacity of charger will be actually transferred to your device. For example, if you want a charger capable of 2 times charges for S9, you will need a charger with 9000 mAh or more.

Variety of Size and Capacity

The bigger a portable battery charger, the higher capacity it has. And, it tend to have multiple USB outlets so you can charge multiple devices all at once.

Pocket-sized

image of pocket sized portable battery charger

The smaller portable battery charger has a capacity of around 3000 mAh to 5000 mAh, which gives just enough 1x charge to recent smartphones. Many of these with this capacity are stick-shaped, but some of them are flat and thin so you can have it with your smartphone together in a pocket. Most of them have only one output portl

Read Also: Anker Powerbank Portable Charger Comparison (Pocket size 3350 to 6700 mAh)

Middle Capacity

image of middle capacity portable battery charger

If you need two or three times phone charges, you may need a capacity of 10000 mAh to 15000 mAh. When you choose a portable battery charger with this capacity range, you need to focus on not only how fast the charging speed is but also how many outputs it has. Mostly they have either one or two output ports. And you need to make sure of performance of each output port. They may have different output power or may not be the same when connected two devices simultaneously.

Read Also

High Capacity

image of high capacity portable battery charger

You can charge multiple phone charges with a portable battery charger with 20000 mAh or more. Keep in mind that 26800 mAh is the maximum capacity allowed by TSA for airplane travel. Most of them have two or three outputs, and you need to make sure of performance of each port. Plus, you need to know how many hours it takes to recharge the charger itself. Since it is a large capacity, it takes hours to recharge. You need to know if it is OK with your lifestyle, travel plan, etc.

Read Also

You also need to know…

Before buying a portable battery charger, you also need to know what features it has in addition to the right capacity. I recommend top-rated brands such as Anker and RAVPower. They are reliable and come with latest features and limited time warranties.

Read Also: How to choose a portable charger for your devices