My Amazon “Purchasing Spree”

Since March 2021, I have been on a bit of purchasing spree on amazon- mostly computer components. In this post, I write about a few of those purchases.

I blame this buying spree as an after effect of COVID-19. 

The below list is in no particular order.

Behringer Charger/ Adapter

In early 2017, a friend gifted me a Behringer Xenyx Q802USB USB Audio Mixer to celebrate the first year of gaatha story our podcasting (ad) venture. It did not power up. For the past several years, I thought it was a hardware error, later realised that it was a power supply issue. Last week I finally bought this adapted that is compatible for Indian voltage.Delivery from amazon was on time, well packed.

I opened up the charger/ adapter, connected it to the mixer, and Lo and behold, the mixer works!

My only concern is that the adapter “brick” gets really hot after an hour of use. That’s why giving 4 stars.

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Sandisk MicroSD Card

I ordered this MicroSD card for my Raspberry Pi4, but ended up using it in my wife’s laptop as “extended storage” instead. She uses a Windows computer, and the 256 GB space got quickly filled up. She did not want me to change the disk drive (a 500 or a TB of NVMe on a Dell Inspiron 13 5000 would have been nice).
So I ended up using this 32 GB card instead. In a few months might upgrade to 64 GB- for now, happy with the purchase. reasonable read/writing speeds. The packaging was slightly ripped at the reverse side, but that did not affect the disk in any way. The disk itself was nicely shielded in plastic. Therefore, decided to keep it and use it.

Edit: I also purchased a 64 GB SD card (for android phone) and a 128 GB card for my Macbook Pro 2012- as additional storage. Long term plan is to upgrade the disk on this laptop.

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SSD Case

I had purchased a 120 GB Crucial SSD drive for my (ancient) Dell Latitude D640 laptop. it did it job well back then, but the laptop had really outlived its utility. In 2020, it was really a challenge to use a laptop used in 2006. Linux or no linux, terminal mode or no terminal mode.

Therefore the disk was lying idle. This Orico case helped me put this disk back to use. Most recently to install macOS Mojave on my MacBook Pro- once I upgraded the Hard disk. Now, this disk will be a backup for podcast episodes.

The Pros:
a. It is indeed tool-less kit. Installation is easy. Align the pins of the SSD drive with the case, slide in the drive, and you are all set.
b. The USB cable is usable with other drives like Seagate 1.5 TB – nothing proprietary or exclusive. That is a plus.
c. Sliding the disk out to remove is also easy.
d. The cushion pads help.

The Cons:
the instruction manual does not tell what to do with (or where to install) the fusion pads. The glue for the cushions pads is low quality- I ripped the edge of one of the two pads while removing the tape and installing.
Without the pads, the SSD drive inside the case might rattle. I installed the pads at the bottom of the case – so that the SSD drive rests on the pads. This worked in my case. Your experience might differ.

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Zinq Fan

Nice fan/pad unit, the blue light gives a nice look. My issue is with the noise level. I need a fanned for my audio recording studio- at 45 dB this fan(s) are loud. Cannot keep them running when recording session is on.
Overall, works okay. I even ordered a replacement item from amazon to check on the noise level. Therefore giving 4 stars.

I purchased this fan/cooling pad for my MacBook Pro- summer’s here and the MBP gets hotter than it typically does. Installation of new Thermal compound on the MBP processor and cleaning the vents has its use, but the basic issue- heating needs to be addressed by external means.

Earlier I had a Belkin pad- its fan has turned noisy like crazy. I was looking for a replacement- the reviews and “amazon recommended” tag helped in buying decision.

The packaging is nice, the USB cable (red) is a little odd- but since the pad is black, the red colour stands out. the three levels of adjusting the height of the pad is a good feature to have. My 13 inch MBP fit with at least 3 inches of space left ( 1.5 in on either side). Had the db level been mentioned on the box,I might not have purchased it. But I have decided to keep it.

Master Gel by Cooler Master

I have a handful of older MBPs that I work with- the early 2015 and 2013 (latter runs on Manjaro Linux) being the main ones. Both had severe heating issues. This thermal past came as a good resource. Installation was easy, I might have installed a tad more gel than required- in a couple of days will check on the ‘spread’ of the thermal compound. On the 2013 MBP- looks ok so far (see towards the end)

Coming to the Cooler Master MasterGel Pro Thermal Paste
The packaging was good, the grease removal tissue is a nice gesture. Qtips needed for cleaning around edges / hard to reach areas.

Installed the thermal paste on the 2015 MBP myself. First time, I had applied a tad too much, and to remove and reinstall (see last image). Good that the paste lasts for more than one use.

For the 2013 MBP I had to go to a service technician because the screws were wayyy too tight. Less than 24 hours later, here are the early results:

a. Using the Macs Fan control app on Mac, I have been testing the temperatures.
On boot, get about 65 Dec C per core. While idling, temperature drops to about 42 Deg C. While installing macOS Mojave, the temp went up to high 80s, this morning it shot up to 80 again when no visible task was running. Am checking the logs/task manager to see what the issue might be.

Temps before installing/ replacing this thermal past were around 75-80 Deg C constant.

b. On Linux (Manjaro), I checked the SSD and the CPU core temps.
Boot/idle/browsing and spreadsheet temps are as follows:

Boot: 62 deg C CPU / 34 Dec G SSD
Idle: 43 Dg C CPU 34 Deg C SSD
Browsing uptown 1 hour after booting: 70 Deg C CPU / 36 Deg C SSD
Spreadsheet (basic data entry in Libreoffice or Onlyoffice) : 68 Dec C Cpu / 38 Deg C SSD

Those aren’t bad numbers! I would like to see lower- especially better cooling around the palm rest and the F1-F12 keys.
Tip: Make sure you clean the vents near the heat sink, fan and the thermal vents before you wrap up. You can use isopropyl alcohol or a suitable inert cleaning agent for that.

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Crucial NVMe 5 GB

For nearly 5 years I had 128 GB disk on my MacBook Pro. Some times, I would run out of space (especially during OS upgrades) and it was frustrating. At other times, I did not feel the challenge.
But when I (recently) read that it was possible to upgrade the disk on the 2015 Map without paying the “Apple Tax” I was all too keen to do it. The Crucial drive fit the bill both in terms of storage space and budge. the NVME adapter helped seal the deal. OWC, sorry , you are way too expensive to the same task.

Installation on the MBP took a while- the screw had become sheared. But the technician removed it with aplomb. I ran the Black Magic disk speed test on the MBP before and after installing the disk

before- speeds were in the range of 300 MB/sRead / 380 MB/s Write
Now – 850 MB/s Read/ 1090 MB/s Write

I need to watch out for the battery usage- read in some reviews that the battery life was impacted because of the higher speed / powered disks. Time will tell. I might update this review at that time.

For now, happy with the purchase.

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Dell-Battery

For the past several months I was looking for a replacement battery for my wife’s Dell Inspiron 3000. The laptop is great, I upgraded to 16 GB RAM and disk space, but the battery was a bear. 38 Wh and the quirky shape make it difficult to find. In August I had ordered a replacement battery, but it was not the right fit. Money water (return period had ended, long story) but more importantly, job not done.

Found this battery finally, the number F62G0 imprinted on the OEM battery helped. I found it cheaper online elsewhere. But in 2021, when the “cheaper” seller’s
website reads “Copyright 2018 abcd company”, it is a cause for concern. Ordered promptly form amazon at 800 Rupees higher price. Assurance of better service quality, and returns in case of non functioning product. Cannot beat that for the price paid.

Installation was pretty easy: remove 4 screws, remove the audio cable that runs along the side of the battery, and you are done!
Note: Note the limited supply of this battery might mean higher price. For the laptop, the SKU number is 5370, 500 is product name. You can check at https://www.dell.com/lt/p/inspiron-13-5370-laptop.

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Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

I had purchased a wireless USB keyboard + mouse in 2018 or 19. While moving homes, the mouse got lost. I was using a wireless keyobard with a wired mouse on my secondary computer. Recently I decided to upgrade all computers, bought this full set.

Pros:
Product works like a charm on Windows, Mac and Linux. I tested on a a Dell Inspiron with Windows 10, a MacBook Pro with Mac Catalina/ Big Sur; a MacBook Pro with Linux (Manjaro, Pop Os) and also on a Raspberry pi 3.

Four words to describe the experience:

Works Like a Charm.
Thanks Logitech for an awesome product. Good battery life, thanks for sending the batteries too. Sometimes getting one set of batteries is a challenge.

Cons:
This unit uses both AAA (Keyboard) and AA (Mouse) which can cause a bit of hassle. My only gripe so far.

I will update this post shortly with a longer account of my shopping spree and lessons learnt.

Image of a Floppy Disk and Disk Drive
Upgrading my laptop(s) did NOT involve this classic.