- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
What does it look like
It''''s about 205mm in height, from the footplate to the top of the handle, and about 250mm long, including the vacuum nozzle, and having the basic same shape. As it is one of the Bosch brands it is the usual Bosch colours those being green and black, with a dash of silver.
From the bottom of the saw there is the footplate, which has a slit in it where the blade goes through. This is made of a strong metal having a slight curve at the front a little like a sledge, which is how it moves along the material you''''re cutting.
Above the footplate there is the saw itself, which rest on a well made section that has a little wheel at the front.
Near this wheel is the blade housing
A little back from this blade locking section,there is a little sliding switch. This is to operate the blower that is at the front, above the blade, which blows a jet of air at the cutting area so that the sawdust is blown away from the cutting line.
There are a couple of vents on the side which help get cold air to the motor. Then, to the rear of the unit there is another vent, which is just above the vacuum cleaner hose nozzle attachment.
What about changing the blade
All you do is pull up the red plastic section at the front, where the blade goes in. Pull it up and the blade releases, then you slot another blade in and release the red plastic piece.
Job done, you''''re blade is changed and you''''re ready to carry on cutting.
What do I think
This is a nice handy little unit and has the power that I usually find in much bigger and heavier saws.
The saw doesn''''t vibrate that much, It can handle pieces of wood up to 70mm thick. I like the way that these are so easy to change, It takes about 5 seconds to change the blade, with most of the that time spent picking the blade up off the table. But five seconds, is the most, then its back to cutting away at what ever you want to.
The motor does a good job
The foot plate is nice and strong, giving a flat surface to move along the wood, or metal, and can also give you a chance of a 45, either way, with the plate being adjustable.
Whats the price of this
This saw sells for about 35 to 40GBP, at most good retailer, and even the local electrical dealer down the road from where I live.
Over my time doing good old DIY I have amassed quite a collection of tools from hand tools, such as pliers, bradawl and chisels, to power tools such as sanders, planers and the good all rounder, power drills, both mains powered and cordless drills such as the one I am going to tell you about here, the good old Black and Decker EGBL188K 18 volt cordless hammer drill. < b/>What does it look like...< b/> It''''s you''''re normal black and decker colours, black and orange, and is about 170mm from top to bottom of handle, where the battery is, and about 250mm from motor end to drill bit end. The handle itself is about 65mm in diameter, at its widest, with the trigger being on the underside of the top section and the front of the soft grip covered handle. Think of a gun and you get the idea. The drill bit housing is right at the front and has what in the trade is called a key-less chuck, with this one being rather easier to handle than most key-less chuck units, if I''''m honest, as I can tighten of loosen the chuck with one hand, allowing the clutch of the drill to lock in place so that the back section of the chuck does not spin around as I turn the front section of it. On this chuck section, just behind it, is the torque setting which are changed by simply turning the thick black ring and selecting the number that you feel gives the right torque for the job in hand. Right on the top you''''ll see a black switch that can be slid forward or backwards. This is the gear shift slider that, when slid forwards gives you the higher gear, with pulling it back giving you the lower gears. This makes it a lot easier to drill through more things that may be more dense. Above the trigger there is a little tiny light that is aimed towards where the drill bit is going to be. This light lets you see exactly what you are working on even in the most awkwardest places. To the rear of the trigger, on the top part of the handle, there is a little button that slides from one side to the other. This is the reverse and forward control which means that you can screw and unscrew without any troubles at all. Now for the bottom, well, the bottom of the handle, where there is the battery, which slides into place with the help of the little red catch that needs to be pulled up in order to release the battery. Also on the base of the handle, above the battery, there is a small catch that holds a double headed driver piece, which comes with the drill. Now back to the top, where there is a simple looking black sliding button, which is the second gear of this drill. Slide it backward and you''''re in first gear, forward and you''''re in seconds gear. These gear options give you more control over the speeds of the motor. And that''''s basically what this drill looks like... < b/>The boring specs...< b/> It''''s an 1.3Ah, 18 volt hammer drill with a lithium Ion battery for longer use between charges. It has 11 torque setting using a two gear system with a double sleeve key-less 10mm chuck It weighs about 3kg, when the battery is in place, which is not too bad for those longer jobs, and as most of the weight is on the battery it is quite well balanced when holding. It boast a double sleeve chuck which means that you don''''t need special tools to change the bits. The maximum thickness of materials are 25mm for wood, 17mm for masonry and 10mm for metals. It has a 3 hour charge from flat to fully charged and as the battery is Lithium Ion it holds its charge for longer in between uses. And it all comes in a plastic case to keep all the bits and bobs in. < b/>How do you use it..< b/> You use it like any other drill of its kind. You simply slot in the drill bit that you need, as long as it is 10mm or less, as this drills chuck is a 10mm. To put in the bit you simple grip the end of the chuck, careful not to pull the trigger, and twist it. The clutch should kick in after about a quarter of a turn, locking the rear of the chuck so that you can twist the front of the chuck which, in turn, opens the mouth mouth of the chuck so that you can take the bit out. Then, you slide the new bit in and twist the front of the chuck until, again, the clutched lock the rear of the chuck in place. You then twist the front of the chuck until it has gripped the bit, giving it a final twist to lock it on properly. If you want to use it as a screwdriver the you replace the drill bit with the driver bit, it all goes in the same way. And now you''''re ready to start drilling, or screwing. Speaking of screwing... to help you when it comes to screwing screws in without the screw going too deep or poking straight through the wood, this drill gives you what in the trade is called ''''Torque settings'''', 11 of them, using a number guide. Basically, the lower the number the less torque it gives, which really means that it you use a lower number the drill is more likely to stop screwing in a lot quicker than if you used a higher number. These setting are for the different types of work you''''re doing. So, for example, if you want to screw a screw into a piece of wood but are afraid to damage the wood by screwing too deep you set the number to a lower one then you screw in. once the ''''clocking'''' of the torque kicks in the drivers stops screwing, giving you a low pressure. If the screw is deep enough you''''re done, if it''''s not then you go up a number and try again, then again on a higher number if you need to, until the screw is as deep as you want it to be. Simple. Then there''''s the reverse action which is activated by the press of the button that goes right through the drill, just above the trigger. You slide this button one way and the drill goes in the normal forward motion, if you slide the button the other way it gives you the reverse action. This reverse action makes it easier to take screws out of where ever you want to take them out of. Plus, it helps in clear the hole that you''''re drilling as it fills with the cuttings from the inwards motion. < b/>The battery...< b/> As I said the battery is what is known as Lithium Ion, which means that it holds the charge for longer per charge, and it offers more power for that much longer. To take the battery out of the drills handle you simply pull up the catch ont eh front of the handles base, which will release the battery so you can slide it out of the grooves. Then you simply slide it into the charging housing that comes in the case. Charge the battery for a few hours then, when charged, you simple slide the battery back into the underneath of the handle, clicking it into place. And you''''re done. < b/>What about maintenance..< b/> This is a tool that needs very little maintenance, surviving on a bit of a wipe over if it gets covered in the dust that''''s created when you''''re drilling. There''''s no need to oil anything really, although I do find that the odd squirt of WD40 on the chuck if it gets wet for what ever reason does help in the metal parts rusting over. But it''''s not essential so I wouldn''''t worry about it. So, as for maintenance, well, there is none really. < b/>My opinion...< b/> This is a lovely little drill, all though when I say little I don''''t mean little little, it''''s not the biggest drill on the market but it''''s big enough to do what it''''s supposed to do, it drills holes in most materials and, just as important, screws screws in and out of what ever it needs to. The torque is a cracking idea and is a must on any cordless drill when you plan on using it for different types of screwing jobs, with the selections being chosen using the simple turning of the ring of number. I tend to start low, then go up a number until I get the right torque, then I know I''''m less likely to damage the wood surface that I''''m working on. The handle is great for holding, with the soft grip like rubber feeling material covering the areas that your hand, finger and thumb are most likely to touch, of grip. The trigger is easy to squeeze, giving me more speed control as a slight squeeze will start the chuck turning, which is great for starting a hole, without the end of the bit flicking off. Then, once the drill has found its course, it then a matter of squeezing the trigger harder and the speed goes to full whack, giving you the full rpm, which depends on what you''''re drilling through. The battery looks tiny compared to the other drills of its type that I have owned and used but in this case good things do come in small packages as this battery charges quite quickly and, which is the main thing, keeps its charge for longer, which means that I don''''t have to pre plan by charging my battery the day before I am going to do a job. Although if I haven''''t used it for a while, a long while, which is unlikely as I seem to be drilling or screwing every other day... NO... not that sort of screwing, thank you. < b/>So what about the price..< b/> This drill sells for about 80GBP, give or take. There is a cheaper version, without the hammer function, which sells for about 60GBP, so if you don''''t intend to ever need the hammer function the extra 20GBP may not be justified. But, if you think you may need the hammer function then the extra 20GBP or so may be money well spent. < b/>Would I recommend this one..?< b/> Yes, I would. It is one of the better drills I have used in my life of DIY as it has the power and the stamina to get the job done in one go. The chuck is easy to handle and grips the bits properly, unless I haven''''t tightened it up in the first place. But once the chuck is tightened in place the bit stays in it. There''''s no special tool needed to change the bit, and in fact I sometimes do it with one hand, using the trigger to turn the chuck whilst I grip the outer chuck. But if you do this then don''''t squeeze the trigger to hard or you''''ll take the skin from your hand. A gentle squeeze does the trick
I have fish, a few of them, and not just the ones that are in the oven cooking away for tea. I''''m talking about the swimming, live fish that, for many people, including myself, live in a tank, wondering how to drive it.
People who have fish, or have had them, will know that taking care of them is a job in itself. The feeding part is not too bad, just place a few pinches of fish food into the tank and let the fish eat away. The worst thing about keeping fish is actually cleaning the tank out, be that either a full clean or a half clean, 1/3 clean really. But either way, when it comes to cleaning a fish tank there is one thing that you need to add to the tap water in order to make the tap water fit enough for the fish to survive in.
What I mean by that is that normal water from the tap is tainted with such things as fluoride and other little bits and blobs that are harmless to us humans, and possible aliens too, although I have yet to find an alien to ask. But the things in the water that are harmless to us are quite dangerous to the little fishes as they need a certain cleanliness of water.
So what do you do to get the tap water right for the fish? Well, all you have to do is add a little amount of something that is designed to ''''take out'''' all those bits that the fish don''''t like, leaving water that is fit for a fish to swim in. and that certain little amount of something is called Aquasafe, which, as the name suggests, makes the water safe for fish to live in.
What is Aquasafe.. It is a liquid that is made by a company called Tetra, who deal with most things that a person needs when it comes to keeping fish, any sort of fish. Aquasafe comes in a plastic bottle, varying in size, from 50ml, 100ml, 250ml and a 500ml, but all the bottles are the eye catching yellow colouring with that distinctive label on the container that tell you exactly what it is. As I said, Aquasafe is a liquid that contains such things as bio colloids for beneficial bacteria growth which helps in the cleaning of the water in the tank. It helps gets rid of the ''''fish nasties'''' in your tap water, such as chlorine and chloramine plus those heavy metals such as iron, zinc and lead. so that the fish can swim in their tank without becoming ill. To be exact, or as close to exact as I can be, with me not being a boffin, It''''s a mix of vitamins, natural biopolymers and trace elements... what ever that is and adds the essential elements that are present in the fishes natural environment, such as Iodine for vitality, magnesium for growth and well being. Which in turn help protect the gills and mucous membranes of your fish. In basic terms it makes the water feel as close to fishes ''''normal'''' water as possible
What''''s in the bottle..? There are different size bottle but they all contain the same ingredients, but I don''''t really know what they are as there is nothing on the box to say what they are. All I will say is that what ever is in the bottle manages to clear the tap water from chlorine and chloramine, plus, it attacks any heavy metals such as iron, lead and zinc that are hiding in the water. Basically, a little drop of this stuff clears the water of anything that may harm the fish whilst they swim happily in the tank.
So what do you do with it.. All you have to do is pour a little of the blue liquid from the yellow bottle into your water. You use 5ml per 10 litres of water, so the amount you will have to use depends on the size of your fish tank. I use just under 15ml for my tank as that''''s enough. The smaller bottles have an ideal lid to use for measuring the 5ml as this small lid hold 5ml. The first bottle I bought was the small one and I have kept the lid for measuring ever since, which is handy really.
You can also simply add it straight into a fish tank, if you fill the tank first, as long as you have a rough idea how much water is needed to fill the tank. Remember, for every 10 litres of water you need to add 5ml of Aquasafe.
Note: You may find that when you pour the Aquasafe into the water it seems to turn a little blue, this is perfectly normal and the blue colouring does disappear in no time at all, leaving the water as clear as it should be.
Is it any good. Well, that is a question which only fish can answer as I can not tell if the water feels like it''''s best suited for fish. What I can tell is that this stuff does seem to keep the water clearer for a bit longer and the fish seem to be happy enough swimming around in the water.
What do I think.. This product is so simple to use and lasts quite some time, for me anyway, with a 25 litre tank. There is a nice little disperse top in the 100ml bottle which means that I have to squeeze the bottle in order to get the liquid out, which means that it is easier to control and doesn''''t pour out all over the floor as it splashes over the top of the measuring spoon, or little lid in my case. It hasn''''t done any harm to the filters of air pumps that I have in the tank, which is good, and there doesn''''t seem to be any excess residue on the glass or the surface of the water, apart from the fish wastes residue which is normal... That''''s about it really. It is what it is, a liquid in a bottle that helps clean the toxins out of the water so that the fish can breath easy, so to speak. So I won''''t go on just to fill in the spaces, so to speak.
How much does a bottle cost.. This depends on the size of the bottle you want, but the prices range from about 2.50GBP for a 50ml bottle up to about 2.00 GBP for the bigger 500ml bottles, which are more for those who have a lot of fish and many many tanks really. I usually buy the 100ml bottles as they seem to always be on offer in the local shop these days, plus, this size bottle tends to last quite a while, considering that I use about 5ml per semi clean and 15ml per full clean. So if I do a semi clean once a week, then a full clean once a month, that''''s me using about 35ml of Aquasafe per month, so a 10ml bottle lasts me a couple of months. Those cleaning figures are just a guide as it depends on how the water looks which makes me feel the need to clean it or not
Would I recommend it.. Well, when it comes to keeping my fish happy, which means taking the rubbish out of the water that they don''''t like, then this is money well spent, without a doubt. So, if you have fish cold water fish, tropical maybe, then this is a must to help with the health and well being of the little swimmers. Just remember, if you don''''t look after your fish then the fishy police will come and get you... so keep the damp squid at bay, get yourself some Aquasafe.
I have fish, a few of them, and not just the ones that are in the oven cooking away for tea. I''''m talking about the swimming, live fish that, for many people, including myself, live in a tank, wondering how to drive it. People who have fish, or have had them, will know that taking care of them is a job in itself. The feeding part is not too bad, just place a few pinches of fish food into the tank and let the fish eat away. The worst thing about keeping fish is actually cleaning the tank out, be that either a full clean or a half clean, 1/3 clean really. But either way, when it comes to cleaning a fish tank there is one thing that you need to add to the tap water in order to make the tap water fit enough for the fish to survive in. What I mean by that is that normal water from the tap is tainted with such things as fluoride and other little bits and blobs that are harmless to us humans, and possible aliens too, although I have yet to find an alien to ask. But the things in the water that are harmless to us are quite dangerous to the little fishes as they need a certain cleanliness of water. So what do you do to get the tap water right for the fish? Well, all you have to do is add a little amount of something that is designed to ''''take out'''' all those bits that the fish don''''t like, leaving water that is fit for a fish to swim in. and that certain little amount of something is called Aquasafe, which, as the name suggests, makes the water safe for fish to live in. What is Aquasafe.. It is a liquid that is made by a company called Tetra, who deal with most things that a person needs when it comes to keeping fish, any sort of fish. Aquasafe comes in a plastic bottle, varying in size, from 50ml, 100ml, 250ml and a 500ml, but all the bottles are the eye catching yellow colouring with that distinctive label on the container that tell you exactly what it is. As I said, Aquasafe is a liquid that contains such things as bio colloids for beneficial bacteria growth which helps in the cleaning of the water in the tank. It helps gets rid of the ''''fish nasties'''' in your tap water, such as chlorine and chloramine plus those heavy metals such as iron, zinc and lead. so that the fish can swim in their tank without becoming ill. To be exact, or as close to exact as I can be, with me not being a boffin, It''''s a mix of vitamins, natural biopolymers and trace elements... what ever that is and adds the essential elements that are present in the fishes natural environment, such as Iodine for vitality, magnesium for growth and well being. Which in turn help protect the gills and mucous membranes of your fish. In basic terms it makes the water feel as close to fishes ''''normal'''' water as possible What''''s in the bottle..? There are different size bottle but they all contain the same ingredients, but I don''''t really know what they are as there is nothing on the box to say what they are. All I will say is that what ever is in the bottle manages to clear the tap water from chlorine and chloramine, plus, it attacks any heavy metals such as iron, lead and zinc that are hiding in the water. Basically, a little drop of this stuff clears the water of anything that may harm the fish whilst they swim happily in the tank. So what do you do with it.. All you have to do is pour a little of the blue liquid from the yellow bottle into your water. You use 5ml per 10 litres of water, so the amount you will have to use depends on the size of your fish tank. I use just under 15ml for my tank as that''''s enough. The smaller bottles have an ideal lid to use for measuring the 5ml as this small lid hold 5ml. The first bottle I bought was the small one and I have kept the lid for measuring ever since, which is handy really. You can also simply add it straight into a fish tank, if you fill the tank first, as long as you have a rough idea how much water is needed to fill the tank. Remember, for every 10 litres of water you need to add 5ml of Aquasafe. Note: You may find that when you pour the Aquasafe into the water it seems to turn a little blue, this is perfectly normal and the blue colouring does disappear in no time at all, leaving the water as clear as it should be. Is it any good. Well, that is a question which only fish can answer as I can not tell if the water feels like it''''s best suited for fish. What I can tell is that this stuff does seem to keep the water clearer for a bit longer and the fish seem to be happy enough swimming around in the water. What do I think.. This product is so simple to use and lasts quite some time, for me anyway, with a 25 litre tank. There is a nice little disperse top in the 100ml bottle which means that I have to squeeze the bottle in order to get the liquid out, which means that it is easier to control and doesn''''t pour out all over the floor as it splashes over the top of the measuring spoon, or little lid in my case. It hasn''''t done any harm to the filters of air pumps that I have in the tank, which is good, and there doesn''''t seem to be any excess residue on the glass or the surface of the water, apart from the fish wastes residue which is normal... That''''s about it really. It is what it is, a liquid in a bottle that helps clean the toxins out of the water so that the fish can breath easy, so to speak. So I won''''t go on just to fill in the spaces, so to speak. How much does a bottle cost.. This depends on the size of the bottle you want, but the prices range from about 2.50GBP for a 50ml bottle up to about 2.00 GBP for the bigger 500ml bottles, which are more for those who have a lot of fish and many many tanks really. I usually buy the 100ml bottles as they seem to always be on offer in the local shop these days, plus, this size bottle tends to last quite a while, considering that I use about 5ml per semi clean and 15ml per full clean. So if I do a semi clean once a week, then a full clean once a month, that''''s me using about 35ml of Aquasafe per month, so a 10ml bottle lasts me a couple of months. Those cleaning figures are just a guide as it depends on how the water looks which makes me feel the need to clean it or not Would I recommend it.. Well, when it comes to keeping my fish happy, which means taking the rubbish out of the water that they don''''t like, then this is money well spent, without a doubt. So, if you have fish cold water fish, tropical maybe, then this is a must to help with the health and well being of the little swimmers. Just remember, if you don''''t look after your fish then the fishy police will come and get you... so keep the damp squid at bay, get yourself some Aquasafe.
Anyone that has fish in a tank in their homes know how much hassle it is when it comes to keeping them clean, especially the tropical fish. Me, I have acquired a few gold fish, which are easier to keep as they don''t need all the attention that the tropical fish need. When getting fish you have to have certain things, such as a tank to start with, although the fish don''t have to learn to drive it. tee hee, you also, another item that you need is a filtration system, or a filter for short, and it is a certain filter that I am going to talk about here as I have been using it now and feel that I have had the right amount of usage in order to give a good opinion. The filter that I am talking about is from a company called All Pond Solution, with this actual filter being from their ''Aquarium Corner filter'' range, and calling itself the 250 CIF, which is designed to work in fish tanks that take up to 45 litres of water. NOTE The others in the range are the 450-CIF and the 650-CIF. All this means is that they pump more water through the system per hour. The 250 pumps 250 litres per hour, the 450 pumps 450 litres per hour.. so how much does the 650-CIF pump in an hour. yes, you''re right, it''s 650 litres per hour. The larger the pumping power the slightly larger the actual casing. So make sure that your tank is deep enough to accommodate the filter casing as these are submerged filters and live under he water with the fish. So what does this filter look like. It''s a plastic moulded casing that comes apart. The entire unit is about 830mm high, 500mm wide and about 190mm deep. Weighing in at no more than 35grams. The corners are cut off, sort of, which gives it more a triangular look, which is why is is called a corner filter. At the top is where all the work happens, with the 3 watt motor itself being encased in the waterproof top section so that it doesn''t get wet whilst under water. Right on the top there is a little dial which is the water flow controller and, when turned, lets more or less water out of the spray bar. On the dial there is an arrow that starts thin then widens as it gets closer to the arrow head, this means that there is more flow when you turn the dial in the direction the arrow head is pointing. This dial is attached to a small pipe system. This is where the water comes out of and is what the 90mm spray bar attaches to so that the water can come out through the ten holes that are spread along this spray bar. This spray bar can be pushed from one side of the units top the the other side, being stopped by the shape of the top. This lets you place the filter in more than one place in a tank. On the end of the spray bar there is a thin plastic stick which sticks out another 75mm from the end of the spray bar, and to be honest, seems a little pointless, but it''s actually a rather clever idea. This thin stick is actually a form of pipe cleaner and, with a simple push on the stick into the spay bar, cleans most of the ''gunk'' out of the bar. The mains cable into the unit at the top and is longer than I expected it to be, even though I have my tank quite close to a plug socket, at a safe distance of course so that I don''t splash water all over it and do some damage to my electrics. But the actual cable is a good metre long and feels chunky, making me think that this entire filter is built well as I''ve used some filters that have had cable that are thinner than my hairline and have been as useful as a comb for me. There is a crease, or a crack about a third of the way down the unit, this is where it splits open so that you can get to the filter to clean. Below this crease there is a few slits, what look like air vents, if this was a drill or something. But these slits are actually water inlets for the water to get into so that they can get into the filter in order to be cleaned. These slits go right across the lower section of the unit at the front and at the back, so that more water can be dealt with in one go. When you open the unit at the crease you see the filter which seems to be squashed into the lower section. This filter is about 100mm high and 70mm wide, being the same shape as the corner casing so that it fits snugly inside. On the rear end there are 6 suction pads on the back of this unit, although ''on the back'' is not quite the right word as they are all placed on the cut off side edge piece which makes this only usable in the corners. So if you have a fish tank without corners then this filter is not going to be very useful to you. How do you use it.. It''s designed to be used under water, submerged, which sounds a little dangerous considering that this runs off electricity and we all know that electric and water should not really be mixed together, a little like Man United fans and Liverpool fans in a pub after the game. But not to worry, this motor is well sealed inside the plastic unit and is perfectly safe indeed, although it is best to check the seal on the top every so often just to be sure. Anyway. To use this you simply put it together, which takes no time at all as it came almost completely together when it arrived in the box, the only thing that I had to do was to slot the ''spray bar'' onto the ''motor cover'' and that was it, all set up and ready to be dropped, or placed carefully, into the fish tank without traumatising the fish. Once you''ve carefully placed it into the tank, allowing the six suction pads to stick to the corners of the glass, you then simple turn it on at the wall socket and wait. It take a few seconds for the water to work its way through the filter and pipes but once it starts to flow it continues spraying the cleaner water out through the spray bar whilst taking in the waste water in through the filter. If you want more or less flow of water then you turn the dial on the top.... And that is how to use it. all you do then is watch as the water comes gently out of the spray bar and gently flickers back into the tank. You can change the direction of the spray bar, upward, giving you a higher spray which splashes back into the water, or downwards so that the spray goes straight under water and makes very little noise at all. So you can go from splashing to no sound, depending on what mood you are in I supposed. What about cleaning it.. This is the only slightly annoying thing about this filter, although cleaning a fish tank itself is a little annoying really. But to clean this you simply unplug it from the wall before you get your hands wet. health and safety protocol. Once unplugged you have to split it in half which is done by gently pressing the casing inwards where the little where the little knobs are around the crease. This allows the two sections to be separated. Once separated you take the filter casing, the lower section, and press the sides in where the knobbles on that are, this splits this lower section into a front and back, which gives you full access to the filter. Now all you have to do is clean the filter using some old fish water, giving the filter a few squeezes so that the majority of the ''gunk'' that it has collected comes off into the water. Now you''re ready to pup the filter back into the casing, but before you do you''re best off giving the casing a bit of a wipe over, clearing the vents. Again, this should be done in the old fish water. You do the same for the top section, using a clean cloth, sponge, pipe cleaning rod, all to get as much gunk from the casing as possible. Once you are happy with the cleanliness you simply put it all back together in the opposite direction as when you took it apart. Now you place it back into the cleaned fish tank and away you go. What do I think.. When I first bought the tank I have now it came with a smaller filter, which turned out to be more trouble than it was worth as I was having to clean the filter every other day or the tank would turn into something that you''d see in the sink in a one star hotels kitchen. But since I put this filter in I have noticed that the water is less pea-soup, more Alcudia Beach seawater. There''s no effort in using it, just popped it in and let it do it''s stuff, filtering the fish pooh and wee into fresher water so that the fish can swim happier and I can see them for longer, plus, there''s less cleaning of filters for me. It fits nicely into any corner of the tank, as it is a corner filter, so it should, with the suckers doing a cracking job in keeping the filter against the glass. Plus, as it is a good height, it sits perfectly in the tank I have, sitting on the stones, having the water spraying out just above the water line so that it is more a flutter than a spray of water. The spray bar is a good size and as it can be moved in several positions with no effort at all, a simple gentle push and it goes where you want it. When it comes to cleaning the filter it''s still a bit annoying, and stinky, but this one is so simple to clean out, especially with the cleaning rod on the spray bar, that it only takes minutes to get it from fish dirty to clean enough. In all, it is well made, does exactly what it is designed to to and does it well. NOTE I''ve mentioned it before but I will say it again. This filter, casing an all, must be cleaned in old fish water so that it keeps the fish goodness the has built up during the time it is on the tank. If you clean it under fresh, clean water then the ''fish goodness'' will be lost. What about the price.. I got this filter from an online shop for 9.95, with free delivery, although the price my vary depending on where you shop. Is it worth it.. Yes, with out a doubt it is a cracking little filter for tanks of up to 45 litres, which are fair size tanks to be honest. Mine is a 25 litre tank and this filter is doing a cracking job in filtrating the fish pooh. So for less than a tenner I now spend less time cleaning the filter unit and more time enjoying the very happy fishes.
At Christmas I was given a little gift, but don''t feel sorry for me, I did get more than one gift, but it is one certain gift that I want to tell you about here as I feel that people need to know about it. That certain little gift was given to me, possibly as a bit of a joke, maybe, but if it was then the joke was on them as this gift has turned out to be a rather nice little gift that has surprised me in what it actually offers. The gift that I am talking about is in fact a single little speaker, a portable little speaker that is a lot louder than it looks. In fact, it is a lot louder than some laptop speakers if i''m honest. The speaker I am referring to, if you''ve not already heard of it, is the Jelly Bean speaker, which, as the name suggest, is not shaped like a jelly bean at all. So what does it look like it is a round red plastic shape being about 33mm thick, when closed, and about 50mm when opened but not pulled. The entire speaker 50mm in diameter, excluding the little loop on the side, which adds another mm or so. On the top there are 8 little holes, all shaped like tiny little beans, which is one reason why it is names as such, these let the music come out of the speaker. You can actually see the speaker inside, seeing the lovely black paper that all speakers have.. On the bottom, if you turn it over, there is a small yellow light which shines away when the speaker is one and also when the speaker is connected to the USB port of a PC, which means it is charging up. Also on the lower half, on the bottom, together with the light, there are three little white rubbery pieces, tiny really, but they act as little feet for when you sit this speaker in a flat surface. The fact that they are rubber means that this speaker won''t bounce all over the place when the music is on. On the side of the lower half there is a small, or micro USB port which the supplied lead slots in to. This port is for the dual purpose of charging and listening. There''s also a very tiny little loop type notch on the side of the upper section which I suppose is so that you can attach this to a key ring but the hole is so small that even a flea would look like a giant standing next to it. And that''s the speaker... Now for the leads You get one lead with this speaker which acts as a charger and a cable for connecting this to a music device. The little 3.5mm jack is standard, which means that it can be plugged into any 3.5mm port that all music devices have. On the same end as the 3.5mm jack there is a full size USB jack that is used to slot into a USB port on your PC in order to charge the internal lithium battery up... yes, lithium, which means that it is going to hold the charge for longer when not in use... On the other end of the lead that is a tiny tiny mini, micro USB... or USB jack which is what slots into the speaker itself to get the sound, or charge to the unit. In the centre of the wiring there is a lovely little round ''cable collector'', which is designed to retract the cable back into the centre with one simple and gentle tug of each end. And that''s the cable that comes with the speaker... Is there anything else that comes with it There is actually. You also get a small packet of jelly beans to eat... which, as there are only about 8 in it, doesn''t take too long to devour. But the thought there. I mean, how many other speaker systems give you a packet of sweets in the box.? I''ve only ever found a small white packet that contains a powder that, according to the notice on the packet, is not edible at all. so good on you jelly bean. How do you use it The first thing I did was to charge it up, yes, that''s right, it has a built in battery, although it did come with a bit of power in the built in battery, but I gave it a good few hours of charge before I began using it. You can use it in two ways, both giving the same results really, although with the extra slide of the button the volume does double... but to use it you simple plug the 3.5mm jack into the port of your phone or PC, or what ever you want to listen to music from. Then you push the button forwards to switch the speaker on. Push it once and the speaker is on, push it twice and the volume goes up. That''s the only volume control you actually have, so it''s either on and playing or on and playing louder, but either way it''s a lot louder than it looks. Then, with the plugs all in position, both in the speaker and into the music player, you press the play button on the music player and away you go... music will come blasting out of the speaker. You can listen to your music through it with it closed or open, showing the concertinaed plastic that keeps the two halves together. But as I said, either way, the noise levels are the same. Opening it takes a little twist of the two halves, in opposite directions, only a little and the top will separate from the bottom revealing what looks like a crinkled central shoot, a little like one of those organ things that you play by pushing the two halves together? What is it called That''s it... a harp... no, cello. no. what are they They sound like a cat in a pillow case begin swung about in a derelict house.. a bit like Lady Gaga on a good day Anyway... Is it loud Yes indeedy, it is louder than you''d think, considering the size of it. The back of the box says that this is 2 watts, booming up to 2.2watts on the higher volume. This may not sound like something that is going to annoy the neighbours, if you like that sort of thing, booming your music through the roof so the neighbours never get any sleep. This won''t do that, but it will be loud enough to clearly hear your tunes without having to have it attached to your ears. Do you need any drivers or anything. No. Not even for charging up from your PC. You just plug the USB connector into the port on your PC and the internal battery charges up, taking about 12 hours to fully charge, giving you up to 4 hours on normal level sound, although less on the full sound. What do I think When I first looked at it all I saw was a red round thing, a little like a good size pebble that someone had painted. But in further investigation I realised that it was not a pebble, it was in fact a speaker, which, with a simple twist of the bottom and top, in opposite directions, the unit split in half and was held together with a concertinaed cover of plastic. It actually smelt of berries, strawberries in fact, with the scent managing to stay quite strong for a few weeks, diminishing a little over time, but still there in the background like the aroma of a dogs bottom after a meaty morsel. The wire is a bit on the thin side but it is stronger than it looks, thankfully, even when you pull the two ends away from each other in order to lengthen the cable in order to get the full wire you need. The bit in the middle has a good spring on it and does rewind all the wire back into itself on the first go, almost every time anyway. It looks the part too, with the bean shaped holes letting the music escape from the speaker that takes up the entire width of the top. It sits on any flat surface without falling over or drooping anywhere, then, when you open the two halves, showing the concertina of plastic, it still manages to hold it''s own without toppling over like a badly built tower in Italy.... this speaker really can stand up no matter what head banging music comes out of it... So, what about the price.. This is the good part as this cracking little speaker sells for about 15.00 in many places, although the local butchers did not have a clue what I was on about. You can also buy this in a set which includes this speaker together with a case for a variety of device, only one case per pack though. There''s also a set of earphones with a few spare ear buds, all in the same colour and aroma that the speaker is. And don''t forget the bag of sweets thrown in. yum. Would I recommend this speaker. Here is where I would say yes, without a doubt. It is a great idea for a gift, especially for any music lovers as this single speaker will make the music from your phone sound a heck of a louder and more crisp too. It''s a good size, being no heavier than a small mobile phone , and about the same size too, which means that it''s not going to take up much space in the bag, or pocket, when you want to carry it about. I use mine mainly at home, at the desk, plugging in my phone when I want to listen to my music, even though the speaker on my phone is pretty good anyway, I just like the sound this speaker manages to give out.
Gaiters..?? No, not the snappy ones that have long snouts and more teeth than zeros on David Camerons bank account balance, I?m talking about the gaiters that are used to keep the lower sections of your trousers dry when you end up having to wade through long wet grass.
You know the ones. The ones that, in the olden days, used to strap around your lower leg muscles, then around your ankle, strapping bits of string around your leg, sometimes so tight that you end up cutting the circulation to your toes.
These days though the gaiters are a lot more sophisticated. No longer do you have to struggle trying to get the soaking, muddy string un-knotted with cold fingers. No longer is the material of the gaiter made of such stuff that it soaks up more moisture than a kitchen sponge. These days gaiters are made of a much better material, water proof, and the way they attach to your lower leg has also improved ten fold. And it os one particular type of gaiter that I have pulled out of a draw in the cupboard of the garden shed. Gaiters that, to be honest, I totally forgot were actually there.
These gaiters I am talking about are called the trek mates Gore ankle gaiters and, as with all gaiters, are designed to keep you lower legs from getting too damp.
I like camping, in fact, before I settled down with the wife and family, I spent many happy days, weeks, even months at a time out in the wilderness, enjoying the freedom that having my home on my back gave me. But this was before the health and safety brigade kicked in and stopped the fun by banning open fires, camping in the middle of nowhere and basically bringing a more serious look to what was a fun activity to be had.
And don't get me started on the idea of Glamping... what a stupid idea that is. Why did the health and safety brigade not put a stop to that before the idiots on the television got their camera hungry fame grabbing faces shown on the box as they wondered around a mud covered field whislt wearing a sparkly gown with 6 inch high heals on their feet....??? Idiots. Camping is for living a scruffy, down to earth few days where you can just let it all hang out, (not that... please). So why do people think that camping should be about wearing Prada and carrying a diamond handbag whilst heading for the shower block for a number two....
But I'm not here to have a go at Glamping, I'm here to talk about camping, or more a great little gadget that comes in handy when out camping, which I have had for many years and used over and over again, not just on camping.
This item I am talking about is in fact a simple single hob camping gas cooker that comes from the great camping supply company called Gelert.
* So what does this cooker look like..?
At the end of the day it looks like what it is, it's small gas cooker, a single head one, which, of course, is what it is really. It is a small(ish) rectangular box shaped object, being about 330mm long by 270mm wide and not more than 100mm thick, weighing in at about 1 ½ kilo, (without the gas canister attached).
On the top there is the gas ring itself, or the hob, which consists of four metal stands on each corner surrounding a plate like ring which houses has a lot of little holes in the top edge that allows the gas to come out of. Inside this ring there are little notches and a hole right in the centre.
This hob covers more than three quarters of the top with the remaining quarter being just a flat area, which actually is the cover of the gas canister as it sits underneath. Which I will go into later, but that is what it looks like on the top.
On the front, there are the controls, which are on the right side of the front and consists of a simple on/off lever, pushing down to turn on, or to release the gas into the hob. Then there's the heat control itself, which is just to the right of the lever. This heat control is a dial with an 'O' on the top, meaning the lower setting, to the higher setting, which is gained when turning the dial fully 180° anti clockwise
And that's all there is for the controls.
* Where does the gas supply come from..?
This is from a gas canister that slots into a hidden section inside the cooker, and that is where the end 'flat' area of the cooker comes into it as it is under here that the canister hides away. This area may only seem to have a cover that is as thin as a something you'd find separating chocolates in a box, but the cover is steel and is great at keeping the heat from the flame away from the gas canister that is housed inside. The flap is covered in a lot or writing, although most of the writing on mine has been left on the camp sites as it's mainly worn off. But there is a few words left, such as 'Caution' or more Caut..n, there's also a few smaller words like 'Do Not' and 'danger'... but in all it is a lot of health and safety wordings to stop you from blowing yourself up when using the cooker.
This is where you have to place the gas canister, which is a matter of pulling this cover upwards, sort of, using the little hole to put your finger in to get a bit of leverage. This section then lifts up, hinged on the side, and it is the lid of the gas canister area. But when the lid is up you then simply place the canister into the housing, making sure you've followed the correct directional instructions, and that the top of the canister, with the little plastic 'pin' that the gas comes out of, is waiting on top of the coupler area. Then, with the notches lined up, you press down on the lever which is on the front of the cooker, at the side of the heat control dial. This lever locks the canister in place and connects the coupler to the 'pin' on the top of the canister.
Once this is connected up you then close the lid, pushing it down securely, which will protect the gas canister from the heat from the flame of the cooker.
So know you're ready to start cooking...
* How easy is it to use..?
Simple. Or as simple as the gas cooker that you may have in your kitchen is, unless you're on electric or the old fashioned wood burners.
The first thing you do is ignite the flame, which is a matter of turning the dial 180° anti-clockwise. There is a little logo of what looks like a lightening bolt, which means that it is the ignition switch. Turn the dial until you hear a clicking noise, which should release a little blue flash from the ignition point on the hob. This may take more than one turn as the flame does not always light first time, if it doesn't catch then you simply turn the dial back to the start and try turning again.
Once the gas has ignited, with the same firm clicking sound letting you know that the ignition has kicked in, you need to push and hold the dial around the 'full on' setting for a second or two, which allows the gas to figure out that that the switch has not been accidentally turned. Then you can reduce the heat by turning the dial slowly clockwise, following the little 'long arrow' symbol which starts thin at the top and wider at the bottom.
And that's it. That's how to use this camping cooker.
* Now, the ultimate question. How long does a canister last..?
Well, this depends on what you do with it really, so it is one of those questions such as How long is a piece of string? (twice as long from the middle to one end...)
When I'm using it I can get a breakfast done, sausage and bacon on one pan, maybe an egg or two, with some of the old faithful, baked beans. With the longest cooking time being for the sausages, 10 to 15 minutes on a medium heat. Then I can do a dinner later on that day, a stew of some kind, maybe even a burger. Plus, I can boil several camping kettles of water for a nice cup of tea or coffee. All this done on a daily basis take about three or four, maybe even five canisters of gas in a full week of camping, with five being if I've gone over board on the cooking, dabbling in a rice dish or two.
* What about cleaning..?
The metal stands do comes out of the hob so that they can be cleaned thoroughly, but unless you're one messy chef it's not really something that you will have to do.
The rest of the cooker is easily wiped down with a damp cloth and a bit of elbow grease, (they may sell the later in the camping shop on the site... you never know?)
* Is it safe..?
It's really as safe as any cooker hob that you may use. If you treat the naked flame with respect then you won't end up burning yourself. Just make sure that you have this on a flat surface so that the pan you place on the hob doesn't slide off the stands and drops hot stuff onto the floor. But as you can usually find a flat bit of grassed area somewhere near your tent then this should not be a problem. The only issue you really have to worry about is the wind, so stay clear of the baked beans then...tee hee... no, seriously, when it's windy there's a high chance that the flame will get blown out in the middle of your cooking session, which could mean that the gas canister will run out without cooking your food. But don't worry as this cooker has a nice safety feature which stops the gas from flowing if the flame is blown out accidentally, saving you not just the loss of the gas but also the risk of eating uncooked sausages.
* What do I think then..?
I haven't used this for a while, mainly because I have not been camping on my own for as far back as I can remember, and this is only a single hob which is not that good when you go camping with the family and everyone want's something warm to eat at the same time. As that is the one and only issue with this cooker, the fact that it is only a single hob, which causes hassles when cooking several different items in one go as there is only one hob, which means that you do end up with some food going cold as you finish cooking something else.
There's no real way out of it as there is no where to keep the cooked food whilst you're waiting for the rest. But this is camping and eating cold bacon and sausage butties is all part of enjoying the countryside.
The cooker itself is made of a strong metal and can withstand a bit of hassles that you tend to find when camping, a few drops of two, scraping with pans and other items, and it still comes up smelling of roses. Plus, the steel construction means that there's a good barrier between what is technically and open flame sitting at the side of a canister filled with gas. Then there's the fact that is weighs almost next to nothing so that carrying it around is as easy as carrying a four pack of lager around with you.
This is why I liked to take this with me when I was out and about, on my own or with a mate, with the low weight of this meaning that I could slot it into my rucksack, with the other things I need, and I would not be struggling up and down the hills and mountains. The only issue for me was making sure that the gas canisters were safety packed away so they would not get pierced accidentally, blowing up my home and all my clothes inside my rucksack.
There is the usual safety instructions on the cooker, telling you that you have to line up the notches on the gas canister are lined up with the cooker markings, this is so that the canister can fit snugly into the cooker so there's no gas leakage.
The good thing is that because it runs of a common gas canister there's very few camp sites that you can get an emergency canister from. And the fact that it has a good easy to use heat control system, a dial that turns around to lower or higher the amount of gas released at a time. This means that you can get that perfect heat to your pan so you don't burn the outside of your sausages whilst the inside remains pink.
I nearly forgot to mention the case, which is quite nice, being blow moulded out of plastic so that the cooker fits perfectly inside without rattling about everywhere. There area couple of catches on the case that snap the two halves together, keeping them closed so that nothing falls out.
Although you do have to make sure that the cooker is cooled down fully before you put it into the case, or just into your rucksack.
As for the price of the cooker...
This cooker sells for about £15.00 which is a nice price for a single hob cooker..
You do need to have a good supply of gas canisters in order to use this cooker. These can be bought for a range of prices, from a couple of quid to nearly a tenner, (which is what the campsites try and sell them to me for and is why I make sure that I used to take enough canisters with me so I could spend my money in little village pub rather than the village shop).
* Would I recommend this..?
I'd have to say yes if you're a person who goes camping on your own or with a mate, but if you go camping with your family or a lot of friends then a single hob is not going to make everyone happy, unless you've all got one of course.
So, for one or two people who want warm food on in the middle of nowhere then this is something to look at. Any more than that and you may struggle a bit.
So the five stars are for the fact that this cooker does exactly what it is supposed to do and is easy to use.
It's good to have a torch within easy reach, especially if you live in a place which tends to have a bit of an erratic power supply that cuts out when ever the winds changes direction. Or maybe you need a torch in your daily working life, maybe a plumber, for underneath tight spots such as sinks. Or maybe a burglar, for their nightshift work out and about... although I strongly condemn the latter... but what ever the need, a good torch is sometimes essential.
And that is where a lovely little torch that I have inside my tool box comes into action. A certain little torch that gives out a big glow without taking up too much space. That torch being from a well know company that really specialises in such bright things. That company being LED Lenser, who, as I said, make a cracking range of torches, especially their professional range. And it is one of there Professional range torches I am here to shine a light on now... (get it? Shine a light?? Took me ages to think of that one).
* So what does this torch look like..?
On first glance it looks like any other torch, having a long handle at the rear and a bit of a stumpy front end which houses the bulb, or bulbs in this case, as there's four of them in here. The handle is a full 200mm in length, although this does include the bulb housing section too may I add, with the diameter of the handle being about 35mm, weighing in at no more than 355grams.
On the front there is the lens that covers the bulbs, this lens is about 50mm in diameter and tapers off into the handle, being sort of covered by the focus slider system.
The entire torch is made of aluminium and is coated with a matt black finish, with a bit of a rough feel to it which great really as it means that it is easier to keep a good grip on it even when wearing gloves or even damp hands.
* How does it work..?
On first inspection you'll find it difficult to locate the on/off switch, turning the torch over in your hands, looking for either a couple of buttons on the top of the handle, maybe a slider on there too or even a bit of witchcraft in there somewhere. But it's none of those really, no buttons on the handle, no sliders and definitely no witch craft. There's actually one little soft button in the middle of the back end of the torch, a single button that does the lot, giving you three types of light beam in one little button.
Shall I tell you more.?
Ok then, I will.
There are three settings on this torch, Low, which is 50 lumens, Power, or medium, which is 250 lumens. These two settings are accessed by pressing the button either once or twice. Then, to get the brightest lights, or the Boost as it's called, which is 350 lumens you simply have to press and hold the button on the rear for a second or two.
Then there's the focus system, which means that it can go from a spot light, concentrating on a small area, to what they call a flood light, which basically means that it lights up a wider area around you. To use this focus system all you have to do it push the end of the torch, forward and slide it backwards, this turns the beam from a floodlight type light to a narrow beam or spot light.
* Where does it get its power..?
Well, where do all most, if not all torches get there power from? Batteries of course, with this one needing 4 AA batteries to give it enough power to get the four bulbs glowing.
The batteries are easy to put in, although not as easy as some torches where you just drop the batteries in. with this one you have to unlock the inner section, which is a matter of turning the rear 'stopper' clockwise, then pulling the battery section out. If you look at the other end of this battery section you'll also see the four little LED bulbs. Anyway, once the battery section is out you'll then see how the batteries slot into place inside it, and once the batteries are slotted into place you just push the entire thing back into the torches handle and turn the end anti-clockwise to lock it into place..
Job done. If you've used fresh, good batteries then the torch will glow like one of those worms. But if you've used bad cheap batteries then this will be as bright as Amy Childs on Mastermind.
* Is it bright..?
Pretty much so, even on the lowest setting, which is 50 lumens as I said... but what is a lumen? Well, to be honest, I have not got a clue. It's like asking me what foundation is the best to apply to sensitive skin? But apparently, lumens are something to do with the amount of light that something gives out, not the wattage a light needs to be usable. Sort of. I think. To be honest, I first thought it was a yellow fruit that was related to the bitter tasting one, but no, Lumens is a light measurement not a fruit.
So, as for how bright this torch is in easy to understand terms, this torch on the lowest setting can light up a nice ten metres around you, although it does dim towards the ends. As for the highest settings, well, this will come in handy if you intend going lamping, (Which I don't do and don't intend ever to do, I just thought it may give you a good comparison as to how bright the boost light can be).
Or in other words the beam itself ranges is from 100metres on the lower setting to nearly 300metres on the highest setting, depending on obstacles and battery strength of course.
* How long will the batteries last..?
How long is a piece of string???
If you use a good set of batteries, the copper coloured top ones, you should get about 40 hours of use on low, about 4 hours or so on medium, (or power), and about 3 hours use on boost. You can use rechargeable but go for the lithium ones as they hold a better charge for longer.
Then again, if you use poundshop specials then don't expect the same result.....
But what ever your choice, as long as they are AA batteries you're laughing. Just don't think you can whittle away at a couple of 'C' batteries as Homer Simpson once did... it doesn't work and it's a nightmare to clean up afterwards.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
I will say that apart from the torch you also get a lovely little cloth bag to pop the torch in, which I don't use for the torch these days, I tend to use it for another item that fits snugly in it, but that's not important. If you want to keep the torch in the nylon bag then you can, there's no law against it, as yet.
You also get a set of four Duracell batteries in the package so you can use it straight from the box, almost. You do have to put the batteries in the torch first.
Plus, you get a bit of shoe lace with a bit of string sewn to it, I think it's called a Wrist lanyard, which looks like someone's chopped up a shoe lace really. Anyway, this is designed to thread into the end of the torch, the part where the on/off is, carefully poking the strong bit through the little gap in the end, then looping the shoe lace through the string and you've got yourself a wrist strap which, when placed over your wrist, will stop the torch from dropping on the floor if you let go of it.
* What do I think then..?
I've used head torches from this company and found them to be good quality, giving me the ability to light up where I am whilst still having my hands free to go about doing what ever it is I'm doing. Even if I do look like Doctor Who nemeses. So when I saw the torch on offer in the shop, with the LED Lenser name on it, I grabbed it before someone else did. And I'm glad I did.
The initial switch on is bright, but, this depends on the batteries you have put into the torch, as the beam does tend lose its brightness as the batteries lose there charge. This is especially on the higher light, or the boost beam as it's called.
The initial Duracell batteries lasted quite some time to be honest as I never really needed to use the boost light that often as the medium and low light were good enough for close quarters.
With a good set of batteries I find that the 4 tiny little bulbs give out much better light than a single 'normal' bulb and lasts a lot longer too. Plus, they are more prone to surviving a drop or two onto hard surfaces, as I have done, accidentally.
The light is out of this world, sort of, considering the size of the torch and the four tiny tiny bulbs behind the lens on the front. You could get away with using the boost if you're full beam on your car suddenly stops working, although I'm guessing that would be against some law or another.
I tend to be happy using the lower beams, which are bright enough in themselves, even for lighting up an area ahead of me, which, using the 'flood' option really does spread the light around you.
The spot beam is as bright as some larger torches I have used and as this is a small torch it's great for lighting up small areas if work needs to be done there.
The grip of the handle is brilliant, which means that not only is it easy to keep a good grip on but it's also easy to locate it when it's either stuck at the bottom of a tool kit or just out of sight behind the unit you dropped it behind. The 'bobble' type texture is there to let you know exactly what you've put your hands on, and not just grabbed the copper tubing that feeds the water into your bidet.
I have attached the shoe lace to mine and this does help when I'm somewhere a little 'tricky' shall we say, where I have to use one hand to hold on for dear life and suddenly find I need to put the torch down to do something. The shoe lace around my wrist means that the torch won't drop off anywhere and, with a bit of a flick, it's back in my grip in no time.
* So, what about the price..?
This bright ray of light, all in a handy, almost pocket size torch, sells for about £35, which may seem a little high price for a torch but this torch is worth the money.
* Would I recommend this..?
I think you can guess the answer to that one from what I said regarding the price. This is a good torch that is an ideal addition in any tool box and will be an must in a place that electricity likes to try and run away from causing more blackouts than the city of London in 1941.
So yes, I would recommend this, with out a doubt.
It's that time of year again, almost, when the garden is looking its worse and you know that you need to get out there to sort it out. every time you look out of your back windows, frightened by the thought of what could be hiding in the long grass, ready to jump out at you when you step outside. Then there's the shrivelled plants that look like much, the twigs that have been ripped from the trees in the high winds and, in some cases, cat plops in surprisingly silly places.
Well, as it should not be long before I tackle the grass with a multitude of garden weaponry I decided to check that all the tools were still in working order, so, on a rare dry day, I went into the tool shed to give the gardening tools the once over.
It was whilst in there that I spotted something in the far corner. Something green and quite long, hidden behind a few sacks of god knows what. As I grabbed for it, wondering what it was I felt it was made of plastic and was quite light. Then, on closer inspection I knew exactly what it was, and, seconds later, I knew exactly why it was at the back of the shed covered in bag of something that could possibly be from outer space????
What I then had in my hand was in fact a grass trimmer, or strimmer as I tend to call them, that I had stopped using a long time ago, tossing it to one side, or, to be precise, tossing it into the shed, and popping out to the shop to get another one. The reason for my utter disgust of the strimmer will soon be clear.
The strimmer I am talking about is one called the Bosch Art 23 Easytim Electric trimmer... which, if I recall correctly, and I really do, is the strimmer of nightmares, a strimmer that makes Freddie Kruger look like Mary Poppins.
* So what does this strimmer look like..?
This green coloured tiny tear away is made of a lightweight plastic material, blow moulded to give it the strength with out making it too heavy to handle. I do think it comes in another colour as I think I have seen a blue one, although the blue one may well be a newer model.
Anyway, the one I've got, but not for long now that I've found it again, is a green plastic model, being about 195mm long, with the base, the thickest part where the motor is section, being about 155mm, with the cutting width being about 230mm.
Right at the top there I the little red button that is on the underside of the top section of the trimmer, surrounded by a guard type area, which helps when it comes to getting a good grip on the trimmer.
Just down from this section there is a chunk of plastic that sticks out at the front of the handle, which is for your none trigger hand to grab hold of in order to direct the trimmer around the grass area you want to trim. Then, on the underside of the handle, opposite the chunk of plastic handle, there is a strange looking plastic hook whose sole purpose is for hooking the wire over, and that's all, nothing else really.
As we go further down the strimmer, right to the bottom, where the action happens, there is a black semi flexible half moon, with a slice of the half moon having been bitten of in one chomp shaped cover. This is the guard which sits over the spool that the line of plastic wire goes into. This guard is designed to stop the line from flicking in the users direction when the line snaps off, which is quite often on this strimmer.
On the rear of the handle, just above the guard, there are a few slots which are vents for the motor to try and help it stay cool during use.
On the underside, beneath the guard, is where the spool of line sits, clicking onto the little rod that sticks out of the machine and spins about like a dog chasing his tail, on ice, with satin socks on his paws.
When the spool is on place, clicking onto the rod, ramming through the centre of the spool, all you can then see is a plastic cover with a thin plastic piece of wire sticking out of a tiny hole....
And that's what this machine looked like...
* Is it powerful..?
You do get a good 300 watts of power in the tiny motor, which is enough really for the simple trimming of the edge of your lawn, but if you want to use if for more stubborn things, brambles maybe, then a 300watt motor may not be enough.
Basically, this is for those shorter jobs around the edges rather than a full days strimming around your 50 acre ranch.
* Is it easy to use..?
It's as easy as any other strimmer, to start with, and as it only weighs about 2 ½ kilos it's in the featherweight list of gardening tools.
The first thing you have to do before using it is put it together, which saves on packaging. But don't panic, putting it together was easy, and if you've used similar strimmers then you'll find this one fits together the same way.
Basically, you just slot the two halves of the handle together, clicking them into place. Then you press the guard into place, which is a matter of placing the plastic guard on the front of the lower section then sort of slide and push it into place, until you hear a lovely little click inside. If you hear a loud cracking noise then you've broken the guard and will have a few problems in the future using this trimmer now.
If you've done it right, and heard a clicking noise, then you're almost ready to start strimming. But before you do that you have to put the cutting line in place.
To do this, make sure that there is enough cutting line on the spool, wrapping it around in the direction that the arrow indicate. Then you have to push the entire spool onto the little rod that stick out of the bottom of the strimmer, the rod that spins around. You slot the spool onto it with a little twist. When the spool in on the rod and sitting secure, you take the plastic ring, slide the end of the line through the hole on the ring and slide the ring around the sides of the spool. This traps the line in place. Finally, you take the cover of the spool and thread the end of the line through the hole, then you slot the cover over the spool, clicking it onto place with a little twist.
And now you're ready to begin strimming.
* What about taking the spool off..?
This is a simple matter of reversing the method I explained above. Take off the spool cover, remove the ring from around the sides of the spool. Then, you either pull and twist the spool to take it completely off the strimmer.... Or, you pull a bit more of the line out, pop it through the hole on the ring and then the cover, replace the rings and cover and way you go.
There's no screws needed, it's all a matter of pushing and clicking. Job done.
* IS there anything else to mention..?
Yes there is. This strimmer has something called 'Bump feed which means that you simply 'bump' the spool on the ground in order for the line to come out when the section that you are using breaks off.
To activate this 'bump' method properly though you've just got to remember to hold the trimmer straight, not at any angle, and then gently drop the trimmer, head down, on the floor whilst still holding the handle that is, other wise all you're doing is dropping the trimmer on the floor which may look like you're throwing a hissy-fit.
Plus, it comes with a good 10 metres of cable so it can handle any small gardens, but if needs be, there's always an extension lead
The trigger is very sensitive, which means that I can get the motor going and keep it going without fearing the horrid threat of finger cramp kicking in after a few minutes.
* My opinion..
To be honest, I had trouble with this strimmer from day one.
Don't get me wrong, it was easy to put together and the initial spool placing took seconds to sort out. But once I got down to using it I realised just what a pain in the proverbial this was.
The line snapped off in seconds, and I'd not even gone anywhere near anything that would have caused it. No twigs, no stones, nothing, just grass. Yet the line flicked off and disappeared somewhere in next doors garden.
Then, when I tried to use the bump feed, I ended up with little holes all around me as I 'bumped' the strimmers spool area on the grass. I even tried bumping it on the patio, paving stone, thinking that maybe a harder surface was what it needed, but this didn't work either.
Then, to top it all, when I gave up on the bump idea, deciding to go about manually taking the line out, I had one heck of a hob getting the spool cover and ring off the thing as the spinning and bouncing movements had seemed to have almost welded the lot together.
Eventually I managed to get more line out and carried on, which lasted another minute or so before, 'ping', more line snapped. So I went through the 'bump' method once more, which failed, and the manual method again, which took me ages once more.
Eventually I finished the edges and gave up for the day, wishing that I'd never bought the thing in the first place. Plus, to put salt on the wound, I had no receipt and had had this for ages before getting round to trying it so there was little chance of me getting my money back. So I just put it down to experience and through this to the back of the shed, until the other day when I saw it again and remembered why it was there.
The actual design of the strimmer is like many others and is light and easy to carry, giving you a good area of cutting power and the 'stump' on the front, which is used as the guiding handle, makes swinging the strimmer around so easy. Then there's the easy to use trigger, which in itself is quite sensitive, which should make this one, on paper, quite a nice strimmer to use. But it's the bump feed that really lets it down, in fact, I'd rather bump my head against a jagged edged brick wall than use this again. This bump feed method is supposed to help the line come out of the spool without having to keep taking the spool off the trimmer. The idea is to 'bump' the bottom of the trimmer, the bottom of the spool that is, and the line should come out of the spool.
It is a good idea in principal, and if the makers could get it right then it would save a lot of time in the garden. Sadly though, as with other 'bump' action trimmers, this one's idea is nothing close to reality as the 'bump' simply fails to get an line out at all. Which means that you're back to stopping the trimmer, taking off the spool, pulling out more of the line, replacing the spool and starting again. So if you've got a lot of debris in you garden, twigs from the trees in the winds, stones from you neighbours kids or even the odd tortoise or two that have escaped from the local petshop, then you're going to end up spending a lot of time pulling more line out than actual trimming.
* What about the price..?
The price of this strimmer is in the £30 region, which you'd think was not too bad for a trimmer with the name Bosch etched on it... but looks can always be deceptive, and in this case they are.
* Would I recommend it..?
No. simple as really.
But why would I not recommend it.
Well, it's the dreaded Bump feed as I spent more time taking to spool apart to get more of the line out than I did trimming my edges. The line breaks a lot, and I mean a lot, it would break when I approached a tiny little daisy poking up through the grass. The line would panic and snap off in fear. Which meant that I'd have to go through the annoying rigmarole of taking the spool apart once more just to get a few centimetres of line back out knowing that I'd be doing the same in a few more seconds.
I mean, if it was easier and less hassle to take to spool apart then maybe I could have lived with the bump fee being about as useful as a set of speaker on a motorbike, but the spool is annoying and that's that.
Sometimes, when I'm either out and about, exercising, or simply want to take my mind away from the hectic life I have somehow found myself leading, I like to push earphones into my ears and let my favourite music tracks wash over me. Those tracks being a variety of genres depending on what I'm doing and where I am, from tracks such as Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to more gentle music such as Johann Strauss's Tales from the Vienna woods.
But what ever music I'm listening too I like to make sure that I'm not disturbing others who may not like to hear Oasis's She's Electric taking away their peace and quite. And this is where a magical creation called a personal music system comes into its own. Or, as technology have evolved, these days it's no longer a walkman portable CD player strapped to your belt so you can listen to 16 tracks using more AA batteries than you can afford. These days the personal music systems come in the form of what is called MP3 Players or ipods, if you are well off and can afford to splash out on such 'i' products. But if you're like me, then an MP3 player it is, and the cheaper the better as far as I'm concerned. I mean, I only want to listen to music through them I don't want to do anything else, so why spend a fortune on something that is going to sit strapped to my side, or in my pocket.
This is why I don't spend 'i' product money when I can spend a fraction of that and still listen to music.
One particular music device, MP3 player I am using at the moment, and have been for a while now, is from a company that I have used products from before, including MP3 players. This company being Sandisk, with this particular player being the Sandisk sansa clip MP3 player with the built in radio, as a similar player does come without the radio
* So, what does this MP3 Player look like then..
It is a tiny black rectangular box really, being no more than 180mm high, 130mm wide and 31mm thick, weighing in at a feather weight 25grams, with a set of controls on the lower half and a small screen on the top half.
The control panel is a simple cursor type circular button surrounding a button in the centre. There's also a single 'home' button just above and to the right of this cursor control so you can go straight to the home page with one press instead of going around the houses.
On the top of the player there is a power button, which when pressed and held for a few seconds, turns the player either on or off.
On the right side of the player, there is a slot, this slot is for a micro SD card so that you can slap in a bit more memory. I've got a 16GB card in and it reads it nicely.
Above this lot there is the earphone socket, which is your standard 3.5mm jack so that you can use your favourite earphones with this player instead of the ones that come with it.
On the left hand side, as you look at the screen, there is what first looks like a slider button, but it's not, it's the volume button. Press the top to higher the volume, press the bottom to lower the volume. Then, above this volume control there is a micro USB port which is used to connect this player to your PC for when it comes to putting tracks onto it.
The only other things to mention is the rather fragile looking but remarkable strong clip that is one the back of this player, which is designed to clip onto a belt or your jacket, or where ever you want to slip this too.
* What about using it...
Firstly, in order to get your tracks onto this player you will need to use have certain specs on your PC. Those specs being...
Windows XP and above, also Mac OSX 10.3
Windows Media player 10 or above
A USB port for connecting the player to the PC.
You may also need...
* A CD-ROM
* Internet connection.
One of these is required in order to install the drivers that you'll need to get started with this player. But once the drivers are on you PC you don't need any of these, although the internet connection is good for downloading tracks, (legally of course).
It supports more formats than just MP3, you can also play WMA, FLAC, and ogg vorbis. It also lets you play certain e-books too.
So now you've got the drivers installed you're ready to roll.
Once you've taken this out of the oversized box you simply plug the USB end of the cable that came in the box into your PC, then you slot the other end of the cable into the player itself, into the micro USB port on the left hand side, as you look at the controls and screen that is.
Once the cable is connected up, and the initial drivers are found and installed, which needs only to be done on the first connection, then you simple open the file on your PC that says there is an external device detected, (This usually shows up as a flash type screen on your PC).
You can then go about sending tracks to and from your PC to the player, until you're happy with what you've got. This can be done using the drag and drop method, send to or copy and paste. Which ever way you choose your tracks will go where you want them too.
Once you've got your tracks on the player you then disconnect the device from your PC safely and you're ready to start ignoring the outside world and only hear the music of your choice.
To listen to your music you simply use the cursor controls to select the tracks you want to play, or you could just press 'play all' and then sit back and enjoy.
Also, within the menu section, you could choose other functions, such as the radio, which uses the earphones as an aerial. Then there's also the voice recording function which lets you listen to what you've saved in that section. And then there's the settings themselves so you can get your music to play in the best way you prefer, using the simple graphic equalising method.
It's all a simple matter of using the cursor keys to scroll through the device and then the central button to choose the option you want.
* Is the display easy to understand...?
Does a bear poop in the woods...?
The 25mm, (1 inch), screen is not a display that you may be thinking about. It doesn't show quality images or let you watch movies, it's a simple display that shows you the functions on the player, using the curser keys and the two buttons on the lower half of the player.
For its size it's so simple to understand as the things that pop up on it are basic but tell you exactly what you want to know. For example, the screen shows you the battery life left by using a battery icon in the top right of the screen, which begins to lose its yellow colouring inside the battery icon when the battery is losing charge. Flashing away when it is desperate for a bit of a boost.
Also along the top you can see the amount of tracks on the player and the number of the track you are listening too at that moment. There's also a little icon showing you which selection of 'play' you have opted for, such as repeating a track or letting the player choose the order of the tracks to play.
Then, in the centre of the display, taking up most of the screen, there's the simple to understand track and artist names, which depends on how you've labelled your tracks in the first place.
On the lower part of the display there's the timer for the track that is playing and also a progress bar so you have two indications as to how long a track is.
Then there's a little icon to let you know whether a track is in play mode, pause mode of stopped. I supposed this comes in handy when you can see a play mode icon and you can't hear anything as you can check if the volumes down to zero or your earphones have had it.
And that's the display in a nutshell. So to speak.
* Is the sound quality good..?
This does depend on a few factors, such as the earphones you are using and the quality of the tracks you have put on the player. But all in all the quality of the sound is very good indeed, even with the earphones you get in this package. I tend to stick with the 'buds' I normally use as they sit better in my ears and have never fallen out yet, so the sound quality is better through them.
So as long as you have a half decent set of earphones and you've not put tracks on that sound like someone's scraping their finger nails down a black board, (unless you're listening to Adele, Dippy Dappy or Cheryl Cole as it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between their singing and the nail scraping), then your music listening experience should be perfection.
Although, the sound quality of the radio is not the greatest, in fact, I have not managed to get a clear enough sound quality from any stations as I've scanned through them all. So the radio sound quality is a bit of a let down.
* What about its GB size..?
It's comes in a few sizes, GB wise not unit wise, such as a 2GB, a 4GB and the one I have which is the 8GB, but no matter how many GB's you get in the guts of the player the functions and looks are the same.
It also comes in a few colours too such as blue, black and red, which I have the black one, but I have seen the other coloured versions and they look quite nice really, although the red one is more a maroon colour rather than fire engine red. I like boring black so it doesn't stand out as much.
* What about the battery..?
This is a built in rechargeable unit, which means that you can't replace it with Duracell.
You have to fully charge the battery at first and then it's just a matter of keeping it charged if you want constant music all the time.
To charge the battery you use the same cable as you use for transferring tracks. You just plug it into the USB port of your PC and the other end of the cable into the Micro USB port on the player, allowing the player to charge up. You can see the progress of the charging as the little battery icon begins to fill up with more charge.
A full charge, from dead to 'undead', takes about four hours to fully charge but can then give you a good 14 hours of playback.
I find that the best thing to do is just plug the USB into my PC when ever I'm using my PC, this way the battery has always got a lot of charge in it.
You do get a little CD with in the box which has a bit of software on it. That software being Sansa Media Converter software and something called 'Rhapsody Music trial' offer. But I have not installed any of those as I don't need them so I can not comment on them....
Just thought I'd let you know just in case you were thinking of installing them and wanted to know what they were like. If so then I'm the wrong person to be asking really.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
This MP3 player also boast an FM radio, giving you the ability to store up to 40 channels. Plus, there's a built in microphone giving you the option of using the player as a voice recorder.
* My opinion...
This is a tiny little thing that holds a lot of music and is so simple to use that I think my dog could get the hang of it. The controls are easy to understand, such as when you scroll through the setting, using the cursor buttons, you will see what you're choosing by the little icons and names that appear on the screen. Those icons being such things as a radio, for the radio, a set of headphones for your music choice, graphic equalizer icons for your settings and more.
I like the fact that you can list your music in a variety of ways when it comes to playing them, genre, artist, albums etc, so you can choose which method you prefer, making it easier to find you favourite tracks. This is done using the good old fashioned cursor controls, up, down and then the central button.
The little home screen shows what I need to know, which track, how long's left of it and how much power is left in the battery, and speaking of the battery, well, this seems to last for ever, even if it's not been charge up for a while, although when I remember I do stick the cable into my PC to boost up the battery of the player.
The options of this player are all easy to use, with the cursor being tiny yet not too small so that my fingers press everything instead of what I want them to press. Then, it's so easy to scroll through the option list by pressing up or down and when I've found what I want to use I then start using the left and right buttons, pressing the central button as the 'ok' option. This takes seconds and leaves me with more time to listen to music, which is what a good Mp3 Player should be about.
The actual build of the player does look basic, and it is really. But it's strong enough to withstand my every day life and it has been accidentally dropped and knocked a few times without any problems at all. So it does seem as though it has been built to last, which is good really as it's not something that is designed to be wrapped up in cotton wool is it?
The only thing that lets this down is the radio as it just has not the ability to grab a decent signal so that I can listen to radio stations without the sound of bacon being cooked in a frying pan. Even with the earphones plugged in, which is what you have to do as the earphones act as an aerial, I can't get a clear sound from any stations I have picked up. I've even tried being 'down with it' and listened to radio 1 but I thought that something had crawled in my ear and had started to dig into my brain with a small wall paper scraper.
* Is this player going to break the bank..?
Not at all, especially comparing it the some other MP3 players that do the same thing. The cost of this player will set you back about £30. Roughly. Although the smaller GB version are going to be a bit cheaper.
* Would I recommend this..?
I'd have to say yes as for the price you're getting a fine little music player that does exactly what it is supposed to do with no brain twisting complications at all.
If you want to spend more time pressing buttons and reading unnecessary stuff then go for a more expensive player such as an ipod. But if you want to spend more time listening to music then this is well worth looking into
I like to dabble in technology, although I have to say that I'm not the type of person who stand in line at midnight in order to be the first person in the world to get my hands on the next generation game system from Stoney or Slimtendo. And I'm not the type to be bashing down the doors when iphoney bring out yet another mobile phone claiming it to be the newer, better modal just because they've put the letter S after the number this time.
No, I like technology but I also like to wait for all the glitches to be iron and, more importantly, the price to come down to what I think is the better value of the Stoney recreation centre console twenty five S4 system.
So, my love of technology and my equal love of keeping hold of my money, has led me to get my hands on many different piece of technological advances without spending too much money.
One particular road that I love to find more helpful technological advances is in the world of computers, with the hatred of wires being a big thing for me. And that is where this little item that I have been using for a while now, especially at home, helps me out when it comes to ridding the world of wires.
The item I am talking about is a computer mouse. But not just any old mouse, it's one of those mouse... mice, mouse's... that don't need wires. This is the wireless mouse system, one being called the Logitech Anywhere MX type wireless mouse, of which, in the 'anywhere' range, there are a few wireless devices, inlcluding other style mouse's... is mouse's the right word? Should it be mice? Or just mouse?.
Anyway, this Logitech mouse, which we've all heard of Logitech haven't we? Well, this Logitech mouse is no let down for the Logitech team, especially when you think that it is in the lower end of the mouse range and comes in the lower price range, making it a good mouse with a nice price tag.
* So what does this mouse look like..?
It looks similar to a standard mouse, if a little bigger, being about 65mm wide, 90mm long and 35mm high, weighing in at no more than 80 grams. It has the usual left and right click capabilities and central scroll wheel, which are all on the top of the mouse, together with a little light the flashes when you're working away.
On the left side of the mouse just about where you thumb should rest, if you're right handed of course, there are two little buttons, with each one having a directional button on them, forwards and backwards.
On the underside of the mouse there is a small glass window, although it's not glass, it's plastic. But behind this window there lies the optical light that makes the mouse do what it's supposed to do. Also on the a small gap in the build itself that looks like someone has forgotten to put something there. But it is actually where the nano receiver sits when you're taking the mouse with you. This helps when it comes to remembering the nano as without it your mouse is about as useful as a paper umbrella in a downpour.
And, if you're looking at the bottom of the mouse, you're wondering where the batteries go into it. Well. The batteries actually fit underneath where the little gap is. Underneath where the receiver sits. That's right. All you have to do is gently pull back the little piece of plastic that looks like a small streak of nothing to the side of the gap and then gently pull the entire section off. You'll then see the battery port. All you do then is slot the two batteries inside the mouse and push the cover back into place, with a click, and you're done.
Also, on the bottom, there is a little on/off slider that is next to the little window.
* How do you connect the mouse to the PC..?
Well, this is done by the clever invention that is the wireless nano receiver, and this is what this one uses to connect the mouse to the computer. This nano receiver is small, being no more than 15mm wide, 19mm long and 6mm deep, with only about 7mm of the nano actually being visible once inside the USB port.
Plus, with this nano using what is called unifying technology, you can wirelessly connect several devices to this one single receiver. Although you will have to download the software and have the same type of Logitech equipment.
* Where does it get its power from..?
It's a wireless mouse which means that there are no wires to connect the mouse to your computer. So it can't drag its power from the computer it is connected to like other wired mouse's do.
This mouse works off the power of two AA batteries, which do come with this mouse and can last quite some time. I have been using the same batteries in my mouse for as long as I have had it and there seems to be enough power left in them to keep the mouse working properly.
* How do you use it...?
Like any other mouse really.
Once the batteries are in place you simply slide the on/off switch to on, which will light up the optical light, turning it red. And you're ready to start 'mousing'. well, almost ready. You do have to slot the nano receiver into the USB port of the computer you want to use this mouse with. Just take the small receiver, push it into a port and wait a few minutes whilst the initial driver process kicks in. once it has found its drivers it will connect to your PC instantly after that.
So, you've pushed the nano in, switched the on/off switch to on, the green light is shining and you're away, ready to start mousing about.
And that's it. You're connected. From now on, now that the drivers have been installed, which takes seconds, as long as you are connected to the internet, you do not have to re-install the drivers again.
* What makes this different than other mouse's..?
Well, as I mentioned, it does everything that any other mouse does, it helps you move you cursor around your computer screen, which is what you need a mouse to do really isn't it?
But this mouse does a few extra little bits, such as the scroll wheel not only goes forward and backward, it also allows you to scroll from side to side too, although you can't turn the wheel sideways, you just have to gently ease it to either side in order for the movement to happen on screen, as long as the page you've opened on screen allows for sideways movement.
Plus, if you press the scroll wheel, you get the same control option you would normally get if you pressed the right side of a mouse, those controls being the standard, copy, pasts, cut, shortcut...blah blah blah.....
The little button that sits behind the scroll wheel that is basically a 'shift' key, allowing you do dictate the speed of the scrolling when you're using the wheel.
What I mean by that is if you press the wheel the scrolling becomes faster, release the button and you get normal speed. This may sound a little useless but when it comes to certain documents, PDF say, that are longer than the prime ministers expense claim form, it's nice to be able to whiz through the pages a little faster than normal.
Then there's the two little buttons on the left side of the mouse, which are marked as forward and backward, with a little directional arrow pointing which is which, these buttons are for flicking through such things as web pages and pages of you documents, but you will need to download and install something called 'SetPoint', which takes a few seconds and as far as I can tell is perfectly safe. Just pop onto Logitech website and download it from there.
And that's really what this mouse looks like, basic looking, similar shape to any other mouse, but can do a bit more to bout.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
Let me think?
Well, apart from the batteries you also get a lovely little fake leather look plastic case to carry the mouse in, although I don't tend to use the case as I lost it a long time ago, which is no big loss really.
You also get a little leaflet to explain what's what and also the quite important guarantee card to fill in and send off.
The mouse uses the 2.4GHz equad DJ cordless system, which really doesn't need to be remembered so there's nothing to worry about there.
But one thing you do need to know are the specs for you PC so that you can use the mouse on it. These specs being Windows XP and above, and also Mac OS X10 and higher.
The mouse can work at a maximum distance of 10 meters, or 30 feet, which ever is closest??? And it claims that it can be used on smooth surfaces, even being capable of handling glass, but that is something I'd disagree with as I've tried using it on a glass desk that a friend of mine has in his office... although when I say office I really mean spare room in his flat, although spare room is a bit of an exaggeration as a spare bedroom should really be able to take a bed shouldn't it, and this room is only capable of taking the box that a bed would come in. but he calls it an office so it's an office then, with a glass table that this mouse does not like to work properly on.
* What do I think..?
I like this mouse and found it easy to use, especially for a wireless mouse as I have used some wireless mouse's that have, well, all I can say is that they have 'hiccupped' along when I've moved the mouse on my desk. This makes it harder to get an exact position of the cursor on the screen, which is annoying when it comes to the more intricate work such as drawing, design, and the like.
It works on all sorts of surfaces, wood, Formica, cloth and other surfaces, but as I mentioned earlier, it can get a bit funny on glass, hiccupping quite a lot. More than I want it too when I need the cursor to sit where I want it to sit. But I don't tend to use it on a glass surface I'm not to bothered about it having issues with the optic eye seeing the glass.
I have used it on Formica, which is more a plastic covered surface that is shiny, smooth and wipes down easy, and the optic eye on this mouse finds Formica rather nice, probably believing it's a wooden table. There's no 'hiccups', flustering, or anything and the mouse reacts in an instant, as quick as a wired mouse to be honest, without the wires to trip over.
The buttons are easy to reach with fingers and thumbs, with the side buttons, the forward and backward buttons being able to be controlled by my thumb whilst my fingers are tapping away on the top 'clickers'
Although, speaking of the 'clickers', those being the left and right buttons on the side of the wheel, these are nice and free, allowing me to push them gently knowing that they will do what I want them to do without being forcefully whacked with a hammer.
But these buttons are a little on the noisy side when pressing them, with the 'click' sound being a bit louder than some mouse's I've used. So I wouldn't really be welcomed if I used this in my local library. Apart from the clicky noise the buttons react as quick as a wired mouse do so there's no complaints there.
* So, the price..?
It's not the cheapest of mouses's, with there being wired ones for a few quid these days, and even wireless ones for about the price of a night out in the local. So when you see that this mouse sells in the £40 region you may think that this is way over priced, but for what you get, the speed and reaction of this mouse, the old saying of you get what you pay for really does kick in here.
* Would I recommend this..?
I think I've already answered that one in my review with all the positives, and I've not ignored the negative either. But in short, I would definitely recommend this mouse if you're after a wireless mouse that will keep up with your day to day life, reacting exactly when you tell it too without faltering at all.
I like to dabble in DIY, as anyone who knows me, or who has been kind enough to read some of my reviews, already know. So when it comes to using tools I can quite honestly say that I have gone through quite a collection in my time. Some have been good, some have been bad and some have been.... I bet you thought I was going to say ugly there?? No, although some have been ugly really.. But I was going to say that some have been so inferior that I have actually been embarrassed to say that I have used them.
Some of my collection, both past and present, include such tools as mighty power tools that need both hands, and sometimes a foot or two, in order to keep them from flying around the room when the power kicks in. then there's been the very useful and easy to control battery operated drills and drivers that make putting up a flatpacks as easy as opening a box of chocolates on valentines day.
Then there's the good old fashioned hand tools that are used by those that are either too afraid to use anything that moves faster than the eye or those that really believe that the best jobs are done by hand. Me, I tend to use both types of tools, power, be that battery or mains, and the old fashioned hand tools just in case of a power cut and a flat battery.
And it is a certain hand tool that I am going to waffle on about here, although when I say hand tool I should really say that it is more than one hand tool, in a way, sort of.
Please, allow me to explain.
The hand tool that I am talking about is a screwdriver. But this is not your basic screwdriver, it is actually 12 screwdrivers, four socket, or wrench pieces and more, all kept together in a lovely little case that is a little like the Doctors Tardis as you would not believe that 16 screwdrivers could fit into it. But they do.
The screwdriver, or screwdriver set itself is from a German based company, with offices around the world. This companies name is the not so well known and not so publicised Wera, with this screwdriver set being called the Wera Kraftform VDE Kompakt 18 piece screwdriver set.
* So what about this set then..?
Let me start by telling you that you get a lot of screwdrivers in this set, although you only get one handle. But as all the screwdrivers fit perfectly well into the one handle there's no hassles at all.
This selection of screwdrivers include...
7 flat drivers, ranging from 2.5mm to 5.5mm with a variety of blade head thicknesses.
6 cross head drivers which vary in size and head design, such as a star shape, a '+' with an 'x' combined, and others.
You also get a selection of 'wrench' heads such as a square, a triangle and even one that can be used for bleeding radiators.
Plus, you get a single pole voltage tester, which is a totally separate tool in itself.
And this all came in a foldable bag to keep all the drivers and the handle together.
All these driver heads do have technical names for them, such as PH1, PZ4, PH/S#2 and other words and numbers which make as much sense as a politicians manifesto. Then there's the almost easier to understand 'socket' pieces, with names such as a square 6.3mm and a triangular shape, and others too. But as I don't really go on about the technical names I won't bother putting them down here. I'd much prefer to try and explain the shape of the heads so you know what I'm on about.
The screwdriver are all about 150mm long with the handle being about 100mm long and about 30mm in diameter at its widest point, making the handle easy to grip and quite comfortable to hold.
* So why only one handle..?
No, it's not just to simply save on cost when it came to manufacturing the screwdriver set, although I suppose this may have been a factor in the original idea. It's more so that you and I, the DIY'ers, can carry a variety of screwdrivers around with us without taking up too much space in the tool box.
Each of the driver shafts have a hexagon head on them, made out of toughened plastic, with the hexagon shape of the head tops slotting into the handle snugly, with no room from the shafts to move about side to side or around. These shafts go up into the handle by a good 60mm, more than half way into the handle, which gives them the strength and stability that you'd get from your 'normal' screwdriver.
* How do you swap the shafts..?
To get a shaft in you just push it into the handle and listen for a clicking noise... click... now you're done, the screwdriver shaft is securely in place and you're ready to start screwing.
To get the shaft out you can't just pull it out as it is technically 'locked' into place, which is why it doesn't just fall out when you tip the screwdriver upside down, or maybe accidentally drop it on the floor.
To actually release the shaft you have to pull back on the yellow catch that is on the base of the head, the section that looks like a ring. You pull this yellow ring back, releasing the locking catch, then gently pull the shaft out.
And now you're ready to put another shaft into the handle and away you go.
* Are the screwdrivers strong..?
Very much so. The tips of the drivers are as strong as you'd expect, but if you use the wrong size driver tip to try and unscrew a large screw then you're asking for trouble.
To be honest, if you remember to use the right driver for the right job then these will last you for a while.
The socket heads are as strong as any other socket sets I've used, although as they have a wider edge around them than 'normal' socket heads, but as most bolts have nothing around them the slightly wider edges don't really make any difference.
* What about the case..?
The case is made of cloth, which sounds as though it may be a bit, shall we say, weak, when it comes to holding tools such as screwdriver, but this case is quite tough, having a couple of pockets inside it and several elastic straps, sewn in sections onto the interior if the case, so that the screwdriver shafts have somewhere to sit firmly into. When I say pockets, I think I really should say 'flaps', but what ever I call them they allow more room inside the case so that all the shafts fit in with ease.
Also inside the case, again held in place with an elastic strip, is the handle itself, with the voltage tester tool being housed right it its side.
The case itself closes up into an easy to carry, taking up less room in your tool box.
* My opinion..
When it comes to using screwdriver, instead of using one of my power drivers or drills, it is these ones that I tend to reach for first, grabbing the case and taking it with me as I know that I will have the right size screwdriver inside the case for the job in hand.
I tend to find that the flat head screwdrivers are the first to give up the ghost, usually ending with bits of the screwdriver tips snapping off as the screw head becomes a bit stubborn, leaving you with what is really a useless rod of metal with a handle. But these ones seem to be able to take a bit of hassle, even when I have used the smaller size tips on those larger screw heads.
The handle is nice and chunky which really does make gripping it so easy, meaning that there's less chance of getting wrist pains at the end of a lot of screwing in and out.
Then there's the way that the shafts of each screwdriver click into place, which is a remarkable simple idea and, in this case, works remarkably well indeed, locking firmly into position with no effort at all. Then, when it comes to releasing the shaft, the simple way that it takes just a bit of a firm pull of the yellow ring around the base of the handle makes changing the screwdriver a breeze.
* What about the price..?
The entire kit is not cheap, although, for what you get, it's not expensive either. This 18 piece screwdriver kit sells for about £35 - £45, depending on where you get it from.
* Would I recommend it..?
For what you get, by that I mean the 12 different screwdrivers and more, all in a rather nice little case, I honestly believe that paying around £40 is not too bad at all.
The screwdrivers are strong and the handle accommodates them all with ease and without any movement whilst inside the housing, making each screwdriver shaft being as good as any screwdriver I've used in the passed.
Picture this. You've just bought a new 5 lever mortice lock for your door as the old one snapped for one reason or another. Or maybe just a simple tubular lock. But either way you know that the lock will need fitting. So you set about drilling out the gap in the door for the workings of the locks to slide into, but then you realise that the drill bits only take out circular sections, and you need a rectangular cut in order to get the lock to slide in properly. So what do you do.
Well, the answer comes in the shape of a chisel so that you can 'hack' out the wood that the drill bits can't quite get at in order for you to have that perfect hole for the lock to fit into.
But what type of chisel do you go for? A cheap one that may struggle doing the job and will probably even snap in hard when you hit it with the gentle tap it needs. Or maybe a more expensive one that will do the job you need it to do and still be ready for the next job you'll need them for.
Well, the answer has got to be in the latter of the two. The more expensive chisels, so you can get the job done with ease and, more importantly will leave you with all you fingers and both your hands after you've finished with it.
But which chisels do you go for?
Well, from my experience of owning and using chisels I have found that you do have to pay a bit of extra cash for as I have some, shall we say, dangerous experiences when it comes to chisels, which has led me to my latest set that I am quite happy to say have stood up to the claims that they seem to shout out.
The chisels that I am using at the moment, (well, not as I am writing this of course as that would be a bit dangerous, typing and chiselling at the same time is not recommended). Anyway, those chisels I am talking about are the Irwin Marples M570 splitproof Chisels which can be found as singular or in packs of 2, 3 or 5, which does work out at a lower cost when you buy the packs.
* So what do these chisels look like..?
Well. For anyone that knows chisels the first impression of them is that they look the same as any other chisel, coming in a variety of width, with the lengths of them being more or less the same. The widest one being about 250mm long to the narrowest one being about 230mm long.
The handles are red, although they do come in a blue version, but the ones I have are red, and are almost half the length of the chisel, being about 110mm long and a rather chunky 35mm in diameter, and are shaped in such a way so that they are easy to grip without slipping in your hand. The tops have what looks like a piece of yellow solid resin has been slapped on, but this is the impact area and this 'resin' is designed to absorb the shock as the mallet whacks against it. This stops the handles from splitting open even after a lot of heavy whacks.
The actual metal of each chisel goes right through the handle, so there's no danger of the handle snapping off where the metal goes into it. With the metal itself being about 7mm thick near the handle, tapering to a nice 5mm near the sharp edge. This makes the metal of the chisel nice and strong.
As for the actual widths of the chisels. Well, you can get them in a few sizes, widths really, starting from the smaller, but just as strong, ¼ inch (7mm), going up in size, width, to the next one, the 3/8inch (10mm), the ½ inch (13mm), the 3/4inch, (19mm) and the 1inch, (25mm).
* What makes them strong..?
Apart from the fact that the handle head is protected by a remarkable little impact 'resin' type area, which is why they are called 'split proof' for a reason. That reason being that when you whack the handle heads with a mallet they won't split open like an egg hitting the floor, which can happen with some cheaper and less quality chisels. The handle heads are actually designed to take some of the stress from the impact of the mallet so that there's less vibration which means less stress on the holding hand.
And not forgetting that the handles are made from a piece of solid yet rather nice feeling moulded hardened plastic.
The main thing that makes these strong is the fact that the actual metal of the chisel is a single forged piece which is hardened and tapered so that it will withstand the heaviest of blows, and as the metal goes right though the centre of the head there's no danger of the head snapping away from the chisel itself.
* Are they sharp..?
Firstly, I have to say that some chisels I've bought have had to have some work done on them before I've had a chance to use them, this work being the honing, giving them the sharp edge that a good chisel needs in order to slice through the wood instead of hacking away at it. Luckily though, these came pre-honed and as sharp as a angry washer woman's tongue, which meant I was able to give them a run for their money right out of the box.
As for sharpening them though, they are just like all other chisels in this department, although I have found that they do seem to hold there edge for quite a bit longer than some chisels I've used.
* Are they safe..?
These area as safe as any other chisels really. Treat them with respect and they won't bite. The edges are as sharp as a knife, or they should be if you keep them treated well, so as long as you keep the sharp edge into the wood and away from yourself you're laughing.
As for when it comes to storage safety, well, these all come with a plastic covering for the sharp edge, with each plastic cover slotting over the 'bladed' edge and staying there until you gently slide the cover off to reveal the chisels working itself.
* My opinion...
These are one of the best chisels I have had the pleasure of using, apart from a very old set of Stanley ones that I have had since I don't know when, and have seen better days but still do what they are supposed to do. These ones are almost as good as those ones.
They are sharp which means that the edges seem to slide through the wood with ease, making a cleaner cut instead of having jagged bits inside the chiselled area of the wood. They are great for finishing as well, where I can put the mallet down and gently take off the remaining wood with small, gentle stroke, this means that I'm not damaging the surrounding area which is going to be on show. That's one thing that annoys me, when I've almost finished the work and then one little slips leaves a scratch on the wood which you know is going to be seen from the moon, without a telescope. But with these, as the edges are nice and sharp, and the handles are so comfortable to hold, there's rarely any loss of control at all. Which means no nasty scratches from the man on the moon to laugh at me about, 'tutting' away in the sarcastic way he does.
The length of the shaft itself means that you can dig deep into the wood, which comes in handy when you want to sink that door lock in place properly, chiselling out the wood after drilling the 'pilot' holes in the rectangular template that you've marked out.
The handles are as tough as old boots, as they say, and as comfortable as holding a pen, albeit a very chunky pen, but none the less, these are so easy to hold so that there's very little danger of dropping them during mid strike, which saves you hammering your hand instead of the strike point of the chisel. We've all done it, missed the strike
What more can I say about these chisels?
I think I've covered all the corners, so to speak. They are strong, sharp and made to last... what more can you ask for in a chisel?
* What about the price..?
This is where you might be a bot shocked. But remember the old saying, "you get what you pay for", and with these you really do get what you pay for.
The price of these range from £10 for the 6mm one to about £25 for the larger 25mm one.
As I said, they do come in sets, 2, 3, and 5 different size chisels in a pack. Ranging from a 2 pack selling for about £15, to a five pack, containing all sizes, from about £55. Just look around in the DIY shops and you may find a bargain.
* Would I recommend them..?
Yes, without a doubt.
If you're after a good chisel, or a good set of chisels, then you really can't go wrong with these Irwin chisels as they should last you for a long time, as long as you keep them as sharp as they need to be.
They can take the hammering without shattering and as they are a good quality build they are easy to get hold of and even easier to control as you tap away at the wood you don't want.
When it comes to DIY I like to make life as easy as I can, which means that I tend to use power tools more than hand tools when ever I can as it takes less time to do the job and means less blisters in the palms of my hands and less wrist ache.
So my collection of power tools has grown more over the passed few years as I have either bought my own or have been given them as gifts for either Birthdays or Christmas.
One particular power tool that I have used a bit recently, having been forced to put many things together which would have meant a lot of screwing and unscrewing, is what in the trade is called a power driver, with this particular driver being called the Makita TD090DWE Impact Driver
* What do you get..?
Opening the box I could see that it was all there, the driver itself, a fast charger, 2 stick type batteries, (yes, two batteries), a few screwdriver bits and a holster for hanging this from your belt, so you can pretend you're a cowboy in the wild west.
And it all fits nicely into a purpose built blow moulded case.
* So what does it look like...?
At first glance it looks like a mini drill, and to be honest, that's really what it is. Coming in the gun shape design that you come to expect from battery operated drills these days, only this one's smaller, being about 160mm high, 180mm long and no more than 55mm wide, weighing in at less than a kilo all in.
The body is made of a blue plastic material with the handle being encased in a thin rubber material for a more comfortable grip. In front of this handle there is a small black trigger which gets the motor running when it's squeezed.
On the side, just above the trigger, there is a button, as there is on most drill/drivers of this types. This button slides from side to side and gives you the option of forward of reverse for either screwing or unscrewing.
On the front there is the chuck, although to be honest, is it really a chuck? As it's more a hole in the front which the bits fit into. This hole is a hex chuck which means that it can only take hex types bits, having six sides. But a chuck I'll call it.
On the sides near the rear, there are a few slats the act as vents for the motor, allowing it to get the cold air that all motors need to keep cool as they heat away.
There's a little light that sits at the front of the driver and points a little light beam at the area you're looking at, lighting up the screw head so you can see what you're doing.
* But where's the battery..? I can hear you asking.
It's in the usual place where batteries slot into units like this. It's inside the handle, being pushed in from the bottom.
The only reason you can't really tell that there's a battery in this is because the battery is a 'stick' battery rather than being the usual 'flat' type batteries that most units come with.
This stick battery simply look like a slight extension on the handle, maybe even looking more like a stand. But a battery it is and it slots into the handle, and takes up almost the entire area inside the handle, clicking into place with a reassuring, well, a reassuring click.
To take out the battery you simply press the little buttons on the side where the battery meets the handle, those buttons having a few little ridges on them so that you know what you're pressing. The battery should then just drop out of the handle allowing you to place it into the charging unit.
The driver actually uses the flat base of the battery as a stand, giving it the capabilities of standing upright when you place it on a worktop.
* What about this chuck..?
As I asked, is it really a chuck?
Anyway. This chuck fit's a set size driver bits, those being the ¼ inch pieces of the hex shape, (six sided). These all fit into this chuck and as they have edges on the bits there's no chance of the bits slipping in side the chuck.
To fit the bits you have to slide the out ring of the chuck forward slightly, then you slot in the bit and then let the out ring slide back into position, locking the bit into the chuck so that it doesn't fall out if you turn the driver upside down.
To take the bit out you do the same. Pull forward the outer ring of the chuck, take out the bit and either place a new bit in or leave the chuck empty. Then you just let go of the out ring and it should slide back into place.
And that's it for the chuck really.
* So, how do you use this driver..?
You use this like you would use a drill.
You just put the bit into the chuck, as I described, choosing the bit that you need for the job in hand, be that a cross or a flat, or what ever bit you need to use. Then you simply slide the directional button to which ever direction you need to go, be that forwards to drive a screw in, or reverse, to unscrew the screw.
Once you've done all this you simple place the bit into the screw head and press the trigger of the driver. This will then spin the chuck which in turn spins the bit and either screws in or unscrews.... Simple as that really, there's no need for you to keep turning you hand like you do with a normal screwdriver.
* Has it got the power..?
It has got a bit of kick and does spin fast, giving you up to 2400rpms, so screwing something in takes a matter of seconds, depending on the material you are screwing into. This could cause no end of damage to certain soft woods as some screwing can go deeper into the wood than you want it to, which is where torque comes into action. Only this doesn't have torque so it only stops when you release the trigger, which can be a bit tricky if the screws goes in quicker than you thought it would. But what it does have is something called an electronic brake, which means that the head stops quicker, almost as soon as you take your finger off the trigger.
* What about the battery and charging..?
The 10.8 volt (1.3Ah) batteries are the more advance and the longer lasting Lithium-ion type which mean that they can hold more charge when not in use.
The charging unit is almost as big as the driver and weighs more as well.
It is a black unit that has a 'port' at one end that the battery slots into in order for it to charge.
To charge the battery you simply slot the battery into the charger, plug it in at the mains and wait for the charger to do what it's designed to do. The charger and batteries are on a fast charge system, with a flat battery being fully charged in about 40- 50 minutes.
The charging unit has a little light on the top, just above the where you slot the battery into. This little light is there to help you when it comes to charging the battery. There is a label that lets you know what the light means, such as if the light is flashing green then it means that the battery is charging, if it is staying green then the battery is charged and ready to use. However, a red light indicates a problem, from a flat battery, which is a red light, to being too cold, which is a flashing red light. Then there's the dreaded red and green flashing alternatively, which means it's time to get a new battery as the one you're trying to charge is only fit for the recycling bin.
* My opinion...
I have used a few of these 'drivers' as well as drills, the difference between the two is that the drills can be used as drivers whilst the drivers can't really be used as drills.
Anyway, when it comes to drivers I used this one has to be one of the most useful that I have had the pleasure of using. Some drivers I have used have been about as paper lifeboat in the Atlantic ocean, giving less power than the Lib Dems at a General Election. Which meant that when it came to using a power driver in order to get the screws in and out was more of a hassle than useful.
But this one really does have it all. It has the grip, the power and even the stamina in the battery department, using the brilliant Li-ion batteries which hold more charge between none use. Which really means that when I'm not using the driver the batteries don't lose much charge, so that when I come to using it again it's more likely that there's going to be enough charge left in it until the other battery is fully charged.
This not only feels solid in my hand, giving me more confidence, enjoying the weight as I begin screwing what ever is in front of me. It also manages to screw a lot of screws in without losing any power from its performance, which means more screwing with less time.
It's quite fast when it comes to screwing into softer wood and, even without torque, it manages to stop itself before causing any damage to the wood through over tightening.
I like the fact that the driver stops in a heartbeat. Let go of the trigger and the driver stops, as quick as than really, which makes controlling the spin and power a lot easier. In fact, the entire speed of the driver is controlled by the trigger, meaning that the harder you squeeze the faster you go. This really comes in handy when I'm working with softer wood so that I don't damage too many pieces as I screw things together. All I have to remember is to release the pressure in the trigger so that the screw goes in slower, giving me more chance of stopping when ever I want it to.
The extras that came with this driver are as good as you'd expect really.
The holster is a real looking holster. It has the little press stud and everything and lets me slide the gun, I mean the driver into the holster, drawing it out like a cowboy in a quick draw contest. (although I have been called a cowboy a few times in my life...!!).
But this holster is not to bad at all and is a nice addition to this drive as it lets me carry this driver without having to keep it in my hands all the time, knowing that I can grab it to use it when ever I need to as it sits in the holster on my belt.
The case is your standard blow moulded case, being big enough for this driver, the charger and the wire, having plenty of room to spare for all the bits and bobs that tend to find there way into such blow moulded cases.
* What does this one cost then..?
It's not the cheapest on the market by far, selling for about the £120 region, or more in some places.
* Would I recommend this driver..?
Yes, without a doubt.
It has everything that a driver should have, with the extra thing being that it has the better quality batteries which last longer than other batteries.
If you do a lot of screwing and hate the thought of getting Repetitive strain in your wrist then this driver is well worth looking into, even if the cost is a bit on the higher side. The price may be high but, as I have found out myself, if you buy a cheaper driver there's a chance that it won't have the power to finish the job, where as this one will get the job done and beg you to do more.