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Product Review - How cheap is a cheap power supplyAuthor
Giorgos Lazaridis
December 28, 2011

My Canon camera
Some years ago i bought myself a Canon PowerShot camera for my digital photos, which eventually became the official pcbheaven camera.

The camera needs 2 AA batteries to operate. I use of course rechargeable batteries. But then i decided to buy a power supply to have my camera always ready on the fly. As a matter of fact, i wanted to make one power supply instead (big deal), but the DC jack of the camera was very small and i did not really knew which one to get, so i decided to buy one instead.

First stop - ebay. I immediately found one for this camera, and bought it for 4.99 USD including shipping. This is ridiculously cheap!

When i received the item, it looked as a normal power supply. I immediately plugged it in. At first, i did not notice anything strange, only that some times when i was moving the jack the camera would turn off. It was not very annoying. But after some time, things became really strange.

Watch the following video:



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  • At 31 May 2012, 14:32:37 user Giorgos Lazaridis wrote:   [reply @ Giorgos Lazaridis]
    • @Scott Daniels I think it is some sort of Dice game... You may win, you may lose.

  • At 31 May 2012, 14:24:03 user Scott Daniels wrote:   [reply @ Scott Daniels]
    • Interesting video, but I have had nothing but good results overall from e-bay. I regularly buy SMPS "wall warts" for less than $3 and their voltage regulation is spot on. You do have to be careful sometimes though. Imitation ipod usb plugs (the small cubes) are under-engineering and allow trickles of mains voltage pass through.

  • At 13 February 2012, 17:38:15 user Giorgos Lazaridis wrote:   [reply @ Giorgos Lazaridis]
    • @carpet cleaners sydney ... no comments.

  • At 13 February 2012, 11:11:04 user carpet cleaners sydney wrote:   [reply @ carpet cleaners sydney]
    • I am surprised too how they fool people with faulty products.

  • At 11 January 2012, 8:16:33 user Kammenos wrote:   [reply @ Kammenos]
    • @Mark the wires that i approach are inputs for the buttons and the LED responds to those inputs. Since there is no EMI protection (prototyping) and the pull-up is weak, the EMI has this effect.

  • At 11 January 2012, 2:26:40 user Mark wrote:   [reply @ Mark]
    • You might have a floating IRQ on that pic. That could explain how holding the camera was able to interfere with your project in the first place.

  • At 5 January 2012, 18:37:08 user Kammenos wrote:   [reply @ Kammenos]
    • @Agent24 I did not measure. From the video i see about 10-15 volts. The camera is ultra good!

  • At 5 January 2012, 14:07:30 user Ketzer wrote:   [reply @ Ketzer]
    • It doesn't help when batteries that come with certain Sprint devices (Overdrive! Cough Cough) have blatant typos on the warning label. When factory-original looks like a bad fake, how do you know what to trust?

  • At 5 January 2012, 10:38:30 user Agent24 wrote:   [reply @ Agent24]
    • Scope shots says it all, but the tiny filtering capacitor and no inductor on the output side is a good giveaway too.

      What was the actual peak-to-peak value of the ripple coming out of that thing?

  • At 5 January 2012, 2:40:47 user wethecom wrote:   [reply @ wethecom]
    • looks like a wireless power supply acidentaly discovered ..take advantage of this find and develop it like tesla and the Egypt pyramids before him

  • At 5 January 2012, 0:34:12 user hardcore wrote:   [reply @ hardcore]
    • Do not ever buy electronics or components from sellers in China, on low power items you will get ripped off but on mains voltage products you may well end up loosing your life or burning your property down.

      This guy was very lucky not to loose his life, I have seen two other variations on this power supply.

      1. Just a dropper capacitor and resistor +Zener connecting the low voltage to the mains.
      2. a cheap 1:1 audio transformer used as an isolation transformer

      These sellers are usually high school children operating out of their apartments and sourcing their products from the streets of China or in some cases 3 or 4 people stringing parts together from components they buy locally.

      The USB nand-flash chips , marked as larger parts is one of the largest moneymaking scams to come out of China.

  • At 5 January 2012, 0:27:21 user Ant wrote:   [reply @ Ant]
    • I got a rj45 crimp tool off there. It's covered with loads of markings like you would find on the label of something electronic. At first glance they look like the real deal but theyre all slightly different from the real thing.

  • At 5 January 2012, 0:17:17 user Ant wrote:   [reply @ Ant]
    • I can\'t believe they even got labels. Doe\'s it look the same as the one that come in the box?

      I can answer your question, Yes. I saw an 8GB usb flash drive for £8.88. It was just a couple quid cheaper than everything else so i bought it. When i got it. It turned out to be 4Gb but reported 8Gb. I reprogramed it with a tool thats around for fixing fake flash drives to report only the 4.

      I contacted the seller and asked him what was going on.
      He said send it me back and i will refund you.
      I said, i tell you what, you send me another one and i\'ll give you good feedback.
      He said ok.
      I waited for a few weeks and it come. It was the same. I reprogramed that too. The same way as the first one. They still seem to work ok but i popped open the second one recently and it has a different chip. The pcb is the same but the flash chip looks like a fake intel one. The first flash chip, i couldnt find anything by the number on it. I had to just go through a list until i found one that worked.

      I ended up giving the guy good feedback because i am a man of my word.

      Apparently these scams are common on ebay http://search.reviews.ebay.co.uk/?satitle=fakes

  • At 4 January 2012, 23:44:43 user Mickey wrote:   [reply @ Mickey]
    • Amazing that only the output cap was enough to get it usable !
      I hope Canon are onto this guy fast !

      Good work - and thanks for the warning

  • At 4 January 2012, 22:58:01 user GaryC wrote:   [reply @ GaryC]
    • Wow just shows you how well made the camera is, you're lucky that power supply didn't fry it.

  • At 4 January 2012, 22:19:40 user Jose wrote:   [reply @ Jose]
    • Maybe secretly want a Sony Cybershot so you let it slip. :)

  • At 1 January 2012, 23:29:22 user khan wrote:   [reply @ khan]
    • that was not good for your camera...

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