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Old 05-11-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
momaka
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Arrow Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I’m talking about the cheap “Made in China” stuff. Like cameras, heatsinks, multimeters, adapters, wires, LEDs, and etc. Or maybe even non-tech gear. Just share what you got and what you think about it (and perhaps give a little review). Obviously, we all know how those fake Sanyo WG and other knock-off capacitors fare .

Reason I decided to make this thread is because I have bought many cheap stuff myself, and some have been wonderful, while others were completely terrible.
------------------------------------
I’ll start with the latter. About two months ago, I purchased three DVI to VGA adapters for $1 each with free shipping. I though, “it’s an adapter, they can’t get it wrong”. Uhm, NO, they can, actually – and in this case, they really did.

So here is what one of those adapters looks like. As a comparison, I placed it next to a Monoprice adapter that I got from my university’s computer store for $5 (a bit overpriced, but I needed it at the time and it turned out to be a good quality adapter after all, as you will se).

Note how the pins on the cheap adapter are sticking out beyond the outer metal surround. Also note the screws for attaching the adapter – in particular, how long they are.

Now let’s have a look at the pins from up front:
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachm...1&d=1431404073
First off, this is a DVI to VGA adapter – it is for connecting an analog device on DVI. So why bother putting in all of the pins when they are not even needed? Moreover, look at those pins in the cheap adapter and compare them to the ones in the Monoprice adapter – they are all over the place and much thicker than what they should be.

Since these adapters looked goofy straight from opening the bag, I did decided to test them on a dead junk video card. Now that was good thinking on my part. As soon as I tried to plug in one of the adapters in the DVI port, it felt almost as if I was trying to put a serial d-sub into USB port – no joke! But I persisted and succeeded with a bit of force. However, after removing the adapter from the video card, the DVI port on the card had nearly every pin bent or messed up (a few even completely pushed in). Since that port was now a write-off, I decided to straighten the pins as best as I can and test my Monoprice adapter. Result: the Monoprice adapter fit like a glove and there were no bent pins afterwards. So then I tried a second of those cheap adapters. This time I was a bit more careful. But needless to say, the cheap adapter still bent quite a few pins (though not as many as the first one). Also worth mentioning is that neither of the two cheap adapters could be pushed to go all the way in the DVI port, whereas with the Monoprice adapter, there was no problem.

I’ll give them some credit, though: at least they got the VGA port right. My VGA cable plugged and unplugged fine from it. Here is another picture:
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachm...1&d=1431404073

So at this point, I had two options: ask for a refund and bin the adapters, or try to fix them. But those of you around here who know me know that I don’t give up easily when it comes to stupid small things like this. So I decided to fix one of the adapters. First thing I did was grab my dremmel tool (with a metal cutting wheel on it) and thinned out the pins in the adapter close to their edges. Then I changed the cutting wheel for an engraving tool and proceeded to sharpen the pins a bit more, since they were very dull. Finally, I took my needle nose pliers and straightened the pins just a tiny bit. Result (adapter on top):
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachm...1&d=1431404073
… slightly thinner and much sharper pins. This allows them to engage the pins in the DVI port the right way rather than forcing them the wrong way and bending them. I repeated the procedures for the second adapter, except this time I skipped straightening the pins. Turns out that step was not really needed if the pins are sufficiently thinned and sharpened.

After fixing my “test” DVI port yet again, I tried the first modified adapter – it fit almost perfectly. Only slightly bent one pin. Played a bit more around with it and tried it again. This time, no bent pins. I then took a second junk video card with a DVI port and tried the modified adapter on it. Again, no bent pins. Success!

The first adapter took me about 30 minutes to get it right. The second, only about 10-15ish. So if you ever buy some of these for cheap, perhaps factor in the time it takes to fix them. I don’t have a job, so my time isn’t worth a whole lot really. But even then, all I can say is, it is hard to justify buying these adapters.

Now, there are a few things that can’t really be fixed on these adapters (or not easily). First and foremost:
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/attachm...1&d=1431404073
This is one of the adapters I modified. Note that even after I fit it on the video card (all the way in), the securing screws on the side still cannot be used – they are simply too long! And finally, when used with my LCD monitor (which stays turned ON with a “No signal” message if there is no signal on its input), the LCD monitor never turns OFF, even when the PC does. So it looks like they didn’t get the signal pins quite right either. And yes, I checked both cheap adapters. With the Monoprice adapter, this does not happen.

So with all of that said, my verdict is: DO NOT BUY THESE CHEAP ADAPTERS! They were never intended to work right in the first place, and they are certainly not worth the hassle to fix – not unless you really get a kick out of that.

I sent the seller an email explaining him the problem with these adapters (after fixing them) and even offered to provide pictures and directions on what is needed to get these adapters functional, so that perhaps he could relay the information to the factory (if he knew it) that makes them. But his reply was simply:
- We have very low profit margins on these and we know they probably don’t meet your standards. We apologize and can offer you a refund.
… To which I replied:
- Yes, I realize that. But I would rather you keep my money and work on offering better products.
But they gave me a partial refund anyways and asked me for positive feedback. I didn’t want to be an asshole, but I simply couldn't leave a positive feedback for these adapter, so instead I refrained from leaving any. And that’s that.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cheap DVI-2-VGA adapter (6).jpg (85.4 KB, 574 views)
File Type: jpg cheap DVI-2-VGA adapter (3).jpg (219.2 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg cheap DVI-2-VGA adapter (5).jpg (87.2 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg cheap DVI-2-VGA adapter (7).jpg (176.2 KB, 86 views)
File Type: jpg cheap DVI-2-VGA adapter (8).jpg (94.1 KB, 62 views)

Last edited by momaka; 05-11-2015 at 10:23 PM..
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

Leave a neutral feedback then!
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I don't think you can leave anything but positive feedback or report the buyer from the seller standpoint. Not sure on the buyers end.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

You may have received some factory rejects. Rejects in China are not simply thrown away and usually find their way into the "grey" market and wind up for sale on places like ebay. You're lucky to get a partial refund as it's within the seller's right to ask you to return the item before issuing the refund. Here's the rub: the postal system in China is subsidized by the government, which allows sellers to ship small items, using "e-packets", for a very low price. If you had to return that same item back to China using the US Postal system, it's going to cost a small fortune, which makes returning it senseless. Therefore, those 6 months or more warranties offered by sellers are rather useless/worthless.

Last edited by jetadm123; 05-12-2015 at 08:52 AM..
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I have never seen such a terrible DVI to VGA adapter. If you ever need a large quantity of items I have a Monoprice Business account with good bulk discounts.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

FYI: DVI pinout:
http://www.buildmyowncabin.com/elect...e-pinouts.html

http://calendar.bic.caltech.edu/~gbe...I%20Pinout.pdf
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetadm123 View Post
Rejects in China are not simply thrown away and usually find their way into the "grey" market and wind up for sale on places like ebay.

That's how some of those cheap memory modules are made - they use cheap reject chips, sometimes even from big name brand manufacturers. Of course, if you get a RAM module with supposedly "good" chips, but the RAM SPD part #, serial #, and manufacturing date are missing (or all "FF"s or "00"s), then you know you got a cheap module.
Some really really cheap PSUs often use reject rectifiers. I have this one L&C with supposedly a 30A 45V schottky on the 5V output. But of course, I am guess that is what it is, since its part numbers were completely sanded off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetadm123 View Post
You're lucky to get a partial refund as it's within the seller's right to ask you to return the item before issuing the refund.
Well, I am not sure how, but I think eBay has tightened up the situation on that end, because nowadays, many big sellers of cheap junk will issue a refund if you are not happy with the product for any reason. And most will no longer ask you to return it because they know the items they sell are low quality, so they know it is pointless frustrating the buyer with that. They simply want positive feedback so they can continue selling their junk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetadm123 View Post
Here's the rub: the postal system in China is subsidized by the government, which allows sellers to ship small items, using "e-packets", for a very low price.
Cool, I didn't know that. It makes sense though. I mean, how else can you get so many items with "free shipping"?

--------------------------------------

On a more positive note, I have to say that those $5 TM-902C type-K thermometers are awesome and absolutely worth every penny. I got mine a few years back and never had problems with it. Got it because I saw we had several of those in the repair shop that I used to work in. We often forgot them turned ON, and exposed near lots of heat. Not a single one died. Even the crappy 9V carbon-zinc Chinese batteries they came with lasted a very long time in them. The one that I have is made by a company called Lutron.

The only thing that is perhaps not the best with these is the thermocouple. The stock one tends to use somewhat thick wire, so its response to temperature changes isn't the fastest. But it is still adequate for BGA reworking. That said, my friend did give me a lot of broken thin thermocouples to fix for him and let me keep a few. With those, the thermometer responds super-fast to temperature changes. Temperature-wise, it is pretty accurate too, once you go above 50-60C. Below that, it may show 2-3C lower. Still impressive, IMO.
I'll try to remember to take some pictures when I get back home. Though I am sure you have all seen these on the web.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shovenose
I have never seen such a terrible DVI to VGA adapter. If you ever need a large quantity of items I have a Monoprice Business account with good bulk discounts.
Thanks man, I really appreciate it.
Most of the stuff I buy is just for myself, though. I only needed one or two more DVI adapters, but since they were so cheap, I got three, lol. Now I have more than enough of them to set up at least 4 monitors - which is more than what my desk can hold anyways. And soon, I will be packing my stuff from my college apartment and going back home, so I will have even more computer stuff and less desk space to put them on .

Last edited by momaka; 05-12-2015 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

Glad to hear that some sellers will refund your money without you having to return the item.

Interesting that some manufacturers will actually use reject parts to put in their new components. YIKES!

I too, have had good experiences with mosfets, IGBTs, etc shipped from China. No problems so far, but you should still buy a spare just in case you get a bad part. I do sometimes wonder if some of those parts are "recycled", meaning are they pulled off of obsolete circuit boards and resold as "new"?

Last edited by jetadm123; 05-12-2015 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4AECR1VgXI

Not my video, but I like this channel.

Eww, the way the heatsink is attached to the LED array kinda makes me cringe. All the heat from the LEDs around the circumference has to go through the aluminum to the center area where the heatsink is attached.
Also, it's got a cheapy looking power supply.
At least it's nicer and safer than some of the other crappy LED bulbs out there!
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I needed some 40 MM fan guards once. I ordered two from a Hong Kong seller, He sent me 60 mm. Finally after a few hours I found a small store in Florida that had some. Sorry no pictures and it was so long ago I don't remember the name of the seller. I decided not to get anything more from Asia shortly after that.
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Old 05-13-2015, 04:30 PM   #11
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http://m.ebay.com/itm/251726809318?nav=SEARCH

These are excellent side cutters for trimming component leads and cutting small wires. Sharp and comfortable. I have had this pair for about an year and they are still like new. They won't last if you use them for cutting thick wires, I learned that after destroying my previous pair of these cutters. But for basic light-duty electronics work they are better than some name-brand cutters that I have used.
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:21 PM   #12
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batteries are a big no no on ebay.
nonames,anything with fire in the name,and funny enough any nimh cells with an orange band near the - end.
all garbage.
dead giveaway is a claimed capacity in excess of what sanyo,panasonic,samsung,ect produce.
many *.fire stuff is reclaimed used cells from junk packs.
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:28 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7 View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4AECR1VgXI

Not my video, but I like this channel.

Eww, the way the heatsink is attached to the LED array kinda makes me cringe. All the heat from the LEDs around the circumference has to go through the aluminum to the center area where the heatsink is attached.
Also, it's got a cheapy looking power supply.
At least it's nicer and safer than some of the other crappy LED bulbs out there!
Yeah, no thermal compound between the front Al plate and the inner Al heatsink - that won't have good heat transfer for sure.
Also, the power supply is a buck regulator and primary is NOT isolated from the secondary! So I don't know about safer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8adu
batteries are a big no no on ebay.
Yes, I can confirm that too.
We had an Uniden cordless phone whose original NiMH battery pack died after 3 or so years. I bought some replacement packs on eBay (and mind you, I didn't buy the cheapest ones on purpose, thinking the quality might be better). Guess how much they lasted. 1 year. They had good capacity for about 2-3 months, after that their capacity really started dropping. By the 9 month mark, they were marginally better than the old ones. Could hold maybe 5 minutes with or without the phone being in use. By the end of 1 year, it got down to less than a minute - just enough for use to say to the person on the other end of the line, "hey hold on, I gotta go in the other room on my corded phone" .
That's when I said, "F... it, no more batteries" and did this:
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showpos...&postcount=147
And still using that phone like that since then. Funny thing is, it always shows half battery charge with that charger .

Also, I believe this is your thread KC
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=30544

Last edited by momaka; 05-13-2015 at 08:32 PM..
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I got burned on this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/270643849251...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

got it in the mail last month, no longer works. Won't take a charge. Also, it be an obvious fake:



The upper is the battery this idiot sent me, the lower is the old (known genuine) battery. Look at the misspellings... did they even try?

Sadly I can't get NOS or even used batteries for this model (AFAIK), hence why I gave it a try... Looks like I'll have to find a way to rebuild my old one (I don't have a battery tab welder).
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
I got burned on this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/270643849251...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

got it in the mail last month, no longer works. Won't take a charge. Also, it be an obvious fake:



The upper is the battery this idiot sent me, the lower is the old (known genuine) battery. Look at the misspellings... did they even try?

Sadly I can't get NOS or even used batteries for this model (AFAIK), hence why I gave it a try... Looks like I'll have to find a way to rebuild my old one (I don't have a battery tab welder).
It'll likely be more costly, but I'm quite certain there are people out there who will rebuild the battery pack for you.

-Ben
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Old 01-10-2016, 01:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7 View Post
It'll likely be more costly, but I'm quite certain there are people out there who will rebuild the battery pack for you.

-Ben
Already cracked the old pack open, paying for a pro rebuild isn't in the budget. This unit is a beater (rat rod laptop) and while fast isn't worth spending $100+ on a rebuild.
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

I've bought a number of Chinese gadgets on eBay, including infrared dongles for handheld devices - and a number of them were quite good.
You may think that all Chinese brands are bad, but some of them are actually good - you just need to know what to look out for.
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Old 01-17-2016, 07:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

After getting a bunch of counterfeit Hakko tips, I'm weary of anything sold on eBay. It's just a marketplace for cheap knockoff junk now and eBay should be held accountable.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
I got burned on this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/270643849251...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

got it in the mail last month, no longer works. Won't take a charge. Also, it be an obvious fake:



The upper is the battery this idiot sent me, the lower is the old (known genuine) battery. Look at the misspellings... did they even try?
Yup, never buy replacement batteries on eBay. And I mean not just Lithium chemistry. Almost ALL batteries on eBay are cheap junk. You'll probably have better luck with getting a used laptop with original battery than with a new Chinese junk one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by japlytic
I've bought a number of Chinese gadgets on eBay, including infrared dongles for handheld devices - and a number of them were quite good.
You may think that all Chinese brands are bad, but some of them are actually good - you just need to know what to look out for.
Agreed.
But sometimes it's hard to tell the "good" from the "bad" stuff until you bought one to find out.

I have a BT dongle I bought ages ago. It still works great.

The SCA to SCSI 68-pin HDD adapters are also pretty decent with a simple mod to insulate the power pins from the metal case on the HDD. When the forum attachments are back up again, I'll post some pictures. If you have an old server with SCSI and need cheap HDDs for it, you can find Enterprise-class SCA HDD for cheap on eBay. I got 5 HDDs for $13 shipped - two of them 300 GB Seagate Cheetah's.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: Cheap Ebay Stuff: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Post Your Reviews

After Grayfurnaceman's review,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3KoAQ2CrcY

I found the identical manometer here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/401022189037


If you can wait several weeks, as Billy Mays used to say, "gopher" it.
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guilty,guilty,guilty,guilty!
guilty of being cheap-made!
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