Category Archives: Consumer Electronics

How To Spot A Fake USB Charger

You don’t need to be an electronics expert to spot the difference between a genuine and fake USB charger.  This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Plug Pin Finish

This can be another fairly obvious indicator of a fake. The finish on a genuine charger is high quality, matte and uniform. On counterfeit chargers the finish maybe glossy or shiny with imperfections.

USB Port

The USB port on a counterfeit charger might be upside down, or in a different place. A genuine charger may also have a serial number.


Testing has shown that the pins on counterfeit plugs are much weaker than required by the standard. This is typically because they are metal-coated hollow plastic, rather than the solid metal used in genuine products. An easy check for this is to simply flick the largest pin and listen to the noise it makes. A genuine plug will sound and feel solid, while counterfeit products will make a ‘plastic’ noise and feel hollow.


Counterfeit chargers contain few, if any, of the higher quality components required for safety, they are usually significantly lighter than genuine chargers.

Plug Fit

Do not connect up to your phone etc just yet.  Does it plug in easily? If the charger does not easily plug into a socket, the pins may be the wrong size or length, or the distance between the pins may be wrong. If pins do not fit properly into the socket, overheating, arcing and mechanical damage can occur to both the socket and the charger, which can be dangerous.


Look for a manufacturer’s brand name or logo, model and batch number.

Check for a CE mark.  But do not rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of safety – it’s simply a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the safety requirements of European law, but they can be easily forged.

Check that the output voltage and current ratings marked on the charger and your electrical device are the same.

Warnings and Instructions

Adequate warnings and instructions must be provided. As a minimum, user instructions should provide information on conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electrical safety guidance and details of how to safely dispose of the charger when it is no longer required.

Useful Information

Apple has produced this document that will help you identify fake apple products.

Dont -kill -your -phone -v2

The above image and some information in this page has been taken from

What Is A MAC Address And How Do I Find It

What Is A MAC Address And How Do I Find It

The MAC (Media Access Control) address is a 12 digit unique code assigned to network devices.  Think of it like a serial number, no two devices will have the same MAC address.   The address is hard coded into the devices memory / firmware, it may also be on a sticker on the device.

MAC Address Format

MM:MM:MM:SS:SS:SS format.

Example MAC Address :


( 20-47-47 identifies the manufacturer as a Dell and the D4-A9-72 is the unique serial number )

The first 3 (MM) are the ID number of the manufacturer, which is assigned by an Internet standards body.

The second 3 (SS) are the serial number assigned by the manufacturer.

How To Find The MAC Address Of  A Network Device

Remember the MAC address is unique to each network device.  This will show you how to fine the network or WiFi MAC address.

Windows Operating System –  Open a command prompt and type ipconfig /all  this command will display the MAC address.

Unix and Linux – In the terminal, type ifconfig and press enter.

MacOS – Open “System Preferences”, then select  “Network”.

iPhone – Click “Settings” then “General” then “About” and it will be shown here. It might be called “WiFi Address”

Android – Click “Menu” then “Settings” then select “About Tablet” or “About Phone”. If this does not show you might have a option called “Hardware Information” if so click this.

Other Device – The address is usually on a sticker, just like a serial number, or if the device has a settings section in the software it should be listed in there.

How To Find The Manufacturer From The MAC Address

There is a number of good websites that allow you to lookup a MAC address and it will tell you the vendor.  If one does not work try the other’s as it depends what database lists they use.


PC Network Card With MAC Address On A Sticker

Common Problems With Plasma And LCD TV’s

Burn-In Effect

For plasma TVs, one of the biggest potential negatives is the “burn in” effect. Burn in is when an image stays on the screen for an extended period of time and then gets somewhat burned in to the screen. This might happen, for example, when you watch a movie that places black bars on the edges in order to keep the original theatre ratio. To avoid this with movies, you can zoom in one click to fill the screen. But burn-in might also occur if you leave your TV on a news channel that runs a news ticker across the bottom. The better plasma TVs have a feature called “white flash” that allows for correction if burn-in occurs; however using this function is said to shorten the TV’s lifespan. For most TV viewers, however, burn-in will not be an issue. Unless you keep your TV constantly tuned to a news channel, or run movies 24 hours a day, you won’t have to worry much about this. For LCD TVs, burn-in isn’t a problem.

Plasma Burn

Example Plasma TV Burn

Watching Motion

It’s generally thought that plasma TVs handle fast-moving action better than LCD TVs. On an LCD TV, when watching a football player moving down the field, for example, it might seem as if the edges of his body are somewhat fuzzy – a jagged and blocky line rather than a crisp, clean one. This is a delay caused by the TV not being able to keep up with the action. LCD TVs are improving in this area, however, and the problem lessens considerably when watching high-definition TV. This is something for sports fans, especially, to consider. But many sports fans with a large plasma or LCD TV will already have HDTV. As mentioned, an HDTV signal increases picture quality dramatically.

Pixel Problems

Both LCD TVs and plasma TVs may suffer from pixel problems – when a pixel is either always “on” (lit up when the screen is black, for example), or the pixel is always “off” (black when it should have colour or be white). A few dead pixels here and there are not going to be noticeable, and companies usually state that a few dead pixels are “allowed.” One of the best ways to avoid problems with dead pixels is to go with reputable manufacturers. If you go with a reputable manufacturer, you’re less like to have the problem in the first place, and if for some reason you do have the problem, a reputable manufacturer will take care of it.