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Equip Your Property With Home CCTV Systems
May 6, 2021

  Is it worth installing home CCTV systems? CCTV has become more popular in recent years. It’s widely used in businesses and commercial areas. But have you ever thought about how a CCTV system works at home? Does it help increase the security of property? In this article, we’ll answer some questions about home CCTV systems. Familiar yourself with how they work and how you and your property can benefit from them. CCTV is a video surveillance system, consisting of at least a camera, recorder, and monitor. The camera works by picking up video images, which is then transmitted to a monitor. CCTV work like the human eye but in a sneaky way. It keeps an eye on what’s going on in a private or public property, offering round the clock surveillance. Therefore, CCTV systems are primarily used for monitoring and security purposes. In terms of security, CCTV cameras can be used for both public and property security. For monitoring and surveillance purposes, it can be utilised for investigation or crime prevention. They are often used in traffic monitoring, building and grounds security, medical facilities, banks, and residential properties. CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television. It’s a closed-circuit TV system in which signals aren’t publicly distributed but are monitored. Only a small number of people have access to it, like the property owner. Also known as video surveillance, it uses either a wired or wireless transmission to transmit the broadcast from the video cameras back to the monitor(s) or recording device. Wired vs. wireless CCTV systems If you’re considering home CCTV systems, there are main two types to look out for: wired and wireless. Keep in mind that the term “wireless” refers to how a camera communicates, not how it’s powered. A wireless home CCTV system is connected to the internet over Wi-Fi. It transmits footages over Wi-Fi and is powered by AC power. This means it must be plugged into an outlet using a power cable. Moreover, a wireless camera isn’t wire-free. Rather, it’s considered wireless because it uses wireless internet (Wi-Fi). And its alternative name ‘Wi-Fi camera’ was born. On the contrary, a wired home CCTV system is hardwired to the internet and to power. Also known as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) security system, they record 24/7 and can be connected to the internet to view remotely. Installing home CCTV systems require four (4) basic components: cameras, a recording system, a monitor, and video management software. Cameras When it comes to the camera system, you have two options: IP (Internal Protocol) or Analogue. IP works best for the vast majority of applications. Meanwhile, an analogue camera is only ideal if you have an existing digital recording system that requires older technology. In addition, CCTV cameras are also available in both black & white and colour video images. Some even have night vision technology, allowing viewing and recording in very low light. Recording systems: NVR and DVR You also have a couple of options for video recorders, and these are: NVR (Network Video Recorder) and DVR (Digital Video Recorder). The main difference between the two is how they process video data. DVR systems process the video data at the recorder. NVR systems, on the other hand, encode and princess the video data at the camera, then stream it to the NVR recorder which is used for storage and remote viewing. As both handle the video data differently, they require distinct types of cameras. For instance, most NVRs are used with IP cameras while DVRs are used with analogue cameras. Furthermore, DVR is a wired security system, whereas NVR can be both wired and wireless. Monitor A monitor plays an integral role in every home CCTV system—or in any security camera system. It lets you view the footage. Your selected monitor will mostly be dependent on the camera and recording software you have. For instance, cameras with 1080p or 4k resolution can deliver picture-perfect details only to a high-definition monitor. It’s also worth considering how many cameras you want to install in your home. This also includes the number of rooms that need to be monitored. For most family-run businesses, three to five screens is a good starting point. For your home, a monitor or two will do! You can always modulate up or down based on your security needs. VMS Choosing cameras, a recording system, and monitor aren’t the only important steps in implementing home CCTV systems. The video management software behind the camera must support the functions the user is looking for. Your choice of software will vary depending on the NVR or DVR technology you decide to use. Be sure the software is compatible with your system, and review how user-friendly the interfaces are. This guide from Kisi might be helpful if you’re looking for the best video surveillance software on the market. Note: Supporting equipment like power cables are also necessary to complete the operation of a CCTV system. For one, analogue cameras require a coaxial cable and an additional power cable to connect to a DVR. Home CCTV systems can provide an optimum level of privacy and security. The system is reliable, and it keeps your home and your family safer. By installing a security system at your home, you also can reap some of these benefits: It scares off burglars and intruders Some burglars are bold enough to try the enter a house even if you’re home, while others lurk around and wait for you to leave. Having a home security system is an effective way to scare them off. A security camera can act as a visual deterrent. Make sure your home CCTV system is visible to reduce the risk of your home being a target for intruders. It lets you see who’s at your door or coming to your home Your friendly neighbours and the postie are likely welcome to visit your home. On the other hand, when a stranger suddenly knocks on your door, you might not to answer it. But how certain you can be to know the visitor is a friend or stranger? This is where a home CCTV camera comes into play. When installed at the front of your home or near the main door, you’ll be able to see who’s at the door. It provides peace of mind When you’re away from your home during holidays, knowing that your property is being monitored with a home CCTV is a big advantage. It gives you peace of mind when you’re confident that you’ve taken extra precautions for the safety of your home and family. What’s more, it helps you monitor your children when you’re at work. These benefits can already justify installing a home CCTV system. A security camera system is an excellent tool for home protection. It works both as a deterrent and a recovery tool. Burglars are wary of properties with visible security cameras. Plus, if a crime does occur, home CCTV systems can help gather evidence whether it’s property damage or theft. Need help deciding on the right surveillance technology for your needs? Look no further than our great selection of security cameras!   6 Camera 8 Channel 4K Ultra HD NVR Security System - Concord Don't want to worry about finding all the components you need to set up your home CCTV system? Check out this convenient kit with almost everything you need to set up your own security system. This 6 Camera 8 Channel 4K Ultra HD NVR Security System (JQV5702) is a comprehensive solution for your security needs. Featuring 6 weatherproof Ultra HD cameras with built-in infrared LEDs and Thermal Detect Technology. 2 of these are floodlight cameras with 2 way audio. It's also easy view your footage with the Concord Security app available on both iOS and Android. For even more check out the range of Concord DVR Packages here.   Concord CCTV Cameras Expand your surveillance system with the Concord range of weatherproof 5MP and Ultra HD cameras. With the free Concord Security App, you can connect to your security system through your mobile phone or tablet from anywhere in the world. With 4K Ultra High Resolution, these bullet cameras capture intruders so that you can zoom in to get all the finer details. The bullet shape makes it more apparent to possible intruders. This acts as a barrier, defending your property and loved ones. Bullet Camera 4k 4.0mm Floodlight (JQC5724) Camera IP 4K PIR Bullet 3.6mm IR (JQC5720) Concord AHD 4K PIR Bullet Camera (JQC5220) You might also like these 5MP Super HD cameras: Concord AHD 5MP PIR Bullet Camera (JQC5120) IP Camera 5MP PIR Bullet Concord (JQC5620) Check out our list of Concord DVR camera packages. These kits include weatherproof HD cameras to capture the vision in high definition. Each set features built-in infrared LEDs for night vision and Thermal Detect Technology to help prevent false triggers. Note: When you purchase a Concord product register it here at Concord Connect so you can be alerted to new firmware and software updates. Need help with set up? Check out Concord Support here.   Dummy Cameras In case you didn’t know, dummy surveillance cameras or “decoy” surveillance cameras exist! Designed to fool burglars and other intruders, you might need these fake, non-functional security cameras in the future. Wiltronics offer high-quality and easy-to-install dummy surveillance cameras at affordable prices. Check out our comprehensive range of Dummy Cameras here. Add some of these CCTV warning signs to your front gate for some extra deterrents for your home or business. Home CCTV Systems: The Bottom Line Whether you want to see what is happening in your house when you are away or seek to deter burglars and other intruders, a home CCTV camera system makes the job easy. Considering the protection and security it can guarantee, we think a home CCTV system is an invaluable investment. What are you waiting for? Equip your property with home CCTV systems now!

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A Guide to Insect Repellents
May 4, 2021

  There’s a great variety of insect repellents available on the market. But which one can provide the protection you need? Which one is right for you and your family? Waking up with several mosquitoes or bug bites isn’t a great way to start the day. Finding the tiny culprit to avenge yourself seems the right thing to do. But there’s a better and effective way to get your vengeance: Insect repellents. Insects such as mosquitoes and bedbugs take blood as their meals. Applying repellents on your skin or clothing and physical barriers can prevent them from reaching you in the first place. Talk about payback time! Learn more about how insect repellent works — as well as other ways to control them — so you can better protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. Insects are small and almost unnoticeable. These reasons alone are perhaps enough for some people to think they won’t do any harm. But underestimating these small-scale creatures is, in fact, not a smart move. Biting insects like lice, fleas, and mosquitoes carry several diseases caused by infectious agents. This includes viruses (e.g. yellow and dengue fever), bacteria such as Lyme disease and plague, and parasites like malaria. Here insect repellers become useful. Although repellents aren’t meant to kill insects, they do keep flying nuisances at bay. They're widely used to repell mosquitoes and bugs, preventing bites and the spread of disease. How do they work? Most biting insects are attracted to skin odours and exhaled carbon dioxide. With heat, movement, and visual cues, they look for their possible host. One such example; mosquito repellents. This type of repellent works by blocking a mosquito’s sense of smell once applied to the skin. It prevents the little pest finding its target, including you. Repellents, in general, affect their senses, e.g. smell and taste. This blocks them from finding a human or animal host. But unfortunately, not all insect repellents are created equal, let alone are effective. Meaning, some products may or may not work for you and your family. This is why it’s important to take note of the ingredients when looking for a repellent. You’ll want to be sure that the repellent you use is tested and proven to repel insects. First things first, how many kinds of insect repellents are there? There are multiple active ingredients in insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Substances like DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus are some of the common ingredients found in many skin-applied insect repellents. They come in lotions, sprays, and also wipes. Note: The duration of effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes depends on the concentration of the active ingredient. You should choose the type of repellent according to your preference and the protection you need. DEET Originally developed in 1944 by the US Department of Agriculture, diethyltoluamide or simply DEET, is one of the active ingredients in many insect repellent products. DEET confuses and interferes with the receptors on a mosquito’s antennae with its smell. This effectively repels mosquitoes and other biting insects from landing on the skin. The receptors of an insect can detect body heat, carbon dioxide and skin chemicals when it’s seeking out prey. The higher the percentage of DEET, the longer the product will remain active. But keep in mind that the percentage doesn’t increase the amount of a DEET’s repelling power. Rather, it guarantees the length of time will last. For reference, a repellent containing 15% DEET typically provides up to 4 hours of protection. On contrary, a 25% DEET can offer up to 8 hours of protection against mosquitoes and other insects. But studies also show that repellents with greater than 30% of DEET don’t offer extra protection, according to Healthy Children. Moreover, the AAP recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for use on children younger than 2 months. Picaridin Be it in the form of lotion, spray, or wipes, picaridin works well as a skin barrier for mosquitoes. Although it’s an EPA-approved ingredient, a repellent must be made up of at least 20% of it to be effective. Commonly referred to as Icaridin, this chemical compound works by repelling and deterring insects. This means that insects won’t dare land on your skin or clothing that has been treated with it. When applied correctly, it forms a vapour barrier at the skin surface, deterring mosquitoes and other insects alike from biting and sucking blood. IR3535 Short for Insect Repellent 3535. Merck originally developed IR3535, a natural repellent. For over 30 years, it has established an excellent reputation. This active ingredient provides protection against most species of mosquitoes and very effective at repelling deer ticks. It has no odour, staining or skin irritation side effects. IR3535 is also recommended for pregnant women and children. Applied directly to the skin. An application typically lasts 4-8 hours. Avoid applying it near your eyes or mouth, on wounds or irritated skin. Never spray at your face. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) A natural, plant-based oil, lemon eucalyptus (OLE) oil is EPA-approved and is considered one of the best natural ingredients for mosquito repellents. It contains lower concentrations of DEET (6.65%), effective for warding off mosquitoes and ticks. A recent study shows that a mixture of 35% of OLE provides more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for three hours. If you decide to try OLE, be sure to buy the insect repellent version and not the “pure” one. Use of the essential oil alone hasn’t been tested for safety and isn’t recommended by the EPA. Moreover, despite having similar names, OLE is different from the lemon eucalyptus essential oil. OLE is an extract from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree which has been enriched for PMD (para-Menthane-3,8-diol). The essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree. Know what format of repellent you buy!   Apart from eliminating stagnant waters and lighting citronella candles, electronic pest devices are also a great approach to dealing with a wide variety of pests. Some of the common types are the electronic bug killer (e.g. mosquito killer lamp) and ultrasonic pest repellent. For a pest-free experience, whether you’re indoor or outdoor, a mosquito killer lamp can fight darkness and mosquitoes. Just like this Collapsible Rechargeable Mosquito Zapper with Camping Lantern (JYS5560), it leverages the power of UV light to draw in and kill mosquitoes and bugs using its 360~400nm UV Wavelength. The lantern projects ultraviolet rays to attract biting insects like to a flame. Once the mosquito or bugs come in contact with the zapping grid, they are bid adieu. The internal Li-Po battery can provide power for up to 6 hours at 50% brightness. It also can be charged from an available USB power source. Simply slide the mosquito zapper out and it can serve as a portable lantern for a patio, outdoor gathering areas, or even as a night lamp in your bedroom. Other features include: Mosquito zapper with finger guard A camping lantern with a swivel hook Two brightness levels Emergency 5V power USB output 6 x 0.06W UV LEDs Bugzapper can run up to 30hrs   This Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Dual Transducer (JYS5528) is an environmentally friendly alternative to poison and other harmful traps. It emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are particularly unpleasant for household pests and insects, such as rodents and mosquitoes. The ultrasonic sound waves attack the nervous and auditory systems of most common pests. You can manually change the frequency of this ultrasonic repeller from 22kHz to 49kHz. According to laboratory studies, it can cause them pain and discomfort. You might also like this Personal Sonic Insect Repeller (JYS5534). It’s a must-have device whenever you go camping, for a picnic, fishing, or to any outdoor activities. With a range of 6 meters to keep the mosquitoes away. It has a pocket or belt clip to keep it handy. Or this Amazing Fly Gun (JYS5545) if you’re looking for a fun way to get rid of those annoying flies at home or outdoors. It’s easy to use, effective and really does work! You simply push the swatter onto the spring-powered gun and you’re ready to swat flies. It has a 1-meter long string attached so the swatter doesn't fly away. No one wants mosquitoes and other insects interrupting their time, indoors or outdoors. Using a variety of proven insect repellent you can keep mosquitoes and other pesky bugs and pests at bay. Not only it will make it easier for you to sleep at night uninterrupted, but you’ll also have a healthy and safe environment. So never let yourself be a mosquito victim again! Have you found the right insect repellent for your needs?

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Understanding Your Desktop/PC Power Supply: A Guide
April 30, 2021

  If there’s one component that a computer can’t function without, it’s the power supply. Power supplies are everywhere. Understanding how they work is key to choosing the best option for your computer. If you want to know more about power supplies, find out the answers to your queries here. Let’s get started! To begin with, don’t confuse a power supply with a power source. Despite the name, its function is completely unrelated to supplying systems with power. Rather, it converts the power from the source into the correct format and voltage. Power is the backbone of an electronic system and the power supply, otherwise called a Power Supply Unit (PSU), is what feeds the system. It supplies electric power to an electrical load, converting electric current from a source to the correct voltage, current, and frequency to power the load. This makes it a crucial part of any server or computer. Without it, a computer is merely an inert box stuffed with plastic and metal. Changing voltage is the prime use of this device. A power supply steps down or steps up the voltage, matching the requirements of the device. Without it, the power source would overload, or in most cases, it wouldn’t work. Moreover, when there’s too much power coming out of a power supply, the device can be seriously damaged. If the power supply doesn’t render enough voltage, a computer system won’t operate as it should. Their bulkiness comes from the transformer used to move the voltage up and down as needed. Power conversion alters the incoming electricity to a format that a computer can use. Basically, a power supply specifically converts the alternating high voltage current (AC) into direct current (DC).  It takes the AC from the wall outlet, converting it to unregulated DC. Then it reduces the voltage through an input power transformer, stepping it down to the voltage required by the load. For safety reasons, the transformer also separates the output power supply from the mains input. In addition to AC and DC power supplies, DC to DC (DC-DC) and AC to DC (AC-DC) converters are also available. These allow you to plug electrical devices into car outlets or similar sources that supply direct current power. Power supplies have two main categories: unregulated and regulated, depending on their output. The most basic type is unregulated. It delivers the expected output at a given current. However, this doesn’t always reflect the actual voltage output. If you want to save money while powering devices with loads that closely match the power supply’s output, you can opt for this one. Regulated power supplies, on the contrary, ensure the output is delivered smoothly and unchanging, regardless of draw or input. This is thanks to its added voltage regulator, which unregulated supplies don’t have. This consistency in electricity delivery is crucial for sensitive electronics, making regulated power supplies more necessary. And although this supply is a more expensive option, it can save you the cost of having to repurchase and replace new electronics messed up by an unregulated supply. Unregulated Pros and Cons PROS Simple circuitry Durable CONS The voltage varies with load current draw Designed for fixed output current or voltage Regulated Pros and Cons PROS Voltage is consistent Available in high-quality power supplies Noise filtering Adjustable output voltage or current Precision tuning Comes in several options including linear, switched and battery-based CONS Complex More expensive Selecting the wrong type could lead you to two things: a severely damaged device or an empty wallet due to damage beyond repair. So when purchasing a supply, be mindful of the unregulated power supply vs. regulated. This is as important as the voltage in terms of operation and safety of the power supply. Basic power supplies have several parts that help the unit function. This includes stepping up or down the voltage, converting power and reducing ripple voltages. These components are essential to the function of a power supply unit. Knowing their parts and their contributions in operating a computer system will help you understand more about power supplies. Transformers Transformers convert the incoming voltage to the needed outgoing voltage level. They also may step up or step down the voltage. Rectifier Can either be half-wave, full-wave, or bridge. A power supply uses a rectifier to change the incoming power from AC to DC. Filter When AC power is altered to DC, it still has distinct waves that need smoothing out. This is where a filter comes in handy. While it may not completely smooth out the waves, it can considerably reduce the wild shifts. This leaves a ripple voltage in the power output. Regulator As the name suggests, this part of the power supply regulates voltage during power fluctuations and variation in loads. This ensures a steady constant voltage supply through all operational conditions. Different Functions for Every Need Power supplies have essential functions. They may need to change voltage up or down, convert power to direct current or regulate power for smoother outgoing voltage. These functions will help you choose which ideal supply works best for your electrical needs. Opting for a device packed with numerous features could cost you more. But the tricky part is, when you didn’t get the feature you need, you could damage the device you need to power. This is why it’s important to understand each function found in every model or device type. Nowadays, systems without power supplies are less often found—as most of them include one upon purchase. If you own a desktop, you’ll probably see one. But there’s an alternative to the PSU, and it’s Power over Ethernet (PoE). With this, electrical power can be carried through network cables without being tied up to an outlet. Ideal for systems that require more flexibility, PoE provides wireless access points to wherever is most convenient. Even better, less space is taken up by wiring. Although it can be tempting to buy just any power supply to run your PC, that’s not a smart choice. A power supply that doesn’t provide reliable power, let alone isn’t compatible with the build, can cause a number of problems. This includes random resets and freezes. Therefore, you’ll want to give your power supply shopping more time and attention than you would when choosing a CPU, GPU, RAM. Picking the right power supply will give you the best possible performance and help contribute to a lifetime of reliability. For more on power outputs, upgrades to efficiency and other form factors, you can read this buying guide, courtesy of NewEgg. If you’re currently looking for a power supply, here at Wiltronics we offer Desktop Style DC Switchmode Power Supplies. They are versatile and comes in a range of different configurations. All have high output currents and are low-profile for easy mounting. Listed below are some of the best power supply units we have on hand. 24V 2.5A 60W Desktop/PC Power Supply This single output 60W 24V 2.5A desktop/pc power supply (JMP3254) is ideal for use with various types of consumer electronic devices, telecommunication devices, etc. The power adaptor complies with the latest energy efficiency regulation (EISA 2007/DoE Level VI). Other features include low no-load power consumption (less than 0.075W) and average operating efficiency of up to 90%. Made of a 94V-0 flame retardant plastic case and is certified for various international safety regulations. It is far superior to any other power supply in the market. Desktop/PC Power Supply 12VDC 10A 120Watt - DC Plug (2.1mm) This Desktop Power Supply (JMP3241) is suitable for a range of power requirements. This includes large surveillance systems to replace a number of smaller plug packs. What’s more, the DC splitter cables are available separately. 9VDC 5.5Amp 2.1mm DC Plug This DC plus (PS1009/2.1) is a 9VDC 5.5 amp switchmode desktop-style power supply, with a 2.1mm DC plug. Requires an IEC lead for 240VAC input. For more, you can browse our wide selection of desktop power supplies here. The Bottom Line Generally, electronics like computers require power supplies to fully function. But the purpose of power supplies doesn’t end there, especially if you know how a power supply really works. It can provide DC voltage to the motherboard, adapters, peripheral devices, appliances, lights, and more! No wonder why they’re widely used and appear anywhere. Check your computer or any device that requires electricity, you probably have a power supply in or connected to that.

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The Role of Alarm Clock Radios in Our Everyday Life
April 28, 2021

  The sound of an alarm clock may not be the most pleasing thing to hear first thing in the morning. But admit it, we need it. The ‘love and hate relationship’ we have with alarm clocks is understandable. We hate them for their shrill alarm, but without it, we’d be oversleeping and wind up late At the end of the day, we treasure them nonetheless. But alarm clocks can be more than a wake-up call device. In fact, they play a vital role in everyday life. If you want to know how alarms help you in your daily grind, then you're in the right place! This article will also provide you with a quick overview between alarm clocks and phone alarms. What’s more, we’ll introduce you to a smart version of the alarm clock and some factors to consider when purchasing one. Let’s get started! First things first, why is it so hard to get up early in the morning? Mark Muehlbach, PhD, F.AASM, R.PSGT, clinical director at the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, shares a brief context as to why this dilemma has become a daily problem. “Ideally, a person will wake on his or her own when they need to each morning. These are the people who set an alarm but wake a few minutes before the alarm sounds as if their brain has an expectation to be awake at a certain time. On the other hand, is the person who needs two or three alarms to wake them. Our busy schedules and external influences like mobile phones, televisions, tablets, streetlights, neighborhood noises and a myriad of other stimuli can interrupt our sleep, which requires our bodies to demand more sleep and, in turn, lead to us waking feeling drowsy and tired. For humans, it is not that difficult to override our internal clock: staying up late or having an irregular sleep/wake schedule can influence our internal clock and make it difficult to arise when we need to. Shift workers (those who work when the rest of us sleep) often alter their internal body clock, flipping and flopping their day/night schedules, and may need alarm clocks to wake them as they battle their internal biology.” Courtesy of Amerisleep on Huff Post. For most, part of waking up each morning is the buzzing alarm clock. Avoiding pressing snooze is necessary unless you wish to start your day off on the wrong foot. Waking up in the early morning hours is challenging for many people. With a little bit of help from an alarm clock, we could possibly overcome the obstacle. The convenience of alarm clocks is self-evident. Some of us would probably have a hard time making it to work or school every day without one. On top of that, they can be helpful in terms of normalising sleeping patterns. Waking up to the same sound around the same time each day can keep your sleep schedule consistent. Other than the task of waking up on time in the morning, setting an alarm for us to be reminded of a certain chore could also be one of the reasons why millions of people are taking advantage of it. Maybe this is partly why we’re used to setting alarms in general. When it comes to using an alarm clock, it falls into two categories: the traditional bedside alarm clock and the smartphone alarm. Smartphone users rely on their gadget to schedule their morning rise, while others still favour the typical buzzing sound of an alarm clock. While both certainly perform the duty, there are a few differences between the two that could make a difference in your everyday health. Let’s begin with phone alarms. Phone Alarms There’s no doubt that smartphones can handle alarms. However, they have drawbacks. Setting your alarm with your smartphone before you sleep, for instance. Chances are you’re peering into its bright screen before hitting the sack. This may seem like a normal thing, but exposing your eyes to too much blue light (through your phone) at night has consequences. One of the common effects is it can disturb your sleep-wake cycle. This leads to sleeping problems at night and daytime tiredness, compromising your physical health. In addition to this, sleeping next to your phone also can impose a negative influence on your mental health. While there seem to be a lot of downsides to waking up to a phone alarm, still, some positive aspects are present. For one, sleeping next to your phone can provide a great deal of security. In case of an emergency, you can contact your friends and family within reach—vice versa. Traditional Alarm Clocks One of the perks of owning a regular alarm clock is that it can present you with the time without exerting any effort. Just simply look up at it in bed and you’ll know the current time. This is a lot better than checking the time with your phone, tempting you into checking a few things before going back to sleep. Alarm clocks won’t keep you up at night as well. And most certainly, they won’t harm your sleep in any way. They don’t emit blue light, which is a great convenience. In addition to their reliability, alarm clocks are just traditional. They’ve become a normal bedroom fixture. There’s something comforting about knowing that there’s an alarm clock sitting on your nightstand. Without one, a room would feel incomplete. The Bottom Line Both can serve their purpose, but the choice all depends on how you like your sleep-wake patterns to be. You can try your smartphone for a couple of weeks, or the other, and see how it affects your lifestyle. For phone alarms, you can adjust the alarm sound or ringtone to your own preference. Limiting your screen time also can reduce the risk of the impact of blue light on your overall health. As for traditional alarm clocks, you can enjoy the benefits of not oversleeping and the added vintage decor to your bedroom. When in doubt, you can always use both, given that you have a big nightstand and your ears are willing to stand the extra loud buzzing sounds. Investing in a good alarm clock, one that wakes you up gently, can help you start the day on the right track. But how about an alarm that can ease you into the waking world with the familiar sound of your favourite station? Have you heard about clock radios? Today’s clock radios offer more advanced functions and provide a powerful alarm for waking up in the morning, and for good reason. Most modern clock radios feature dimmable lighting, gentler alarm sounds, sleek designs, and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music. Some even function as a smart assistant that helps you wake up on time while providing you with the weather report. If you love listening to the radio or to music first thing in the morning, a clock radio can be your perfect bedside companion. When shopping for a clock radio, you’ll want to be sure you’re not wasting your money. To make this investment worthwhile, consider what type will suit your needs and budget, including the features the model offers. Type Clock radios range from the classic two-function models to smart version ones. Standard alarm clocks feature both AM/FM radio and alarm function. The radio function has multiple channel presets and large digital displays, making it easy for the user to read the time in the middle of the night. On the other hand, the alarm function allows for setting one or more alarms. What’s more, it lets you play either a preset radio station or buzzer when the alarm goes off. Generally, these units are small enough to fit on a shelf or nightstand (about 7 inches wide and 7 inches long). Bluetooth alarm clocks offer the same radio and alarm qualities, but with an added Bluetooth connection. This smart feature lets the user connect their smartphone to the clock and stream music. These models typically have more high-quality stereo sound than the standard clock radios. Time Display The time display is the most essential feature you need to look out for when buying a clock radio. Given their role as alarm, they also must be visible at night. The user should be able to read the time display effortlessly at night. Some clocks can project the time onto the ceiling. This is perfect for those reading while lying comfortably. Other models feature adjustable brightness, so the light from the display won’t interrupt anyone’s sleep. Wired vs Wireless Most clock radios are powered by a standard 115-volt plug and outlet. Wired clock radios surely can do their job and work perfectly fine, except for when there’s a power outage. In that case, the clock will be shut off and the settings will likely reset. This is where the wireless versions come into play. Many models also feature battery backups. You use batteries instead of electricity. The good thing about battery-powered clocks is that they can keep running in the event of a power interruption. Other things to consider includes: Sound Quality and Volume Snooze Function Additional Features With our great range of clocks and clock radios, you can wake up to your favourite radio station. Or even your own music files on time every day of the week. With a fantastic choice of models, you will never sleep in! Check out our top picks below!   Alarm Clock Radio with Fast QI Wireless Charging (Price: $89.95) Wake up to the sounds of your favourite music on an SD card, USB or even the radio with this feature-packed Alarm Clock Radio with fast QI charging (JAR1936). With Bluetooth technology and a built-in mic, you can stream your music to the device and even take calls. For a quick charge, you can drop your compatible smartphone on the top pad. Other features include: Dual Alarm 24 Hour Time Format FM Radio 4,000mAh Battery 5W Qi Charging Pad 3.5mm Aux Input Jack 2 x 5W Speakers   Large Display Clock Radio with AM/FM Tuner (Price: $42.95) This easy to read large display clock radio with AM/FM tuner (JAR1932) provides easy viewing without the need to squint or move close to the unit. It also features a 12 or 24-hour time format with dual alarm and snooze function. Other features include: Time & Alarm Battery Back-Up Dual Display Brightness Mains Powered   Clock Radio with AM/FM Tuner (Price: $26.95) This compact Clock Radio with AM/FM Tuner (JAR1930) features a dual alarm with a snooze function. What’s more, it comes with a built-in antenna and digital tuner Optional 2 x AAA (not included) battery backup for time and alarm settings in case of blackouts during the night. Mains powered with a 1.3m lead. Other features include: 0.9 Inch Amber Display Time & Alarm Battery Back-Up Dual Display Brightness   Retro Alarm Clock With FM Radio (Price: 24.95) This retro alarm clock (JAR1938) comes with a large digital display and an FM radio with 20 memory presets. You can now wake up with the bells of the retro alarm clock if you are a heavy sleeper with this one! Other features include sleep mode, 12/24 hour time, day of the week display, and a USB output to charge your Smartphone while you sleep. All in a stylish black metal housing.   We may not be fully aware of it but alarm clocks (whether it’s a phone alarm, a traditional alarm clock, or a radio clock) have an important role in our everyday lives—from improving our sleeping patterns at night to waking up on time in the morning. We hope this article will help you find the right alarm clock that suits your lifestyle!

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How Does a Universal Charger Work?
April 26, 2021

  When your device runs out of battery, what charging method do you use? As new generations of gadgets emerge, more is demanded from battery chargers, from improved speed to capacity. And with modern technologies paving the way for multi-functional devices, a fast and efficient battery charging method is possible. In this article, we’ll discuss how a universal charger woks. Along the way, we’ll find out if you need one. On a daily basis, we use gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, and tablets as a means of communication, for life optimisation, and for simplifying work. But regardless of their great advantages, they need regular charging to function and serve their purpose. And what could be more annoying than using multiple devices, be it for work or school, but there's only one socket for charging? Instances like this are likely to happen in most public places. Carrying a number of chargers can be bothersome too. A device that can let us sync our gadgets in a more convenient way and at a faster speed can solve this problem. This is why universal charging methods exist. As the name suggests, a universal charger is used to charge across multiple electronic devices. This gives you the opportunity to charge all your electronics with a single gadget, making it handy for whatever tasks you have to undertake. Earlier models work by clipping a device’s battery or any Lithium-ion battery (either vertically or horizontally to match the contacts on the charger). Once the battery is locked in place, the universal charger is plugged into the wall. Further, when the green light is flashing, it indicates that the battery is charging. When the light glows continuously, the battery is fully charged. The latest versions now feature upgraded compatibility not only for mobile phones but also for laptops, tablets, and USB-powered appliances. Modern variants have also made cohesive improvements, for one, they don't require you to pull the battery out to charge it. If your old charger is broken or lost, a universal charger makes an excellent alternative. Whether it’s for your phone, laptop, camera battery, or all at once, you’ll have one charger for all your electronic devices. But before you decide to buy one, familiarise yourself with the various types of universal chargers, as their compatible devices can vary.   Charger with USB Plugs A universal charger with USB plugs is a compact solution for your charging needs. Although gadgets come in a variety of different styles of charger, most of them share one thing in common: USB cables. USB connector comes with a dedicated USB plug. Thus, devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, or appliances, equipped with USB ports can benefit from this. USB chargers with multiple ports are great for those who want to charge mobile and tablet devices, as well as laptops and other things with ease. The more you have, the better, right?   Universal Laptop Charger In today’s modern world, you’ll also find universal chargers that are specifically designed for laptops. Universal laptop chargers generally include a large variety of connectors to fit with laptops with unique plugs or a wider range of computer brands. If you plan on purchasing one, you should buy a charger with adapters for computer plugs. There are plenty of universal laptop chargers on the market that will work with your laptop. But if you’re currently searching for the best model, you might want to consider checking out this 90W Slim Universal Laptop Charger (JMP3332). This compact, sleek universal charger pack comes with an advanced transformer that’s capable of handling anything from 100V to 240V. What’s more, its outer power generates a smooth range of voltages. Supporting 5v, 16v, 18.5v, 19v, and 20v, this charger is capable of producing up to 90W. This means you’re free to use a 20-watt charger, a 40-watt or even an 87.235-watt charger. As long as it’s below 90 watts, you’re good to go. Another thing we like about this charger is that it features a USB port, allowing you to charge your other smart devices on the go. Most importantly, this laptop charger comes with 11 different plugs that are compatible with a range of laptop brands, including: Dell ® Toshiba ® Acer ® Hewlett Packard ® Samsung ® Sony ® Fujitsu ® Combination Universal Charger As the name suggests, this type of universal charger combines the first two types, letting you charge cellphones, laptops, and other devices all at once. If you’re travelling, it’s best to opt for a universal charger that comes with different power plugs for your different devices. Various Power Plugs Last but not least, universal chargers with various power plugs are also available on the market. These models are specifically designed to adapt to a wide range of power sockets across the world. If you often travel, a universal charger with various power plugs can be your best travel companion! Other than the AC power plug, they usually feature USB ports as well. The Advantages Universal chargers offer numerous benefits that brand chargers don’t. For starters, they’re more affordable. If the charger that came with your device stops working or if you lose it, getting a universal charger is generally cheaper than buying an original model. Other advantages include: They’re easier to replace They can charge several gadgets at once They’re compatible with a range of electronic devices and most brands They’re designed for charging devices at a faster rate When choosing a universal charger, take note of the compatibility. Take a look at the manufacturer’s specification to see if the model is compatible with your device’s charger. If it’s for your laptop, make sure the charger has the right plug. It’s also important that you know exactly what you’ll be using it for. If you intend to use it for charging your smartphone, tablet or any similar devices, a universal charger with USB ports would be the right type for you. The same goes for laptops; you need a universal laptop charger. For travelling, the combination type and the one with various power plugs are your best bet. Lastly, pay attention to the voltage. Some universal charger units feature an intelligent charging system that can detect the voltage needed by each device. However, with other models, you have to adjust the voltage manually. It’s always a great idea to take this into account, and if necessary, adjust accordingly. Check out our wide range of Plug Pack & Laptop Power Supplies Providing more than just convenience, universal chargers can be your saving grace in many situations. Thanks to their compatibility, fast charging quality, and ability to power multiple devices at once, they make a great accessory for everyone. In addition to being a cost-effective solution for tech users, the environment may also benefit from universal chargers. If the majority would use this kind of charging method, we could cut down the total amount of charger-related e-waste. You might also like this Universal XTAR Battery Charger (BC1168), which lets you charge four batteries at the same time. Or perhaps this Vanson Universal Ni-MH Charger (BC1190). We hope this article will help you find a suitable universal charger for your everyday needs.

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How Audio Cables Make a Difference in Sound Quality
April 22, 2021

  It's easy to get tangled up when it comes to audio cables, and the sad truth is that we forget they exist once everything is all connected and working. But what makes this audio component worthy of attention? The most frequently asked question is if audio cables make a difference. Do they really affect the sound quality? Let’s find out! Audio connectors might not be the most exciting part of a studio set up, but they matter. Recording a clean sound while getting a loud enough signal from microphones, guitars, synthesisers, and drum machines into your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) have a lot to do with the audio cable types you use. Let us take you through the audio cable types and components, and explain when cables affect your sound. A Guide to Audio Cable Types There are two common types of audio connectors: analogue and digital cables. This type of audio cable works by transmitting information through continuous waveforms. Let’s say the information is a 100Hz sine wave. In cases like this, the voltage running through the analogue cable will conduct 100 positive-negative cycles per second. Before we head straight to the cable types, let’s get to the basics of analogue cables. These are: Balanced. This cable is designed to cancel out noise, interferences and electrical hums, with the three wires: a ground wire, positive polarity (hot) wire, and negative polarity (cold) wire. The same signal runs through both the positive and negative polarity wires; the only difference is that the negative is inverted. This results in silence when the noise patterns of two wires are in opposite phase with one another. Unbalanced. Meanwhile, unbalanced cables contain two wires: ground wire and positive polarity (hot) wire. This cable also has a bigger chance of picking up noise, especially with cable lengths of over 20 feet. As the name suggests, they only produce an unbalanced signal. How Do You Know Whether or Not Your Gear Is Balanced? In order to achieve a balanced connection, all points in your cable circuit must be balanced. This includes the output on your gear, cables, and input (e.g. mixer or PA). If one of these is unbalanced, then it will make your connection unbalanced. Now, how do you know if your gear is balanced? It’s balanced if: It has XLR (External Line Return) outputs or inputs. This type of connector is used for transmitting balanced line-level signals. It’s in the manual or written on it (e.g. microphones, mixers, or synths with XLR out). It’s unbalanced if: The instrument you’re using is a guitar or bass It has 6.5mm (aka 6.35mm or ¼ inch) mono or stereo outputs It has RCA (Radio Corporation of America) inputs or outputs Your gear is most likely unbalanced if it doesn’t say anything or if it has only 6.5mm  (aka 6.35mm or ¼ inch) outputs. Make sure to check the manual if you’re unsure. Why Do We Need to Know This? When you understand the difference between balanced and unbalanced cables, you’ll know what is right for your recording needs. Wrong cables and noise interference no more! According to LANDR, if you have balanced gear and a balanced mixer, they suggest using balanced cables to get a nice balanced connection. For unbalanced connections, keep your cable as short as possible—under 6 feet, about 1.8 metres—to prevent interference. XLR Cables This type of cable features three pins — positive, negative and ground — and a circular connector, delivering balanced microphone and line-level signals over long distances without noise interference. XLR cables are suitable for both live sound applications and recording studio applications. What’s more, this cable allows mixing boards to deliver ‘phantom power,’ a power source, to microphones. Most other cables can’t do this. Check out our range of XLR Cables here.   TS Cables (Eg. 6.5mm Mono, 3.5mm Mono) Generally used for mono, unbalanced signals, this cable has two contact points separated by an insulator ring: tip (T) and sleeve (S), hence TS cable. The audio signal travels over the tip, while the ground uses the sleeve. This makes T the positive and S the ground. TS cables are also called guitar cables as they’re mostly used to connect a guitar to an amplifier. Unbalanced TS cables should be used with unbalanced input and outputs, e.g. connecting a keyboard with unbalanced TS outputs to the unbalanced input on a DI box.   TRS Cables (Eg. 6.5mm Stereo, 3.5mm Stereo) TRS cables have three contact points, or conductors, separated by insulator rings: tip (Tip), sleeve (S), and ring (R) conductor. This type of cable is used for mono, balanced signals and stereo signals. Thanks to the two conductors, there’s twice as much signal. Plus, with the common-mode rejection, you can run longer cables without noise interference. What’s the difference between TS and TRS cables? In general, TS cables have one signal conductor (positive) and ground, whereas TRS has two conductors (positive and negative) and ground. To tell the difference between these two cables, a TS plug will have a single black band, while a TRS Plug will have 2. Check out our Audio Cables, including TS and TRS here.   RCA Cables If you’re using a CD/DVD player or turntable, you’re likely to be familiar with the RCA cable. This type of cable has three colour-coded plugs that connect to three corresponding coloured jacks on the back of a TV, projector, or another output device. RCA cables carry audio and video signals from the component device to the output device, i.e. television or speakers. In terms of the colours used, they vary on the uses of an output device, such as: Composite video. The colours used are red and white or black for right and left audio channels and yellow for composite video. Composite video is analogue, non-digital, and carries all the video data in one signal. Component cables. Considered the most sophisticated RCA cable and sometimes used on HD TVs. The colours are usually red, green, and blue and two audio lines coloured red and white or black. What’s more, component RCA cable is capable of much higher resolution (480p, 579p, 720p, 1080p, or even higher) compared to composite cable. Check out our RCA Cables here. MIDI Cables MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) cables are used to sync and communicate between a variety of musical instruments and computers. This type of digital cable carries information like notation, pitch, velocity, vibrato, panning, and tempo. Check out our MIDI to USB Cable here.   USB Cables Standing for Universal Serial Bus, USB is a plug and play interference that allows a computer to communicate with peripheral devices such as anything from a keyboard or mouse, external hard drives, audio interfaces, and more. USB cables are generally thinner, lighter, and cheaper than parallel bus cables, making them ideal for consumer products. In a nutshell, both cables transmit audio information. The only difference is that analogue cables transmit electrical audio signals, whereas digital cables work by transmitting information through a long string of 1’s and 0’s, also known as binary codes. Audio Cable Components Conductor As the name suggests, a conductor conducts electricity to pass signal and power through the cable from the original source. If the conductor is too small or made of inferior conductive metals, the audio signal will encounter more resistance and the sound will change. Conductive materials include: Silver. The most conductive metal, generating a brighter and more present sound. Copper. The second most conductive metal and most commonly used in cables. Copper produces a more balanced and warm sound. Gold. Often used as a coating on cable connector ends, and isn’t as conductive as silver or copper. Aluminium. Lacks the same clarity and brightness of sound due to much lower conductivity. Shielding According to Hosa, part of audio quality is in cancelling noise that the conductor picks up between sources. In the case of balanced cables, shielding is less important as they normally transmit line-level audio signals that aren't required to be amplified. For unbalanced cables, on the contrary, shielding is more important as they pick up unwanted noise in longer runs. The ground wire inside also acts as an antenna, making the cable more susceptible to interference. The Bottom Line Audio cables certainly can make a difference, but they don’t “improve” your sound. Their ultimate goal is to translate the sound from the source as transparently as possible, which makes them an important audio component and worthy of attention. Looking for an audio cable for your input device or instrument? You can check out our great selection of audio and visual cables here.

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