InTheMail | Voltlog #428

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the most popular segment hosted here on the channel. Lots of interesting good and equally bad products have been piling up in my special mailbag bin so let’s take a look at them.

I’m gonna start with an absolute garbage product, this smartphone telephoto lens which I thought is going to be great for attaching to my iPhone and shooting videos at let’s say a meter away from the subject but be really zoomed in, like when soldering on a PCB, I don’t want the tripod and the phone to be in my way. I got the 8X variant, because there is also a 12X I believe, I paid like $5 shipped for this and this was probably the worst spent $5 in recent times, this is absolute garbage. All I can get is a blurry image, I’ve tried removing the protective case on my phone thinking this might not be the correct focal length because of that but nope it doesn’t make any difference. Other users report similar things in the product review.. So please don’t order this crap.

I seriously don’t understand what were they thinking? Why did they make this and package it?

Next up I got one of the newer GPS modules from China, this is the ATGM336H which presumably is the part number for the original module Zhongke Micro electronics, but this particular one is rebranded as AiThinker GP-02. Comes with a ceramic GPS antenna so it’s good to go. The SoC used inside this module is the AT6558 and it supports a variety of satellite navigation systems, including China’s BDS (Beidou Satellite) GPS in the US, GLONASS in Russia, GALILEO in the EU, QZSS in Japan and I think their main target is to replace ublox max series with something that is the same size, possibly same package but lower cost. I thought I’d give this module a try, keep it in my GPS modules bag waiting to be used in a GPS project. One mention though is that it doesn’t necessarily mean this particular module that I got from Aliexpress supports all of the functions.. This depends on the variant of the chip used inside the module because as the datasheets shows in this table it can have different config levels. A link for this will be provided in the description of the video.

Next up I have a few different types of insulating washers. These red ones are M3 and M4 size paper type insulating washers, while the black ones are just plastic nylon insulating washers. Both of these can be great when you want to achieve some level of mechanical and electrical insulation when you have screws holding down a pcb and you might have some PCB tracks going too close to the screw hole for example. If possible such a thing should be avoided from the PCB layout stage as mounting hole footprints should have keepout areas corresponding to the size of screw to be used but if you end up with tracks in that space, a small insulating washer like this will save the day.

Next up I got one more set of these Adhesive cable tie mounts, I’ve shown these before, they have some adhesive backing and then they are theoretically reusable because you can clip and unclip this plastic belt. Because of that they can be really handy for cable management. Not sure if this adhesive backing is really 3M, it might not be and the effect of that is that these might come off at some point. Not that 3M is bulletproof, I’ve had genuine 3M cable management mounts that come off after a couple of months so it really depends on the surface type, how clean the surface was and the actual strength of the adhesive.