Friday, December 8, 2017


The HAIBIKE XDURO Trekking Pro and its little brother, the Haibike Trekking RX, are two top-of-the-line German engineered hybrid electric bikes. Both of these are crank drive (center drive) electric bikes, meaning that the motor is mounted next to the pedals and directly powers the crank drive. This makes for good balance and a great “regular bike” feel, as the weight of the motor is centered and low.

I have a Haibike Xduro Trekking Pro, and I think it’s the best bike I have ever had. I LOVE it. This is definitely Haibike at its best – and that’s saying a lot, as Haibike is internationally recognized as a world leader in designing and engineering premium quality electric bikes. Haibike introduced electric mountain bikes, and now dominates that field. This review is about the Trekking Pro, but most of it applies equally to the Haibike Trekking RX (as the two bikes are almost identical).

Notice that I have a Mirrycle rear view mirror on the left end of the handlebar on my Haibike. It is quick and easy to install this rear view mirror on your bike. I absolutely never ride a bike that does not have a rear view mirror (just as I would never drive a car that does not have a rear view mirror). A rear view mirror on a bike is a massively useful safety device, because it lets you see danger coming from behind. It also helps you to be courteous cyclist, because you notice cyclists and motorists who want to pass, and you can move over for them. I highly recommend the Mirrycle rear view mirror, as they are cheap, tough, light – and may save your life.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

OnePlus 10000mAh Power Bank review: The advantage of good looks

There is no dearth of affordable power banks in the market, but only a very few of them offer a mix of decent looks, powerful performance and a pocket-friendly price.

Until the first quarter of this year, it was only Xiaomi at the top of the Indian power bank market, but the competition intensified after other top companies joined the race a couple of months ago. And one of the contenders to take on Xiaomi was OnePlus, which garnered reputation in the country with its OnePlus One smartphone.

Launched to rival Xiaomi's 10400 mAh power bank, the 10000 mAh OnePlus power bank was introduced at a price higher than the former. While Xiaomi's 10400 mAh was launched at Rs 999, the OnePlus' came carrying a price tag of Rs 1,399. Does the OnePlus power bank justify the price difference between the two? We analyse.

The exclusive design of the OnePlus power bank was what attracted my attention first. And this is what is its highlight. If you look at the options from other rivals including Asus and Huawei, you will find their design to be more or less similar. What the button-less OnePlus power bank (like GOAL ZERO YETI 1250 SOLAR GENERATOR KIT ) has is a curved design which made it nestle into my palm comfortably. Despite being long, it doesn't feel heavy in the hand. But had it been a little shorter, it would have been even better.

Albeit it has an exclusive design, it, on the design front, loses to the Asus ZenPower by a margin which features a Xiaomi-like design but with a compact form factor. Even onlookers at the office found the Asus ZenPower to be a more neat and handsome than the OnePlus power bank.

Another thing that adds to its exclusivity is the presence of dual USB ports. It means you can charge two devices at a time. While the 10000 mAh power banks from Asus and Xiaomi have only a single USB port to charge one device at a time.

Not that the offerings from the rivals don't come with the dual USB functionality, but only a few of them offer this feature in the 10000 mAh category. Neither Xiaomi's nor Asus' 10000mAh power banks come with the dual-USB port functionality. However, Xiaomi recently introduced its 16000 mAh power bank with the dual USB support that has a price tag same as the OnePlus' - Rs 1,399. And this is where the OnePlus power bank gets a close, or perhaps, a powerful rival. The new power bank (16000 mAh) from Xiaomi has design aesthetics similar to the old one but with a width half of its predecessor and a length that's also almost double. Huawei Honor's 13000 mAh also has dual USB ports, but its design lacks the grace.

The OnePlus power bank comes in back and white models and our review unit came in white. And it does look pretty.

Talking about performance, the OnePlus power bank took around 7 hours to get fully charged. And in line with the company's claims, the fully-charged OnePlus power bank managed to charge three phones - two times Nexus 4 (that has a 2100 mAh battery) and once a Xiaomi Mi 4i (3120 mAh). The Asus ZenPower in its comparison delivered the same - nothing extra. Needless to say, but it can also be used to charge other electronic devices that support charging via USB port.

There are four motion-activated battery indicator lights on the side of the OnePlus power bank, with each light representing 25 per cent of remaining power. You can easily activate the lights by consecutively shaking it twice to ascertain how much battery is left in the power bank. The softness of the brightness of the LEDs are actually pleasing to look at.

The power bank turns off automatically as the device on charge or it itself reaches the full battery capacity.

While many of you may assume that the cable (accompanying the OnePlus power bank) could be used for data transfers, but it doesn't do so. It can only be used for charging. On the other hand, the one that comes with the Asus ZenPower (and many other pwer banks) lets you do data transfers as well.

The OnePlus power bank bearing an all-new exclusive design makes to our recommendation list, but it does have equally powerful and smart contenders that can give it a tough fight.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Understanding your solar battery – a bit of electrochemistry

If your eyes roll back when you start thinking of high school chemistry you may want to skip to the next section, but for those who need a primer on batteries, then read on here. A battery has three main parts: the electrodes, electrolyte and separator. There are always at least two electrodes in a battery, one positive terminal and one negative terminal. The positive terminal is called a cathode (you can remember this is by spelling it as ca+hode). The negative terminal is called the anode. The electrolyte is the liquid that the electrodes are placed in. It allows for charge to flow between the cathode and anode. The separator keeps the anode and cathode from being directly linked. This means that electrons have to go through the wire in order to complete the electrochemical reaction.

Lead-acid batteries consist of a series of lead plates (electrodes) in dilute sulfuric acid solution (electrolyte). When discharging, oxygen atoms from lead oxide (PbO2) in the positive plate react with hydrogen atoms from sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in the electrolyte. As you probably guess, these are going to produce water (H2O). Meanwhile, lead sulfate (PbSO4) is also produced at the cathode and anode. So in general we can say that during discharge sulfate ions leave the electrolyte and water is produced. During charging the reaction goes in the opposite direction producing lead oxide at the cathode. Hydrogen can be evolved when overcharging, creating a risk of explosion as hydrogen is flammable. Proper handling and care of batteries is therefore crucial.
General care and maintenance: how to get the most out of your solar batteries

The goal of battery care and maintenance is to improve you battery performance and life. Battery life is a highly variable property that depends on all kinds of factors such as storage temperature and depth of discharge (DOD).
Renogy MPPT Charge Controller will also protect the batteries from overcharging, over-discharging, overload, and short circuit.

About 80% of failures are caused by sulfation, a process where sulfur crystals form on the battery’s lead plates and prevent chemical reactions from happening. Sulfation occurs when the battery has a low charge or electrolyte level.Due to the dangers of sulfation it is very important to monitor, maintain and control these two factors in flooded batteries. To do this you will need distilled water, a digital voltmeter, a temperature compensating hydrometer and proper safety gear.

Remember, you cannot and do not need to check the fluid level and the specific gravity in AGM and gel batteries. So the first two steps only apply to flooded batteries.

How to check the fluid level

You only do this for unsealed batteries (FLA)–these are the flooded lead acid batteries. Open your battery cap and look inside. Distilled water should be added into the cells so that no metal lead surfaces are visible. Most batteries will have a “fill line” indicating where the electrolyte level should be. The maximum fluid levelis approximately 1/2″ below the cap. Do not overfill your batteries, you don’t want them to spill!

How to check the charge level

Determine the state of charge or depth of discharge (DOD) by checking the specific gravity and voltage of the battery. The specific gravity table below will help you determine the state of charge of your battery. If your batteries are 6V instead of 12V then simply divide the voltages by two. Similarly, double the voltage values for a 24V system.

How to charge batteries

All off-grid solar homeowners should have a general idea about the battery charging cycle. There are three charging phases: float, bulk and absorption. You only need to know the basics about these phases:
Float charging, also called trickle charging, consists of charging the battery at the same rate that it is discharging. This just keeps the batteries fully charged.
Bulk charging occurs when you start to charge a discharged battery. Voltage rises towards the maximum permissible level.
Absorption charging follows the bulk step. Voltage is held constant at the maximum level and current starts to decrease until the battery is fully charged.

If you install an adjustable charge controller you will have to set your float, bulk and absorption charging voltages. Ensure that these are the same as those that the battery manufacturer recommends. For solar electricity systems, the time in which there is charging from the solar panels can be too short to go through full bulk and absorption phases. If this is the case, you can get away with setting both phases at the same voltage. For specific charging voltages please contact your manufacturer or refer to your battery’s data sheet.

How to clean batteries

Battery terminals need to be regularly cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and distilled water using a battery terminal cleaner brush. Afterward rinse the terminals with water, ensure that all connections are tight and coat the metal components with a commercial sealant or a high temperature grease. Of course make sure to remove the clamps (negative first) before cleaning.

How to replace batteries

When replacing old batteries keep in mind that your batteries’ performance could be harmed through ‘mixing’. When old and new batteries are used together, the newer batteries will quickly degrade to the quality of the aged ones. For this reason, mixing old and new batteries is a huge waste of your money. Avoid this by properly maintaining your batteries so that they all have good life spans.

How to use batteries safely

As mentioned before, lead-acid batteries produce hydrogen which is flammable in the presence of oxygen. In fact, Saturn V rockets used hydrogen and oxygen as fuel in their upper stages. To prevent rocket fuel from building up in your battery bank, connect the box to the outdoors with vent pipes and make sure the system is well vented. Some systems also use fans to help vent the gasses out.

If you’ve got a battery backup system that kicks in when there is a power outage, you need it to work after several months, or even years, of inactivity. In order to make sure it will work, the batteries need to stay fully charged. If you let your battery just sit there, it will slowly lose its charge. The charging mode that keeps your batteries topped off is called trickle charging. So to take care of a backup battery bank, its best to get AGM batteries, which we discuss below, because they require practically no maintenance, and trickle charge them off a small solar panel or other electricity source. If you use a good setup, your solar batteries can last 8 years.

Batteries are dangerous

Proper safety precautions must be taken whenever you are near your battery bank. Use thick gloves and protective eyewear and remove all metal items. The last thing you want is to be burned by acid or electrocuted. Just in case there is an acid leak, make sure you have baking soda and water near the batteries. These can be used to neutralize the acid.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Search Engine Optimization services: How to Find a Good Company

Affordable Local SEO Services

With the upsurge in demand for Search Engine Optimization services, Search Engine Optimization firms around the world began to grow in amount. You can almost find them just about every nation on earth. The inquiry is, does your company really want assistance from an SEO Firm?

Search Engine Optimization is popular among various companies. With nearly a quarter of the entire worldwide revenues credited to internet marketing, who wouldn't care? Its power and function in the marketing campaign are obviously significant, particularly to businesses which are unable of physical growth. The Internet presents them a chance to enlarge with a minimal price. Therefore, Search Engine Optimization now holds a more important function in improving a firm's earnings.

Search Engine Optimization services are usually outsourced from developing countries such as the Philippines and India. While a bulk of search engine optimization may be carried out at home by a learned webmaster, it's rare that you just find affordable local SEO services who work at home with reputable Search Engine Optimization qualifications. The requirement for a reasonable Search Engine Optimization firm has driven most western firms to adopt outsourcing Search Engine Optimization abroad.

It's a fact that search engine optimization will not need to be too complicated like many businesses make you believe but there are definite conditions where the help of an internet search engine optimization firm becomes essential. Here are a few of the cases where it's wise to find assistance from a Search Engine Optimization firm:

Your company demands your complete attention and you also do not have time to track your own website data.
Firms and companies who do not have competent workers to perform the necessary search engine optimization. It's always preferable to employ specialists over going through the learning procedure and do Search Engine Optimization yourself.

When after your time and effort to optimize your website, you don't get any significant progress in your position and traffic, you should get assistance from specialists. A Search Engine Optimization company can help introduce advanced Search Engine Optimization strategies which you could never have used yet. Also, firms that specialize in Search Engine Optimization have more resources to do the occupation.

Outsourcing affordable local SEO services and selecting the most appropriate firm to work with needs careful planning. You don't wish to wind up with firms using a number of unethical strategies that can hurt your site. What you would like and exactly what you require is a competent Search Engine Optimization firm which may produce results through professional and ethical Search Engine Optimization strategies. So to assist you to select an excellent Search Engine Optimization supplier, here are a number of things to be cautious about:

Businesses that ensure top positions for your website. The simple truth is, no one can guarantee top positioning on internet search engines. Search engine optimization companies use strategies which are proven to have worked. Search engine algorithms are highly classified.

Select Search Engine Optimization firms which are honest, upfront and realistic. It does not mean the business is great when they charge a high fee for their Search Engine Optimization services. There are plenty of Search Engine Optimization firms offshore that could produce results for half the price. You jus need to be patient in hunting.

Select Search Engine Optimization firms that offer scheduled reporting. Select businesses with complete contact information.

Your Search Engine Optimization firm should routinely contact you and should always find new means to reach the most effective result for your website. They need to be advanced yet ethical in their Search Engine Optimization practices.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

How to Make Positive First Impression of Your Business with Attractive Signage

You’re taking the plunge and opening up your own restaurant. You’ve planned all of the details, from the d├ęcor to your menu and advertising. You’ll be ready to open your doors soon, but you have one more item that you need to take care of before the grand opening. Restaurant signage needs to come at the top of your list. Your sign will be the beacon that draws customers into your establishment. Once you’ve hooked your patrons, your food and setting will take care of the rest. It all begins with a sign.

You Need a Partner in Signage

At Priority Sign, you’ll find a dedicated staff that is committed to bringing you excellent results. It all begins with an initial consultation as you discuss your vision for your restaurant and the sign that will be your brand. A design team will take into consideration the space and location for your sign. The next step is to create a design that represents you. Your input is essential in order to ensure you are satisfied with the final product.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Many Benefits of Online Fax for Small Business

The fax machine was once a staple of any productive office environment. Today, these bulky machines are disappearing rapidly, but their functionality is still very important. The need to send secure, high quality documents hasn’t disappeared. Modern offices have simply found a better way to get the job done. Online faxes have a wealth of benefits to offer, making them a compelling alternative. Want to know the history of fax machines and the benefits modern version of online fax machines? Continue reading below.

A Brief History of Fax Machine

Though you probably picture fax machines as something similar to printers, this technology actually predated the telephone. The idea for the fax machine originated in the 1840s. By 1865, the French were using a pentelegraph machine that transmitted images over great distances. Transmissions were sent between Paris and Lyon, later extending to Marseille.

With the rise of the telephone, fax technology was refined to use telephone wires to convey images. The technology steadily improved over subsequent decades. The telephotography machine was used in the early 1900s to fax photographs for newspaper publication. In 1955, the first radio fax transmission travelled across the continent. Xerox released the first commercial fax machine in 1964, and by 1966 office workers could easily transmit documents from one location to another. Fax technology today is an office staple that employees are familiar with and feel comfortable using.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How can HR Help Small Businesses Avoid These Common Mistakes

Human resource management can seem tedious and even unnecessary to a small business owner. You do not have hundreds of employees, so why complicate things? Effective HR management can, however, be a great asset to your business, helping you avoid lawsuits from former employees, giving employees an environment where their skills can grow, and most importantly, giving you better oversight and control over your business. Human resource department also plays an important role in helping you avoid personnel related mistakes that have the potential to result in lawsuits and fines that can hurt your business. Read on to see what common mistakes HR department can help avoid.

Hiring the Wrong Person for the Job

This seems intuitive but it is easy to make this mistake, especially if you rush through the hiring process to fill important positions. You must have a clear picture of what the position you are advertising requires. What will the employee be doing? What skills are required to do this effectively? This picture must be communicated clearly to the applicant and the interview panel. This communication starts with the job advertisement and requires a clear job description.


The HAIBIKE XDURO Trekking Pro and its little brother, the Haibike Trekking RX, are two top-of-the-line German engineered hybrid electric...