I was planning on posting about Dealextreme for a while; well, here it is! For those who don’t know what I am talking about: DealExtreme is a candystore for tinkerers and tiny gadget lovers. DX offers thousands of products for ridiculously low prices and no shipping costs. Next to this, it can also turn out to be hell for people wanting to purchase quality products. Because of this split personality, I want to focus on the positive experiences I have had with DealExtreme, in order to prevent any negative experiences from happening.
There are a few guidelines you can follow in order to ensure you will receive stuff that matches your expectations. DealExtreme is a Chinese company. I don’t want to portray Chinese companies in any particular way, but for DX this means: Lots and lots of variations (imitations if you will) of products, with equally varying quality.
The advantage you can profit from by using DealExtreme isn’t at the products level, but more at the parts level. If you purchase functioning products (like earphones), it is likely that you end up disappointed in the quality, even though you only paid a few dollars for the product. Looking at user reviews can help you in your decision; if a product is rated 5 stars, it might actually be a product worth buying.
Because parts are just parts of products (hence the name), less aspects can be disappointing and therefore you will are likely to be satisfied when ordering parts. What do I mean by parts? I especially mean electronic parts, which are really cheap in comparison to buying electronic parts in Europe.
I would like to focus on cheap electronics and tools in this post. If you have anything to add to this list, you can do so in the comments!
Starting out with my all-time favorite, the 3W RGB led! It works great, and provides excellent Red, Green and Blue lightning to your projects. Priced at $3.40, it is really cheap in comparison with the 15 euro versions I encounter at other websites. The only thing to take into account is that this LED is common anode, this means a common +, and three different negative poles.
Because of the cold nature of LED lightning, and the previous RGB led in particular, it is best to compensate this with some extra warm white LED’s. for only $3 you have this 3W wharm white LED. It doesn’t contain a heat-sink, so you’ll need to buy these extra, together with some cooling paste to ensure your new lights do not get burnt.
A new area DX has been conquering over the last months is the micro-controller area. DX is currently selling different variations of the popular Arduino board. I haven’t had the change to try one of these versions yet, so I can’t give you my opinion on these products. However I suspect they are fully functioning, but feel slightly cheaper, since they’re also listed cheaper than the original Arduino. I am also wondering if any of the profit goes to the brilliant minds behind Arduino, because without support, the Arduino wouldn’t exist..
Alongside the micro-controllers, DX is also selling cheap electronics that work together with Arduino. This makes DX an interesting alternative for purchasing electronics. One particularly interesting piece of equipment is the bluetooth module. Other websites might ask around 40 dollars for this, but DX sells plug and play bluetooth modules for $8.20. In comparison to the 6 dollar one, this one has an on-board voltage regulator, which improves the range of the module itself (providing a stable 3.3 V can be a problem).
This extremely cheap cable cutter outperforms some of my more expensive tools, and therefore it is a must have if you are working with electronics.
Beware of the LED Lamps!
I have bought a 7W LED lamp with a E27 connector to see if LED lightning would be something for me. Firstly, LED lightning is still in development, and as a result you’ll notice that cheaper LED lights radiate cold light. Light you would normally expect in an office, but not in your apartment when watching TV in the evening. Secondly, LED’s claim to live longer than normal power saving bulbs. This is theoretically possible, but because of the cheap build quality, the LED bulb I bought spontaneously stopped working after a month or two. This is quite some time earlier than the expected thousands of hours. Therefore I would advise you to stay away from the current LED lamps sold at DX. If you really want to try LED lamps, see if you can get the newest generation LED lamps with quantum dots. They claim to radiate a more natural light, and probably have a built quality far superior of the DX bulbs.
arduino dealextreme electronics