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[Review] Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter 360

January 27, 2017 0 comments

About a year ago I purchased my first 75 gallon fresh water fish tank.  I started with a simple over the top dual filter that did great but I was sick of changing the filter pads every month.  I also wanted something more powerful that would make my tank clear.  I looked at several different options from Marineland to Fluval and a few other brands.  Based on product reviews and pricing I decided to go with the Marineland canister 360 filter.  This was my first filter so I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  The only knowledge I had was following YouTube installations and various forums.

When I received the Marineland canister 360 the instructions were a little vague.  The biggest thing that got me was they included (2) small grommets that I would of thought they went on both input/output hoses at the base off the canister filter.  Turns out that was totally wrong.  I put them on there and primed and turned on the filter; I noticed water was leaking out of one the hoses at the base.  I saw the grommet was stuck inside the hose which was causing the leak so the only way I could get it out was to take the hose completely off.

When I did this it made a suction and tons of water just started shooting out everywhere but I finally managed to get the hose reattached.  Once I got the hose back on everything was perfect besides a lot of water that came out from a problem that could of been avoided with better instructions.  Other than that the priming of the filter and everything else was a breeze!  You can barely hear the filter running, the 4 valve air pump I have is honestly louder than the filter.

I was super nervous this month to clean the filter just to see how much it has collected due to the whole mishap with the water shooting all over.  Honestly all I did was unplug the filter, turn the “key” and the hoses were turned off.  There wasn’t a drop of water anywhere.  I’ve been extremely happy with my purchase and the tank just looks great every since I installed this.

Order:  Marineland Canister 360 Filter

[Review] Nintendo Wii U Pro Controller with RetroPie

January 26, 2017 0 comments

Since I have been dabbling in the whole RaspberryPi / RetroPie / EmulationStation world, I wanted to have the best wireless controller.  Why?  because it’s not the 90’s any more and people aren’t sitting on the floor in front of their televisions.  My TV is mounted above the fire place on the wall so to have a silly USB cable coming down while my two kids are running around isn’t practical.

I also wanted a bluetooth wireless controller that was just going to work and always work even if I had to spend $30-40 bucks.  I’ve tried over 10 different controllers from 8bitdo, to Dualshock PS3, and the OEM Xbox 360 controller.  Out of every single controller I tried I always went back to the Nintendo Wii U PRO.  It just felt right in my hands, the controls and buttons are perfect there is no delay.  I even left the system running for 8 hours I came back and the controller was still powered on and responsive.

I’m a huge fan of Nintendo 64 emulation so I’ve been looking for a system that could handle the ROMs and emulators on the big screen.  I’ve tried the Raspberry Pi2 which was still laggy but after testing the RaspberryPi3 it seems the lag has gone down tremendously.  One of my favorite games is Mario Kart 64 and the controller feels perfect.  It’s not the same as an official 64 controller with the Z trigger on the bottom or shape.  Instead the controls are your RB/LB buttons and gas utilizes the B button.

So out of all the controllers I demoed I will have to this is by far the best for use with the RetroPie/EmulationStation.  Be sure to make sure you by the official OEM version as there are several knock-offs.

You can purchase here: Nintendo Wii U PRO

If you know of something that works better that you can recommend please leave a comment below.

[Review] Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor v2

January 18, 2017 0 comments

Here is my first Product review on the Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor.  When I first started getting on board with the SmartThings hub and the entire smart house experience.  This was definitely one of the things I wanted most was proximity sensing.  I wanted to have the lights turn on and my deadbolts unlock and whatever I wanted to add in the future.

After getting all my Lutron Caseta light switches installed, my Yale deadbolts installed and attached to the SmartThings hub.  I was finally able to play around with the Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor fob.  I loved the idea that I can just place this product right on my key ring and its so compact and lightweight.

So I set up my SmartThings app, and created a rule automation routine that when I was in the area it would turn my porch lights on and the deadbolts would unlock.  It worked great the first few times but it was never reliable.  It worked probably about 80% of the time and this was killer to me; i just wanted the product to work.  After about 3-4 weeks of using the fob/sensor the battery was already down to about 30%.  When it went below 30% the device just stayed “Away” in the SmartThings app it never came back.  I had to change out the battery, remove it from my SmartThings app and re-add it.

I went to the Community forum, and started posting my findings a lot of people had good work a-rounds but still worked about 80% of the time.  Every time I came home and it didn’t work correctly I was pissed off.  I was ready to just scrap the entire idea of having anything Smart related especially if the products just didn’t work.

That same post topic another user suggested I follow this method using Tasker/SharpTools/AutoLocation.  You need to have the paid version of these apps which will cost you about $5.00  which is nothing since i’m already about $1000.00 invested in SmartHome products.

So basically my review of the SmartThings Arrival sensor is absolute garbage.  I want a product that’s just going to work 100% of the time and changing batteries monthly is another downfall.

Please check back for my post about using your Android or iPhone device as your SmartThings proximity sensor with Tasker/SharpTools/AutoLocation.  I’ve been testing it so far for a week and it’s been 100% all of the time. It’s a long process on getting it installed on your device but it’s definitely worth it.

ProsCons
  • Light weight
  • Compact
  • Didn’t work all of the time
  • Poor battery life