View RSS Feed

Recent Blogs Posts

  1. Hardware Review: Allianz Mini Jump Starter

    by , 12-10-2015 at 10:31 AM

    What is it?

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a portable vehicle jump starter with 5 volt charging and emergency light capability.

    What's in the box?
    The Mini Jump Starter comes with the portable charging unit, jumper cables, USB connector with various output possibilities, charging plugs for the home and automobile, instructions, and a convenient carrying case.

    The Verdict:

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a great way to have power for both your car and portable devices in a pinch. With a six-month battery memory, it's a great device to leave in your vehicle until emergencies happen.

    What will they think of next? My first impression of the Allianz Mini Jump Starter was how in this age of portable power banks did manufacturers overlook the ability to charge both our cell phones and our vehicles? The Allianz Mini Jump Starter does just that. It wont fit into your pocket like most of today's 5 volt portable charging options, but they don't have the ability to boost our vehicle battery's with up to 400 amps of boosting power.

    The Mini Jump Starter device is simple to use to jump start a vehicle in an emergency. Simply connect the terminals to their proper battery polarities, plug the terminals into the battery bank, and power the Mini Jump Starter on. Then simply turn the key and the vehicle will start as intended. 5 volt charging works the same way. Connect the USB cable to the battery bank, and use one of the available connectors (iPod, Lightning, Mini USB, Micro USB) to charge a wide array of 5 volt devices like tablets and cell phones. There are two USB ports available on the battery bank; one 2.1 amp, and an 1 amp. Simultaneous charging of two devices is also available.

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter will charge tablet and smartphone devices many times before it needs to be recharged itself. When jump starting a vehicle battery, it is advised that you recharge the battery bank after each jump start. The Mini Jump Starter LED will illuminate blue when its ready to charge, and turn to red when it's time to plug the battery in for a boost. Both home and car chargers are included to recharge the Mini Jump Starter.

    In other roadside problems that occur with vehicles, the Allianz Mini Jump Starter provides a convenient led light to help at night. This light can glow solid to use as a flashlight when trying to see inside the hood at night. It also has a flashing mode, which is perfect in scenarios that a stranded driver needs to summon someone for help, or to avoid a vehicle on the side of the road in low light situations.

    The Verdict:

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a great way to have power for both your car and portable devices in a pinch. With a six-month battery memory, it's a great device to leave in your vehicle until emergencies happen.

    The Allianz Portable Mini Jump Starter is available at You can buy here:

    Updated 12-10-2015 at 10:34 AM by Sonicxtacy02

    Product Reviews
  2. Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build - The Quest for Power

    by , 06-22-2013 at 09:05 PM

    The Quest for (always-on) Power

    A part of the challenge when planning the Android head unit build was finding the best way to power the development board in the car. One area that tablets and smart phones have an advantage over a development board like the ODROID-X2 is that they come with a battery. This means that not only can the be powered by something as simple as a 12v car plug, but also that there's some level of power remaining after the vehicle ignition stops.

    As mentioned in previous posts, my choice to provide a stable power output to the 5 volt 2 amp ODROID-X2 is the Minibox intelligent DC/DC converter. The Minibox device can be configured to provide the 5 volts the X2 needs, as well as the 12v a standard Lilliput touchscreen requires. While this device can provide the power the development board demands during a drive, there's no easy way to notify the ODROID-X2 that the ignition signal is off and the board needs to shut down gracefully. A quick search on Amazon presented me an opportunity to potentially never have to shutdown, effectively creating an always-on solution for the ODROID-X2.

    The Anker Astro E4 is an external power source specifically designed to recharge tablets and smart phones. It provides a mammoth 13000mAh, enough juice to completely recharge a Samsung Galaxy S3 twice over and then some. The new plan given the E4's specs is simple. Instead of the Minibox DC/DC powering the ODROID-X2 directly, it will instead charge the external battery pack. The battery back will then serve a constant dose of 5 volt power to the ODROID-X2. Using the all too valuable android app Tasker, I can set the development board into a low power state, stopping all non-critical processes and turning the WIFI and GPS devices off. Tasker can automate this task based on my phone disconnecting from the Bluetooth connection the ODROID-X2 creates upon startup, then automatically restore the power state upon Bluetooth reconnection.

    The key to the planned implementation of the battery is the real-world battery life available, a factor that I've only begun to start testing. Nevertheless, the preliminary results are very promising. With the ODROID-X2 in full power mode (no services/devices disabled), the Anker battery has been running 6 hours without 1 of the 4 charge light indicators showing a partial discharged state. If I can effectively achieve 2-3 days out of a battery charge, the always-on portion of the Android head unit build will be considered a success!

    More test results soon to come, along with a video breakdown of how Tasker automates my Android install.