Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Power Out Alarm from Reliance Controls

Since hurricane Irene I have become more worried about my sump pump not working without any power.  I also have a refrigerator that is on a circuit that pops the breaker two or three times a year.  I was looking for a cheap alarm to tell me when I have no power to the frig and an alarm to wake me during a storm so I can get my generator going to power my sump pump. 

I really like that the alarm also subs as a flashlight when the power goes out.  It has a built in rechargeable battery that powers several LED’s to make for an effective flashlight.  The flashlight turns on automatically when the power is disrupted.  The manual states the battery can run the flashlight for up to 6 hours.

The only negative is the alarm itself.  It is not very loud.  The manual says it is 78 dB. It is not nearly as loud as a home fire alarm for example.  I plan on using one in the bedroom which should wake me if the power goes out.  This alarm costs under $15 dollars.  It’s a decent solution for the price.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A few months ago I bought a Sandy Bridge Intel motherboard that has onboard USB 3.0.  I finally decided to try a USB 3.0 SATA dock to take advantage of the USB 3.0 speeds.  The results are rather impressive if you are coming from a USB 2 SATA dock.  USB 3 even edges out an eSATA interface. 

Using Windows 7 x64 I copied a 16.4gig file from an internal hard drive to my new USB 3 dock in 173 seconds.  The same file using an eSATA dock took 199 seconds and using a USB 2 dock it took a whopping 963 seconds. To say the least I am happy with the transfer rate that USB 3 provides.

The USB 3 dock is from Rosewill, model RX-DU300.  I am using an ASUS P8H67-M EVO motherboard.  This motherboard uses an ASMEDIA USB 3.0 chipset.  Microsoft does not provide generic USB 3 drivers so you will need to install the drivers that are specific to your M/B.  In my case it’s the ASmedia drivers which are available on the ASUS site.  They are dated 12/29/2010.  I was a bit worried when I saw how old they are but they seem to be working fine.  Watch the video to help show you how to confirm if your USB 3 drivers are installed.

The dock comes with a 3’ foot USB 3 cable.  It’s a bit short in my opinion, but at least it came with a cable as you do need a special USB 3 cable to take advantage of the higher speeds that USB 3 provides.  Make sure the cable seats all the way on the back of your motherboard.  On my first attempt the cable was not in all the way and the speed was degraded.  

This dock will fit standard size sata or laptop sata drives.   The dock has a blue LED to indicate power and blinks when transferring data.  The eject button is hard to depress.  I would also hold the drive during the eject so it does not bounce.