Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I extend my Wi-Fi range?

Episode 1150

Jonathan from San Jacinto, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jonathan has Verizon FIOS with 75 Mbps up and down. Leo says that's nice! He has great signal on one side of the house, but it's terrible on the other side. How can he extend the Wi-Fi? Leo says he has to use Verizon's FIOS modem and router, but he doesn't have to use it for Wi-Fi. He can get a better Wi-Fi access point like an Apple Airport Extreme. Then put that in bridge mode so it'll pass the signal along to the rest of the house. If he needs more, then he can add a few $99 Airport Express's to act as a repeater. Leo has three of them.

How can I test how long my charger takes to charge my phone?

Episode 1150

Amy from Maryland
P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

Amy has several chargers and they all charge at different speeds. Can she run a speed test to see how long it takes to charge them? Leo says she can monitor power usage with the P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor. This plugs into the wall, then she can plug a charger into that. There's also this USB in-line voltage and current meter from ADAFruit.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1149

Dick DeBartolo

The first gadget of 2015 was actually from Dick's "What the heck is it" game. It's called the Store-A-Cell battery caddy. It solves the problem of how to conveniently store batteries in a compact and easy to find holder. Originally designed for pilots, the Battery Caddy is also great for photography, camping, travel or home use. The price depends on the Storacell Battery Caddy you need, but they start at about $5.50. They are available for AA, AAA, and 9V batteries, and there are even versions that can take all three kinds of batteries in one caddy. And you can choose colors.

What's the best lightweight solar charger for my phone?

Episode 1149

Wayne from Hemmit, CA
Goal Zero Switch 8

Wayne is going to hike the Pacific Trail, which is about 2,700 miles. He has an iPhone 4 but he needs a charger for it that is both lightweight, portable, and self sustaining. Leo says that he got his son a solar charger, but Wayne needs to understand that they're not terribly efficient and an all day charge may get only get him few hours of phone time.

What is the best home automation security gear?

Episode 1149

Tom from Warren, OH
Nest

Tom is looking for Leo's suggestion about fire alarms and suppression. Leo went out to the local alarm company and had them do it. But there are some interesting choices that also offer full home automation with motion activated cameras that will tell the house to heat up and turn on the lights when he gets home. He can do it himself, but he'll lose the monitoring advantages.