How to find positive and negative DC wires

How to find positive and negative DC wires

It’s possible to use a modern AC adapter to make a power supply for vintage machines. Sometimes this is desirable, because the modern supply may be more reliable than the old ones. But we have to know how to wire it. Here’s how to find positive and negative DC wires so you can wire the supply up properly when you change its plug.

To find the positive and negative wires, apply power to the AC adapter, set your multimeter to DC, then apply the red and black leads to the output and find a combination that gives you positive voltage. Whichever wire is connected to your multimeter’s red lead is positive, and the one on the black lead is negative or ground.

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Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

I’m a mechanical keyboard fan. Mechanical keyboards have gone in and out of fashion, but I kept using them regardless. I only see one drawback with them: the cost. So what does a mechanical keyboard cost? And why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

A mechanical keyboard costs 10 or even 20 times as much as a cheap membrane keyboard, so the price can be off-putting. The reason is because mechanical keyboards have many more parts, and they are more labor intensive to make. The cost is easier to justify if you use it a lot, but the price does make it feel like a commitment.

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Why VHS beat Betamax

Why VHS beat Betamax

It probably wasn’t the first format war and it certainly wasn’t the last. But VHS vs Beta, the battle of VCR formats, has served as a cautionary tale for more than a generation now. But there was no single reason why VHS beat Betamax. It was an accumulation of things that led to VHS winning.

Betamax was first on the market, and it had better image quality and generally better build quality. But VHS cost less and the tapes gave a longer run time, so in the end VHS won because it achieved critical mass among early adopters first.

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Why did Microsoft beat Apple? And why Apple doesn’t care.

Why did Microsoft beat Apple? And why Apple doesn’t care.

In the personal computer market, Apple and Microsoft are effectively a duopoly. And for some reason, both companies seem to like it that way. Why did Microsoft beat Apple? And why doesn’t Apple seem to care? The answer is nuanced, but not super hard to understand.

Microsoft beat Apple in personal computer market share because Microsoft achieved critical mass first, with a cheaper, good-enough product. Apple learned from this, then did the same thing to Microsoft in the MP3 player, phone, and tablet markets.

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Gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on USB 2.0 port

Gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on USB 2.0 port

Is there such thing as a gigabit USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter? There is, but they’re hard to find because gigabit runs faster than the limits of USB 2.0. But you can use a gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on a USB 2.0 port and it will function.

When you plug a USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter into a USB 2.0 port, it will still work at reduced speed, as long as your operating system has a driver for it. It will still negotiate a gigabit link speed with your Ethernet switch, and you’ll get whatever speeds your system can manage. It will be faster than 100 megabits.

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Can Magnets Damage Electronics?

Can Magnets Damage Electronics?

Can magnets damage electronics? It’s a common question, or at least a common belief, especially among people over the age of 30.  But the danger that household magnets pose to modern electronics is minimal and grows smaller with each passing year.

While a household magnet can theoretically damage a hard drive, it’s only under unusual circumstances, and more and more electronics are moving away from magnetic hard drives. Household magnets have no effect on computer chips. Household magnets could damage the media older computers used for storage and make CRTs act strange, but that’s where the idea came from and both of these technologies are fading from use.

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Roku Internet speed is poor? Here’s what to do

Roku Internet speed is poor? Here’s what to do

If your Roku Internet speed is poor, or you think it might be inadequate, there are some things to do about it. Here’s how to run a Roku Internet speed test and how to interpret the results it gives you.

The key to managing your Roku Internet speed is knowing what constitutes good or poor speed. Sometimes we overestimate how much bandwidth we actually need to stream, and what seems like poor speed may be a different problem.

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Computer power cord AWG: Why it matters

Computer power cord AWG: Why it matters

If you look at your PC power cord really carefully, you’ll see a number stamped on the side followed by the letters AWG. What does a computer power cord’s AWG mean, and should you worry about it?

With a typical desktop computer, even a light-duty power cord is sufficient and you don’t have to worry about AWG. High-end computers like servers or gaming computers with high-power video cards in them do benefit from a heavier-duty power cord, such as 16 AWG or even 14 AWG. Using a heavier cord than the manufacturer specified won’t cause any problems, but a too-light cord can cause various issues.  

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