IZTOSS heated grips – cheap and nasty, but ultimately worth it

IZTOSS heated grips

I got these grips for my farm bike. They were under $15 AUD including delivery. At first I was very disapointed with them, as they would barely get warm running through the standard 1.5 amp cigarette lighter USB adaptor that I use on my bike.
After a bit of stuffing around with higher amp USB adapters, I eventually gave up and spent another $10 on a 5 amp 12V to USB converter that I connected directly to my motorbike battery with an inline on/off switch.
Running from the new converter, the IZTOSS heated grips now pull 3.0-3.5 amps, and get warm enough to make a significant difference on those mornings when the temperature gets close to freezing (which it often does where I am).

TheIZTOSS heated grips obviously aren’t as good as Oxfords, but even including the 12V converter, it only cost me $25 all up. Unlike the Oxfords, the IZTOSS heated grips is that I can remove them in around 30 seconds when the weather gets warmer, or even move them onto my road bike or ATV.
I’m not sure how long they’ll last, as the wiring could get caught on something and pull out reasonably easily – but if it does, I’ll just resolder it. So far they’ve lasted half of winter on the farm and in the bush, and haven’t fallen apart yet. At under $15 it would almost be worth buying another pair to keep as a spare.

Thrunite Catapult V6 – buy in Australia

Thrunite Catapult V6

It took a bit of waiting (for restocking), but I was finally able to buy a Thrunite Catapult V6 in Australia. Surprisingly, it turned out less expensive than buying one from overseas. I ended up paying $97 AUD (delivered), and although the eBay listing said that it would ship from Melbourne, I was kind of expecting it to actually be sent from Hong Kong. It seems that the seller actually did have stock in Melbourne, as my V6 arrived in around 5 days, delivered by Australia Post. I’m pretty satisfied with the price, as it was easily the cheapest I could find it anywhere online in the world (including shipping to Australia).

The Catapult V6 is everything that the YouTube videos make it out to be.  The only complaint that I have about it is that the switch can sometimes be a bit hard to find in the dark. I’ve seen people stick a self adhesive clear silicone “stop damper” on their switch and that seems to work nicely without permanently modifying anything. Some people have been moaning that Thrunite only make the Catapult V6 in cool white, and don’t offer a neutral white option. But I generally prefer cool white for spots and warmer whites for floods and headlamps – so I would have chosen CW over NW anyway.

For $97, I’m very pleased with this deal. If you want to buy a Thrunite Catapult V6 in Australia, then try this eBay seller. The price has gone up a little bit since I bought mine, but it’s still probably the cheapest place to buy a Thrunite Catapult V6 in Australia.

Pictured below is my new Catapult V6, sitting between the tiny little Ti3 and a Convoy C8.

Massey Ferguson quadrant stops

Massey Ferguson quadrant stops

I recently received a pair of Massey Ferguson quadrant stops send to me (in Australia) from India. The identical stops are available from my local tractor dealer for an absolutely insulting price, or from the UK for $30. The Indian ones work great and were only $13 delivered to Australia. For $13 AUD I got 2x Massey Ferguson quadrant stops, including delivery. I also got a nice new stop control knob for the MF135 from the same seller for an extra $4.

My old Massey Ferguson 135 hasn’t had proper quadrant stops in all the time that I’ve had it, and I’m guessing the previous owner lived without them for a good while too. All these little bits and pieces that I’m replacing make the MF135 looks and operate much better, and they cost a fraction of what the Australian tractor dealers charge. I’m happy to pay for Bare Co mechanical spares, but when it comes to knobs and switches, there is no way I’m paying retail price. Last year I replaced the ammeter and the tach/hour meter with “Indian parts”, and they have worked flawlessly so far.

I was a little nervous the first time I ordered tractor parts from India, but the Indian postal service seems to run like clockwork. Even the tracking number worked. I’m not sure if these Massey Ferguson replacement parts are made in China or India, but the quality is absolutely fine and I wouldn’t be surprised if these Indian parts are all coming out of the same factory that supplies the dials and knobs etc at my local tractor dealer. From what I understand, the older model Massey Fergusons are still in regular commercial operation in India, so it makes sense that they would have a good supply of spare parts.

Window antenna mount for UV-5R

UV-5R window antenna mount

If you want to use your UV-5R in your vehicle but don’t want to make it permanent, this is the solution. The Nagoya RG-174/U window antenna mount for UV-5R radios allows you to get your antenna outside the car simply and quickly. I use my UV-5R primarily as a scanner, but also for CB communication and the window mount works great, even using the relatively short antenna that came with the UV-5R (I’ve ordered a longer antenna).
This is so much better than the magnetic antenna I was previously using on the roof of my car, as there are no external dangling wires. The window mount is also very convenient if you want to use your Uv-5R in various vehicles, you can just unclip it and move it.

HMT Jawan

HMT Jawan watch

My HMT Jawan “frankenwatch” arrived from India yesterday. Price paid was $16 (Australian), including delivery from Dehli. I assume the face is new/aftermarket, but the movement is most likely HMT, and the caseback is stamped HMT. At this price, I’ve already had $16 worth of fun from it.

I’d read enough warnings about buying “restored” or “reconditioned” watches from India, and was expecting to receive a beaten up hand painted piece of junk. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s in great condition, and even though the yellow face is definitely an acquired taste, I’m quite happy to have a watch that is totally different from everything else I would normally buy. The domed acrylic crystal is as good as I’d hoped – I’ve already bumped it, scuffed it, and polished it with toothpaste. I can see myself wearing this watch on those days when I shouldn’t be wearing a watch.
I can think of far worse ways to spend $16.