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.

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.

Jinhao X750 roller ball

Jinhao X750 roller ball

The Jinhao X750 roller ball is proudly made in China, and is great value if you want something a little bit more interesting than a typical executive style pen. They’re around $4 delivered, and are available in a variety of designs. Refills are available in packs of 10 for around $10. The same roller ball case is also available as a fountain pen. The Jinhao X750 roller ball has a really nice weight to it, and a lovely matte satin finish. This is one of the classiest roller ball pens you can buy under $50, and at under $5 it’s an absolute bargain.

OLFA circle cutter – finally I can cut perfect circles!

Olfa Circle Cutter

I recently purchased an OLFA circle cutter (CMP-1 model) for making my own hiking stoves from drink cans. It’s an incredibly useful little tool that I’ve ended up using for lots of other DIY/hobby jobs. It works in a similar way to a traditional compass, but it has 90 degree arms, which means the cutting blade sits at the perfect angle for cutting. If you’re into any kind of modelling, small scale DIY, or craft, then you should have one of these in your toolbox.