Relo, testing the triac and Amazon MSW inverter

amazon pickup - Alamogordo

The package I was waiting for forever in Alamogordo was a refurb Motorola Moto Edge 2022. The whole thing was kind of a kind of continuous hot mess.

  1. the original one (“refurbished - acceptable”) I loaded into the cart was for $90. I waited overnight to see when my previous order would hit and in the meantime that one sold. Fair enough; if I wanted it1 I should have bought it. I was curious about what acceptable might mean IRL. I don’t care about cosmetic stuff but cracked glass is out.
  2. Amazon recommended another one (refurbished acceptable) since that one sold, for ~$110. A bit of a price hike but still fair assuming the phone works. The listing looked identical so I pulled the trigger.
  3. shipping circus ensues
  4. finally got the phone and I really like it. In this case “acceptable” means “looks and works perfect, like new”
  5. popped in my $10 Tello trial sim (another fsckup on my part) and it said SIM locked. What?

After doing some troubleshooting I looked at the order again. What I didn’t notice was the difference between the original order that got away and the recommended replacement was that the latter was for AT&T. Fsck, fsck, fsck. It’s network locked. More rabbit-holing suggests it started life as a prepaid phone.

I was pissed at myself for not catching it (“Use the source, Luke”).

Then I remembered I really wanted AT&T as a backup instead of TMO anyhow. The $10 tello sim would be wasted, but maybe I could run an AT&T MVNO long enough to get an unlock code for it in case I wanted flexibility later.

My original backup criteria were:

  • AT&T (better coverage)
  • cheap for low data like 1GB or 2GB
  • in a perfect world I’d get unlimited “2g” speeds after the allotment. I need to pull down GV texts and emails, not stream movies.

It appears the H2O Wireless $100 annual plan does that with 1GB of 5G a month and, as far as I can tell, 2g thereafter. That was the problem with Tello. They used to have 2g after the allotment but changed that feature. But they had pages on their site with the old info and those are what I found when I did my due diligence.

what I love about this phone

Updated Android without the fancy UI tricks. Clean, simple, functional. Haven’t been this happy since I bought a then-Flagship Note 2 for $200 from a telco employee who got it at cost.

Wireless charging works great. I’ve lost many a good phone due to charger jack failure so I plan to charge this one mainly wirelessly off a cheap Qi charger I’ve had for years but never had a phone that could use it well. It’s only 5-7.5w but that charge rate suits me. I’m trying to DIY a stand for it to hold the Qi and phone together. If I can’t there’s an Amazon Basics stand charger that looks promising.

The phone has adaptive charging that avoids overcharging and limits charging when getting full-ish. I’ve already seen it work.

what I don’t love about this phone

No SD expansion. There’s 128GB internal so I don’t need a card, but I’d sure like to have one.

I’m not used to the screen-based fingerprint sensor yet. If your finger isn’t centered the bright light can leak around the finger and blind you at night. :-\


Made it to Capitan, where it was 10deg F cooler. Good for today, rough for the next couple of days when a cold front comes through….

Picked up the Amazon Basics 1000w MSW inverter. It does what it says on the tin. Running it in tandem with the 400w PSW until we figure out what’s happening with the dead 1000w PSW (which was received at the seller’s location earlier today).

I turned it off/on and saw the battery monitor vary by ~0.4A. So maybe 5w on standby? The only thing I’d leave it on for would be early morning coffee; I can turn on the coffeemaker without getting out of bed. Will report what I end up doing.

mini triac testing

Turns out Harbor Freight had an identical-looking one in stock, although only 8A (ie, 1000w). Since I want to run things at <1000w I think it will work.

I do not know if either the MSW, PSW, or Triac will explode in various configurations, so I tested thusly:

  1. I dug out an old backup 400w MSW to test with.
  2. I ran the crockpot off the Triac on the MSW and it worked fine. I was annoyed because I couldn’t find my Kill-A-Watt, but watched the battery monitor fluctuate as I operated the Triac from low to high. Nothing exploded, made weird noises, got hot, etc.
  3. I removed the 400w MSW and installed the 1000w Amazon MSW
  4. I dug out the “1100w” hotplate (928w observed) and ran it on the triac at lowest position. Moved it up a bit from low and watched the current change on the monitor. Coolio.
  5. At this point I realized the new MSW has a “watts output” display, so I will use that until I find the KAW. It showed the hotplate running 550w on lowest.

The latter point aligns with the only post I found on the net about running a triac off an inverter; a dude tried it and found the current wasn’t reduced as much as when on PSW. He reported ~48% on PSW but did not give a specific figure for MSW. I’m seeing ~59% (550w/928w) which meets my needs just fine as long as it holds up. .

update actual use

Brewed coffee using the new 1000w msw, worked fine.

Hooked up the big hotplate to the triac and warmed up sausage & egg leftovers for bf burritos. Wider coils much more stable. I put the hotplate between Low and Medium and it cycled on/off to hold that temp. The inverter reported ~525w when it was in an ON cycle. The triac’s backplate was maybe body temperature after cooking was done.

After that was done I heated the naan pan for tortilla wrappers. The wider coils aren’t just more stable but the pan was heated more evenly. Win-win. I really like this setup.

update: internal pot adjustment

I turned the internal pot CW a bit, as shown in this video. There is a point where it turns off if go too far so I didn’t fight for every watt. I used the 928w hotplate as the guinea pig and could stably get it down to 110w, or ~12% of the normal wattage.

  1. Two economists are walking down the street. “I want that car”, says the first. “Apparently not”, says the other.