Yoshizen's Blog

Cheap or HUMBLE ?

These days, every corner of the town, there is yet another so-called

pound shop.  At one of them I found rather surprising item on the shelf.

—– Six energy-saving light bulbs for 99 pence.

Alternative to traditional incandescent light, those miniaturized fluorescent

light are everywhere. I’ve seen three bulbs for 2 pounds, then 1 pound, but

I couldn’t anticipate six for less than 1 pound. Those light bulb having rather

complicated electronic control circuit inside of its socket base and

regulating the current go through the tube to about 50 mili ampea level

—- hence, 240 V x 0.05 A = 12 W. And to do it, the circuit is switching the

current in pretty high frequency using high voltage Power Field-effect Transistor.

If I buy this kind of transistor which I can use in another electronic switching circuit, it may cost me

a pound each. So, I thought, even if the bulb is not perfect, still I can take the component out of it and the glass

tube can be used to make a kind of sculpture.


So, I bought, and tested them in my place.

—– The bulb worked as it is. Though, I wouldn’t know whether they last only 500 hours or

3000 hours. —– But, what I found peculiar was, the socket base of the bulb, its metal fitting is

slightly out of the standard. In fact, they are a bit larger, therefore very tight to insert to

the socket.     Think about, when you change the light bulb on the ceiling, stretch the hands while

standing on a wobbly chair, and struggling to insert or removing the bulb gripping the glass tube,

—– what would likely happen is, the thin glass tube may break, while sprinkling the toxic white

powder on your eyes,  if not cut your fingers.

My guess is, those bulb has been rejected by the dealer / importer as they are not meet the British standard —–

hence end up to the warehouse clearance sale,  then came to a pound shop.

The people who buy those products may not realize it is out of standard, even not able to speak in English, therefore

least likely to complain, not mention to take the matter to the Trade Standard Authority kind.

Anyhow, 16 pence each —– who bother to complain. 😀


As a matter of fact, this kind of trouble is nothing new.  I’ve bought rechargeable battery from the Lidle.

The 4 x AA type 2500mAH rechargeable battery £2.99 looked very very cheap —– on the face.

What I found was, they are slightly big.   In fact, they are 0.3 mm longer, which is in most of the case imposes no

trouble at all.  Though, I’ve built many home-made devices which is not necessary using ordinary battery case, but

having battery housing tightly placed in the device, hence the larger battery is harder to insert and remove. 😀

( With my test, they hardly show the proclaimed capacity of 2500 mAH nor having consistency —– and one of

them deteriorate quicker. —– its mean, set of four became useless  /  We can’t mix this kind of battery with others)

These days, those small and cheap products are all coming from China. Though China having their own measuring

unit, hence having the complication like a conversion between metric and imperial unit, therefore prone

to make a mistake to produce in wrong size.

Once before, I found a kind of toy from China which got two bearings inside, for one pound each.

Bearing is not a cheap item if we buy from engineering shop.   So, I thought if it is 50 pence each, it would be useful

for somewhere —– and I bought ten of them. ( got lots of bearings 😀 )

Then with my annoyance, I found their internal diameter is odd 7.5 mm and realized, this must be the common size

in China. —– So, I bought big screwdriver (of cause, also made in China ) —– and my guess was spot on,

its shaft diameter was also 7.5 mm.  I got shaft as well.  ( Best matched them are happy ever after   😀 )

—– To deal with cheap goods, we need to use our brain more.

A funny question is,  to buy those cheap goods,  is it a sign of  humbleness ?  

Or is it peny pinching greed ? —– I think,  I leave this question to you   🙂

___/\___  ( Yes, this is the Zen question,  Ha ha ha  😀  )


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