Brando USB Aquarium and Pico Solar Charger 

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Yes the Hong Kong USB kings have produced a small real fish aquarium but of course it does much more. Second a small phone – and other portable devices – charger that uses solar power to provide the power to charge.

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USB Aquarium with Alarm Clock and Thermometer

This unit is a small real tank but it is likely that most will use it for effect and the other features of clock and thermometer.

It is 24x10x21cm, all the non fish activity is on the right side with the clock display, light and the water pump.

The mini USB to USB lead is 80cm long. The aquarium part comes with pebbles and even some plastic greenery. There is a six LED light on toughened wire that allows it to be suspended either above the aquarium of to shine elsewhere even towards the clock. The rear of the unit has two switches one power the motor that sends oxygenated water from the tap suspended above the aquarium to circulate around should you place a real fish or two in the unit. However the aquarium part is only 14x9x12cm so perhaps not a very spacious home. The second switch turns the light on. For the clock you need 3x‘AAA’ batteries for it to work. These fit into a bay in the base of unit, of course they should be fitted before you add the water to the aquarium.

The clock display is perhaps the most interesting; there are five silvered buttons below a four section display. The top line shows the time in 12 hour format these characters are 1.5cm tall. The second line shows month and date in 1cm numerals. The third line shows the day of the week (calculated when on initial setting of the clock you select the year). The last line is the current temperature in centigrade. Press the left button to set an alarm time, press it again to return to the normal display. The middle three buttons set, up and down program the display. The last button gives one of six toggled sounds and shows the seconds. Press it again to return to display.

My only concern is that people will use real fish if it contained a couple of plastic fish as well then it would make a good desk talking point. It is available from Brando for $40 US plus $3 US P&P.

FreeLoader Pico

While at this time of year the Sun should be available to power the unit when it isn’t then USB can do the job.

Stated charging times are ten hours from the Sun and three hours from USB. The stated power it will deliver per charge is 35 hours for a mobile phone, 14 hours for an iPod, 90 minutes for a GPS unit and 135 minutes for an MP3 player.

To charge the unit (from USB) use the supplied 50cm (flexible) lead and the tip to mini USB. This tip is suitable to charge most recent phones including Motorola and Blackberry. Three other tips are supplied for Sony Ericsson, Samsung and early Nokia offerings. However as the units output is standard USB then the possibilities are endless; just do not expect the power to supply a notebook for hours on end.

The solar cell on the face is 7x3.5cm, the unit is 10x4x1cm, mine was white and has four LED’s beside the Pico name.

There is a small 12 side User Manual that seems to describe things fairly well, this may just get you out of a hole. The manufacturer – second link – make other far larger devices.

The Freeloader Pico is available from the link below for £11.90 with free delivery.

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