Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mini Keychain Screwdriver (From Focal Price)

Mini Screwdriver for Keychain

I bought this keychain screwdriver from a Hong Kong based website called Focal Price .  For under $1 shipped, there's not much to lose on this.

This tool comes in three sections.  The main body which has a flat-head and phillips-head screwdriver at either end. And two covers which screw over the screwdriver heads.  One of the covers has a small hex socket at the end of it.  The other cover provides an attachment point for the split ring.

Mini phillips head screwdriver

Mini hex socket

This screwdriver is fairly light and small; it's a good size for keychain use.  It measures 58mm in length, 4mm in diameter and weights 6g (not including the split rings and attachments).

The mini screwdriver heads are perfect size for those small screws, such as the ones you find on eye glasses or small electronics.  The small hex socket is a nice addition, but I have yet to use it.

Used to change batteries in this keychain light

There are small o-rings where the cover meets the main body.  These o-rings help to provide some resistance when unscrewing the covers.  Despite the increased resistance, there are some reports of the covers accidentally falling off.  Also, I do note, the o-rings themselves have a tendency of coming off, so care is required to avoid losing them.

Mini flat head screwdriver.  Note the black o-ring

The screwdriver comes with a split ring and key attachment.  I feel the build quality of the keyring attachment is somewhat dubious. Some of the links in the attachment do not meet together very well.  I would be concerned that one of the links could come apart if subjected to abuse.

Key ring attachment


This screwdriver works well for small screws.  The o-rings have a tendency to come off and the key ring attachment could use some improvement.  However for something that is less than $1 (including shipping), I really don't expect too much from it.  To be honest, I do not carry it on my key ring as there are very few times when I urgently need a mini screwdriver, however it is nice to have in the house or hand bag (if you carry one).

If you do get one, just a word of warning, shipping from some of these overseas websites can sometimes be slow.  A bit of patience is sometimes required for these parcels.


-mini flat-head screwdriver
-mini phillips screwdriver
-small hex socket

Weight: 6g
Dimensions:  58mm x 4mm (not including key ring attachments)

Friday, January 21, 2011

True Utility TelePen Review

"As I swipe my credit card to pay for my groceries, the obviously sick cashier coughs and splutters into her hand.  With her germ ridden hands, she kindly proffers her pen to me so I can sign the credit card receipt.  Having no pen of my own, I have to accept the pathogen-covered utensil, sign the receipt and finish my transaction."

I know this makes me sound like a germo-phobe (I'm not), but the situation above, has made me consider adding a pen to my keychain.  Pens always seem to go missing, sometimes they can't be found when you really need one.  Having a back-up pen on your keychain, can certainly be useful at times.

In the past few weeks, I have added the True Utility TelePen to my keychain.  I originally bought this pen with my keytool order; it was not overly expensively and I was open to giving it a try.

While I have been very critical of the keytool, I feel that True Utility Telepen has hit the right notes with me.

When closed the telepen is relatively inconspicuous measuring only 50mm x 5mm (~60mm with keyring attachment).  It can be extended like a telescope, up to 115mm in length.  You can choose not to have the telepen fully extended and use it with some of the segments pushed back in.  As you push in the telescopic segments, you get more width to hold the pen.  Personally, I prefer to use the telepen with one segment pushed in.  I find this provides a good balance in term of length and width, for holding the pen (in my hands). 

 The True Utility Telepen needs firm pressure to take it in and out from it's key ring attachment.  While this means it is slightly more difficult to take out for use, it is also unlikely to accidentally fall out from the key ring attachment.

Keyring attachment, refill cartridges, telepen

With the packaging, the True Utility Telepen, comes with three black ink refills.  When these run out, you can replace them with a standard ballpoint pen refill (cut down in length).  This is great, in that you do not have to worry about sourcing specialised cartridge refills, or worry about refills if the manufacturer stops making the item.

It may have just been my sample, but I had a lot trouble removing the original ink cartridge.  In the end I had to pry it out with a small screwdriver, and ended up ruining the ink cartridge.  I have since put in one of the replacements... however, the replacement also feels like it will be difficult to take out.  I guess if I use up all the ink in the cartridge, it will not be an issue if I ruin the cartridge when removing it.

At GB £4.99, the telepen is affordable and less expensive than some other alternatives which are out there.

I have to say the True Utility Telepen was a surprise for me, I did not have high expectations for it.  I would not recommended it for extended use, but it is perfect for signing receipts, jotting down phone numbers or scribbling a few notes.  Great as a back-up pen.

I have only had the telepen on my keychain for a few weeks, but I have a feeling this may stay on my keychain permanently.


Material: Stainless Steel
Colour: Silver
Size: L50 (closed) L115(open) x W5mm
Weight: 14 grams
Included:  3 Refills (black ink), Split Ring, Key-ring Attachment
Cost: GB £4.99

Manufacturer's Website:

Some alternatives to consider:

Valiant concepts keychain pen - comes in stainless steel or titanium.  Uses special pressurised cartridges.  These cartridges can write on various angles and on more surfaces.  May have issues if maker stops manufacturing the cartridges.  Significantly more expensive than the telepen.
TEC accessories pico-pen -  more expensive.  Longer in length
Inka pen -  uses pressurised cartridges.  Significantly larger.

Additional Photos:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Update: Broken Merkava II Tritium Glowring


Quick update on my merkava II tritium glowring:

Unfortunately with time my merkava II tritium glowring, has finally cracked and broken.  The tritium vial inside still seems to be fine, only the other casing is broken.

I wouldn't recommend putting this tritium marker on a keyring, its better suited for applications where it would get less abuse.  The main benefit I see in the merkava II, is that it is the smallest and thinnest tritium marker, that contains a 23x3mm sized tritium.

I have put in a order for some empty tritium holders to install the spare tritium myself.  I have found the empty holders from LESLIEx317537 have held up well so far.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DQG Tiny AAA! (Initial thoughts and impressions)



--Using CREE XP-E R2 cool white LED
--Material: HaIII Alu / 304 SS
--Switch: Head twist on/off
--Two modes of brightness: Lo>Hi
--Current drawn: Lo 25mA>Hi 210mA
--Runtime: 60mins on hi; 10hrs on lo, with quality AAA
--Using PMMA lens, Angle:15 degree
--With powerful magnet in the tailcap.
--Luminous O ring on the head
--Battery: AAA (put the battery upside down into this light)
--Anti-reverse protection
--Ashproof and waterproof
--Size: 61.5mm×12.5m
--Weight:Aluminum version 8g; SS version 15g

Available in stainless steel or aluminium (Black, Ti-coloured, natural)
Cost: $25 from cnqualitygoods


I believe the 'DQG tiny AAA' initially emerged on the Chinese flashlight forums; .  It was put together in a small workshop by someone based in china.  When a cpf member posted some photos of this light on candlepowerforums, a lot of interest developed from the non-chinese literate flashaholics. 

Initially, the light was only available from taobao, which is similar to a Chinese version of ebay.  Unfortunately to buy from taobao, you need to pay with a Chinese credit card.  This made it extremely difficult to buy the light if you live outside of china.  Thankfully, since then, a dealer for the light has emerged on cpfmarketplace.

Keep in mind, When critiquing the light, you do have to consider this is a small project with limited funding behind it.

Initial Thoughts and Impressions:

-I received the natural aluminium version of this light.  The aluminium weighs less than stainless steel, but it is uncoated, so I do not have to worry about the annodisation coming off.  Black and Ti-coloured, would be HA III coated. 

-The build of this light feels like it lacks a bit of polish.  You can see the machining marks, and there are a few sharp edges that would be nicer if they were smoothed off. 

-This light is the smallest AAA light I have come across.  I believe the fenix e05 and nextorch K1 come close, however both these lights only have one output and their max output is significantly less.  While the specifications say it is 61.5mm, when I measure it, it is actually ~60mm when fully closed.  Impressive for a AAA light!  It is also thinner than some other AAA lights as well.

Preon 1 (clicky), Preon 1 (twisty), Fenix L0D, DQG tiny AAA, Modamag Drake

 -The lens/optic/reflector in the DQG tiny AAA is quite different from my other AAA lights.  It results in a sharply-defined large hotspot, with limited brightness to the spill.  Comparing it to a preon 1 (neutral XPG R4); the preon has a smaller hotspot which is slightly less intensive.  The preon has a brighter spill and a more gradual transition between the spill and hotspot.

Beamshots taken ~5m from curtains.  Please ignore the reflection from the glass table.  ISO 200, F2.8, 0.5"

DQG Tiny AAA - High
Preon 1 - High

DQG Tiny AAA -Low
Preon 1 - Medium
Preon 1 - Low
 -I do not have any instruments to measure lumen ratings accurately.  However by eye, based on a ceiling bounce, the DQG tiny AAA has a similar max ouput to the preon 1 (70 OTF lumens).  The preon 1 may be a fraction brighter, which is expected as it has an XPG-R4 (as compared to XPE-R2 in the DQG).  The low mode of the DQG sits somewhere between the low and medium modes of the preon 1 (1.8 and 8.5 OTF lumens).

-This light is current controlled, no PWM!  Love that! 

-This light works as a two mode flashlight: 

Fully tightened (off) -> slightly loosened (high) -> loosened more (low) ->loosened even further (off)

I wouldn't recommend having the head loosened for off-mode.  It is quite unstable and only requires a few more turns before the head will fall off completely.

Having said that, I would try to avoid over tightening the light when turning it off.  If you tighten it too hard, there is a tendency for the spring to compress the negative end of the battery.  My sanyo eneloop AAA, now has a small dent on the negative terminal.

-The head is quite small which makes it hard to use one handed

-There is a magnet at the tail end of the light.  This might come in handy to stick the light to the fridge or other metal surfaces.  Given a choice though, I'd rather not have it.  I find some of my keychain clips/split rings get stuck to the magnet.  I'd also be concerned keeping it near magnetically sensitive objects, such as credit cards or CD/DVDs.

Tail-end and magnet

 -The lanyard/split-ring attachment is fairly thin and may be a potential weak point.  The attachment is actually retractable;  if you do not need it, you can push it in and have it recessed.

Thin O-ring attachment point

-There is a glow-in-the-dark o-ring at the head.  It looks sorta funky, however, it doesn't stay glowing for very long. I would not rely on using this feature to locate it in the dark.

luminous glow-in-the-dark O-ring

-My sample has a small hole/spot in the reflector.  It would be interesting to see what the after sales support is like, on this issue...

Black speck in the reflector (just above the LED)


For $25 shipped the DQG tiny AAA is not an overly expensive light.  The build
quality is not as good as some dedicated manufacturers, however considering its a small project with limited budget, its not too bad.  The size of this light is impressive, its the smallest AAA that I can find available.  That it manages to fit a driver which offers a high and low mode, makes it even more impressive.

I don't think cnqualitygoods has much more stock of the DQG tiny AAA.  However keep your eyes on the cpfmarketplace (dealers corner), there is meant to be a model coming out next year with an XPG LED and updated driver.

There has also been a run of the DQG tiny with a 2/3AAA tube.  These run on specialised 2/3AAA sized NiMH batteries, further reducing the length of this light.  Hopefully there will be another run of these in future, as well.

This light was purchased from:

Original thread from shoudian:

Additional Photos:

Friday, January 7, 2011

TEC Accessories P-7 suspension clip


You may have noticed on my keychain, I have a pocket clip attached with a set of keys.  This is a P7 suspension clip from TEC accessories. 

I find it helps to prevent my keys from bunching up at the bottom of my pockets; it spreads out them out so there is less of a 'pocket bulge'.

How my keychain sits with the the P7 suspension clip (imagine it hanging inside the pocket though)
How the clip looks with the keys hanging inside the pocket

 You can also attach it to multitools or small flashlights that do not come with a clip attachment.  One that comes to mind is the Quark mini series.  While these are good lights, one of the common complaints that people have with it, is the lack of a clip.

Attached to a small flashlight

The clip is a fairly simple product.  It feels well made, looks nice, clips tightly.  My only critique of it, is the price.  For $12 (not including shipping), its a little on the expensive side.

Material:  Bead blasted, spring tempered stainless steel
Size: 7mm (0.28") wide x 39mm (1.53") long
Includes:  Small split ring

Manufacturer's website:

Additional Photos:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

True Utility KeyTool Review

The True Utility Keytool, is a one piece key ring tool that wraps around a standard door key.  Here are the specifications:

-Bottle Opener
-Eye Glass Screwdriver
-Medium Screwdriver
-Large Screwdriver
-Nail File
-Finger Nail Cleaner
-Thread Cutter

Product Size:
50L x 20W mm

422 grade stainless steel

GB £4.99

The great thing about the True Utility Keytool, is it is very light weight and takes very little room.  I don't have anything precise to weigh it with, but it's lighter than the swisstech utilikey, which I would consider to be one of its main competitors.

Swisstech Utilikey, True Utility KeyTool, Included Snap-gate Clip

To help provide leverage and support, the keytool is designed to wrap around an existing key.  In some ways this can be beneficial in helping you to differentiate the various keys on your key ring.  However there is a downside in that certain features, are difficult or impossible to use when it is wrapped around your key.  This means you will need to remove both the key and keytool from your keychain, before you can use these features... a little fiddly at times

To help counter this issue, the True Utility Keytool comes with a ~25mm 'snap-gate' clip.  This clip makes it easier to remove your key and keytool, when you want to separate them.  It is similar to a 'mcgizmo' clip, which can often cost $2-4 at various online vendors.

An example of a feature that can not be used while attached to your keys, is the tweezer facility.  The keytool needs to be taken off the house key, to allow you to squeeze the tweezer ends together.  The ends of the tweezers do meet up tightly and has a good 'spring-back' action.  I have rarely needed tweezers in my EDC, but I could imagine using it to remove a splinter.  Do note, the tweezer tips are very short, so its not ideal if you need a longer pair of tweezers.

The medium and large screwdriver features can also be difficult to use when the keytool is attached to your key.  The 'head' of your key may get in the way during usage. As these screwdriver sections are short, they may be hard to use in difficult to reach areas.  The screwdrivers on the keytool lack thickness and strength, and I would not use them for heavy jobs where there is significant torque.

Key may get in the way of large (L) and medium (M) screwdrivers

The eye glass screwdriver is good though.  It is small and thin enough, to fit most glasses screws.

Nail cleaner (NAIL) adds unnecessary sharp edges.  You can use the small (S) screwdriver instead.

 The bottle opener facility on the True Utility Keytool is acceptable.  I find it opens bottles, better than the swisstech utilikey.  Take care, as there are a lot of sharp edges on the keytool.  These can dig into your hand, when using the bottle opener.

The True Utility Keytool also has a nail file, finger nail cleaner and thread cutter.  I can't help but feel these have been added purely to increase its 'feature' count. The nail file is blunt and does not file very well.  I feel the finger nail cleaner is totally unnecessary, and only adds unwanted sharp edges.  You could use the mini screwdriver to clean your nails in a similar fashion. The thread cutter is very blunt, I have had limited success using it to cut a sewing thread.

Nail File - not very sharp

I like the concept behind the True Utility Keytool; a small lightweight key ring tool that provides multiple features.  However in practice, I do not carry the Keytool on my regular keychain.  I find it has too many sharp edges and can be uncomfortable to carry.  The mini screwdriver and bottle opener are probably the most useable features on the keytool.  A lot of the other features are useless, or have limitations.  With some redesigning the keytool, could be much better.

If you are looking for something ultra minimalist, it may be for you.  The price is not overly expensive and may be worth a try.

Manufacturer's website: