The Scientific Products My Family and I Love the Most

In grades school I can still remember getting my first microscope and telescope. Those became some of my favorite things to play with and explore the universe with. At the time, it made me think about becoming a scientist some day. Of course as time went on and the science classes got harder and harder… […]

My Favorite Sports and Fitness Accessories

Our whole family is pretty active and involved in different fitness activities in one form or another. A few of our favorite sports and activities include: running, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, frisbee, ping pong and archery. So we’ve gone through all sorts of products to see what we like and don’t like. Below is a list […]

My Favorite Electronics Gear and Accessories

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been passionate about electronics and audio gear in particular.  I’m one of those people who consider’s it a fun to set up a home theater system or getting everything hooked up just right. I love running color profile tests with TV’s to get the image just perfect. It’s […]

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been passionate about electronics and audio gear in particular.  I’m one of those people who consider’s it a fun to set up a home theater system or getting everything hooked up just right. I love running color profile tests with TV’s to get the image just perfect. It’s all part of helping to get the most of our your audio and video experience.

Along with that, I’ve seen that the right accessory can sometimes make a big difference in how effective your electronics work. Often you don’t need to spend a lot of money on accessories, but some are definitely better than others. So below I wanted to provide a list of things I’ve used that have worked really well for their intended purpose.

Universal Ceiling Mount Projector Accessory by QualGear

Universal Ceiling Mount Projector Accessory by QualGearOne of the things we use a lot and enjoy as a family is our 3D Home Theater Projector. We use the BenQ DLP HD 1080p Projector and it works awesome! The trick when you get this though is it doesn’t really come with a way to mount it to the ceiling. That sort of bracket needs to be purchased separately.

The one we found has been the easiest and most effective to use (particularly with this BenQ DLP projector) is the universal ceiling mount by QualGear. Not only is it easy to install, but it’s extremely secure and I’ve never had to worry about the projector coming loose or wobbling in any way. It’s very sturdy and even includes instructions that are simple to understand and follow.

I also like that it doesn’t take up a lot of space, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for me, but I appreciate not having something giant looking, being attached to the ceiling. Now even if you have another type of brand of projector it’s very possible this ceiling mount will work with it as well. But if you have the BenQ DLP then I can attest to how well it works for that.

Speaker Wire

AmazonBasics 16-Gauge Speaker WireOne of the things I’ve use the most is speaker wire. I’ve experimented with different size and thicknesses. I’ve tried different brands to see if I can hear a difference. And the bottom line is that I truly believe 99.9% of the population won’t notice the difference between good quality, basic speaker wire and something you’d spend a lot more money on.

I’m not even sure that those who think they can tell a difference really can tell a difference. You never really see these audiophiles doing a blind test to prove they can tell whether a cheaper or more expensive speaker wire is being used. But if you are one of those people who really can tell the difference, then I’m sure you won’t need my advice on which speaker wire to get.

The one I keep coming back to now is by AmazonBasics. Their 16-gauge is my favorite because it’s not too think yet it’s still big enough to handle most speaker or home theater setups. It’s also thin enough that you can pretty easily tuck it under a rug or carpet if you want or need to.  It’s what I use with both my Yamaha receivers. I have a two channel receiver I use for listening to music and then I have a 7.2 channel receiver I use in our Game Room for watching movies, playing video games and so forth. This has become my favorite speaker wire and I highly recommend it.

24K Gold-Plated Banana Plugs

Along with speaker wire, something I’ve come to really appreciate are banana plugs. When I first got started with setting up home theater systems, I honestly didn’t really know what they were for. I thought they were something that just audiophiles used and that they were super complicated to work with.

Mediabridge Banana Plugs - Corrosion-Resistant 24K Gold-Plated ConnectorsEventually I figured out how they work after a friend showed me how they simplify the process of connecting speaker wire to speakers and your receiver or amplifier. They truly are a time saver!

Now there are quite a few different styles to choose from, so they don’t all work exactly the same. But the ones I use all the time now and recommend to others when they ask are the 24 gold-plated connectors by MediaBridge.

What I like about these is how easy it is to insert and connect your speaker wire to these connectors compared to other ones I’ve tried. The speaker wire also stays connected really well and doesn’t come loose. With other brands I’ve used I’ve had the problem where the banana plug will slowly untwist so that the speaker wire still start to come loose. It’s not the end of the world, but then you have to go and re-secure the wire and it’s just something you have to fuss with again.

So overall, these are the best banana plugs I’ve used so far and they’re super affordable. It’s one of those little luxuries that while they aren’t necessary to get, they sure make setting up and connecting your speakers a whole lot easier.

Microsoft Surface Pen for Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pen for Surface Pro 3One of my favorite gadgets to use is my Surface Pro 3. I had a friend who had one before I did and after he showed me his I had to have one. They’re so functional and allow you to do so many things. I take mine pretty much everywhere with me.

I didn’t realize a pen wasn’t included so when I found that out I started looking for different options. Initially I tried some of the off-brand options to see how they would work. And while most worked ok, I didn’t find anything that worked great. So I finally opted to spend a little more and get the actual pen designed by Microsoft for the Surface Pro 3.  Wow, did this make a difference!

It gives you a really nice feel when writing or drawing and it’s very responsive. There are also two buttons on the side of the pen that give you some more functionality without getting in the way of using it. Overall, I’m so happy I decided to spend a little more and just get the correct pen.

So if you’re in a similar situation, I’d encourage you to do the same. If you really don’t have the extra $10-15 to get this pen over an off-brand pen then the other options will work. But I can’t recommend this pen enough after the subpar experiences I had with all the other pens.