August 18, 2003
USB Coffee Cup Warmer

I was perusing the Cyberguys catalog a few weeks ago and I saw the USB Coffee Cup Warmer for sale. Cyberguys has tons of neat stuff and I've gotten several items from them before.

Intrigued, I bought one. Today was the first test of it. As usual, I documented the event.


This is the package as it arrived. Looks good.


I opened the package and it had a bit of a cheap feel to it. The warming area was shiny and felt greasy. The workmanship left something to be desired.

Plugged in and lukewarm

Notice that I brought the warmer to work to test it there. You don't think I'd risk my home computer with this thing do you?

Unfortunately the USB Warmer didn't warm very well. Perhaps it would be better called the USB Lukewarmer. The blue LED in the USB flashed nicely, and the red/green LED on the warmer also flashed nicely. Too bad it didn't warm anything much. To think the instructions warn against burning yourself...

the innards of the warmer

The engineer in me got the better of me and I popped the back off to see what was inside being lukewarm. I was a little suprised to see two voltage regulators used as the 'heating element' of the warmer. The designer was counting on the byproduct heat of the LM317T regulators to be enough to keep coffee or tea warm. It was a bad idea. I think they need more power or different regulators.

poor soldering job

Not to mention the soldering job itself. I think I could have done a better soldering job than this in elementary school.

Overall, the device is a piece of crap, not worth the money or the time I spent playing with it.

Posted by michael at August 18, 2003 09:44 PM