Down The Rabbit Hole

Among the Urban legends in Shenzhen, Huaqiangbei is one of them. One rumour is that Huaqiangbei is the centre of the world. Of course this is not true, on the other hand, I would like to call it the centre of the electronic world. Standing on the crowed street here, you could be like Alice – wondering and falling into the rabbit hole, another magic world.

During the two years, we saw lots of products with different styles here, based on my personal preference, I choose several classic “hardware” as the billboard hardware chart, here’s a short description how I judged and choose them.

What is Tag? the first impression

  • hackable: how can you make fun with it
  • price: greed is good
  • unique: basically how hard to find it

What is Meta? more details 

  • place: where can you find one
  • quote: some features provided by the manufacturers and the writer
  • origin: A little more details will be provided to you for reference, some of the product are not find by ourselves, we would like to provide the original site we saw it.
  • review: my personal conclusion in a word (or more)

1st: The $12 “Gongkai” Phone

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summary: reverse engineer the Mediatek MT6260, well documented, highly recommended

Tag

  • hackable 5
  • price 2 ($12)
  • unique 5

The cellphone is found 1 year ago, the work is published on December 29th 2014, the best gift for 2014. The Mediatek chips are largely exist in Huaqiangbei, speaks for cheap but multi functional solutions for mobile phone. For example, LinkIT ONE(SeeedStudio) is based on the MT2502A, WRTNode is based on Mediatek MT7620n.

Not only raises the idea of “Gongkai”, bunnie also leads a practical way for “Gongkai” product both on legality and technology.

Meta

  • place: Mingtong Digital Mall
  • origin: http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=4297
  • quote: $12 at Mingtong Digital Mall for a complete phone, featuring quad-band GSM, Bluetooth, MP3 playback, and an OLED display plus keypad for the UI. Simple, but functional; nothing compared to a smartphone, but useful if you’re going out and worried about getting your primary phone wet or stolen.

the rising of Electric Unicycle

Tag

  • hackable 2
  • price 1
  • unique 2

Since the solewheel create a new categoryin unicycle, we found a rising in the Unicycle store in Huaqiangbei, there are even another large market on taobao (the online market).

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Those unicycles are typical huaqiangbei style: there are built into various ways to meet the tastes and wants of the customers. Some are equipped with better battery for performance, some are decorated with different colors and textures: Camouflage/Leopard/Zebra, much more choice besides the pure black/white!

unicyle 2

They are even hackable! Some hacking are done by the factories, such as

  • extra USB ports: you can have your phone charged while driving
  • laser point for direction
  • software
  • builtin bluetooth speaker!

It’s not wired, more factories are producing duplicates, joining in the competition building affordable unicycle for average citizen.

Meta

  • place: Mingtong Digital Mall

High Power Laser Pointer

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Tag

  • hackable 2
  • price 2
  • unique 3

Some of the customers are quite interested in the laser pen higher than 5W, which is dangerous and controlled in their country. Most of the label on the pen are not correct, much higher than they actually are. We can’t estimate the accurate power consumption of it, from the picture we can tell than it could melt a piece of solder, the same works for plastic bag.

We do not recommend power more than 3mw, which is becoming dangerous for average people (especially eyes). The power of laser is classified into several layers: Class1 – Class 5, usually you can buy the class 1 on other market, class 2-3 in Huaqiangbei and Taobao.

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You can find the laser where they also sell flashlight.

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By the way, we find a huge flashlight here, totally beyond our imagination! What’s more, it really works with CXA3050 by CREE.

Meta

Accessories

Tag

  • hackable 1
  • price 1
  • unique 2

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How adorable! The shells of the USB storage ranges from cartoon characters to anything. You can tell from the picture: angry bird, miffy, Doraemon,Paul Frank, Hello Kitty, One Piece, even Matryoshka doll! They all come in the same form factor to fit the same USB stick you can find on the market.

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Even not hackable at all, the products are still appealing, some of the cables has builtin LED, shining in the dark, and affordable for 3 dollars. The apple 6 shells for replacement come in different colors, you can always find the ones you like at a reasonable price.

Meta

  • summary: EarPods, Power Bank, Shells are among the top 3 of the accessories of cellphone market
  • place: , Longjiang market
  • origin: Gaokede, Longjiang market

 Cellphone mod (iPhone)

Tag

  • hackable 3
  • price 3
  • unique 3

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There are news telling how to turns iPhone 5c into iPhone 5s in huaqiangbei, a high level of modification on iPhone. there are a lot parts for iPhone on the market, making it possible to change most of the parts of iPhone.

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I find the screen for my HTC M8 easily, together with the shells.

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Take your time, you can find almost screen from any size to any type: touchable or epaper.

Meta

SJ4000 is not Go Pro

Tag

  • hackable 1
  • price 4
  • unique 2

SJ4000 is an typical C2C product, the idea comes from Go Pro and they’re compatible in shape. Featuring Full HD 1080p Video, 12MP Still Photos, Housing Waterproof to 100, and about 20% of the price of Go Pro Hero 3. The price is quite attractive, it becomes an alternative for Go Pro, even lacking some feature like cooling and battery life. By the way, since the it’s the same in shape with Go Pro, you can find cheap accessories for Real Go Pro here.

Meta

  • summary: OK, similar to Go Pro
  • place: Gaokede 2F
  • origin: Gaokede 2F

MK809 or higher, thanks to Android

mk809

Tag

  • hackable 3
  • price 4
  • unique 2

The cheapest solution for Android Developers (without a screen).

Meta

  • summary: MK809 is an another typical best seller ever since. Most the TV Sticks are build on Android, some of them are still with meego system.

Toys

Tag

  • hackable 2
  • price 2
  • unique 2

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WTF, electronic toys is a relatively tiny part of the whole market, as a great landscape can be seen through a small hole, you can tell the popular toys trends: Quadcoptors, droids, animal like robots.

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We found some interesting ones during the source, some famous cartoon characters are made into different aircrafts.

Meta

  • place: international LED building, 2nd floor

Tools

Tag

  • hackable 2
  • price 3
  • unique 2

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Wondering across the buildings, streets and stores, all tools are placed neatly. You can almost find all categories of tools here in different stores.

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Of course some filaments can be category into tools: copper foil paper and z axis conductive tape are accessible conveniently.

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Another interesting thing is to have a taste of the old machines, such as oscillographs and generators, from digital to analog ones.

Peoples

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I’d like to thank every hard working peoples here. They are the basic elements of  this community. You are always welcome with smiles.

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The one who sells the pianos are learning and playing piano by himself, with a handwrite music note book.

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Outside the buildings, a worker is repair the roads in the crowd.

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The couriers with huge boxes in the transport network of Huaqiangbei.

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Generally, every store is a group of families: when the parents are serving the customers, they leave their child playing nearby. Lots of children learned skills such as soldering to promote their family business. passed down from generation to generation, that’s how they helped to make the Huaqiangbei what it is today.