made-by-monkeys2

Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.

Drop in charger looks good, needs help

drop-in-charger-thumb.jpgOne of the selling points for this sophisticated LED bicycle light from Halfords in the UK was a drop-in charger, just like an iPod.

What a great idea, just take it off the bike each evening, drop it onto the charger, turn on the power, and leave is over night.
No connector to sort out, or batteries to remove and stick in a charger.

What a shame the drop-in connector system is crap.

The spring-loaded terminals are aligned in such a way that they rub on the plastic housing and jam.

Now this might just be poor assembly, but I will never find out because it is put together with security screws that I can’t extract.

The light has no alternative socket, so you have to use the rubbish holder

To hold it in just the right position, I have been using rubber band and jamming an old pen refill under one end, but it is so very touchy to position.
drop-in-charger-web.jpgAn hour or so later….

Special trip to the shops through the snow, bought the appropriate security screwdriver for £5 – added to the £40 I spent on the light.

Opened it up, bent the contact supports into a more suitable shape – luckily they are steel, and fixed it.

I will have a front light for the ride home tonight.

Steve Bush, Technology Editor

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10 Comments

  1. January 13, 2011 11:01

    Like it! Maybe the elastic bands should come included!

  2. Chris Bore
    January 12, 2011 15:24

    By the way, you can get the batteries out. The plastic housing slides open. Then you can re-charge them.

  3. Chris Bore
    January 12, 2011 15:21

    I thought at first you had somehow taken a photo of my LED light. But then I remembered I used red rubber bands…

  4. Steve
    January 12, 2011 15:19

    It all rings so true, but in defense of Halfords:
    I have had some rotten service in Halfords, which bordered on lying, and I have had some good service.
    It is one of the few big retailers that gets bike stuff made especially for it – Boardman Bikes for example, and unfashionable stuff like touring luggage and racks.
    And for a while there were those lovely Bike Hut stores with bargain carbon and titanium bikes.
    My light is actually made by Hella, and I have heard that it not only fails to charge and falls off, but water gets into the control and prevents it from turning off.
    However, at least the designer made some attempt to produce an anti-dazzle flat-topped beam rather than the default circular ones that are irresponsibly being put on the road.
    For the record, the batteries are difficult to extract too.
    Steve

  5. January 12, 2011 14:49

    Steve takes his bike (and his safety) seriously, Ian!

  6. January 12, 2011 14:42

    Oh dear, Alan. Sounds like you have been badly bitten in the past. Anything you can share with Made By Monkeys?

  7. Ian
    January 12, 2011 13:06

    Did you say £40 for a bike light !!!! wow

  8. Michael G77
    January 12, 2011 13:06

    As a general rule I try NEVER to buy anything from this store that I can obtain elsewhere. The staff do not know their products well enough and items are always more expensive here.
    Lets face it,how long does it take to extract the batteries from a light compared to the charging time?

  9. Alan Brown
    January 12, 2011 12:11

    You bought it from Halfraud – that says all you need to know about this device… :)

  10. charlie
    January 12, 2011 11:10

    I had the same issue.
    But my biggest gripe about this light is the crappy clip that holds the lamp to the bracket on the bike.
    After a while it wares away.
    Then when you drop off a curb the light falls off and disasembles it’s self on the road.
    Then you have to watch the cars drive over it, crushing it in to more pieces!