Sunday, October 21, 2007

Busted Reelight

Awhile back I wrote about Reelights. While they pretty much work as advertised, I've discovered one interesting incompatibility; the front Reelight conflicts with the bike racks at the Seattle Bike Station where I work.

At first I noticed that the light would bonk into the rack when I'd park. Sometimes it would get knocked out of alignment enough that it would be moved too far away from the wheel magnets to blink. Later, I noticed that the light started making a ticking noise every time the magnets would move past it. I surmised that the jarring knocked the inner coil loose. The ticking was the coil shifting each time the magnets tugged at it.

Eventually I parked one too many times and I broke the front light. The case popped open and the internal parts fell out. The good news is that I got some pictures.

The coil attaches to the circuit board with incredibly tiny wires. I don't think I'm going to bother with reassembling the circuit and I'm going back to using a front LED light powered by rechargeable NiMH batteries.


Anonymous said...

hey, could you post a few more pictures of the reelight internals (pcb side with leds and the small capacitor) and of the magnets as well?
I just found your site looking for clues on how exactly this thing works.

thanks a bunch already!

Anonymous said...

what's the point of approving a comment and not respond to it?

Kent Peterson said...

Believe it or not, I actually have a whole bunch of things higher on the to-do list than go back and dig out parts of a busted light, photograph them and post them up here.

The Reelight works via an induction coil and a magnet which charges a capacitor. You can see the same thing in principal in action in one of those shake flashlights. Or you can poke around on the candlepower forum and probably find someone who may have a handy circuit diagram.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, there is a whole bunch of things more important than a bike blog, so I figured if you thought it worth posting about this, you might as well respond to the interest that your post caused.

But since you're a busy man, why not just say no? I consider simply ignoring people to be quite unpolite.

The point of the question was to get clues on the component values, which, in contrast to the principle, are not obvious.
I was hoping to guess the solenoid data with that info since I could not find any info elsewwwhere.

Anyway, happy riding!

Raymond Mearsly said...


I just came across your blog looking for info to make my own homemade version of the Reelight. Those pictures are brilliant, just what I needed. Mr Anonymous seems to have missed the point on life by the looks of it, please don't heed his cry-baby antics and keep up the good work. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I posted some detailed pics of Reelight internals in this instructable that I just wrote:

Anonymous said...

Wow...anonymous....lighten up fer goodness passive agressive can you be?