The battery output wire on the Down Low Glow has a certain amount of insulation. But with repeated flexing that insulation can break down.
Please look at the battery in the picture and compare it to yours. The black insulation has kinked and separated where it exits the pack, and you can see the white and red insulation of the inner two wires underneath. This is a result of repeated flexing of the wire. It is worse in cold places where the insulation can be brittle.
Our goal with this announcement is to keep you riding safely with the Down Low Glow, and to prevent needless short circuits. In our experience, most of these short circuits happen because the type of wiring damage shown above has escalated to the point where the white and red wire jackets have also crumbled, and bare copper is visible. If a customer continues using the battery at this point, the output wire may twist, bringing the two coppers into contact with eachother. When copper touches copper, a short can start at any time, but it still may take days or weeks of use before it happens, if it happens.
Short circuits are scary and can create lots of foul smoke and possibly a few seconds of a small open flame. They can melt surrounding plastic objects like nylon backpacks. You certainly wouldn’t want to hold one in your hand. But in our experience they are unlikely to start a fire. We shorted five batteries outside our workshop underneath a newspaper, and none of them ignited the newsprint. The sputtering, smoky part lasted about 2-3 minutes on average before the pack had dispensed most of its energy.
About a year ago we tried to recall batteries from a specific, problematic production period in 2008. But since this type of failure invoves wiring, and all Down Low Glows sold to date have wiring, we are asking that you simply check out your system to see if it has this type of wear.
We want to replace batteries that show this type of wear. If you have one that’s showing signs of wear, please either follow the DIY steps to prevent further wear on your battery, or send it back to us for replacement or service.
We worked with our battery manufacturer on this issue and are now selling batteries with a thermal fuse that prevents short circuits. We’ve also beefed up the strain relief on the wire leaving the pack. Down Low Glow systems sold today are much less likely to fail in this manner.
We have a reputation for excellent customer service and for being generous with warranty periods. If there’s something bugging you about your Down Low Glow system, or anything else you bought from Rock The Bike, please let us know.
Are all Down Low Glow systems destined to fail in this manner eventually? No!
New units have better tapering strain relief.
All DLG systems can last if you follow these Dos and Don’ts:
Yank the wires when disconnecting the battery from the charger or from the light tube(s). Yanking puts unneeded strain on the wiring.
Don’t carry or swing your Down Low Glow battery by the output wire:
Do hold your battery pack by the pack itself:
Use two hands to pull the main power connector apart. Same for removing the battery from the charger:
1. Pinch output wire as shown to prepare for taping step.
2. Wrap tape over one side of the loop.
3. Wrap tape over the other side of the loop. The tape prevents yanks and tugs from creating strain on the wire where it exits the battery pack.
The mod shortens the battery’s output wire a bit.