It died. It lives! It died again…

March 15, 2019 at 10:15 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

fly6For quite some time I have had a Cycliq Fly6 camera on the back of my bike. Lots of fun, and capable of capturing what is sometimes quite dramatic footage. The camera is now about four years old, and the battery life had gradually been getting less and less as the internal rechargeable battery degraded.

Then one day I went for a longer ride than usual, and the battery depleted totally. Given that it was already degraded, it seems the function that switches off the camera when the battery is low did not work as expected, and the battery underwent a deep discharge. And from that moment, it would not hold a charge – at best it would work for perhaps ten minutes.

This is both to be expected and frustrating. Rechargeable batteries do have a limited life, especially one on the back of a bicycle that is exposed to extremes of temperature, being left out in the sun as well as frozen in winter. So it is to be expected that it would need replacing.

However, the battery in the Fly6 is not user replaceable. And Cycliq do not offer a battery replacement service. So it seemed my $250 camera was now useless. This is frustrating.

Or was it? One of my cycling contacts (aka BikeBot) has actually managed to successfully replace the battery in his Fly6 several times, and helpfully has written some very clear instructions. So I bought the bits I needed from Jaycar for about $20, and set to work.

It was quite fiddly. The hardest part is the ‘wire glue’. Here’s a thing about wire glue. It isn’t. When it dries it holds the wires, but before then it has absolutely no stickiness whatsoever. It’s like trying to glue things with graphite paste. I got it everywhere. All over the battery, the table, the ceiling and myself. If you attempt this yourself, think about some kind of jig to hold the contacts to the battery whilst you are gluing it. Or better, find a qualified solderist who can solder the terminals to the battery. (And here I reinforce the warning on BikeBot’s instructions – DO NOT solder directly to a Li-Ion battery unless you have the right equipment and know what you are doing.)

Once I had finally done it all, I left the glue to cure for a day. And then I tried to charge it up. It was alive! It charged up nicely, bleeped as expected and came on, happily recording video for an hour or so before I switched it off, to hear three bleeps indicating the battery was still quite full. I was very pleased with myself. I had resurrected it!

Now the hard part – I had to put it all back in the case; the above test was done with it still in pieces. So I set about packing it all back into the case. It was all going well until the last PCB screw; the board was a bit high so I pressed it down against the battery to get it into place.

And there was a kind of very quiet ‘phut’ sound, and the camera went off (it had come on from me pressing the buttons whilst re-assembling it). There was also a very faint smell of hot electronics. Oooops.

It seems what had happened is that I had not quite lined up the battery, and the small battery protection circuit on the contact strip was over to one side. This was then directly underneath the protruding metal of the switch on the PCB. Pushing it down had caused the metal of the switch to pierce the insulating tape I had put around the battery, and either shorted out or damaged a component on the battery protect circuit.

And so it was dead. Properly, finally dead.

Oh well. At least I tried. And hopefully someone else reading this who tries the same thing will now not make the mistake I made.


Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.