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Dodo Factory 18-11-2008 06:26 PM

Brinkmann Battery Transplant - pics inside
Hi guys

Well, after many months of squinting in the sun, borrowing lamps or using dodgy torches etc I finally got my Brinkmann through on a group buy. I had always assumed dodgy Brinkmanns existed but were rare and tales of 'buy 3 to get 2 that work' were an exaggeration. How wrong I was!

Now what you are about to hear isn't a complaint, as group buys are generally selfless acts with a bit of pocket money thrown in, and forums would be lesser places without them. But to cut a long story short, the beautiful, brand new and sealed Brinkmann I ended up with didn't work. In went the wall charger with the correct adaptors and not a blink of the charging LED. In went the car charger and it flickered briefly. In went a spare universal charger I have and much the same.

Knowing what a shower of sh1t rechargable batteries can be, I took an educated guess that this was the cause. I ruled out the potentially flaky charger (often a culprit!) because the other chargers showed the same problem.

So instead of ranting and raving as I would if I had bought it at Dixons (remember it wasn't really the Group Buy person's fault as it was supplied brand new and he had no way of knowing it was dodgy), or pursuing the warranty (as the US is too distant for me to deal with on something like this) I had a choice of binning it or fixing it. I decided to fix it.

So out came the screwdriver and after popping off the rubber end cap (lens end), undoing the screws (two hidden under the end cap) then carefully prising off the top cover... put a small flat head screwdriver in the middle of each horizontal section between the body of the torch and the cover, and prise gently... I had it in pieces.

I then double checked it was the battery by connecting a 6v power source to the circuit from a mains adaptor. The Brinkmann worked and lit up the Xenon bulbs as intended. So it wasn't a fault with the lamp as a whole.

Therefore, project 'Battery Replacement' was given an official green light.

A few points to note.

1) Alan from samplesrus is right (see one of the other 'dodgy Brinkmann' thread). These chinese made units show some of the shoddiest circuit board soldering and generally woeful build quality I've ever seen. They really do look like they are made by chimps. Sony would have a good chuckle at these!

2) Taking them apart is pretty simple but you can damage the top cover if you aren't careful. It has tabs that go on one way easily but could break easily when the cover is removed.

3) You can't buy a genuine replacement battery, as has been discovered on another thread. But then again, when you see it, you wouldn't really want to. It's an un-ecologically friendly lead-acid behemoth that weighs 337g.

So taking the battery specs (6v voltage, 2500mAH capacity) and dimensions, I set about finding a suitable alternative.

Now one chap from DW found one that would fit but it involved a bit of dremelling, and the battery had almost half the charge capacity. It was a cheap lead acid equivalent from Maplins, for about 4 GBP. It would also be very heavy as it was larger.

I pressed on with my search and found this lovely item made for an RC control unit:

As you can see, it is much thinner and shorter but a tad wider. It weighs 142g - so under half the weight of the old battery. Spec wise, it is 6v and fractionally lower capacity at 2100mAH, but I doubt you'd ever notice.

The best news is that you don't need to dremel anything. Because it is so thin, it can rest within the moulded cradle. OK, it rattles around a bit if you shake the lamp, but you could mount it more securely if fussed. Chopping one of the four internal tabs would lock it in diagonally, and a blob of clear sealant would do the rest.

Because I didn't know if it would work, I twisted the wires together and used insulating tape. For a longer term fix, now that I know it works, I would use solder and heatshrink.

And here she is...

Moment of truth was that she fired up like a good 'un... worked a treat. And then I put her on charge and the paltry flickering LED glowed bright red. All working and all fixed.

Total cost was 8.35 GBP which was the cost of the battery pack delivered from the ebay reseller. Search 'Flat Futaba 6v' if the url doesn't work.

The battery is their 6v 2100mAH RC battery pack... I'm pretty sure they only do the one, but check out the pictures.

Hope this post is of some help. Brinkmanns ARE a bit cr4p, but they are cheap and do the job admirably well. At some point I may try and source a nice detailing inspection light, but I will investigate strength and type of light source to see what kind of a bearing they have on swirl spotting. Also, people seem to like the Brinkmann for its TJ Hooker gun handle design and rubber nose cone (good for placing on paintwork without scratching or rolling off). Much better 'tube' torches are easy to find (I found one that was about 5x as bright as a Brinkmann!) and some cost hundreds. But the overall design is important, so I'll keep an eye out. Until then, happy fixing if you need to repair a dodgy one!


PETER @ ECLIPSE 18-11-2008 06:34 PM

nice one , have you any idea of the duration of the new pack

Dodo Factory 18-11-2008 06:49 PM

Not yet... just got it in.

But I'll keep an eye on longevity.

PETER @ ECLIPSE 18-11-2008 06:57 PM

ok ill hang on a min then , but well done for the effort to resolve something that brinkmann arnt bothered with

BEADING SHINY 18-11-2008 08:33 PM

Be careful when mixing different chemistry’s and chargers

Charging Lead acid (Pb) batteries use constant voltage and Ni-cd and Ni-MH use constant current charging.

E.g. Pb battery 6v 2500mAh would charge at 625mAh when it has reached a set limit 7.5v the current begins to fall this is then on a timer after the timer the charger will switch to trickle charge. when Pb batteries are over-charge they can get hot and begin thermal run away and swell up.

Ni-cd battery 6v 2500mAh again charge at 625mAh tho there is no set limit for voltage once the cells have reached their voltages around 1.65v ish the voltage begins to fall slightly and the pack is warm the cells have reached a point which is called negative delta V (-dV) and the charger senses this (40mV per cell drop) and either stops or goes to trickle charge.

Ni-MH battery: Any Ni-MH battery requires at least 2 protection circuits a Thermistor (for charger sensing) and a Pepi (temperature sensing) a third one can be used SRP (no not AutoGlym, short circuit Protection).

The battery charges in the same way as Ni-cd but can be easily damaged if over charged (gets to hot) this is why a Thermistor is used, if the charger misses –dV (10mV per cell drop) or the temperature of the pack is to high the charger will stop. Same with the Pepi but this is built in to the circuit so if the battery gets to hot the Pepi opens causing an open circuit.

Hope I’ve not bored u all too much.:thumb:

caledonia 18-11-2008 08:47 PM

If there is a problem with the 2100mAH, There is a replacement available on the bay too.
Same connector just a different make of battery. Slightly more expensive. But thats life

Linky [6V 2600mAH Flat pack.]

Dodo Factory 18-11-2008 11:46 PM

That's me told re mixing batteries, LOL. But it does just seem to be a charging issue, potentially wrecking the battery at worst. I'll be careful not to leave it charging for a long time unattended.

bratfass 19-11-2008 02:21 AM


I see these battery-packs and I look in my cupboard and there I have 6 of the AAA batteries with 2800mAH. Question: can I take 4 of my 2800mAH, solde them in row and seal them in a zip-tie and use it as a battery-pack? (if I will receive MY Brinkamn AND it will fail)

Yes, I know, I am not elctrician ;)

BEADING SHINY 19-11-2008 08:47 AM

Sorry DF didnt mean anything by it.

BEADING SHINY 19-11-2008 08:50 AM


Originally Posted by bratfass (Post 1184497)

I see these battery-packs and I look in my cupboard and there I have 6 of the AAA batteries with 2800mAH. Question: can I take 4 of my 2800mAH, solde them in row and seal them in a zip-tie and use it as a battery-pack? (if I will receive MY Brinkamn AND it will fail)

Yes, I know, I am not elctrician ;)

U not really suppose to solder to the tops of cells plus mite not make a very good joint.

Best to get them with either tags welded on or made up as a pack.

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