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  1. #1
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    Anyone ever rebuild a Minewt battery?

    I have a modified Minewt dual and I think I am loosing a battery cell. $140 is awfully steep for a new pack so I'm wondering if anyone has gone ahead and rebuilt one and can offer up any advice.
    Looks like I can get protected cells (I'm assuming 18650) for under $10 each but are the protected cells even required with the NR electronics?

    Any help?

  2. #2
    GMF
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    There isn't anything super magical about the battery. The case is solvent welded closed, so you have to tap/smack the case seam with a hammer to crack the seam. After that, it is just battery cells (2 of them), wires and a PCB. Nothing too crazy, really.

    Good luck

  3. #3
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    $140 for two 18650s and a piece of plastic? That's insane

    Are you sure the NR electronics have their own protection circuit? Because if they don't, you'll overdischarge your cells. You can use protected cells even if the light has it's own protections circuit, it's even safer this way.

    When building the battery pack, remember that you must not solder the cells together, the heat will damage them. The only way to permanently connect them is spot welding.

  4. #4
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    The minewt mini should still be under warranty. If it's not working properly, sent it back to them. They will fix it for FREE!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry_c
    Are you sure the NR electronics have their own protection circuit? Because if they don't, you'll overdischarge your cells. You can use protected cells even if the light has it's own protections circuit, it's even safer this way.
    I don't know if they are protected or not but wanted to know so that I might not need to be sure to get protected cells. I could be more creative with sourcing that way. Not a big deal since the protected cells are pretty cheap anyway.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2calif
    The minewt mini should still be under warranty. If it's not working properly, sent it back to them. They will fix it for FREE!
    It's an original minewt, not the new mini. It's a year and 5 months old and the red light comes on after maybe 20 minutes on high. It is winter here but I have tried a few things to keep the battery warm. I know the cold affects the LiIon batteries but it just seems to be quite a bit less run time than I expected.

  7. #7
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    I shouldn't be too hard to crack the case open and replace one or more cells. Please let us know how it goes for you. I will be doing the same thing to my Trinewt when the cells eventually die. There is no way I am going to pay NR prices for a new battery pack!

  8. #8
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    Yes, crack it open and see. I'm very curious whether they keep the driver with the battery or in the light housing. Good luck!!

  9. #9
    GMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2calif
    Yes, crack it open and see. I'm very curious whether they keep the driver with the battery or in the light housing. Good luck!!
    Everything is in the driver. I am fairly sure they don't use use protected cells because the cell protection circuitry is on the same circuit board (charge, protection, and drive all there). There is nothing but a passive PCB in the light head.

  10. #10
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    Umm,I see. so I can't just plug in any li-ion battery without a driver to a Niterider LED headlamp. Well, i'll just have to add a driver to the new battery pack once my factory battery kicks the bucket.

  11. #11
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    Hello,

    I just joined and I'm looking to build a battery pack with charger for a MiNewt X2 LED light. I bought just the light on amazon, so now I need to build a battery pack. Any help or resources you can point me to would be great.

    BTW, can someone tell me how to subscribe to threads without posting? I can't seem to find anything on doing this. I search for help on doing this and they look like they just go unanswered. That is, unless you happen to be a female on here, then you seem to get your posts answered quickly. Please don't make me login as a female!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by User1
    Hello,
    BTW, can someone tell me how to subscribe to threads without posting? I can't seem to find anything on doing this. I search for help on doing this and they look like they just go unanswered. That is, unless you happen to be a female on here, then you seem to get your posts answered quickly. Please don't make me login as a female!
    In the blue bar at the top of the thread is a drop down called "Thread tools" or something like that. in there is "subscribe to this thread".

  13. #13
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    Got details on just how to Crack open the seam?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMF
    There isn't anything super magical about the battery. The case is solvent welded closed, so you have to tap/smack the case seam with a hammer to crack the seam. After that, it is just battery cells (2 of them), wires and a PCB. Nothing too crazy, really.

    Good luck
    Anyone have more details on the proper procedure to smack / crack open the case seams. There are a lot of us out there that would love to replace the battery cells on our old NiteRider Minewt battery packs. With the new higher density batteries out there we could even extend the battery charge well past the original spec's on these units. I just don't know where or how to start to crack open the case without destroying either the case or the electronics within.

    Thanks in advance,
    Bob_H2O

  14. #14
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    Successful rebuild of Minewt battery

    I accidentally cracked open my older first generation Minewt battery while I was cleaning the seams today. Since it started opening up I kept prying around the rest of the case until it popped open. It was not very securely closed with at least half of the glue not making good contact with both surfaces.

    Inside was the expected combined LED power regulator and charge controller board running the full length of the batteries just under the power button. I had just tested the battery and it was showing 3h 2m of capacity. I had also tested a new pack that came out at 3h 58m. Since the pack was already open and I have some extra 2380mAh 18650 cells I decided to try a replacement. These 2380mAh cells are nominal 2400mAh LG cells I got from BatterySpace a couple years ago and left half discharged in a cool location. I recently charged them up and did a test discharge at .1C (240mA) which yielded 2380mAh, so they seemed like good candidates.

    I have heard that soldering to the negative end of the cell can be dangerous due to destabilization of the lithium from heat, but my tabbed cells had not been tested or matched so I went with these bare cells. I did use very quick pre soldering with good quality flux and a hot tinned soldering iron so that the battery was heated for less than a half a second at a time. The Minewt battery has generous length wires soldered to tabs spot welded onto the original cells. I carefully pealed off the old tabs and after tinning them with solder I easily soldered them onto the new cells with quick contacts of the hot soldering iron. The long wires allow the circuit board to be placed into the case before lowering the batteries and separator onto them. The cover snapped back on easily, although I have not yet glued it securely. I tested it and it works fine, although I am currently running a full charge to do a capacity test on the light. I didn't test the discharge current with the light on as I couldn't get it operational until the protection circuits were reset by the charger. I am hoping to get at least 4 hours as I feel that Niterider traditionally did not use 2400mAh or 2600mAh cells in their batteries. With current excessive costs I would expect the new batteries to ship with 2200mAh cells, although I am not certain of that. The 3h30m spec for Minewt vs 3h for Minewt USB also implies 2000mAh on the USB and 2200mAh on the more expensive Minewt. It is also nice to see that Niterider conservatively rates their run time on the Minewt. Another approach is to back calculate using an expected 3.7V/1A LED power and 85% efficient regulator which comes out to 2400mAh cells. However, a 90% efficient regulator would only need 2200mAh cells.

    The old battery compartment clearly showed evidence of water entry, probably through the seams along the side where most of the green surface corrosion was. The circuit board generally looked pretty good after wiping it clean and it still works fine. The translucent rubber cap over the power switch also does not make a very good seal although there were only signs of dirt entry there and no water. As mentioned earlier, the original glue job was not very well done. I plan on using good quality clear silicone caulking to glue it shut for improved water resistance and to make future cell replacement easier. I may also spread some sort of grease or silicone compound around the edges of the switch cover to prevent water entry there.

    Sorry about no pictures yet as I did not have a camera available during the procedure. If there is interest I may try to post some photos. I can also post the new run times if desired.

    For safety I would recommend spending the extra $0.25 per cell to get spot welded tabs. That would also make the assembly a little easier. Also, protected cells are not required or recommended as protection is built into the regulator/charger board. There might be space to squeeze in protected cells, but that would be redundant and the best cells are not available with protection. The fresh Tenergy "2600" protected cells I tried recently only tested out a little under 2200mAh at .1C discharge. That contrasts to my 2-year old BatterySpace 2400 cells that still retain 2380mAh.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkantner
    Sorry about no pictures yet as I did not have a camera available during the procedure. If there is interest I may try to post some photos. I can also post the new run times if desired.
    I would definately be interested in knowing what you find for run time. Pics are always a bonus, of course.

  16. #16
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    I just finished the test run on the Minewt battery with 2380mAh replacement cells and I ended up with 3h 47m. It was interesting to note that the red low battery warning only showed for that last 5 minutes. Apparently NiteRider is using 2400mAh cells in their batteries which is nice to see considering how much they cost. With new 2400 cells or 2550mAh cells I should be able to get over 4 hours, but this will be fine for the price which was zero at this point.

  17. #17
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    Pulling up an old thread, since I'd like feedback from some of the original posters.

    I have a MiNewt X2 Dual from ~2 years ago. It has been cycled ~20 times, usually left with a low charge for months at a time in the garage.

    Last fall I was using it regularly, and one day after charging all night it ran on high for only 60min (advertised runtime ~1h45m) then shut off. Three months have passed and I partially charged it (~2 hours) the other day, and the light would not stay on for more than a few seconds. I let it charge overnight and got ~3h20m (close to the advertised 3h30m) on low with it sitting on the bench. Recharged again overnight and got ~1h40m on high on the bench.

    Should I trust the battery will continue to give 1h40m/3h30m run times? The 60min runtime in October was surprising/disturbing since I had another hour until twilight. I'll be doing a double century in a month and will be starting in darkness. While I plan to finish in light, I'd like at least an hour of low power in reserve.

    I have a Dinotte 400L as well, but I'd rather leave it behind if I can make due with the MiNewt. If I can't trust the MiNewt's run time, I figure I still have plenty of time to try replacing its batteries.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian
    Last fall I was using it regularly, and one day after charging all night it ran on high for only 60min (advertised runtime ~1h45m) then shut off. ... I let it charge overnight and got ~3h20m (close to the advertised 3h30m) on low with it sitting on the bench. Recharged again overnight and got ~1h40m on high on the bench.
    Was your short runtime in cold conditions? You said you had a good runtime on the bench but I have noticed the cold has a huge effect on these. Even on low, in 20 F I will be looking at a red light in 45 min. to 1 hr. Above 50 F on high, I'll get red light around 45 min. but switch to low and not see red again in a 1 1/2hr ride.

    I've been debating rebuilding the pack vs. rewiring the system to a home-brew battery/driver pack.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by taiter
    Was your short runtime in cold conditions? You said you had a good runtime on the bench but I have noticed the cold has a huge effect on these. Even on low, in 20 F I will be looking at a red light in 45 min. to 1 hr. Above 50 F on high, I'll get red light around 45 min. but switch to low and not see red again in a 1 1/2hr ride.

    I've been debating rebuilding the pack vs. rewiring the system to a home-brew battery/driver pack.
    It was likely 40-50 F.

    I did run it down again today indoors (66 F), and noticed the red light came on at a little past 60min. I didn't notice it shut off, but it was past 1h30m. It'll be cold in the garage (30s) in the morning, so I'll run it down again.

    If you do rewire your system, consider using Dinotte batteries. :-) I have a bunch of them from buying taillights and a 400L last year, and wouldn't mind using those in lieu of replacing the NiteRider batteries.

  20. #20
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    I already have a couple laptop packs that would be the cell source. I built a homebrew helmet system that burns 3+ hours and haven't had motivation to dig into the minewt x2 pack yet. Maybe after the snow is gone and I need all the light it can throw.

  21. #21
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    Smile Rebuild project for a Minewt battery pack

    Hey gang,

    I just recently rebuilt an old Minewt battery pack. Replaced the Panasonic 2050mAh cells with LG 2800mAh cells. Cost was 34 dollars with shipping, which was pricey, but allot cheaper than a new pack.

    After conditioning the cells, I am getting 4hr 19minutes of runtime on my X2 (200 lumen model)

    If anybody does similar, let us know if you find some cheaper, and/or higher mAh cells.

    I created a album, in my user galley, but can't figure on how to put the link in this message. Anybody help me with that?

    Best regards!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rschnell View Post
    I created a album, in my user galley, but can't figure on how to put the link in this message. Anybody help me with that?
    Nice tutorial! Here is the link:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/members/rschn...-pack-rebuild/

    The photo sequence came out backwards but I think anyone can deal with that.

    Exactly what glue did you use to put it back together?

    Thanks!
    ///Charlie

  23. #23
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    Glue

    I used a product from Bohning Archery company called Fletch-Tite. (I'm involved in archery) It's a clear clue, similar to model airplane cement. Dries in 30 minutes, but I think I could pry apart again if I had to. Another idea for a glue is to use Black Silicone Adhesive sealant. Available in 3-4 oz tubes in automobile products.

  24. #24
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    Asking a question here since its mostly relevant: I just bought an older minewt at an REI garage sale, it worked fine in the store and initially when getting home but after charging it up for about 4 or 5 hours the battery pack seems totally dead. The button won't even light up when pushed. Do you think this means the batteries are dead (in which case I'll do the DIY replacement discussed here) or could something more sinister be wrong with the electronics?

  25. #25
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    Battery

    Sounds like you had some old cells in that battery pack. Will they take it back? If not, Rebuild it using Panasonic 31mah cells. I think I paid about 8 bucks a cell. Buy from a reputable source! Good luck

  26. #26
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    So I guess charging up old lithium cells has the potential to completely kill them? This I did not know. Can't take it back - used/garage sale items are the only thing you *can't* take back to REI, unfortunately. Thanks!

  27. #27
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    Do you have a voltage meter? I'd test the pack to see if you're getting anything out of it.

    I'd also test the charger, cause if that charger isn't properly charging, it is possible it actually put a parasitic drain on your pack and pulled it completely down to dead.

  28. #28
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    Wow, this is great.

    I too got my Minewt Dual 700 form the REi Scratch and Dent sale.... $50!! I guess somebody thought the charger was bad, but it was a bad Y-Cable. I got a new Y-Cable and I've been using it for the last couple years.

    But now, I'm starting to see it run out near the end of my rides... and my night rides aren't that long... usually 90-120 minutes, and I mostly run it on low. I kick it up to high for the high speed fireroad descents, and techy stuff.

    I think a battery rebuild is in my future. It says good things about NiteRider's battery management that I can get 3-5 years out of a battery pack that gets used regularly.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    Wow, this is great.

    I too got my Minewt Dual 700 form the REi Scratch and Dent sale.... $50!! I guess somebody thought the charger was bad, but it was a bad Y-Cable. I got a new Y-Cable and I've been using it for the last couple years.

    But now, I'm starting to see it run out near the end of my rides... and my night rides aren't that long... usually 90-120 minutes, and I mostly run it on low. I kick it up to high for the high speed fireroad descents, and techy stuff.

    I think a battery rebuild is in my future. It says good things about NiteRider's battery management that I can get 3-5 years out of a battery pack that gets used regularly.
    Update:

    My NR Dual 700 started cutting out at random. I took the battery pack apart and all of the cells seem to be holding a charge. On my desk at work I got 1:45 on high (both lamps) before the indicator went red, so the batteries are fine. Crazy they work that well, being 3 years old with weekly use. NR has battery management down pretty well.

    Last night, about every 10 minutes or so, it would just turn off... no red light warning at all. I just turned it back on and kept on riding. At this point, it's annoying, but it isn't keeping me from riding with it. I also run a head lamp (a Lumina 650) so I'm not in danger of sudden trail blindness. It didn't seem to be triggered by vibration. It happened on smooth trail as well as over bumpy bits about the same. I tried wiggling the connectors while riding in case that was it. Nope. It might be something is overheating, or it thinks something is overheating. I took it apart today, and I didn't see any signs of arcing, cold solder joints, welds between the battery tabs were all good, etc.

    I called NR about it, just to see what they could do about it. They said their bench fee is $30, plus parts to fix. They say a new PCB is $20, so that's not too bad. Just for kicks, I asked them if they had a problem with working on it if I touched it first... which I did. I cracked the case (heat gun works great for this, BTW), removed the shrink wrap around the cells and the balancing circuit board, and resoldered the wire connection points on the PCB. Putting it back together I just used regular electrical tape to mummify the cells. I'm guessing I have a bad circuit board or bad thermal resistor that detects overheating.

    But yeah, dropping $130 on a new battery is nuts. I won't do that, but I will drop $50 on having NR fix it. For $130, I'll just get a newer light. Thing is, I like my dual heads, and they just don't make them like that anymore. I like that I can make the hot spots of the heads point next to each other for a wider beam, or up and down for a longer beam. I just reach over and move the head while riding. If I have to replace this thing, I have no deal what I would get instead. Maybe two Luminas, two MiNewtX2 350s (I see them on sale around for $80 a set), or a Pro 750/1200?

  30. #30
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    just curious what they would charge for new cells. That probably starts to put it up in the new battery range

  31. #31
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    Minewts have really fragile cables plus an odd voltage monitoring system that uses a 3rd wire to the head unit to monitor voltage. If that wire has a break in it the driver will shut off the light whenever the circuit opens. I'd try another cable first, see if someone in your area or a bike shop has one you can use to test it.

    If I had to send it back for repair, I'd rather spend the money on a linear driver (eg. Qlite, Nanjg, DrJones etc), a couple of NCR18650B batteries and a USB>li-ion charger board. That would probably come to around $30, if that, and you'll have a brighter more flexible light with longer runtime to boot

  32. #32
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    can anyone illuminate me to the polarity of the minewt plug? which of the three is which> say if I hold it with the single pin on top, which of the bottom two are which?

    I just inherited a single minewt with a 2x Li-ion battery but no charger. I might just buy a new charger, but its likely the battery is toast, so I'd like to see what I can do toward using it with my dynamo hub. What is the voltage these run at? and the amperage? I've heard tell of people running them from their dynamos, but can't seem to find any mention of it now that I"ve got one! :-) Thanks in advance!!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbeard View Post
    can anyone illuminate me to the polarity of the minewt plug? which of the three is which> say if I hold it with the single pin on top, which of the bottom two are which?

    I just inherited a single minewt with a 2x Li-ion battery but no charger. I might just buy a new charger, but its likely the battery is toast, so I'd like to see what I can do toward using it with my dynamo hub. What is the voltage these run at? and the amperage? I've heard tell of people running them from their dynamos, but can't seem to find any mention of it now that I"ve got one! :-) Thanks in advance!!
    the top one is the voltage sensing wire (yellow), but I've no idea of the other 2, sorry!

    If you want to use it with a dynamo, you'd need to make sure the voltage output of the dynamo matches the input (6-8.4V) of the driver, which is in the battery pack. Or just use the head and whatever driver you wish that matches your dynamo, which would be alot simpler in many ways.

  34. #34
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    hmmm. any idea of a good "off the shelf" driver that would handle a dynamo input for that?

    Not that I know much about it, but I can't seem to find general specs on the NiteRider light, voltages, currents, type of LED, etc...

  35. #35
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    NiteRider I've no idea about, but the Minewt is a single SSC P4 LED (so ~3.4V) with a 7.4V (2 cell in series) battery and a buck driver (reduces voltage from battery to LED) pushing 1A to the LED. If you want to use the Minewt driver by extracting it from the battery pack, the dynamo will have to provide no less than 6V (or it'll shut off) and no more than 8.4V (or it'll blow up).

    A better option might be to search out a 1A single LED buck driver that has an input range that matches the dynamo over the speeds you'll be riding at. So if the dynamo hits 11V at 30mph and starts at 5V at 1mph, find a driver that has a 5-12V input range (or 10-18V or 3-9V etc if those are the dynamo voltage extremes). Which driver that might be would take a fair bit of researching and searching (DealXtreme and Kaidomain have a decent selection), but I'm sure there's one out there that would suit.

  36. #36
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    ok, that makes sense, thanks for the primer on LED drivers!! I'll have a look around, as I know the dyno can get pretty high. I used to run a 12V LED array on it no problem, but it would blow the LED's eventually. It was cheap crap tho, so I didn't realize it was the lack of a driver...

    Thanks!!

  37. #37
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    you're welcome! LEDs are constant current devices - if you increase the voltage by just a little bit, current goes up alot, which is probably why that 12V array blew.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    you're welcome! LEDs are constant current devices - if you increase the voltage by just a little bit, current goes up alot, which is probably why that 12V array blew.

    Hey need to clear this up. Some may be constant current(id have to research emitter used in OPs light) but the commonly used cree emitters for flashlights and bike lights ARE NOT constant current. You cannot regulate the voltage to the emitters (referred to as forward voltage or Vf) effectively as it varies based on current and temperature of the emitters. So the current delivered to the emitter(s) is regulated and Vf is allowed to fluctuate on its own.

  39. #39
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    no you don't. LEDs have to be provided with a constant current and their brightness is varied by changing the drive current. Perhaps "LEDs are devices that need to be powered by constant current drivers" would be sufficiently precise for you? If you read through the various posts above, you won't see any contradiction.

  40. #40
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    Ya apparently I read something (probably tapatalk screwing something up again) that put across that it was basically all about voltage, now today it reads right, dont know what the heck happened cause I read it twice before even posting. But tapatalk app is getting really annoying for screwing threads up. My bad what you typed was right

  41. #41
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    no worries

  42. #42
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    Just wanted to say that I rebuilt my pack using the advice and instructions, and pictorial, available here. I bought two of these:

    LG Lithium 18650 Rechargeable Cell: 3.6V 3500mAh (12.6Wh, 10A Rate) - INR18650 MJ1 - IEC/UL/UN38.3 Passed

    Which I note have dropped in price a couple bucks each since I ordered them! Got them with tabs (don't solder to a naked lithium cell!), soldered everything together, and glued the pack back together. So far, so good. Haven't measured the time or anything, but it all seems to work. Got to be better, right? :-)

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by tastewar View Post
    Just wanted to say that I rebuilt my pack using the advice and instructions, and pictorial, available here. I bought two of these:

    LG Lithium 18650 Rechargeable Cell: 3.6V 3500mAh (12.6Wh, 10A Rate) - INR18650 MJ1 - IEC/UL/UN38.3 Passed

    Which I note have dropped in price a couple bucks each since I ordered them! Got them with tabs (don't solder to a naked lithium cell!), soldered everything together, and glued the pack back together. So far, so good. Haven't measured the time or anything, but it all seems to work. Got to be better, right? :-)

    Hi,
    where is it available? I see only link for batteries. No photos, instructions..

    Thanks

  44. #44
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    If you look back in the thread, rschnell posted about his success, and Skyline35 posted the link to the photo album showing the steps (in reverse chronological order :-) )

    http://forums.mtbr.com/members/rschn...-pack-rebuild/

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    Evening Guys ,first time post-apologies for dragging a fairly old thread back into the sunlight.
    Can anyone give me a heads up on a suitable replacement for the Mininewt battery pack/driver control unit ,Like Kkantner I've replaced the cells with some decent Panasonic protected cells which worked for a good while but now the unit switches off after about 5 seconds. Ive checked the cells and they still take and hold a charge .
    Had it open again and there looks to be a little corrosion on some of the components ,so not sure what's going on,whether its repairable or fubared.(Im ok with a soldering iron but definitely dont have any kind of electronic diagnostic skills.) so if anyone has any pointers or decent alternatives rather than coughing up 150+ for a new Mininewt it'll be appreciated.

    cheers Mick.

  46. #46
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    there's a good chance that the yellow voltage sensing wire is broken or not connected either at the battery or at the head. I've had to replace a few broken cords, they're not very robust. Double check continuity of the yellow wire from driver board to head. If it's open anywhere along that route the light will switch off automatically, just like yours is.

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    Thanks for the prompt reply matt, I'll break out the meter tomorrow. Hopefully a quick fix.

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    you're welcome! Fingers crossed

  49. #49
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    Matt- the connector on the end is funky. Where did you get replacement cords or connectors? I'd love to have an additional connector to be able to engineer another charger...

  50. #50
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    you can get extension cables (got mine from the LBS) for Minewts - I used one of these to replace the cable on the light head. I think, it was that way round, it's been a long time since I worked on one of these lights.

    Taking the light head apart isn't too hard, depending on the model. Some are bolted together, others you have to hold one end in a vice and twist the other end (can't remember if RH or LH though). Then desolder the existing cable from the little board in there and wire in the new one.

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    Thanks -- did not know that was available!

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