Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brompton Spanninga Eclipse XS Safe-Stop Problem

Recently, I noticed that the standlight, or "Safe-Stop" on my Brompton rear light (Spanninga Eclipse XS) had stopped functioning. The light itself worked, but as soon as the Schmidt stops spinning, the light stopped lighting. I spent a few minutes researching if the light included a capacitor, or if it ran off the front light as does my Supernova E3 system. No detail available. So, I uninstalled and disassembled the light to investigate, and this is what I found:

That's the capacitor. It should be connected to the circuit board. It isn't. 
I pulled out the soldering gun and attached it, and the capacitor still had juice left:

Close-up of the soldering fix. Bam. 
Reassembled and reinstalled and it's working great. Safe-Stop, engage.


  1. Same thing happened to me. But the capacitor is still rather firmly attached to the circuit board> Is it possible for a capacitor to blow?


  2. I imagine the capacitor could be bad, or some other part of the circuit board. Does your light still work with the hub sending it power?

  3. Yes, the light works fine, but no longer stays on when the hub stops turning hence my suspicion that the capacitor is in some way "blown." But I don't know if that's technically likely, and don't want to test the theory by trying to replace it if it's actually fine!

  4. That is indeed frustrating. My next step would be to meter before/after/around the capacitor to get an understanding of how the electrons are flowing. What's troublesome is finding a timely/cost-effective replacement for the light and/or parts. Best of luck!

  5. Hi, I just had the same problem happen to me. However, my tail light does not work at all when I am biking. I took it apart but cant figure out what could be the problem. Any ideas? Thanks.

  6. I would start by metering the leads at the light connection to make sure power is reaching the light. I'd then check for continuity between the two prongs that contact the leads. After that, better understanding of circuitry than I have would be necessary. The circuit board/capacitor seem really simple, so a replacement should not be a big deal. However, who knows if just that is available or if an entire light replacement would be necessary. Best of luck and let me know how it goes for you.

  7. Hi again.

    I followed up on your advice and did some basic metering.

    The result is that everything seems to be ok with wires, since I am getting a reading on it once I turn the front wheel that has built-in generator. I thought that maybe the wires got disconnected, but it turns out that they in fact do produce power.

    Then I tried to meter the two prongs, as well as the rear bulb, but I got absolutely no reading whatsoever on those two. Which leads me to a conclusion that it is either a: A) dead capacitor needing replacement or B) dead bulb.

    Since both the bulb and capacitor seem to be fixed to the board, meaning there is no way to replace either of those two, it seems that I instead should replace basically the entire board that houses the bulb and capacitor.

    I did the metering at an authorized Trek dealer and aside from establishing what is causing the problem, I couldn`t get any other help from them, even though my bike is still under warranty. I was hoping that the least they could do is to order me a new tail light, since Spanninga does not have (according to their site) a official dealer of their products in the U.S.

    So that now I am feeling sort of on my own, with a dead tail light on a new bike. What a shame.

    I will try to contact Spanninga directly and see whether they would be a bit more forthcoming than Trek dealer. In best case scenario they would send me a brand new tail light, which I could easily replace.

    Let`s see what happens. I`ll try to keep you posted in case you would be interested.

    Thanks for your advice.


  8. Bummer situation. You may want to look into contacting Peter White Cycles (you can get their phone # off their website). They do a lot of work with Busch & Muller, Spaninga, Schmidt, etc. They may have some specific contact info for you.

  9. Thanks so much for the post! My dad and I were able to fix the light on my Trek Belleville thanks to your advice! I am going to include a link to this post in my review of the bike on my Blog, www.ecocanary.com. -April

  10. April - great to hear! I default to tinker when something goes wrong. I'll check out your blog!

  11. I've had two Brompton stop lights now. Both work in an unsteady fashion when cycling and dead when stopped. I've found a possible replacement capacitor...


    Apparently it's used as a memory back up in computers. It's 5.5v and 1.0F. Hopefully it will be a straighforward unsloder one out and solder new one back in...


    1. Well, finally got round to fixing it and it works a treat. Note that the negative arm of the capacitor is at the TOP of the circuit board nearest the connectors. In the end I left the lugs still attached to the board and sawed them off the old capacitor - my new PCB style capacitor (no nice long lugs) is soldered onto the old lugs. And works. £3.60 repair as opposed to £25 for a new stop light.

    2. Excellent work! I'll have to look into something similar should I continue to have trouble.

  12. Thanks for the post!
    I am having the same problem as Jakob, but I would like to know if somebody knows the following:
    We have two Bromptons at home and after the front light burned out we didn't change the bulb at first and after some days the rear light also stop working. Today I change the two front lamps and they are working great (looks brighter*), but the rear lights are still dead. My doubt is: is it possible that, after the front light burned, the generator overcharged the rear circuit? It is realy frustrating, because now we will need to bought the whole kit. Or is it possible to change the bulb? Well, dont know what to do, very apreciated if somebody could give me some "light" :)
    * Now I am thinking that the front one could be overcharged....