Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Review: Blinker Buddy

Although I had been getting much better about remembering to cancel out the turn signals after making turns or changing lanes; I still found myself doing it on the longer trips when in unfamiliar territory or if something distracted me while executing the turn or if I had sat at a light waiting for the green for a while.

So, I went ahead and got this farkle called Blinker Buddy from and I finally got it working the way I want. Basically, it's a device which vibrates when either one of your turn signals is blinking, it's installed within the rider's seat.

I first got just the basic unit, followed the simple instructions and was working within 30 minutes...the hardest part being cutting a hole in the seat pan to squeeze the blinker buddy into the foam within the seat (I love my dremel tool). Couple of things to be aware of:

1. Make sure you don't go too deep into the foam. This thing vibrates quite strongly!
2. Make sure the sides of the blinker buddy and its wires do not contact any part of the plastic seat pan as the strong vibrations from the unit will wear away the protective rubber coating on the blinker buddy or the wires. I used rubber tubing around the unit and wire to protect it agaisnt contact with anything hard and also to soften some of the vibration I was feeling.
3. Its a very strong vibrating unit, as the instructions say, try powering it up while holding it in your hands before installing.
4. Did I mention it vibrates very strongly?

So, I tried this setup for about a week and it sure did not let me forget that I had turn signals on! However, it's such a strong unit that I found myself switching off my turn signals at traffic lights and only turning them on just before the light would turn green since the vibrations are so noticeable.

After some email exchange with the manufacturer, Jerry, he suggested I get the relay kit that he made. It was only $14 so what the heck, I got it. Basically, once the relay kit is hooked up, it senses when you're actuating the brakes and interrupts power to the blinker buddy only. So, your turn signals/brake light continue to function at a traffic light but the blinker buddy does not vibrate so long as you hold the brake lever down.

This was a good tweak to a good solution! Now I can sit at the long lights, turn signals blinking away but no vibration. Soon as I start moving again, the blinker buddy starts vibrating again and I am reminded to cancel out the turn signal when its safe to do so. Nice. First ride with relay kit in place was this morning and it was great. I highly recommend this device for those of you who keep forgetting to cancel out your turn signals.

Note: There's apparently a further refinement to the blinker buddy in terms of a version where u-brackets are used to hang the blinker buddy under the seat pan but I am not in need of that...perhaps for those of you who find it being within your seat cushion too much. No real idea how it works but Jerry mentioned it if the relay kit did not do it for me.

I am not affiliated with blinker buddy, just a happy customer.

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