Local non-profit offers bike lights with free batteries for life

Posted by on July 8th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Bike Swap Meet

Free Geek is one of Portland’s most
bike-friendly businesses.

In Portland, we’re fortunate to have many local businesses and organizations that support bicycling. Free Geek, a non-profit based in Southeast Portland that recycles and sells used computers and parts, makes biking easier by selling a few accessories in their Thrift Store.

One of the items they sell is a bike light (the Knog Beetle 2). Today, an alert reader informed me that Free Geek will give everyone who buys one of them free batteries for life.

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The Knog Beetle 2

The Knog light is powered by watch (button-type) batteries, which Free Geek says can be quite expensive. Well, it just so happens that Free Geek has an abundant supply of those batteries. Here’s how they put it on a story posted to their blog:

“…as luck would have it, Free Geek is swimming in these things, since they’re the same button batteries that run the system clock on almost every computer we recycle.”

Anyone that buys one of the bike lights from Free Geek (they’re $15 each) will get a laminated card that allows you to exchange old batteries for new ones with “plenty of life left”.

Here is the fine print on the card:

The bearer of this card is entitled to exchange up to 5 dead 3.0v, wafer batteries (a.k.a. 2032s) for working ones each day in the Free Geek Thrift Store. This offer will remain valid as long as we are able to meet the demand. Barring plague, pestilence, Zombie Apolcalypse, the imposition of martial law, or the Earth’s sun experiencing a supernova event, we see no reason we will not be swimming in these things for a long, long time; we can’t legally use the F-word, so let’s just call it “Phorever.”

More at FreeGeek.org.

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buzz
Guest
buzz

COOL!

Joe
Guest
Joe

sweet 🙂

Lillian
Guest

I love Free Geek.

indy
Guest

I donate machines to free geek all the time, and I highly doubt the batteries of 4,5,6 year old machines have “plenty” of life left.

but whatevs.

-b
Guest
-b

how long would the average battery last in these lights?

do they have a rear light available?

YOUR-INN.COM
Guest

KNOG Lights are awesome! They just hooked us up with a bunch of stuff and the bags are amazing as well!

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Free Geek totally rocks. They’re so amazing, that I bet they’ll still honor this offer even after the Zombie Apocalypse

Dan
Guest
Dan

FreeGeek saved me more than $100 when my puppy chewed through some wires underneath my desk. I was able to replace my keyboard and mouse with like new units for under $5. They’re the best. We’re lucky to have them in Portland.

bikieboy
Guest
bikieboy

now get extra phunny-ness with all that Free Geek greatness!

E
Guest
E

Wow, awesome. I have some stuff to donate to them; guess I’ll be buying a light while I’m there. 😀

Matt Picio
Guest

I wouldn’t exactly call CR2032s “expensive” – they were once upon a time, until they became the standard for every PC.

But it is cool that Free Geek is re-purposing the batteries rather than just junking them when they still have some life left.

Mark Allyn
Guest

Just to let you know, folks, when I was unemployed back in ’02 and ’03, I volunteered pretty much full time at Free Geek.

The experience in Linux that I got at Free Geek is what got me the job that I currently have as a Linux device driver.

I currently earmark 100 percent of my Community Giving pledge here at work to Free Geek.

Yes, I do very much respect Free Geek as well as another volunteer run place, which is KBOO FM, a community radio station here in Portland.

Luv

Cleara

revphil
Guest

greatest nonprofit ever

Will Radik
Guest

Free Geek Phorever! One of these days I hope I’ll have time to start teaching there again.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

Indy,

Regarding how much charge is left in the batteries: I believe it’s very high, over 90%. I personally tested the first batch, using a cutoff voltage of v. Here’s the an example discharge curve for one brand of the CR coin cells covered by the program:

http://www.chinabatteryweb.com/product-B/images/redsunDischargecurve-Button.jpg

Find the point where the voltage crosses 3 volts, it’s all the way on the left, near the most fully charged side. I discarded batteries with an open circuit voltage of less then 3.05 volts – if I recall correctly. More recent batches have been tested even more rigorously – under a representative load.

This correlates nicely with the fact that in most computers the button cells last longer than the computer. (Longer, actually, then their own shelf lives.)

Coin cells certainly can be cheap in some contexts – namely in bulk and online. But in the context of a bike light consumer I think you’ll find they’re rather expensive at a drugstore or wherever you’re able to find them locally.

So: Yes, the batteries are good, and yes it is an big economic win.

-Nathan (PSU Bike Co-op / BikeFarm / Free Geek)

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

Nice! Support Free Geek!!

efglez
Guest
efglez

I was riding down and said hello to an old fellow working on his garden, he is one of the regulars I see everyday and we started talking… I found out he is over 80 years of age and works at Free Geek pro-bono for over 60 hours per week! So I say support FREE GEEK for the batteries and the fact that they do not discriminate about age. Feels good to know that even when your old you still can make a difference. Thank You Free Geek!

IanO
Guest
IanO

This is the most awesome thing ever! Free Geek FTW!

While on the topic, they also have a free bin of powerful magnets salvaged from dead hard drives. They made for an excellent replacement for the little bike computer spoke magnet that fell off my bike. I got a two so I’d have a spare (and paper holder on my steel frame).

Tony
Guest
Tony

Well, all good things have to come to an end. The response to this idea has been great and we’ve seen a lot of new faces in the Thrift Store as a result of this posting. Unfortunately, our wholesaler informed us that we can no longer get the lights from them, so the ones we have in stock are the end of the line (guess we’re selling them too cheap, but hey, that’s what we do). We just bought a huge rack of these things, including about a dozen colors, but once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Thanks for all the great comments on this thread! The support we heard here spread a big, pink fuzzy all around Free Geek!