I have had an opportunity to review the performance of my Autolumination brake flasher unit, and wanted to update my opinion on this product.
Earlier this year, I set out to install a brake flasher on my LX-150. Why? Having been rear-ended in my car, I wanted to take extra steps to prevent the same from happening while on my Vespa. Having reviewed the various posting on MV, it seemed that most riders who installed brake flashers used either the Comagination or Autolumination versions. The Comagination version needs to be wired into the electrical system. The Autolumination version is a replacement bulb. Wiring in a modulator is not terribly difficult. However, I wanted to minimize the installation, so chose the Autolumination bulb.
The bulb was ordered over the internet, and arrived a couple of weeks later (thanks Canada Customs!) Installation was simple - just changing the bulb! However, after approximately 3 weeks of use, the bulb failed and left my tail light glowing steady, as if I had the brake permanently applied. A quick search of the forums led me to discover that other MV members have experienced similar problems, as discussed here:
- LX150: Install a flashing LED Brake Light
- Autolumination brake flashing bulb - defective
- LED rear brake doesn't work on ET4 -- why?
- variable voltage causing bulb to fail?
Not very promising! )-:
I contacted the company by email, and was informed that I could return the nonfunctional bulb for inspection, and would receive a refund (less 20% restocking fee). I returned the bulb, only to learn several weeks later that I would not be sent a refund, since the bulb was only warrantied for 30 dayas from the date of purchase. This was news to me. I explained that while I purchased the bulb in January, and had only been able to install the unit, and start riding in April when the snow melted. More over, not only was I missing my bulb (which I had returned to the company) but now I had invested the additional postage cost of returning it. The company agreed to a one-time replacement of the bulb.
The assessment of Autolumination was that the bulb failed because of variation in my LX150's voltage. They recommended that I install an LED protector (voltage load equalizer) which they sold for the reasonable fee of $1.99.
I ordered that, and wired it into my tail light assembly. This seems to be the fix for the problem I originally encountered. After two months, and 1000 km of use, my Autolumination braker bulb continues to work as intended.
Am I satisfied with this product? It seems to work well now, and I intend to monitor it over time. Some other MV members have raised concerns that the use of a battery tender will cause the bulb to fail, but I have not noticed this (yet) with mine. I do keep my OEM brake bulb on the scooter, just in case!
Would I recommend this product to others? Simply, no. Here are my reasons:
(1)The original goal was to install a reasonably priced brake light flasher without having to modify the electrical wiring (as needed for the Comagination version). At $19.99, the product was reasonably priced. However, in the end, I still had to wire in the load equalizer, so that goal wasn't met. Once you add in the additionall $1.99 for the load equalizer, I was near the cost of the Comagination product.
(2)The company should make it clear on their product page that a load suppressor may be necessary. Trying to locate the product on the Autolumination web product page is challenging. They would do better to include the load equalizer with the bulb, and incorporate the $1.99 into the total cost.
(3)Correspondence with the Autolumination was not satisfactory. I don't agree with charging a "restocking fee" when one is returning a defective or non-working product. Worse, I learned after the company had received the bulb back, at my expense, that they were not going to provide the partial refund promised. I do not believe that one should have to go to the extent that I did to receive a replacement product.
I do recommend the use of a brake light flasher. But if not the Autolumination, what other product could one choose? The Comagination brake flasher has generally received positive comments, and is reasonably priced at $24.95 to $28.95.. As well, Kriss makes a brake flasher unit that is compatible with the LX, GT and GTS modern Vespas for $89.95. Both require some splicing into the electrical system. I have learned, however, that wire splicing is pretty much unavoidable.
Last edited by michael_h on Mon, 27 Aug 2007 19:41:40 +0000; edited 2 times