Cheap and Easy Fix to Protect Turbo Como Battery Terminals From Accidental Touches

landonphd

New Member
Region
USA
I recently destroyed the battery on my 2020 Turbo Como. While unlocking the battery to remove it from the frame, I lost my balance. As I caught myself to prevent a fall, the key slid along the battery case, and dislodged the magnetic charging well cover. The key touched the leads of the battery and that, folks, was all she wrote for that battery.

So I spent $1000 to replace the battery.

As much as I love my Turbo Como and the generally high quality design of the bike, I have to ask WHY? Why does a $5500 bike have such a stupid design flaw? Specialized has to comprehend that there is an unacceptably high risk of destroying the battery due to their design choices. They know the battery terminals must not be touched by metal objects. It says as much in the owner's manual. So why place the delicate battery terminals, which cannot be touched by metal objects, in a high risk location next to a lock that requires a metal key? Why use a cover that can be knocked out of placed easily? These are mostly rhetorical questions disguised as a rant.

Being $1000 poorer, I decided to prevent accidentally destroying my battery in the future.

There are posts in this forum where others have experienced this same fail and have described their frustration with having to replace a $1K battery because the poor design places the delicate battery terminals, which cannot be touched by metal objects, next to the lock, which uses a metal key, creating an unacceptably high risk of accidental touches of the terminals by the metal key.

I decided to share my prevention fix in the hope that I can save someone else $1000 for a battery. I'm not an engineer or designer. If I can conceive and execute this simple, low cost fix, Specialized could have done the same while designing the bike (or, at least, could take some financial responsibility for the consequences of their poor design choices).

I purchased 2 different sizes of silicon rubber tubing, one with 3/32" (2 mm) inner diameter and the other with 1/8" (3 mm) ID and 3/16" (5 mm) outer diameter. It's possible that some people might have these sizes of silicon tubing in their homes. Tubing like this might be used in fish tanks, water fountains, or therapeutic oxygen concentrators. I didn't happen to have the precise sizes I needed so I purchased mine from Amazon.

For the 3/32" ID tubing, the small inner diameter is important for the application. For the 1/8" ID tubing, the ID and OD are less important, but probably can't be too big. I found the 1/8" ID tubing worked for my application

I cut the 3/32" ID tubing into roughly 1/8" to 1/4" (~3 mm - 5 mm) in lengths and the 1/8" ID tubing into roughly 2" (~5 cm) lengths.

I'm a little fuzzy on the precise technical names for the parts of the charging well so I made up my own terms. See the photo for clarity.

labeled.jpg


To prevent accidental touches of the "peg" terminals that protrude into the charging well, I placed a section of the 3/32" ID tubing over each "peg" terminal. The 3/32" ID tubing fit perfectly and stayed in place.

To prevent accidental touches of the "embedded" terminals that occur in the base of the well, I curled a 2" section of 1/8" ID tubing into a circle and placed it inside the charging well between the walls of the well and the "peg" terminals. As an alternative to the section of curled 1/8" ID tubing, I'm trying to find a flat silicon or rubber washer (like a faucet or garden hose washer) that will lie flat in the bottom of the well and more completely cover the "embedded" terminals.

placed.jpg


When the tubing is in place, the magnetic well cover seats and holds. I rode 21 miles this morning on a moderately bumpy trail. Both the well cover and tubing stayed in place during the ride.

coverclosed.jpg


My rule for applying the fix is: If the battery is not connected to the charger, the silicon tubing pieces are in place. Always. No Exceptions.

I spent about $12 for far more tubing than I'll ever use and perhaps 20 minutes designing and implementing the preventative fix. Why the original design didn't include something this simple and cheap, is a Very. Good. Question.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
Nice work.

I'm still sure someone will jump to Specialize's defence in any event although I read about these battery blowouts too often. Clearly, it was an issue that Specialized recognized.