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Old 01-25-11, 09:41 PM   #1
akansaskid
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Gemini (New!) Battery Failure

I recently ordered two Gemini batteries to use with my Magicshine light head and MS charger. One of the two batteries has lasted 3+ hours twice in temps in the 30s and 40s. The other battery lasts only 1.5 hours or less the two times I've tested it. I'm bummed. Of course of my two original MS batteries, a year later one lasts maybe 2 hours and the other lasts maybe 30 minutes. These times are all on the high-lumen setting.

I'm sure I'd pay more in shipping back and forth to Canada than what the battery's worth. I'll probably just move on... Warranties on low-cost items really aren't worth the hassle. Maybe Geoman will really come through on my two MS batteries, though I've never heard from him.

Sigh... At least my (mechanical) bike works. And it only has 33K miles on it.
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Old 01-26-11, 02:40 AM   #2
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Did you contact Gemini? What did they say?
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Old 01-26-11, 07:27 AM   #3
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You ought not have to pay any shipping. If it is under warranty, they need to send you a new pack. If they want the old one back for examination, it is up to them to pay.
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Old 01-26-11, 07:44 AM   #4
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If you haven't yet, do for sure contact Gemini. Now is a good time to see how's their customer service perform.

Your battery sound like a contact on one half of the pack came loose resulting in half capacity. Much too early for it being unbalace which is the main problem with the MS pack.
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Old 01-26-11, 02:02 PM   #5
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I've filled out a "Contact" form on their site, as this is where you are taken if you have a warranty problem. I'll let you know what transpires.

Still, as I mentioned originally, warranty claims can be a hassle. My main purpose in posting was to alert you that not every battery they ship works well, and wanted to see if anyone esle experienced a similar failure or if I was just unlucky. There will always be failures in maufacturing. I'm interested to know how prevalent they are with this battery.

And if I were looking at buying one, I'd certainly like to know of any negative experiences. So this is just a data point, not an indictment. If mine is the only bad battery out of hundreds shipped, then I'd recommend them highly.
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Old 01-26-11, 08:34 PM   #6
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Received a reply less than 30 minutes after contacting them:

Hi ****,

We're sorry to hear your battery pack failing.

If you could please send your faulty battery pack to this address:

*******
Victoria, BC V8W 3J5
Canada

We will reimburse you with shipping costs, provided you include the receipt.

Your replacement battery pack will be sent today.
Certainly can't complain about customer service so far.

Now I just have to decipher the UPS and Post Office rates to see which is preferable as a shipper. Anyone having any experiences shipping to Canada? UPS looked like $15 with no duties mentioned. The Post Office site quoted $5 if First Class instead of Priority, but mentioned in the fine print that $5 or $8 of duties would be collected coming into Canada.

But, all-in-all, great service so far, don't you think?
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Old 01-26-11, 08:45 PM   #7
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Let me get this straight, you used a Gemini battery pack with a Magicshine Light and a Magicshine charger?

Consider yourself very lucky. They're honoring a warranty they don't have to.
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Old 01-26-11, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
Received a reply less than 30 minutes after contacting them:

Hi ****,

We're sorry to hear your battery pack failing.

If you could please send your faulty battery pack to this address:

*******
Victoria, BC V8W 3J5
Canada

We will reimburse you with shipping costs, provided you include the receipt.

Your replacement battery pack will be sent today.
Certainly can't complain about customer service so far.

Now I just have to decipher the UPS and Post Office rates to see which is preferable as a shipper. Anyone having any experiences shipping to Canada? UPS looked like $15 with no duties mentioned. The Post Office site quoted $5 if First Class instead of Priority, but mentioned in the fine print that $5 or $8 of duties would be collected coming into Canada.

But, all-in-all, great service so far, don't you think?
Duties are not your problem.. If you use UPS you get a tracking number.. If you use US Postal 1st class international, there is no tracking, you can just prove you sent it.. You would have to use priority mail through usps or send 1st class international - registered mail which are both more expensive than ups.. UPS does charge duty for most things to Canada, so make sure you ask the the seller what you should claim as value on that form..
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Old 01-26-11, 09:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NBYRDR View Post
Let me get this straight, you used a Gemini battery pack with a Magicshine Light and a Magicshine charger?

Consider yourself very lucky. They're honoring a warranty they don't have to.
My only luck was that they chose to be astute businessmen.

Yes, they didn't have to honor the warranty, but the facts indicate it was indeed a defective battery (and not a misused one):

I ordered two batteries, and the MS light and charger has had no adverse affect on the second battery. And those of us with MS chargers have measured its output as coinciding with the same voltage as the Gemini charger, which is designed for the same cell technology/model.

So, yes, they have a right to refuse, but we'd all still take away from it that the battery was defective and they chose not to honor the fact.

If you ran a start-up company, what would you have done?
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Old 01-26-11, 09:36 PM   #10
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Thanks, socal! Great point about the availability of having proof of return.
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Old 01-26-11, 09:41 PM   #11
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I would think that the value for customs/duty purposes would be zero or close to it, as the pack is defective. I'd declare it at $0 and label it something like "defective battery pack".

You might also ask the Gemini people if they've considered setting up a US shipping address just across the border (say, in Blaine, WA). I know they're a small outfit, but if the US is going to be their major market, it would probably help. The idea is that a storefront receives packages for them at a US address, then trucks them across the border to the company in Canada, eliminating the customs issue for US senders. This can also be done in reverse for shipments to US customers.

I've done business with Canadian companies with such setups, although they were Vancouver-area based (less than an hour from the border), and Victoria involves an additional ferry ride to get to/from the island.
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Old 01-26-11, 09:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mondoman View Post
I would think that the value for customs/duty purposes would be zero or close to it, as the pack is defective. I'd declare it at $0 and label it something like "defective battery pack".
Well, sorta. Actually it's worth $45 + shipping to me since I'm sure that's how much Gemini will demand if the package is never received, and with good right, too. But, then, that's more of an insurance value, and not an intrinsic value of the defective goods, which is $0, as you say. And duties is about market value, not my insurance, so $0 is probably the way to go. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 01-27-11, 01:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
Received a reply less than 30 minutes after contacting them:

Hi ****,

We're sorry to hear your battery pack failing.

If you could please send your faulty battery pack to this address:

*******
Victoria, BC V8W 3J5
Canada

We will reimburse you with shipping costs, provided you include the receipt.

Your replacement battery pack will be sent today.
Certainly can't complain about customer service so far.

Now I just have to decipher the UPS and Post Office rates to see which is preferable as a shipper. Anyone having any experiences shipping to Canada? UPS looked like $15 with no duties mentioned. The Post Office site quoted $5 if First Class instead of Priority, but mentioned in the fine print that $5 or $8 of duties would be collected coming into Canada.

But, all-in-all, great service so far, don't you think?
Mark it as a warranty return or a commercial sample on the customs form and there will be no duties. The duties were already paid by Gemini when the lights entered Canada from China. They don't have to pay them again when an item is returned from another country. Marking the form any other way would just needlessly screw Gemini as they would be paying the say duty twice, which they shouldn't have to do.

Don't over think this too much, and avoid UPS, as they are dreadfully expensive for international shipping. Gemini will be hit with a bunch of fees from them. Just go on over to the local post office, send the battery back first class, mark the package as having no value (idoesn't have a commercial value as it's broken), and mark on the customs form that it's a warranty return. It's dead simply, and I successfully done it many times to many countries.

Last edited by Ziemas; 01-27-11 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 01-27-11, 01:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by akansaskid View Post
Well, sorta. Actually it's worth $45 + shipping to me since I'm sure that's how much Gemini will demand if the package is never received, and with good right, too. But, then, that's more of an insurance value, and not an intrinsic value of the defective goods, which is $0, as you say. And duties is about market value, not my insurance, so $0 is probably the way to go. Thanks for the suggestion.
No, that's not how it works. Many countries will levy the duty on the amount of insurance if it is greater than the customs value. Just get a package with a tracking number.
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Old 01-27-11, 08:17 AM   #15
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UPS looked like $15 with no duties mentioned. The Post Office site quoted $5 if First Class instead of Priority, but mentioned in the fine print that $5 or $8 of duties would be collected coming into Canada.
You arent supposed to ship large Li Ions via USPS mail*. A lot of people do it but it there is a big poster at the local PO listing common items with restrictions, esp Air Mail. Also, technically since it is defective it is not eligible for Fed Ex or UPS shipping - one of them (Fed Ex, I think) had a string of several Li Ions go off a while ago that led to restrictions including the $25 or whatever it is HazMat fee.

Also, when you fill out the customs form, be sure to use the term "warranty repair" and zero value to avoid any duties or fees. A US source would be able to send out a pack with a prepaid return shipping sticker, I dont reckon it works pasting a CAN sticker on a US shipped item.

* It is possible that the restriction doesnt apply to Proirity Mail based on the 'if it fits it ships' slogan, but I doubt it. Here;s the actual restriction:

Quote:
349.222 Secondary Lithium-ion (Rechargeable) Cells and Batteries

Secondary lithium-ion (rechargeable) cells and batteries are mailable via air or surface transportation when individual cells or batteries are mailed or when properly packed with or properly installed in the equipment they operate. Cells or batteries properly installed in the device they operate must be protected from damage and short circuit, and the device must be equipped with an effective means of preventing accidental activation. The outside of the package must be marked on the address side “Package Contains Lithium-ion Batteries (no lithium metal).” The mailpiece must not contain more than three batteries. Each cell must contain no more than 1.5 g of equivalent lithium content per cell, and each battery must contain no more than 8.0 g aggregate quantity of equivalent lithium content.
...and they prolly didnt have defective Li Ions in mind with that - there could be additional warnings/restrictions as there are for air transport - even though it may not be defective in a way that makes it unstable. I'd send it Priority and obfuscate the contents as 'warranty replacement fulfillment' or some such.


Quote:
Let me get this straight, you used a Gemini battery pack with a Magicshine Light and a Magicshine charger?
They've made representations that it will work and is perfectly acceptable.

Last edited by Plutonix; 01-27-11 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 01-27-11, 12:06 PM   #16
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Great suggestions by all - thanks! Off to the Post Office it is. That's the way it arrived, so I have no druthers sending it back that way.

Gemini said they'd reimburse my shipping via Paypal, but I don't have a Paypal account. When you pay for things on Gemini's site you're taken to Paypal, but those of us without Paypal accounts just use a credit-card which Paypal processes. I'm curious how I'm supposed to get money from them.
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Old 01-27-11, 06:57 PM   #17
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(From the Paypal web site)

How Do Recipients Get the Money?


Sending money with PayPal is fast, secure, and convenient for recipients.
  • They will get an instant email or text notification prompting them to log in to PayPal to get the money.
  • If they don’t have a PayPal account, they can sign up for a new account in minutes by following instructions included with their notification.
  • Next, they can withdraw money you send using one of the options listed below:
Recipients in the United States can withdraw money you send using one of the following options:
  • Spend the money online at thousands of stores that accept PayPal
  • Transfer it to their local bank account (takes 3-5 days)
  • Request a check (costs $1.50 and takes about 7 days)
  • If they have a PayPal debit card, they can use it to access the money you sent
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Old 01-27-11, 07:50 PM   #18
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Thanks, Mondoman! The conspiracy part of me will forgo the $1.50 and take the check, I think.
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Old 01-27-11, 08:48 PM   #19
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Wait! Gemini ships from Canada? Website please!
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Old 01-27-11, 09:09 PM   #20
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http://gemini-lights.com/
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Old 01-28-11, 08:01 AM   #21
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ak - I've found it handy to have a free checking account at my local credit union that is connected to my (also free) Paypal account. That way, I can transfer money into and out of my Paypal account for free by using the 2-3 day ACH transfer method (essentially, electronic checks). I still feel uncomfortable having my Paypal account connected to any of my "real" (important in my day-to-day life) financial accounts, but Paypal can be very handy for small transactions, and does provide some buyer/seller protection for goods even outside of eBay. It's also handy if you need to send some money to a family member or friend who doesn't live locally.

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Old 01-28-11, 12:46 PM   #22
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But can I set up a PayPal account that is empty at first and just let Gemini put money in it? Does a new PayPal account have to be tied to any "real" account of mine?
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Old 01-28-11, 12:59 PM   #23
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You dont have to put money INTO a PP account. You just link it to a checking account or credit card in order to buy things. When you do the funds just pass thru PP from the checking or credit card. When you receive money is does stay there (and earns a little interest) unless and until you withdraw it to the linked account.

They dont like you to just have a credit card attached, I think because it gives you a way to win disputes without them. Without a checking linked, you can do something like $2000 (maybe less now, maybe a fixed number of transactions) before you have to link a checking account to do more transactions.

They also support eChecks, but I have never used it.
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Old 01-31-11, 04:53 PM   #24
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Follow up by OP:

Received the replacement battery from Gemini today, the same day I'm mailing the failed one back. Only took 3 business days to arrive via Canada/US Post. Great trust on their part, and nice of them to respond as quickly as they did.

So far, they're making all the right moves for a start-up: decent price, works as a MS replacement exactly with a little higher capacity, very responsive warranty service. If you can't wait for Geoman (it is winter and dark!) and want a no-hassle-no-effort replacement, I'd have to recommend it. Let's just hope my one failure of two batteries was only an anomaly - someone had to get the 0.01%-er, right?

And a shipping data point: (US) First Class International was $4; Priority Mail was going to be $21 (!); both would arrive in the 7-10 day window, neither provided any tracking. UPS and FedEx were ridiculous. I went First Class.
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