I have a Gyrowheel to help teach my son to ride bike. I need a charger.
August 1, 2013 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Several years ago, I bought a Gyrowheel to help teach my older son to ride a bike. Now I would like to use it to help my younger son to ride, but the charger was lost after a move. Help me find one that will work.

So I bought this Gyrowheel. It is kind of cool. My older son wasn't into biking so much, but I would like to try it out on my younger son who keeps asking to ride it. The problem is that the charger was damaged during a move.

I ordered a new one from the company and then discarded the damaged one. A couple of weeks later, I wondered why I hadn't received it and checked the company. It turns out they went out of business, so I never received my charger nor would they answer any emails, though my card still got charged. They have since taken their site down.

Now I need a charger. I have posted some pictures of the charge port here:

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3

From the label, it seems to be a 19V 780Ma charger. The problem I am having is finding a charger that has a plug that will fit down into the charging socket. As you can see, the socket is rather deeply inset into the wheel. Chargers with a 90 degree bend won't go in near deeply enough to reach. I tried the tips associated with this charger, but it has laptop tips. The one that came closest to fitting was this tip:

Tip pic 1
Tip pic 2

but it wouldn't go in deeply enough.

Any ideas what charger this takes and where I can get one? Online is, of course, easier, but I am in the DC area if there is someplace local to go to get help.
posted by procrastination to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
Have you talked to Radio Shack? I had a fan that ran mostly on batteries I wanted to start using at work. They read the specs printed on the fan, then "snapped together" an appropriate wall charger and tip and sold me both bits.
posted by tilde at 10:00 AM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pains me to say it but Radio Shack is your best bet, or perhaps Batteries Plus. If those options strike out, the nerds at your local hackerspace can probably slap something together.

19v and 780mA is a pretty unusual spec. Lots of laptop chargers produce 19 or 20 volts, but at much higher current (2 or 3 amps). That's ordinarily not a problem, but some cheap consumer devices rely on the charger being sorta wimpy as a cheap way to control their charge rate. If you end up using a beefier charger, keep an eye on the device's temperature during charging.

(Does the device have a "charging / done" indicator on it? If so, it's probably smart enough that the above concern doesn't apply, and you should be good to use a laptop brick if you can find the appropriate tip.)
posted by Myself at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2013

Response by poster: Do you think it might be 9V and 780 mA? The label is in picture 1, and it looks like 19V to me.

Would a charger that produced, say, 500mA be safer than one that produced 2A?

Oh, and yes it does show when it is charged.
posted by procrastination at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2013

Best answer: If you know the ID (inner diameter) and OD (outer diameter) of the barrel connector, and can find a suitable power supply, replacing the tip is trivial. Try DigiKey for more barrel connectors than you've ever wanted to see.
posted by dobi at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2013

It is perfectly OK to use a charger that can produce more current than what you need. A 1A or 2A charger of the correct voltage and polarity would be fine.
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2013

What Monsieur Bon said. You want to meet or exceed the amp number of the old charger, and meet both the voltage, plug type, and crucial, this one polarity.

A charger that is rated for more amps at that voltage is fine. That's the maximum the charger can handle, not what the device gets. The device being charged determines the actual current draw (which is why you can plug your lamp into the same 15 amp outlet you use for a microwave oven)
posted by zippy at 12:07 PM on August 1, 2013

Also Picture 1 above shows it's 19V with a center positive barrel connector.
posted by zippy at 12:09 PM on August 1, 2013

Just by glancing at that, it looks like a 2.5mm internal diameter plug.

Go to your local PC recyclers and look for gateway laptop chargers. The late 2000s ones were 19v, a couple amps, and had a deeper plug on them but with the right size internal diameter hole, etc.

I bought a crappy knockoff one on ebay for $7, i wouldn't expect to pay much more than that for a used real one at some "SECOND USE TECHNOLOGY" type place.

Bring the wheel with you, try a bunch of chargers. Any one that fits good and makes the charging light come on just buy it. It really shouldn't be more than $10.

Me, personally, i'd be cutting away some of the plastic around the actual socket so a shallower plug like the one you have right next to you could fit. But i'm also a bit impatient, and wouldn't care about the cosmetic damage.
posted by emptythought at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: it looks like they might still be operating in the uk. maybe when the us side shut down they sent their stuff to the uk? might be worth a shot. you might also be able to get a charger from them and use a converter.
posted by koroshiya at 3:16 PM on August 1, 2013

Response by poster: Yay! koroshiya was right - I emailed, and they responded almost immediately with this diagram that shows the correct barrel adaptor, which is actually one that came with my charger.

I will try it out when I get home tonight. I suspect the base of the adaptor is too wide to slide into the slot, but I can either gin something up or cut some plastic away from around the plug.
posted by procrastination at 9:21 AM on August 2, 2013

Response by poster: With the drawing they sent from the European distributor, I was able to order this cable from Digi-Key, which I hope will do the trick with adapting to the power adaptor I have. Digi-key really does have every connector imaginable.
posted by procrastination at 5:40 PM on August 14, 2013

Response by poster: Oops, the link above went dead. The cable was part number: 839-1163-ND from Digikey. It is slender enough to plug into the wheel whereas the adaptor from the power charger is not.
posted by procrastination at 7:08 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

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