Monkey Light Automatic: our best bike lights yet

Created by MonkeyLectric

Monkey Light Automatic: our best bike lights yet
2919020ac38ed2c6d2ceca28e74c3417 original
2,416 backers pledged $248,331.50 on Kickstarter

Raised in Kickstarter
$248,331.50 / 2,416 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$44,941.45 / 2,599 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Update 7: This is it! The last day of the campaign.
about 1 year ago – Fri, Dec 09, 2016 at 08:44:10 PM

Hi Backers,

We know some of you have been with us since the beginning of this campaign, and whew, it's been a crazy ride. This has been a campaign unlike any other we've launched, and perhaps you feel the same way.

All of the messages, comments, emails, posts, and tweets, and even live stream selfies - thank you, we've learned a little bit from every one of you.  And of course thank you for your pledges.  We'd also like to thank the folks at Detroit Bikes, Tern Bicycles, Yuba Bikes, and Nutcase Helmets for helping us with our video.

We initially drafted part this update before we knew that we would fund, so as you can imagine, it's changed somewhat since then.

There are still about 3 and a half hours left in this campaign, so it's not too late to join in on the fun if you haven't yet.

Kickstarter Live

Thanks again for joining us and watching John with the giant thermometer, Aaron and our message on the bike on rollers, us answer questions about bike fit, and joining us in our toast!  Prost!

A Brompton note

We realized that we add a qualification to our literature regarding the A10 and A15 lights fitting on 16" wheels.  We noticed that the front wheel on Brompton bikes (some? or perhaps all?  We only had the opportunity to test on 1 of them) may not permit our battery pack to fit on the hub.  This is due to the hub width and the spoke pattern.  The rear wheel should be fine, as it is a wider hub and is laced differently.

What's next

We'll be spending some time counting up pledges to get an idea of how many of each type of light we need.  We plan to use InDemand to accept post-Kickstarter preorders and BackerKit to help administer surveys (and there WILL be surveys!) and do fulfillment.  We'll continue to post updates here, and do more live sessions if it's possible on Kickstarter.  You will receive notifications from us via update or email for the next steps.


Pizza did indeed happen.

Other projects

We'd like to hear what projects you are working on.  If you have a crowdfunding project, let us know, we'd like to see it and possibly help spread the word.

The ASAP Connect magnetic charging cable
The ASAP Connect magnetic charging cable


The folks at ASAP also have another crowdfunding project going, the ASAP Connect. Compared to their other cable, you can save a few dollars with this one in exchange for giving up device interchangeability.  They have the same great magnetic clas and are coated in 18k gold for that extra bling!  (And electrical conductivity)

Our friends at Sparse (you may remember their integrated bicycle lights from a previous campaign) are involved with another project that just launched, the RS01 reflective shirt.

It provides reflective visibility at more than twice the distance of a normal white item of clothing.

And speaking of other projects, Phil's going to go back the Orfos light now.  Things were a little too crazy busy during our campaign, but now we've got a moment to catch our breaths.

Thank you once again, and until next update,

Phil, Chloe, John, Aaron, Dan, and Justin

Update 6: On the cusp
about 1 year ago – Fri, Dec 09, 2016 at 04:09:55 PM

Our penultimate update?

Hey backers, this is probably going to be our 2nd update before the campaign ends.  We've had another fun Kickstarter Live session, did a bunch of battery testing, and found some new interesting crowdfunding projects.

The Campaign

We are at 84% funding with 56 hours to go.  We've been averaging an increase of 6% a day the last 2 days.  We know we have a good chance of making it, and we really hope to so that we can continue work on these lights for you.  Over 1,850 of you have backed our project already, and we are very thankful for your support.

Talking head

We did an interview segment with The New Screensavers, Leo Laporte and Rene Ritchie.  We talked about our lights and our Kickstarter campaign.  It was a fun experience, and their show is really enjoyable.  Phil's voice is unfortunately still hoarse :-/

You can view the entire show here:

Kickstarter Live

Works in handheld mode too
Works in handheld mode too

Wow!  We had over 150 viewers at one point in time and more than double that over the course of our session.  Thanks to those of you who have been with us since the beginning - Kim, Nick, Devon - you, along with the other people who participated in the chat made it a lot of fun.  We apologize for the microphone difficulties in the beginning!

We also answered some questions (hopefully paraphrased well below):

  • What happens if you don't fund?  Will I lose my money? No, we will be sad, but your card only gets charged if the campaign funds.  And if that happens, we will get to work on making your lights!
  • Will your light work on wheelchairs? Yes, if it has wired spokes.  You need to be moving at 8-10mph for the POV effect to show up, but you'll still have a lot of light on your wheels regardless of your speed.
  • Will your lights fit on an e-bike?  If you have a hub motor, it depends on the size of the motor.  The A30 should fit on any wheel where there is more than 6.5 inches of spoke length.  The A10 and A15 will almost definitely fit.
  • Will your lights fit on a motorcycle? They may technically fit, but we advise against it.  We don't design our lights for speeds higher than 40mph, so we don't recommend it.  
  • What happens if you don't reach your funding goal? We won't make the new models of lights.  We will probably still work on the USB battery pack.  We will consider the other features in the longer-term future.

The Next Kickstarter Live

Our next (and potentially last!) Kickstarter Live for this project will be Friday, at 12:30pm PST.  Stay tuned, and have that selfie ready..

Battery progress

Aaron's gotten a lot of testing done with our new battery.  He's tested mostly safety features so far - Does it get hot at all when charging?  Does it stop charging if things get too hot?  Was it even soldered correctly in the first place?  Aaron used our industrial oven to find out that the thermal cutoff indeed works, and that 2 of the 3 boards appear to behave correctly.  Not bad at all for a completely new circuit board.   

Other interesting campaigns

We got a message for a really interesting project for cross-promotion the other day.  We've thought that it's interesting that Macbooks have that MagSafe magnetic connector, but our iPhones don't.  Perhaps it was for size considerations?  The x-connect ASAP is an adapter and cable that turns your phone's charger into a magnetic connector in a really compact package.  They make different adapter tips so that you can charge many types of phones and devices off of the same magnetic cable.

A magnetic cable adapter for your mobile device
A magnetic cable adapter for your mobile device


Thanks for reading this update, and thanks again for being a part of our project.  We really enjoy interacting with you all.  

We've got just over 2 days left.  We are so close!

Phil, Chloe, and the MonkeyLectric team

Update 2: The middle of the campaign
about 1 year ago – Wed, Dec 07, 2016 at 09:23:48 PM

Hey Kickstarter community, 

Welcome to update number two.  We've been working nearly non-stop on the campain.  We're still trying to getting the word out and reach more people, while responding to messages and comments here and on our Facebook page, Twitter, and via e-mail. And munching on stale tortilla chips.

Better off as compost
Better off as compost

Media coverage

We thought we'd share some of the coverage this project has received. wrote a piece on the campaign:

We admit: none of us ever owned Spokey Dokeys
We admit: none of us ever owned Spokey Dokeys


And Bikerumor gets a little more in depth with a detailed description of the campaign.

Yes, we are involved with Bike Raves
Yes, we are involved with Bike Raves


Which other publications should we be in?  Hit up your journalist friends or let us know, and we'll get in touch with them.

Kickstarter Live

Serious question: We really want to give this a good try, but want to know what we should prepare for a live session.  What are your ideas?  Otherwise, Chloe and I (and others) would be happy to aimlessly stare at the webcam for a bit and find some more stale chips to eat.  But we'd be happier chatting with our backers.

New comparison video

We made a really quick split-screen comparison of a bike with just a headlight and tail light versus that same bike with an additional A10 combo kit.  You can barely see the bike that only has the headlight and tail light.


Wow, the campaign has generated a lot of comments about helmet use.  Here's our stance: We would have liked to have featured more helmet use in the video.  Simply put, that matches how we ride in our normal daily lives and reflects our own personal values.  Having said that, we think that our new lights provide a huge safety benefit, regardless of the helmet status of the rider.  We've spent time in many cities where bike use is common and helmet use is un-common and we know that helmets are not the only component to a safe and lovely biking culture.

Other commenters noted that a helmet doesn't help if you're hit by a negligent driver, and that pedestrian injury rates are similar to those of cyclists, but there are no calls for pedestrians to wear helmets.

"Amsterdam" by flickr user garyullah (Creative Commons 2.0 license)
"Amsterdam" by flickr user garyullah (Creative Commons 2.0 license)

Other Kickstarter Projects

Jess and her amazingly detailed watercolors of leaves
Jess and her amazingly detailed watercolors of leaves


Phil was struck by these detailed botanical watercolor paintings of leaves by Jess Shepard with an accompanying soundtrack.  He pledged for the book that she will be creating.

Wireless, batteryless doorbell
Wireless, batteryless doorbell


The Linbell wireless doorbell has a really neat feature - the doorbell transmitter is powered by the physical act of ringing it.  We use wireless doorbells here in our factory, and think it'd be pretty nice to not have to replace (or worry about) batteries on the button.  The receiver does still need to be plugged in, but that part is inside where you can hear it and have access to an outlet.

A Walkie-talkie watch
A Walkie-talkie watch


And finally, the Starvox Walkie-Talkie smartwatch looks like a very useful device. It's annoyingly common to be on a bike ride or hike where a group gets separated, and there isn't phone reception to reach people.  Having a 2km range without depending on cellular coverage sounds fantastic.


Once again, thanks for your support of our campaign, and don't hesitate to continue to be in touch with your comments, messages, and emails.  And don't forget to tell us what you want our Kickstarter Live to cover!


The MonkeyLectric Team

Update 3: Just a quick one
about 1 year ago – Wed, Dec 07, 2016 at 09:23:47 PM

Hey all, this is just a quick note, we'll do a more substantial update in a few days.

We hit $100k!

Special thanks to Alex C for pledging a creative (or coincidental) amount to make it happen.  Seriously, thank you, Alex!

Kickstarter Live Stream: 11/18 12:30pm PST

We're going to try this out based on Kim and Nick's comments on the last update.  We'll do a demo installation and show you some of the prototypes that we have and more.

More thanks

Also, thank you for all of your help in getting the word out.  Thanks to Douglas S, Jacob A, Justin C, and many others.  And thank you for the detailed message, Alan - we'll reply to your message soon. 

Until tomorrow..

The live countdown tells me there are 22 hours left until our live stream.  The countdown is making us a little more nervous than we need to be ;)

Also of note: We'll also be featured on Backerclub, a club for Kickstarter super backers.

The MonkeyLectric team

P.S. Alan: The spellchecker came out good this time, we think!

Update 5: About 1 week to go (!!)
about 1 year ago – Wed, Dec 07, 2016 at 09:23:45 PM

Hey Kickstarter backers, welcome to our 5th update.  

Here's what has been going on:

Crunch time

There's not much time left in the campaign.  As of this writing, there are 9 days left until the end.  We've got $88k to go.  The reality is that we won't be launching these lights if we don't meet the goal.  So, we're doing as much as we can on our end to get the word out so we can make this happen.  We appreciate all of your support and outreach so far!  We've got to admit, this is pretty nerve-wracking.  At the same time, it is astounding that 1333 of you have joined our campaign.  We are immensely thankful for that.

Kickstarter Live

Unexpected roller fun
Unexpected roller fun


We did another Kickstarter live yesterday, which resulted in an unexpected roller demonstration.  Aaron skillfully managed to get Phil's Tern folding bike working, despite the rollers being set up for a different bike.

We'll do another live session next week: Tuesday, December 6th @ 12:30pm PST.  We hope to see you there.  If you have questions, feel free to submit them in the Q&A section.  We'll answer them live.

A30 Patterns

We've gotten some questions and messages about what patterns will be on the A30.  Our plan is as follows: after the campaign (hopefully) funds, we will issue a series of surveys.  We've had some great ideas: solid colors, simulated A10 patterns, and patterns that change based on speed.  One of the great things about being involved with Kickstarter is that we'll look to you guys for feedback so you can shape what the product looks like.

On the prototyping end..

In case you didn't see our Live stream, we're working on the next iteration of our battery holder prototype.  Aaron hand-soldered a new circuit board that should result in a design that's much easier to manufacture.

Loupe for the extra-tiny pins
Loupe for the extra-tiny pins

We'll still need to manually create some metal contacts so that we can test it out in the outer capsule of the battery holder.  We also got some sample batteries that we are testing:

Battery samples
Battery samples

Orfos Flare Pro

Lots of lumens.  We were impressed by these lights, and we literally stare at bike lights for a living.
Lots of lumens. We were impressed by these lights, and we literally stare at bike lights for a living.


We just found out about Orfos's new Kickstarter project.  We've been a fan of theirs since seeing their first project in 2014.  Their new headlight and tail light provide an astounding 950 lumens and 400 lumens, respectively.  They are also made with a very wide beam so that they provide essential side visibility, much like our lights.  They'd go really well with a set of Monkey Lights, and we intend to back their project for our own bikes.  

They also had a really neat idea: USB power packs for your phone are becoming near ubiquitous.  Why not power your bike light with one of those?  This helps cut down on cost and gives you the flexibility to choose your own battery by size, shape, and capacity to fit your needs.

And a nice compact bike lock

The compact Foldylock
The compact Foldylock


We also found this neat folding compact lock, the Foldylock Compact.  It's a premium folding bike lock that features a nice balance between protection, weight, and design.

Phil's not-compact U and cable lock
Phil's not-compact U and cable lock

It's especially appealing, given the state of Phil's non-compact, non-folding locks.  He has a 15-foot cable that he purchased by mistake, thinking it would have been a 6-foot cable.  The extra-long cable has come in handy when he's had to lock up the child-carrying trailer though.

That's it for this time.  Thank you for reading!