Author Topic: See.Sense ACE rear light  (Read 338 times)

Kim

  • Timelord
See.Sense ACE rear light
« on: July 07, 2020, 09:34:17 pm »


https://seesense.cc/products/see-sense-ace-rear-light


You can imagine how this came about...

Quote
Engineer: With these new chipsets I've been able to molish an accelerometer and Bluetooth stack into the space between the battery and charging port on our new bike lights!
CEO: That's great!  ...what does it do?
Engineer: Well, it reports its battery level to an app.
Marketroid: Customers love apps!
CEO: *nods approvingly* Carry on...
Engineer: And we can make the light, erm, react to road conditions?  And send notifications to your phone if someone touches your bike?
Steve From Accounts: That last one sounds, good, what's the range?
Engineer: It's Bluetooth, so about half what it needs to be.
CEO: ...
Engineer: It's just a rule of thumb.  Anyway, there's still the road conditions thing?
CEO: What kind of road conditions?  Bad weather?
Engineer: No, it's just an accelerometer.  So vibrations, swerves and sudden braking, that sort of thing.  We could make it flash when the rider's slowing down for junctions and stuff...
Steve From Accounts: Nobody's going to want to pay extra for that.  And we've still got 50,000 of those Chinese micro-wotsits you specified for the old design...
Marketroid: Hang on lads, I've got a great idea...

Why sell marginal gimmicks to a saturated market of gear-savvy cyclists, when you can sell them in bulk to much less savvy local authorities at twice the price?  Stroke of genius.

And so it came to pass that I paid a perfectly reasonable tenner for a light that I didn't really need.

Instant review:
  • It's small and light.
  • Most of its surface area is covered in LEDs.  Good field of view.
  • It's bright, but can be dimmed down to something sensible.
  • It comes with both types of mounting: Seatpost *and* aero seatpost.  You could probably bodge it to some clothing/luggage easily enough, but forget about mounting to sensible places like luggage racks, seatstays, drop-outs or mudguards.
  • Micro-USB charging, with a rubber bung to protect the socket.
  • Battery seems to last about 9-10 hours on minimum brightness constant illumination mode.
  • It does some really obnoxious flashing stuff.
  • ...And some wanky reactive flashing that I haven't really investigated.
  • The waterproof switch rubber seems to be poorly attached with adhesive.
  • It appears to time out and switch itself off n minutes after your bike stops moving.
  • The app is exactly what you're expecting it to be: A not-very-polished user interface for something that can mostly be achieved by a button and a few LEDs. (It does actually have charge-level LEDs, making this even more redundant.)
  • Like all good Bluetooth devices, it intermittently doesn't work.  Rebooting my phone and turning the light off and on again seems to get it to pair.
  • When 'collecting insights', it drains my phone (Moto G7) battery at about 5%/hour, through a combination of having the GPS active, talking to the light via Bluetooth and using the internet connection a little.  Sometimes the connection fails and you get to the end of your ride and discover it hasn't recorded anything.
  • No, it doesn't tell you what these 'insights' might be.
  • As far as I can determine, the light has to be 'on' in order to do this.
  • It does allow you to drop pins on the map of your completed ride and have a good moan about bad driving / Silly Sustrans Gates™ / poor road surfaces / harassment / whatever.  After an average of three attempts, it eventually manages to upload this feedback to some server or other.  (I can do the same thing on YACF, which is more cathartic and with fewer connection timeouts.)
  • After completing a survey, it sends notifications asking you to complete a survey a few times, until Android gets annoyed and offers to kill the process.
  • I haven't tried the crash or theft alerts.  But I haven't crashed or had my bike stolen, so I wouldn't be able to say if it actually works anyway.
  • It gives you some cumulative stats in the style of a VeloViewer infographic, but less useful.

In summary: Not bad for a tenner, if you're after a USB-powered commuter light and don't mind o-ring based seatpost mounting.  (I have a set of Moon Comet lights on my Brompton, and consider this functionally equivalent.)  Don't bother with the Bluetooth stuff.  And certainly don't pay the £45 RRP for it.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
See.Sense ACE rear light
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 06:08:16 am »
I have a set of these lights which I got free for testing purposes. I broadly agree with your review.

The app connection is very flaky but I did wonder if that was down to my set being early prototypes.

As lights, they’re a decent choice for city riding purposes - good for being seen, not suitable for seeing your way on country lanes.

I also have the previous iteration of the See.Sense rear light which has no external switches, just an accelerometer - you activate it by a hand jive routine that takes some learning.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

RichForrest

  • T'is I, Silverback.
Re: See.Sense ACE rear light
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 01:18:39 pm »
I have the Icon1 rear light, got it free from MK Council when they were doing a trial/survey of the rough paths/redways. Found out after a few months that the app didn't work properly but we were allowed to keep the light.
It stopped working a while ago and after trying resetting as on their website they asked me to send it back for a firmware update.

Even though I have an early one, there is a rubber button on the front you can push to start it without using the app.

I seem to have beta testing on the app on my phone, whether that is the same for all I've no idea?