If you’re a motorcycle racer, your transponder is your digital ID while you’re on the track—without it your lap times and finishing position don’t get recorded. Most clubs in the US use AMB (now MyLaps) transponders, which are painfully expensive. And unfortunately the units’ internal batteries tend to give up the ghost after several years, leaving you with a useless, $350 hunk of plastic.
When your transponders battery dies you can try calling MyLaps, but don’t bother. The salesperson I spoke with when my TranX 260 transponder died was about as helpful as a DMV clerk at 4:59 pm on a Friday. On to another solution then.
I set to scouring the Internet, and came up with two companies that offer transponder repairs, or more specifically, battery replacements. One place is in Australia and the other is in Texas.
So off to Texas my transponder went. As soon as my unit arrived at John Mueller’s shop he sent an email to notify me, and I received regular progress reports until the day my transponder went back in the mail. Within a week I had my unit back, blinking green and ready for action. The cost was just $55, and besides getting my transponder fixed quickly and affordably, Mueller’s email updates taught me a few things about how transponders are repaired and how to keep them healthy.
Mueller repairs the older and new-style transponders, carefully cutting them open on his mill, replacing the battery, and then sealing everything up. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but the point is that he’s perfected the procedure.
“I use a Japanese battery that offers around 2,000 cycles, which I hope will give 5-plus years of use,” says Mueller. The repair is warrantied for a year, but Mueller says that you can get up to 10 years out a fresh battery if you take proper care of it. Cycling the battery monthly helps keep it healthy, but if you think you’ll forget, Mueller suggests “getting a programmable wall timer that activates once a month for 24 hours.” That way, you can store the transponder in the cradle and let the timer take care of remembering to turn on the power.
Now that I’ve got my transponder back and blinking happily, I’ll make sure to head Mueller’s advice and cycle it monthly. Thankfully with the racing season in full swing, I’ll be racing my KTM RC390 monthly anyway, so there’s no risk of me forgetting to charge it!
AMB & MYLAPS TRANSPONDER BATTERY SERVICE
PRICE: Starting at $55
MC GRADE: A+
Why drop hundreds on a new transponder when you can have your old one fixed on the cheap? Fast and affordable—two words racers love but rarely hear together!