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Flaw in Brain Bag + Vertical Brain cell

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    Flaw in Brain Bag + Vertical Brain cell

    I am saddened to report a problem with my Brain Bag + Vertical Brain Cell combination. The Brain Cell has velcro on the top, and for some reason the hook portion of the velcro is on the tab of the brain cell which faces the WALL of the backpack. As a result if the Brain Cell isn't sealed closed (for example, when the laptop is removed) the tab pops up and the velcro attaches itself to the backpack wall, ripping it up. The seam lining on the Brain Bag is now torn up pretty badly.

    This is a pretty surprising error in the Brain Cell design, and since the webbing is only one side of the cell, I can't turn it around. Does anyone else have this issue, or have a suggestion as to what to do?. I now have to either always seal the Brain Cell even when empty (ain't gonna happen), cut off the hook portion of the velcro entirely, or let it eat into my backpack. :-(
    Last edited by feijai; 11-10-2014, 06:38 PM.
    Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

    #2
    What kind of interior does your Brain Bag have?
    As an interim solution, maybe you could try attaching a strip of Velcro loopside to the wall of your Brain Bag, at the spot where it meets the Velcro hooks. Or maybe a simple plastic ruler will do too.
    I'm thinking weak strength double sided tape, something you can remove easily without damaging your Brain Bag further.

    Comment


      #3
      No damage to the Parapack wall so far, just to the seam liner, whatever that's made of. But I'm still pretty amazed by this.
      Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

      Comment


        #4
        feijai!

        i am sorry to hear that you're running into this problem!

        what size brain cell are you using? could you share a picture of what's happening?

        i'm not carrying my brain bag today (i've been carrying a smaller load lately, inside the daylight backpack). if i remember correctly, are there not webbing loops on the interior wall of the brain bag? so rather than attaching your brain cell to the rear wall of the brain bag, inside the rear main compartment, you would instead attach the brain cell to the front wall of that compartment?

        thanks!
        -m

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Maverick. I've got a Macbook 15" Retina.

          Sure, of course the Brain Bag has webbing loops on three surfaces. But it wouldn't make any difference: wherever you attach it the velcro hook surface will still be facing whatever wall the brain cell is attached to. The basic problem is that the velcro hook surface is on the wrong tab (actually the *real* problem is that velcro is being used, but...)

          Not sure if I could take a picture which would come out. The seam liner (or whatever it's called -- I'm sure there's an official name) is all torn and fuzzed out in one corner, significantly weakened, fuzzy and similar to the velcro loop surface. But it's black. It's just the liner though, that's easily repaired or covered I suppose. But this did happen due to a design mistake.
          Last edited by feijai; 11-11-2014, 02:33 PM.
          Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

          Comment


            #6
            Hi feijai!

            Just trying to understand the situation - take a look at the attached image. It shows the finshed seams (in this case, inside the Daylight Backpack, but they would be the same inside of the Brain Bag). Is this what you're referring to? Are you saying that the hook side of the Aplix strip on the Brain Cell is causing this to fray? Is it the fabric that is fraying, or the stitching?

            I'm trying to understand how this is happening. I carry a smaller MacBook now (the 13"), but I carried both the 17" and 15" for years in a Brain Cell inside of the Smart Alec backpack for years without issue.

            Thanks!
            Attached Files
            Last edited by maverick; 11-11-2014, 02:58 PM.
            -m

            Comment


              #7
              I would be interested as well to see what is wearing. I always use my vertical Brain Cell (Size 1 or Size 2S) in my BB (and SA and S25) and have not seen this issue. However, I do secure the flap every time I put my laptop in to ensure protection if the top of the backpack is the first to hit the ground.

              I have a suggestion to perhaps stop the Aplix hooks from wearing into that area - buy some Velcro strips (both the hook and loop sides) and magnetic strips that are both sticky on the back side. I cut them to the length of the Brain Cell Aplix and stick the newly cut strips to each other (one magnetic strip to the Velcro hook strip and one magnetic strip to the Velcro loop side. I stick the Velcro side to the corresponding Aplix strip on the Brian Cell with the 2 magnetic sides facing each other - voila - the top holds together magnetically and the Velcro is not exposed to your bag. Taking your laptop out is nice and quiet now. You can get the Velcro and magnetic strips from an office supply store or even a hardware store. Total cost should be under $10.

              Hope this helps

              Cheers!

              Edit:
              I reread your first post @feijai - if I understand you, do you not close the Brain Cell if there is nothing in it. But doesn't the flaps on your Brain Cell naturally go into a closed position unless propped open?
              Last edited by tpnl; 11-11-2014, 04:35 PM.
              TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

              Comment


                #8
                /* begin rant

                By the way, I hope you're only leaving the Brain Cell open when it is empty. Please don't not secure the Aplix closure with your MacBook Pro inside! This is okay to do with a Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. This is NOT okay when you're carrying an Apple MacBook.

                A friend of mine made the mistake of not closing the Monolith (the zippered predecessor to the Vertical Brain Cell). He opened his Smart Alec, which wasn't completely horizontal at the time, only to have his MacBook slide out and hit the floor.

                In all seriousness - the Brain Cell provides the highest level of protection for your laptop. But not closing it is like driving without your seat belt fastened.

                end rant */
                -m

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by maverick View Post
                  It shows the finshed seams (in this case, inside the Daylight Backpack, but they would be the same inside of the Brain Bag). Is this what you're referring to?
                  Yep.

                  Are you saying that the hook side of the Aplix strip on the Brain Cell is causing this to fray?
                  Yep.

                  Is it the fabric that is fraying, or the stitching?
                  It's the fabric. In the top left corner of the compartment, where the seam transitions from horizontal to vertical. The hooks snag on and rip it up.


                  Originally posted by tpnl View Post
                  I reread your first post @feijai - if I understand you, do you not close the Brain Cell if there is nothing in it. But doesn't the flaps on your Brain Cell naturally go into a closed position unless propped open?
                  No, they stay open unless forced to close. BTW, another thing which regularly gets snagged on the hooks is the Brain Cell handle.

                  It's clear to me that this is a design error: the hook side of the velcro is on the lower flap, facing up when closed, and the loop side is on the upper flap, facing down. As a result, when the hook flap is opened, the hook strip is exposed. If these strips had been reversed, the hook strip would be pointing towards the inside of the cell when open, and this wouldn't happen. I can only imagine TB did this because when you reach in with your hand to pull your computer out, the hook side would scratch against it.
                  Last edited by feijai; 11-11-2014, 06:15 PM.
                  Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Wow, this is something I don't think I've heard of before! feijai, could you [email protected] photos of what you're seeing? That should help us figure out exactly what's going on.
                    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      So i sent some more detailed pictures to Darcy, but in case everyone'd like to see what's going on, here's a picture.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you very much for the photos, feijai! Much of maverick and tpnl's thoughts and advice are spot on.

                        The Brain Cell is intended to be used with its flaps shut -- it's why the Brain Cell offers the superior protection that it does. Failure to secure the flaps compromises the safety of your laptop and we can't recommend doing so. I don't think we've really seen this issue before because folks use the Brain Cell/Brain Bag combo in the way that it is intended to be used -- mostly for the security and safety of their laptop.

                        If you would like for us to re-tape your Brain Bag, we would gladly do so this one time. However, if you continue to use your Brain Cell in the way you have been and there is further damage, it will be a repair that we will need to charge for. Does that make sense?

                        Anyway, I hope this helps a bit! We'll also be in touch via email.
                        Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                        Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Darcy View Post
                          The Brain Cell is intended to be used with its flaps shut -- it's why the Brain Cell offers the superior protection that it does. Failure to secure the flaps compromises the safety of your laptop and we can't recommend doing so. I don't think we've really seen this issue before because folks use the Brain Cell/Brain Bag combo in the way that it is intended to be used -- mostly for the security and safety of their laptop.
                          This is mistaken. As I mentioned before, the problem doesn't occur for me while the laptop is in the (Macbook 15 inch retina) Brain Cell; I close the flaps then. It's when the laptop has been taken out of the Brain Cell, and the Brain Cell is then left open. After all, why would someone normally be concerned about leaving a Brain Cell open when nothing is in it? So I don't think this has anything to do with safety or security.

                          I can think of four ways to fix this. First, swap which flap the hook and loop strips are on. This would lessen the likelihood that the hook strap will impact on something in the bag since it's no longer right next to the bag wall. It'd still stick to the brain cell handle though -- that drives me nuts. Second, move the hook strips to the other side of its flap and likewise the loop strips to the other side of its flap. This would orient the hook strip to the inside of the Brain Cell which would probably completely eliminate the issue. I think this is the right way to do it. Third, change the fastening mechanism. Fourth, change the material used for the seam liner tape, if not the brain cell handles, so it doesn't stick to the hook strip. For example, my Parapack wall seems impervious to the hook strip (crossing fingers).
                          Last edited by feijai; 11-14-2014, 02:40 PM.
                          Blue Parapack Brain Bag with Brain Cell

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I guess, until any changes are done, you will need to remember to close your Brain Cell no matter laptop in or out.
                            I personally find it cleaner to do so - kind of like closing the doors of your closet after getting your coat out. No real need other than to keep dirt and dust out.

                            Another idea to mitigate the issues you are having with your current way of using the Brain Cell - put some duct tape (black) on the sections that are wearing so the Aplix does not catch on things.

                            I am glad that TB CS is going to repair your bag.

                            Hope this helps

                            Cheers!
                            Last edited by tpnl; 11-14-2014, 05:16 PM.
                            TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by feijai View Post
                              This is mistaken. As I mentioned before, the problem doesn't occur for me while the laptop is in the (Macbook 15 inch retina) Brain Cell; I close the flaps then.
                              Ahh, I see: I misunderstood, and I'm sorry about that. I am sure it is quite frustrating to get a response that doesn't really address your question/thoughts!

                              So, here's why the Brain Cell is the way it is:

                              When we originally designed the Brain Cell, we put a lot of effort into making it work well on its own, both functionally and aesthetically. We tried the flaps folding both ways: front flap on top, bottom flap underneath, and then the other way around. Frankly, it looked bad to us with the back flap folded forward on top -- it just looked "wrong".

                              After that, the placement of the hook and loop (we use Aplix; it's a material commonly called Velcro) was determined by the desire to keep the potentially abrasive hook side from contacting one's laptop as it is slid in and out of the Brain Cell.

                              Additionally, had we swapped the flaps so that they folded the other way, the hook side of the hook and loop would, when the flaps were opened while the Brain Cell was inside a bag, tend to engage with Tom's wool sweater that's in that same compartment, and he hated that.

                              So, in the end, something as seemingly arbitrary as the placement of the flaps and the Aplix is actually the result of much testing and thought.

                              Of course, there are times in which we as designers come up with a way of making things that makes sense to us, but ends up not making sense for other folks, at least in the ways they actually end up using the bags we design. When that happens, we look back, talk to each other, ask if anyone else has heard of others experiencing the same potential issue, see if we've logged anything similar, and also decide to be conscious of it as a potential issue so that we may be more aware of folks reporting it as such in the future. It's important for us to think and care about what we decide to change or don't. One person might feel a feature or bag needs to change to work better for them; and they could be totally right about that! It would work better for them if that was changed. But maybe it wouldn't work better for most folks. Or, maybe that one change is something that we as the designers have considered and tested, and don't feel would be of benefit to the design and the way it is intended to be used.

                              After taking the time to look back and review why we chose the flap orientation we did and do a bit of research to find if others were experiencing the same issue, we have come to the decision that, at least for now, we will not change the flaps on the Brain Cell.

                              tpnl and maverick came up with some clever ideas as to how one could modify the bags so that one could leave the Brain Cell flaps open. Our recommendation would be to close them, whether or not a laptop is inside. And we'd gladly repair your Brain Bag at no charge so that, whether you choose the former or latter solutions, you won't need to see the damage caused by the hook anymore.
                              Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

                              Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

                              Comment

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