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  1. #1
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    Question Is there a replacement for the 13" Brain Cell?

    I recently switched from my 15" Macbook Pro to a 13" Macbook Pro. I'd like to replace the 15" brain cell with it's 13" equivalent so that it fits well in my Western Flyer bag. However, it looks like the Brain Cell has been discontinued, so that I cannot get an exact replacement.

    1. Is there a leftover stock of Brain Cell's so that I can buy a 13" one?
    2. If not, is there a drop-in replacement product that I can get? I looked at the cache but it does't appear to the same clip-in attachments that the Brain Cell had. But perhaps there is an adapter.

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
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    Hi @ikomrad,

    There's a hack that @Perseffect used so you can mount a 13" MacBook Pro in a cache with rails in a Western Flyer, if you removed the Annex Clips for holding a Brain Cell, and insert velcro loops instead, from which you attach single gatekeeper clips. See my post #2 in the Horizontal caches clip to an ID bag? thread. I give the links to the Tech Zone - Chunky Large Hook and Loop Fastener Cable Ties) that I used (20 Velcro ties for $4.99 from the U.S. Amazon site), and the link for buying a pair of single gatekeeper clips from Parts. If you're in the UK, you might want to use the Fisual cable wraps that @Perseffect used. Any velcro ties can be used -- but the ones that were linked are wider, for a better match to the webbing where the Annex clips are removed. They're also sized so that you don't have leftover velcro hooks sticking out once you roll your loops.

    See the linked posts for more details, but I'll excerpt some of the pictures without the detailed text descriptions here:





    This hack basically allows you to buy the velcro loops ($4.99) and pair of single gatekeeper clips ($1.00) that will allow you to use the regular cache with rails in the place where you installed your Brain Cell.

    HTH

    moriond

  3. #3
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    I mostly use the back that @moriond mentions above with my western flyer. However I occasionally use a Brain Cell instead. Iíve never bought one new one. Iíve always found them through eBay at reasonable prices. I use a 13 inch MacBook and couldnít get a horizontal one (yet) so went for a 6Z (I think thatís the right one but not at home to check). Similar sizing works out well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

  4. #4
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    Current models of Western Flyers do have attachments for the cache -- there are now news notes on the Blog, and the August 8, 2017 entry states:

    Western Flyer Design Update

    Our Western Flyer travel bag now has a lockable main compartment zipper; also now accepts our Cache laptop sleeve.

    BY TB CREW | AUGUST 9, 2017
    However, the Brain Cell is now on the list of Recently Retired and Soon-To-Be Retired Designs

    If you want to check the comments and initial responses to the Brain Cell retirement announcement, check the something discontinued thread from April 2016. My recollection is that the last horizontal Brain Cells for the 13" (retina) MacBook Pro sold out around the end of February 2017. The 6Z size is the slightly larger model that fits the older MacBook Pros. The 15" Brain Cells (especially the Vertical Brain Cell models for the Brain Bag and Smart Alec) were sold out by late summer 2016.

    HTH

    moriond

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ikomrad View Post
    I recently switched from my 15" Macbook Pro to a 13" Macbook Pro. I'd like to replace the 15" brain cell with it's 13" equivalent so that it fits well in my Western Flyer bag. However, it looks like the Brain Cell has been discontinued, so that I cannot get an exact replacement.

    1. Is there a leftover stock of Brain Cell's so that I can buy a 13" one?
    2. If not, is there a drop-in replacement product that I can get? I looked at the cache but it does't appear to the same clip-in attachments that the Brain Cell had. But perhaps there is an adapter.

    If you can't find an exact fitting Brain Cell on Ebay or Craigslist like I couldn't... I have a MacBook Pro 13 and a couple of years ago, I took my horizontal Brain Cell for my Dell Latitude that I didn't carry any longer, similar size but is a tad wider and converted it to fit the MacBook. I found some very thin closed cell foam that I cut and fitted inside the Brain Cell and now the MacBook 13 fits perfectly inside an even more protective Brain Cell. Good luck on your search.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Climb14er View Post
    If you can't find an exact fitting Brain Cell on Ebay or Craigslist like I couldn't... I have a MacBook Pro 13 and a couple of years ago, I took my horizontal Brain Cell for my Dell Latitude that I didn't carry any longer, similar size but is a tad wider and converted it to fit the MacBook. I found some very thin closed cell foam that I cut and fitted inside the Brain Cell and now the MacBook 13 fits perfectly inside an even more protective Brain Cell. Good luck on your search.
    I haven't been able to find one either. I'm not handy with building hacks like the ones in the earlier post. It would be nice if Tom Bihn took care of its customers by making an official adapter kit that fitted caches where brain cells used to go.

  7. #7
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    We experimented with various possibilities for those who want to clip a Cache in a bag that doesn't have rail loops but does have webbing for Annex Clips. And we came up with a few different solutions that we think work pretty well: one for bags that fit the Horizontal Cache and two for bags that fit the Vertical Cache (the spacing of the Cache rails differs between the horizontal and vertical versions, thus the two different solutions.)

    Note: the following methods are a little difficult to describe in text, so see the very amateur video further below that we made.

    How To Clip a Horizontal Cache To Annex Loop Webbing

    Wiggle one of the Gatekeeper Clips on your Gatekeeper Rail Clip so that it's vertical and slide it through the open loop of webbing meant for the Annex Clip. Then, wiggle the Gatekeeper Clip back to horizontal. This solution works well and looks almost as if it was intended to work this way.

    How To Clip a Vertical Cache To Annex Loop Webbing

    Option #1 Basically just clipping the Gatekeeper Rail Clip on the open loop of webbing meant for Annex Clips. Though the basic functionality here works, the Gatekeeper Rail Clip will be twisted and it's not that elegant of a solution.

    Option #2 If you have one of our backpacks, you probably also have a Gatekeeper Waist Strap. To use this hack, clip the Gatekeeper Clips of your Gatekeeper Waist Strap on the open loop of webbing meant for Annex Clips. Then, unclip the side release buckles of the Gatekeeper Waist Strap, and then reclip them over the rails of your Cache. It basically allows for a Cache with rails system -- without using Gatekeeper Rail Clips.

    What we think is great about these hacks/solutions is that most people will be able to make them work without buying any additional parts or adapters.

    Here's a quick iPhone video we made that demonstrates the options.



    P.S. We do have a few Size 6Z Horizontal Brain Cells left, which would fit your 13" MBP, @ikomrad. If you'd like to order one: emailus@tombihn.com
    Last edited by Darcy; 12-21-2017 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Typos and various kinds of whackyness.
    Current Carry: The Hero's Journey, Skookum Dog Citizen Canine, Founder's Briefcase, Synapse 19 (day hikes), Guide's Pack (longer day hikes), Yeoman Duffel (winter/emergency stuff for the car), Aeronaut 30 (travel), Night Flight Travel Duffel (camera bag), Moveable Feast + Shop Bags (food)

  8. #8
    Yellow Queen
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    I do have the same problem. I used a MacBook Pro 15'' with a Brain Cell in Backpacks for many years and it has saved my laptop several times during falls (twice of those falling havily on my back with the backpack on). A cache does not provide the same protection by far.

    Now I am switching to an 13'' Macbook Air and wanted to buy a matching brain cell, but had so learn that you discontinued the brain cell.
    I'm a little disappointed.

    BTW, I did use the 15'' brain cell in a Synapse 25 by connecting the two rings on the cell to the two rings on the backside of the Synapse with double sided snap hooks. Works well and keeps the Synapse from "collapsing".

  9. #9
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    I have to agree with the disappointment of the brain cell being discontinued. I have a new MacBook Pro 15" and it's smaller than the old one. I'd like to have a Brain Cell that fits better.

    The cache is a great sleeve, but it just doesn't work as well.

    Bring back the Brain Cell!

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