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$2,867 pledged of $15,600 goal
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$2,867 pledged of $15,600 goal
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About this project

"Finally, A Proper Solar Charger For Hikers And Bikers" - Cult of Mac

"Independent Power." NOW OPEN SOURCE! Our Solarpad Kit sets a new standard for a rugged, lightweight, compact, powerful, water resistant, and easy-to-use USB solar charger that can keep a smart phone charged all day! Connect Solarpad to the Power Core battery input then use the cable that came with your smart phone and plug it in to the Power Core output. Solar charge the Power Core battery and charge your phone from this battery at the same time! We designed the Solarpad Kit without an on/off button so you just plug it in and it works automatically! If a phone has a unique connector, one end of its charge cable always has a standard USB compatible plug. No extra cables are required because they are built-in. Use the Solarpad Kit on your next adventure! Will not leave you powerless. Free instructions and files for this project can be obtained from www.solarcyclepower.com

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

What About Other Similar Solar Chargers on the Market?

Click below for an animation comparing the Solarpad Kit vs. Competitors

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The Solarpad Kit is designed to outlive the life of your Smart Phone! Solarpad uses a high-quality, custom Suntactics solar panel, which has a fluoropolymer film with the best light transmission, precision cut and tabbed high-efficiency solar cells, and a high-strength substrate. The panel is attached to an aluminum housing, which holds the buckle straps and 1/4-20 tripod thread in place and acts as a passive heat sink to cool the panel. Our Power Core battery uses a high-efficiency, high-power charge controller from Maxim and the housing is sealed with high-strength epoxy, which prevents water from leaking in. Also, Power Core uses the same battery that's used in the Tesla electric car, which is the best battery of its kind. Even the built-in USB cables consist of thicker gage wire, which allows the electricity to flow more efficiently. The Solarpad Kit is engineered to squeeze the most energy possible from the sun's rays in to your smart phone. No short-cuts that compromise power or efficiency are taken, period. A fully charged Power Core will recharge a dead iPhone 6 from 0% to 100% in 3 hours even after being unused for a month! Our competitors may have a power level indicator, but for this size solar charger, power level indicators are inaccurate and not very useful. Other similar sized solar chargers can only charge a Smart Phone from 0% to 70% and take over 4 hours to recharge, so what good is a power level indicator if it won't charge your phone from 0% to 100% at any level? Power Core's Green LED lights up when charging and turns off when fully charged. Much larger smart phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S5, have a battery that's twice the size of an iPhone battery, but a fully charged Power Core can still provide a Galaxy S5 a 0% to 70% charge.

Why Open Source Hardware?

The solar USB charging market has become saturated with low-quality and poor performing products and every year the big companies are selling the same products with very little improvement. Therefore, Solarcycle has developed its open source solar USB charger to empower customers with the ability to build their own solar USB chargers and to prove that a better solar charger that outperforms anything else on the market is possible. Click here for instructions on how to build the Solarpad Kit.

 * Retail prices estimated to be up to $199 for the Solarpad Kit.

Solarpad Solar Panel Specs (Made in USA):

* Size: W 6.5 inches X L 10.9 inches X H 0.6 inches

* Strap Material: Polypropylene * Strap Length: 1.5 Feet

* Fastener Style: Plastic Side Release Buckle

* Cable Length: 10.0 inches * Weight: 270g (9.52 oz)

* Body Material: Nylon 

* Output - Female USB Type A Connector

* Nominal Output - Current: 1000mA | Voltage: 5 Volts

* Max Open Circuit Voltage: 6 Volts

* Cell Type: Monocrystalline * Cell Efficiency: 18.8%

* Compatible with Power Core Battery Only

Power Core USB Battery Specs (Made in USA):

* Time to Fully Charge Power Core @ 5V 1A: 3 hours

* Capacity: 3350mAh/3.6V * Type: 18650 Lithium-Ion

* Diameter: 1.2 inches * Body Length: 4.2 inches

* Cable Length: 7.0 inches * Weight: 100g (3.53 oz)

* Input - Male USB Type A Connector

* Input - Current: 450 to 1300mA | Voltage: 5 to 6 Volts

* Output - Female USB Type A Connector

* Output - Current: 500mA | Voltage: 5 Volts

* Battery Life Under Typical Use: 5 years

* Provides up to 110% iPhone 6 Charge or 70% Galaxy S4 Charge

* Compatible with iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and Others

The final production version may have some design changes.

Where Do the Funds Go and How Long Will it Take to Finish?

Solarcycle is here to meet your USB charging needs for the outdoors! We've solved the fundamental problems with solar USB charging, but right now each Solarpad Kit is assembled by me using rapid prototype components. In order to build the final production version at a reasonable cost, funds must be raised to purchase a minimum order of hundreds of solar panels, batteries, cables, circuits, and plastic components. Other equipment costs include molds for the plastic parts and creating custom assembly fixtures. The Solarpad Kit is designed be as simple to manufacture as possible and it is always being refined for the most efficient assembly. Our suppliers have given us great quality prototype parts and they are ready to manufacture the components in larger quantities. Typical manufacturing lead-times for components are about 30 days and test batches are always ordered before going in to large-scale production. Tools, fixtures, test equipment, and work benches for assembling products need to be purchased too. On top of that, there are a lot of house-keeping duties like business licenses, permits, and bookkeeping that any new start-up has to take care of. Realistically, it should take about 6 months to set-up shop, order parts, manufacture parts, inspect components, assemble each batch, final test each unit, package, and then ship them.

3-D CAD Models of Solarpad and Power Core.
3-D CAD Models of Solarpad and Power Core.
January, 2014. Final Prototype. Solarpad Kit!
January, 2014. Final Prototype. Solarpad Kit!

Don't Let Your Next Outdoor Adventure Look Like This!

Wall sockets are already taken! Use the Solarpad Kit instead!
Wall sockets are already taken! Use the Solarpad Kit instead!

Risks and challenges

Risks and challenges

I have a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with over seven years of experience in the semiconductor industry. I also gained a lot manufacturing experience working at my Dad's sheet metal shop since I was a kid. Unforeseen issues that can delay the shipment of rewards to Kickstarter backers include, but are not limited to:

* Delays in receiving components on time from vendors.
* Delays from rejected parts during inspection.
* Delays from the carrier in shipping the product to the Kickstarter backer.

As a backer of other projects, I understand the importance of honest communication, even if the news is not so good, so I will make it a priority to answer all backer questions as fast as I can and give updates as soon as possible. We are on this journey together.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Sticker and Thank You Card! Keep up-to-date on the latest Solarcycle technology with exclusive updates, events, and offers for Backers Only! Join our team and spread the word!

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Power Core Battery Only! USB Battery for ultra-portable, on-the-go Smart Phone charging!

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Solarpad Only! Great for DIY hobbyists! Genuine 5-Watt USB solar panel with buckle straps. (DO NOT connect Solarpad directly to a Smart Phone. Solarpad outputs up to 6 Volts of raw unregulated solar power that may not be compatible with Smart Phones. ONLY connect Solarpad to Power Core.)

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    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    POWER CORE BATTERY ONLY! USB Battery for ultra-portable, on-the-go Smart Phone charging!

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    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    SOLARPAD ONLY! Great for DIY hobbyists! Genuine 5-Watt USB solar panel with buckle straps. (DO NOT connect Solarpad directly to a Smart Phone. Solarpad outputs up to 6 Volts of raw unregulated solar power that may not be compatible with Smart Phones. ONLY connect Solarpad to Power Core.)

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    Pledge $78 or more About $78

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Solarpad Complete Kit! Solarpad 5-Watt USB Charger Kit, which includes the Solarpad solar panel with buckle straps and Power Core USB battery.

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    Pledge $98 or more About $98

    SOLARPAD COMPLETE KIT! Solarpad 5-Watt USB Charger Kit, which includes the Solarpad solar panel with buckle straps and Power Core USB battery.

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Funding period

- (30 days)