About this project
I am your typical 200 nights a year business traveler and I often found myself fighting for outlet space at airport terminals to keep a charge in my iPhone and iPad. Or worse, running out of juice while on an important conference call (or at the climax of a movie). I had tried all the battery case add-ons and even a few of those $100.00 remote batteries, and was always left disappointed. It seemed that they made their predictions in some kind of perfect world lab. I set out last year to figure out what would make the perfect remote charging battery back up unit and I think I have landed it with my product.
First off we did real world load testing on tons of different battery systems and chemistries. We selected lithium polymer and lithium Ion as our battery chemistry mostly for the quick charge times, length of idle charge holding and lifetime cycling strength. I personally think this is the best battery you can get and I have yet to have one let me down.
Next we had to find a way to package it that was traveler friendly, would not make the TSA think you are a terrorist and would work with all those existing cables I already had. We discovered that having a USB with 2.1A output to charge tablets really made charging faster, so we had to fit that in. I will admit the first few designs were a little clunky and failed to meet the aesthetic standards we set out to match. (Think Radio Shack Project Box and Duct Tape) The final three products however I think are really slick. They are all smaller than even the smallest paperback book. The largest one, Destination measures in at 3.75 x 5.25 and is only 5/8th of an inch thick and our smallest model, Adventurer, is 2.55 x 3.9 and is 3/4 of an inch thick.
We included some flashy-blinky LEDs to let you now how full your tank is...and then I realized they wasted power and annoyed some of my friends that I had asked to evaluate the prototypes. So, we went a head and added a push button to check your batteries charge... it will light up indicating the level of charge (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%) and then turn off, not wasting precious milliamps and annoying your airline seat-mate. (I still like the Rave in a Box idea...but lost out to cooler heads). The unit will flash status while you are charging it... since you recharge the power banks by plugging them into your computer's USB port anyway I thought the light show was a bonus. (if you don't like it flip if over) The following YouTube video shows you how easy it is to charge your devices and the batteries. These are pre-produciton units off the production tooling!
Lastly we found a supplier of universal cables that supported a bunch of different mobile phones, gaming devices, tablets and digital cameras. We negotiated what we think is a great price for these and decided to package our batteries with the whole kit. Out of the box, with the included cables, you can charge: Iphone 3-4s, Ipad, PSP, Nokia, Micro 5 Pin USB, Mini USB, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG. Of course it will work with your existing cables too, but if you ever save someone who lost or forgot their cable, think of me...
I have three models to offer you:
Our 6600mAh version, the Adventurer ($30.00 reward), will charge an iPad from 20% to full one time or charge an iPhone, or similar mobile phone, 3-4x from zero to full. (these are our real world tests, not theoretical numbers) The best results were at room temp, about 70F or 25c. Charging time from zero to full for the battery from USB is about 6 to 8 hours. You can expect a lifetime of over 500 charging cycles.
Our 10,000mAh version, The Destination ($65.00 reward), has enough juice to recharge an iPad from zero to full about 1.5x. Or your iPhone, or similar mobile phone, 6-8x from zero to full. (these are our real world tests, not theoretical numbers) The best results were at room temp, about 70F or 25c. A full charge for this battery, from zero, is between 6 and 7 hours from a USB connection. This unit has a sleek brushed aluminum chasis that looks like a baby computing device from our favorite fruit company. The aluminum case helps with heat dissipation during charging and costs quite a bit more to make than the plastic case, but the heft and quality are impressive. (and it looks really cool sitting next to a MacBook or iPad)
Our biggest capacity version, The Expedition ($50.00 reward), is a whopping 11,200mAh Lithium Ion battery that will charge your iPad 1.5x and your iPhone 2x on a single charge. Or you could charge your iPhone almost 10x from zero to full! This is our first use of Lithium Ion and we are very impressed. An additional benefit of LI-Ion is only a 4-6 hour charge from empty to full form our Mac Pro Tower USB connection! This unit is in a high-impact polymer case and comes Black or White. Best performance bang for the buck, but unfortunately this new battery will not fit in our existing brushed aluminum case. (YET!).
I have made it through the prototype and pre-production phase with my own savings and the help of my manufacturing partners, and if I want to keep making $500.00 one-offs I am set, but to get to full production I need to raise the funds to go into mass production, hire a web guy to build a direct sales site, and find a community of people who have had a chance to own and use the product to tell everyone how awesome it is! We have already completed FCC, CE and RoHS testing and certification. Once the project funds we will be able to deliver production units within 4-6 weeks!
I am a solid-state lighting guy by trade. I have spent all of my working life either selling LEDs or designing LED systems for everything from on/off indicators to parking garage luminaires. This is not my first product, but the first one I am doing all by my onsies. Whether you chose to support my project or not I would love your feedback and input on how we can make an even better remote battery solution!
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk I have is not raising enough to create a full production run with my contract manufacturer in Shenzhen, China. There is a real economy of scale barrier to making these in quantities of 100, I need to be able to order the raw materials and packing in 1000 pcs min. lots. My dream is to be making 10,000 part runs this year as we get the word out and a loyal customer base.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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