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
Yes you can!
YES, with The Expedition! This products will charge the battery and anything plugged into them simultaneously.
The Adventurer is 3.9 (99mm)L x 2.55 (65mm) W x .75 (19mm) T 5.5oz (156g)
The Expedition is 4.8 (123mm) L x 3.2 (82mm) W x .80 (21mm) T 8oz (227g)
The Destination is 5.25 (134mm) L x 3.75 (96mm) W x .64 (16mm) T 8oz (227g)
Yes, yes we do! http://www.facebook.com/nooutletnoproblem Please like us.. it makes us feel good.
The products we have developed have a unique charging and discharging circuit, we use very high quality batteries and we rate our units on out-charging ability, not on the native capacity of our batteries. We have tested our units in real-world applications and the performance we quote ( and our field testers report ) is real world. For scientific measurements we purchased a Western Radio CBA IV computer battery analyzer and logger. We are posting test results for each in the FAQ.
No! Our units charge via USB and use standard micro-USB cables. You can charge from your computer's USB ports, your cell phone charger or even a car charger with micro-USB connections. We include a generic cable and adaptors to charge your unit and your devices (phones/tablets/digital cameras/GPS/FSR Radios)
If your device uses micro-USB to charge then you only ever need one cable!
Yes! We just inked the deal to provide nice velvet drawstring bags with each unit we ship! There is a photo of the bag in 20th update!
Unfortunately, Kickstarter does not allow multiples of the same reward any more. However, once the Kickstarter phase of our launch is complete we will send out an email to all our backers giving them a chance to pre-purchase units from the first production run to be shipped with their rewards!
Due to lots of technical questions that we could not answer from our real-world tests (also called anecdotal or empirical), we purchased a Western Mountain Radio CBA IV. This is a certifiable computer battery analyzer that measures batteries and logs their capacities by using a continuous discharge method. Our initial testing was performed by charging iPhone 4S cell phones and recording the number of charges. For The Destination our field testers reported 6-8 charges. This would yield a capacity of 8592mAh to 11,456mAh. We chose to rate this unit at 10,000mAh for our specification purposes since this was the average of the two measurements.
The CBA test results perform a continuous discharge of the battery until a min. threshold voltage is reached. We set the range from 5.25VDC to 2.85VDC for our test (the recommended bottom threshold was recommended by the CBA IV software). The test ran for over eight and a half hours and yielded the following results: 8,530 mAh discharged via the USB port. The unit performed under continuous discharge to provide six straight charges of an empty iPhone 4S to full with no rest between charges according to this model. Your results will vary based upon what apps you are running and at what percentage of battery you start with. As an example if you start charging from 20% - the point when the low battery notification comes on - you would get over 7 charges.
Ta = 72.0F
Tsop = 90.5max
T-batt = 79.8F
Test performed from the primary 1.0AMP 5.0VDC USB connection directly into the CBA IV.
Resistance of test lead measured at 1.0 Ohms
Watt Hours basic measurement: 42.65Wh (5.0x8.53)
Watt Hours adjusted for voltage drop over time: 35.52Wh
This is comment from an impartial third party that we provided our BOM, Schematics, IC Datasheets and CBA test reports too:
To all backers!
I am Justin Shaw, co-founder of http://WyoLum.com. WyoLum offered to review any material provided to validate Anthony Vilgiate claims. We have not had any contact prior to this Kickstarter project (which we backed). We have entered into this investigation with an open mind and without foregone conclusions. We have received several documents: bill of materials, photos, schematics, and part spec sheets. WyoLum team members from USA, Austrailia, and India all had a chance to review the materials and ask questions. Anthony was very prompt to answer all of our questions via email. We followed up with a lengthy telephone interview in which Anthony detailed every aspect of the development process. I can now state our unequivocal confidence in the following facts: 1. Anthony is a real person, with a real email and real phone number. 2. Anthony was intimately involved with every stage of development of these products. 3. Anthony stands behind these products. We cannot independently verify the battery output before the fund drive is complete but are confident that Anthony is being open and honest with his findings and have no reason to doubt his sincerity. We would like to thank Anthony for trusting us with the details of his project. We wish him and his wife the best success.
Mark Anthony claims that these are not original products being produced by us but Chinese knock offs.
Truth: These units contain our unique circuit and have been built by us with our contract manufacturer in Shenzen China.
Mark Anthony Claims that The Adventurer is a cheap knock off of a product from a company called Yooboo, whom I have never heard off. He shows photos of a similar product but it has multiple noticeable differences: dual rather than single output, micro-USB over the LED, Outputs on both sides of the unit, LED battery meter centered rather than towards the front.
Truth: The similarities are only in the fact that it is white plastic and houses a battery and charging circuit. There are hundreds if not thousands of companies in China making battery backups, none of them have our charging and discharging circuit.
Mark Anthony claims that the Adventurer units must be made by a small knock off factory because there are gaps in our plastic, and our LED protrudes as well as the ability to see parting lines in our plastic tooling.
Truth: He has a single photograph taken from our Kickstarter page and I can’t see any of the flaws he is pointing out in the photos. The USB cutouts fit properly, the LED protrusion is to specification, and we have no witness lines. (It is a three piece housing)
Mark Anthony claims that I did not design the cases.
Truth: I did not design the cases, nor did I claim too.My contract manufacturer designed/sourced the cases, and they were designed to accommodate our charging and discharging circuit. Mark Anthony claims that The Destination is another “copycat” product with slightly different layouts, and uses photographs of a product called iPower Juice to make his point.
Truth: The two products only similarity is that they are silver and have two USB outputs an a micro-USB input. Our layout is a practical layout for the job being done. All the circuitry is on one end of our unit, and we don’t have to run the power meter LEDs or switch down the side like our competitors product does. This tooling is also unique and you will not find and exact version under another name on the market.
Mark Anthony claims that our capacity is not real and our method of testing was not “scientific”
Truth: We explained how we measured our battery life repeatedly to our backers, and those who would send us questions. When we were pressed for additional data, we purchased a Western Radio Computer Battery Analyzer and ran tests for people and posted the results. Our stance is that native capacity is irrelevant compared to answering the question “how many times can I charge my device”. We provide both numbers for everyone and have not hid our methodology. We have hard scientific data as well as our empirical testing.
Mark Anthony claims that we are using Samsung 2600mAh batteries, and provides his “proof “ with a photo of the Samsung batteries next to our battery pack.
Truth: You can clearly see form the photos that there are two different batteries side by side. He claims they are Samsung cells, they are not. They are LG ICR cells that are UL listed and have the UL listed symbol on them. They are 2800mAh in the photo he references, not 2600mAh.
Mark Anthony claims we are using the manufacturers rated capacity not our out charging capacity :
Truth: We have stated how we arrived at our capacity ratings AND provided the Computer Battery Analyzer data on our continuous discharge capacity. No other manufacturer that I am aware of provides this data. We have been transparent in our rating methodology as well as our hard data.
Mark Anthony claims we have fuzzy math and wishful thinking.
Truth: We show how we arrived at our capacities and how many times you can expect to charge a device.We did these test ourselves as well as had unpaid field testers report their number of charges and type of device.We report a range of charges you can expect from each device.
Mark Anthony claims the product designs (and I assume he means the physical design not the electrical) are from a template.
Truth: The physical designs are from templates tweaked to accommodate our electronics. The tweaking required tooling. We did not hire an industrial designer to create a brand, that was a mistake in hindsight, and as I have pointed out numerous times, a massive oversight. Lesson learned.
Mark Anthony claims this project contravenes the letter and spirit of the kickstarter law.
Truth: We are “Kickstarting” a company with our own unique IP. We never claim to have invented the remote battery, only that we have made it better. The successful conclusion of our Kickstater campaign means the birth of a new company and the delivery of unique rewards to backers. That is what Kickstarter is all about, and I think the spirit that my wife and I have ventured into this project embodies all that Kickstarter stands for!
Mark Anthony claims that our rewards are not directly produced by the project creator and are repackaged OEM/ODM designs.
Truth: All the reward products we are offering are produced by us, using our IP, by a contract manufacturer. The housings do use some off the shelf parts, but also use unique tooling for our products where we have too.
Mark Anthony claims there is already better stuff coming out of China and just another mediocre product.
Conclusion: Mark Anthony can purchase a mediocre product from China and does not have to support our project.
Mark Anthony claims that there had to be two engineers since there are two different circuits.
Truth: There is a circuit for The Destination and The Adventurer (half of a Destination circuit) and there is a circuit for The Expedition. They are different. The Expedition allows for pass through charging, which we believe is unique to the industry, and unique to The Expedition.
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