The first 18650 battery adapter for the GoPro
The first 18650 battery adapter for the GoPro
Allows using the powerful 18650 cell format to power the Hero 3/3+ & 4. Gives over 3 hours of HD recording per cell. Waterproof.
Allows using the powerful 18650 cell format to power the Hero 3/3+ & 4. Gives over 3 hours of HD recording per cell. Waterproof. Read more
About this project
Introducing the Pwr-XS
- The first 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable cell adapter for the GoPro
- Uses low-cost, high performance, off-the-shelf cells
- More than 6 hours of total HD recording (3h+ per cell)
- Compatible with Hero 3, 3+ and 4
- Uses the GoPro's 40-meter waterproof housing*
- Quick on-the-fly battery swap
- Unbeatable value
*60-meter housing not supported
Current state of the latest prototype
The Pwr-XS project was born in April 2015, after I decided that I had spent enough money on batteries that just wouldn't satisfy my needs.
Being part of an off-road motorcycle club in the Montreal region, we often organize long trips that can last several days. On a typical day, it's not unusual to keep riding for 8 hours or more.
Nobody wants to miss those precious, beautiful, funny, exciting, thrilling or sometimes dramatic moments.
No one knows when the action will strike, so we can't afford to turn off our cameras to "save battery". Rushing to turn them on, or even press the Start button is not an option. Too late, it's long gone. Most events happen suddenly, without warning.
That's why we need long duration batteries, along with the GoPro's looping mode, so we can forget about them and focus on the present moment. No more worrying or forcing the whole group to stop for two minutes every hour or so to swap them.
When I sat down to see what other options were offered on the market, I was pretty disappointed with what I found out there. Who wants cumbersome cabling, USB connectors requiring holes in the case, bulky bricks, or expensive customs batteries? Then it came to my attention that there was a very powerful off-the-shelf battery that would be perfect for the job: The mighty NCR18650B lithium-ion rechargeable cell from Panasonic. The same ones Tesla use in their Model S. Looking at the specs, dimensions, robustness and price of those cells, and since no one offered any adapter to use them on the GoPro, I decided to marry them both together.
Why the Pwr-XS?
More than 3 hours per cell: To be conservative let's say 3hrs on Hero 3 and 3.5hrs on Hero 4.
500 charge-discharge cycles: This is a bare minimum, based on the specs. But since the GoPro uses only a fraction of this cell's maximum rated current, it's expected to last well over 1000 cycles (3000 hours).
Only two cells for infinite recording: With the GoPro and a basic charger, you can have virtually unlimited recording time. While one cell is being used, the other one is being charged, and vice-versa.
Waterproof: The prototype is not only weatherproof, but completely waterproof. It has been tested at 1 meter depth during several days while recording, and not a single drop seeped-in.
** Note that though this system is not officially spec'd for deep-diving, we're still targeting the 40m-depth proof.
Low-cost: The Kickstarter cost of the adapter + 2 cells starts at $64 CAD ($49USD). With this setup, you have 6+ hours of HD recording (1080p@30fps). If you have an onboard charger, you can go on forever. But since each cell is so compact and costs only about $4.99 USD, if you don't have access to 12VDC or 120VAC for charging, you can always load yourself with a bunch of pre-charged cells for a reasonable price, and added peace of mind.
Robustness: The adapter will be made of the same high-impact resistant polycarbonate (same as GoPro). This will ensure that your precious cells will be protected, even in the most hostile conditions.
Underwater battery swap! - really?: Yes, this system is capable of an underwater battery swap. See video for a demonstration.
Who wants to swap a battery after 3 hours, you may ask? Good question. But now, for whatever reason, you can do it. The bromide, chlorine or salt will not cause any electrical problems. As long as you rinse the cell with clear water and wipe it dry when you get out of water, there won't be problems. I use silicone on the positive end to further prevent oxidation. But that will not be a problem with the final design because the cell will be sealed in its own compartment.
Here are various stages of development.
After two versions of the 3D model and the sixth version of the printed circuit boards (PCBs), the prototyping phase is completed, and we can now concentrate on the final industrial design.
In order to be able to bring such a product on the market, I needed to forge strong parnterships:
Finding a source of quality cells was a big challenge. But I was fortunate -enough to discover a North-American supplier named Liion Wholesale located in Pennsylvania, who are extremely cooperative and can guarantee a top-quality product.
When it comes to the creation of the final Pwr-XS' sleek and elegant industrial design, no one can beat TakDesign in Montreal. They have contributed to several successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past. Their longtime collaborators Hitech Intl will do the tooling and molding.
* For international buyers, I can only ship the adapter. International buyers need to find a local source of the NCR18650B cell.
Risks and challenges
Because early protoypes have been tested intensively during last season, I am confident that the worst is behind us. It is now a matter of creating the best industrial design possible, and this type of challenge is business as usual for guys at TakDesign. We've already sat down together for a few hours, dissecting the project in details, and we concluded that it was feasible within the allocated budget and timeline.
My suppliers are known to deliver without hiccups, and there are no exotic materials or processes involved.
Being the technical director for over 5 year for a high-tech company, and as a consultant for several other projects in the past, I have all the experience and competence required to lead this project to success.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (30 days)