About this project
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The Devotec Fuel Micro Charger is the smallest emergency phone charger, and its 220 milliAmp hour battery is designed to give you around 20 - 30 minutes extra talk time, or up to a few hours more standby, depending on how you use your cell phone. Perfect for when you have had an unexpected delay, or haven't been able to fully charge your phone, and you need to make a few calls, send a work email or use your GPS and maps function to find your way home.
Tiny Tiny Tiny
So we believe the Fuel Micro charger is the world’s smallest cell phone recharging device. And it is absolutely tiny- just 1.3 by 0.9 by half an inch. It’s so small that it can sit easily on your keyring, you can slip it into the 5th pocket of your jeans, or even have it hanging off your cellphone.
The Devotec Fuel Micro Charger is an emergency back-up solution. The Micro Charger is fully rechargeable, and is able to keep it’s charge for at least 1 month before needing to be recharged (our calculations suggest closer to 3 months, so we are being conservative!)
How it works
Charge up the Fuel Micro Charger from the supplied cable or any AC micro-usb wall plug. Then just put it in your pocket, on your key chain or in your car and forget about it.
To Use: Turn the power switch on and plug into your phone, the same as you would your charger. Your phone will start to recharge straight away.
A more in depth look at the Fuel Micro Charger
Part of our background is in component sourcing. So we spent months searching, testing and evaluating the smallest and most efficient parts to use with the Fuel Micro Charger. The components we use are the smallest available, and we have used innovative features like flexible-PCBs to shrink component size, in order to make Fuel as small as possible, and to have as big an internal battery as we can.
However, the electronics are controlled by a premium Texas Instruments platform, and we have included multiple safety redundancy features, such as a PCM on the battery and a battery management IC on the PCB to make no compromises on the safety of Fuel.
The body of the product is pure die-cast aluminium. This means it is incredibly strong but still light weight. The aluminium is painted, lacquered and then baked to give a semi-gloss finish. The housing weighs around half an ounce.
The majority of the space inside the Fuel Micro Charger is taken up by an energy dense lithium-ion rechargeable battery. This battery is a 5C battery, rated at 220 milliamp hours. This should provide around 20–30 minutes extra talk time, or a few hours on standby, although that is dependent on what type of phone you have and how you use it.
The battery itself has an integrated PCM and there is a battery management IC on the PCB, so the fuel micro charger is extra safe.
The PCB itself is very small, using specially sourced low-profile components, to keep its volume down to an absolute minimum, allowing us more space for a bigger battery inside the Fuel Micro Charger. However, it is a fully functioning PCB, with regulated inputs and outputs by micro-usb. We also use a Flex-PCB, which is even smaller than a regular PCB to connect the micro-usb male to the main board, again to cut down on internal space, so we have more room for the biggest battery we can use.
LEDs and Switch
On the outside of the case, you will see three LEDs. These help tell you if the Fuel is turned on, fully charged, or charging. Each of the Three LEDs will Light up to tell you different information about your Micro Charger:
- Red: Charging
- Green: Fully Charged
- Blue: Power On
There is a switch to turn the Fuel Micro Charger on and off, keeping the battery from needlessly discharging when not in use.
Micro-USB is the standard charging connector for all phones apart from iPhone. We use specially sourced low profile components, which while being the smallest on the market, are also certified to work with any existing micro-usb connector- so you can charge almost any Android, Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, Nokia or Blackberry phone.
Charging the Fuel
The Devotec Fuel Micro Charger has a rechargeable battery inside that is recharged via its female micro-usb port at the bottom of the device. Any standard micro-usb cable, or AC wall charger you have at home can recharge the Fuel Micro Charger, and the battery inside is rated for a minimum of 500 cycles.
Let us tell you about who we are
We are a dedicated team of entrepreneurs and industry professionals, including Phd scientists, MIT graduates, Harvard MBAs and ex Motorola employees. We work at Devotec Industries, where our day jobs are to design Solar Powered Bluetooth speakers and Solar Chargers for cell phones.
So we have plenty of experience in designing charging circuits, and have shipped thousands of units over the last 7 years. The Fuel Micro Charger is an off shoot of our main work, and we are looking to launch it into the market pretty soon after our Kickstarter funding ends, if we are successful.
Where are we?
As you can see from the working sample, we have all the PCB design finished, with schematics and Gerber files ready. The CAD drawings are fully finished and we are ready to go into production. Through our other work, we have strong links with manufacturing in China, and have agreed pricing and lead times with an aluminium molder for the housing tooling who we have previously worked with.
We have been testing the samples for several months now, and it is based on a mature design we have been using for some time with our existing products.
Why do we need Funding?
Where we need you to come in is to help us raise funds to put the Devotec Fuel Micro Charger into production. We need to buy the aluminium toolings, pay for the first production run, and pay for all the certification like CE, RoHS, and WEEE.
We think this is an awesome product and we are really excited about it, but we need your help to turn it into a reality. We have lots of exciting discounts and offers available to our early backers, and we hope that we can turn this product into a something special that you are going to love!
Risks and challenges
Any technology project will carry certain risks, and surprises can occur at any point in a project.
We have done our best to mitigate and minimize the risks associated to bringing the Devotec Fuel Micro Charger to market in several ways:
- We have well tested and working prototypes. We started work on the Fuel Micro Charger project in November 2011, and had our first housing in August 2012, and our first working PCBs in September 2012.
- We are experienced. Many projects fail not because of lack of enthusiasm, but due to lack of knowledge by the entrepreneur outside their core-competency. Part of our team is based in China and has worked in the country with multiple factories for many years, and has developed lasting relationships over the last 7 years with many of the manufacturing partners we intend to use for the Fuel Micro Charger. We are therefore much less likely to fall prey to the ‘teething problems’ that many other American companies have when first approaching China for manufacturing.
- We use high quality components. We are using a standardized and high-quality American Texas Instruments platform as the basis of our design. We chose this design over using lower cost Chinese alternatives, even though they were multiple times cheaper. Quality first.
- We know how to ship product. We have sold and shipped our previous Chargers and Speakers to the US, Europe, Japan and globally for seven years. We understand issues like shipping and logistics, merchant payment terms, insurance, safety certificates and the many other issues that can delay or harm a new entrepreneur’s business.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The iPhone version of Fuel *should* be able to charge an iPad mini- we will design it so that it can output the suggested correct voltage and current. However, guys keep in mind that Fuel is a tiny back up emergency battery. We doubt you would be able to get that much of a meaningful charge on your iPad mini from it, but we will see what we can design!
The Ipad series takes a much higher current, and uses an even larger battery. Although potentially we could design the electronics to support this, this extra charge you would get wouldn't be very useful at all. There are many great iPad cases out there with big batteries, they are probably your better bet.
This version of Fuel does not work with iPhone. However we are Apple Made for iPhone certified and are working on it! We will be making an iPhone 5 Lightning connector version only.
The reason why that we didn't launch an Apple version just now is that the lightning connector used with Apple is much longer than the micro-usb we currently use. So this would dig into battery space in the current format. Also, we would need to make some changes required by Apple to the PCB.
We are working on it though, and have some exciting ideas for the iPhone version. Pledge now, and you will be guaranteed the first iPhone units available, at the lowest price we will offer!
This one is just for fun: Fuel can give around 3hours extra talk time and a week on standby with the right phone!
The Nokia 105 has a standby time of around 35 days and talk time of 12.5 hours, on an 800mAh battery. Fuel can recharge the phone roughly 1/4, giving it those crazy numbers above!
We very carefully picked the size of Fuel to be as small as possible while still giving a useful charge. There are plenty of large chargers out there (we make some of them!) which can charge your phone completely or even several times over.
The idea behind Fuel is that it is for emergencies. Fuel isn't going to keep your phone working all weekend away, but when you really need to make an extra call, that's what Fuel is all about.
The concept for Fuel is that you are always going to have it close at hand- on your keychain or in your pocket, handbag, car, jacket etc. The thing about bigger chargers as that you have to remember to carry them with you- most people don't carry a spare battery/charger on them at all times. With Fuel, you can always that little bit of extra juice handy when you need it!
We will be looking at designing bigger versions of Fuel in the future if people want us to though.
Kickstarter doesn't allow us to offer more than 1 unit for a pledge. We have specially asked them for an exemption, as quite a few people have been asking us for this, and we want to do everything we can to make you guys happy. However, for now, we have to follow Kickstarter's rules.
So, as a work around, message us if you would like more than one, and pledge the correct amount of money for the multiples of the item you would like, and we will keep your name on file and send out the correct amount to you. We apologise that this is not very straight forward, and we will do what we can to make this as easy and worry free as possible.
All iPhone versions of Fuel will only be iPhone 5 LIghtning compatible. The 4/S 30-pin connector is just too big to integrate well into the design.
The current is limited to maximum 600mA (0.6A). This is because we are using a very small battery. If we increased the current output to 1A or higher, we would need to use a slightly different kind of battery, that has less capacity than 220mAh. As Fuel charges the phone pretty quickly- C. 25minutes, we did not want to trade off a slightly reduced charging time for less battery capacity.
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