About this project
What is a Granola Strolla?
The Granola Strolla solar charger is a plug and play device that is able to charge almost any USB device, just as fast as a wall charger. The Granola Strolla works by absorbing power from sunlight, and then storing the energy within its environmentally friendly Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. It charges up when you’re out and about so it will still have power when it is dark. Our multi-directional design allows our product to always be charging without requiring any special deployment. It’s light weight, water resistant and less expensive than other brands on the market.
Because The Granola Strolla is Battery Charge Specification 1.2 compliant it charges just as fast as a dedicated wall charger. It also means that it is compatible with most popular brands and types of mobile devices. The only brand we have found that doesn't work is the Asus tablet because they use a non standard voltage.
The Granola Strolla features a USB port, so just plug your device in using the same USB cables you use at home. With the Granola Strolla there are no complicated gauges or LEDs to read, panels to deploy or switches to set. Just plug and go!
What about cloudy days?
The solar panels store energy in a battery to be used at a later time. The Granola Strolla will still charge on cloudy days and even indoors, just more slowly than it would in direct sunlight.
What makes us different?
Granola Strolla isn't just an ecotech company. We're an eco-aware family. We want to create products that use renewable energy and resources to help preserve our planet for future generations.
Granola Strolla: Our charger uses a Li-ion battery, but we have decided to use Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) rather than the standard Lithium Cobalt Oxide. Not only is Iron Phosphate non-toxic, it is approved for use in organic gardening as a way to control snails. LiFePo4 batteries also have double the amount of charge/discharge cycles of most LiCoO2 batteries. That means longer life AND fewer batteries have to be built.
Other Chargers: Most chargers use Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2). Cobalt comprises over 10% of the battery and according to California regulations, all lithium batteries tested are classified hazardous due to excessive levels of cobalt (average 163 544 mg/kg; σ = 62 897; limit 8000).
Granola Strolla: We decided to go with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). It has the material strength needed for a sturdy product and it is easily recyclable. We also intend to have the Granola Strolla made of recycled HDPE as soon as possible.
Other Chargers: Many chargers are made from polycarbonate. This is not a material that is easily recycled and most contain Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to a wide variety of issues such as obesity, asthma, reproductive organs and neurological development in fetuses and babies. The less BPA we have in our environment (and landfills) the better.
Rewards: While we are including a reusable shopping bag and tumbler we also wanted to support some local businesses.
We are including: custom made lipbalm from Lexie: Naturals
Custom soap from Dr Q's Naturals (both in a sweet orange scent) and handmade keyfobs from TeaWithFrodo Designs.
Where we are building: Our product will be built in the Memphis area. An area with a high unemployment rate that desperately needs manufacturing jobs.
We know that making an environmentally friendly product takes more than just strapping solar panels onto a battery and patting ourselves on the back. We have done everything we can to create a truly green product from a truly Green company.
Ben is an electronic engineer with experience in Manufacturing and Electronics design. He is an expert in New Product Introduction and has brought over 40 products to commercial release for both large international corporations (such as Fujitsu, HBM and Philips) as well as working for several start-ups. He is currently acting as an adviser to three start-ups as well as being the technical lead for Granola Strolla. His 2 boys keep him busy in his free time but he enjoys making food from scratch and finding uses for alternative energy.
Irene studied Rhetoric and Communications and has over 10 years experience in Customer Service, Tech Support and Advertising. She has worked for two start-ups and has her own small custom sewing business. In her free time Irene likes to sew for friends and family as well as find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Where are we in development:
As of right now we have stable electronics and plastics.
The current PCB is a Ver11Rev2. We spent a lot of time getting the balance of power, cost and functionality just right.
And it is not just the hardware, the enclosure is a vital part of our design. Here is a look at how the enclosure has changed as the concept and hardware evolved.
We have tested the Granola Strolla on as many devices as we could get our hands on. Below are just a few pictures of this testing. We have tested it with iPads, iPods, Droid phones, Nooks and even a Microsoft Zune. So far the only devices we found that we can not charge are Asus products because they use a non-standard voltage to charge. The device between the charger and the cable is a Charge Doctor and it shows the charge rate in Amps.
Colors:Granola Strolla will be produced in green. When we hit our first stretch goal of $30,000 we will add another color. We will continue to add color choices with each stretch goal we hit.
- Nominal DC output: 5V, 100mA ~ 2A
- Maximum Output wattage: 10 watts
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Iron Phosphate 2000mAh cell
- Solar Panels: 3 6V 50mA
- Weight: 6 ounces
- Time to fully charge in bright sunlight: @12 hours.
- Plastics: High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Risks and challenges
With any project there are risks. We have done everything we can to mitigate risks and will continue to do so. We have calculated how quickly we can scale up production without having our supply chain fall apart (mostly batteries and solar panels). That data is being used to set our fulfillment tiers.
Our other risks at this time include:
1) Injection mold redesign: We are currently working with a plastic molding expert to redesign our 3-D Printed mesh files to STEP files. We may then need to make some tweaks to the design to reduce molding complexity. That means that while the shape and size will not change there may be some minor cosmetic differences between our prototypes and the finished product.
2) We may not have the full injection molded plastic enclosures finished and materials in our hands until late in the year. If that happens then all the people who ordered the Early Bird special will have their enclosures 3D printed to ensure on time delivery.
3) Plastics: We fully intend to have the Granola Strolla made with recycled plastics. However our low volume molding house is not sure they can secure the materials and test them out with their machines. That means that the first generation product will be made with recyclable plastics, but may not be made from plastic that was already recycled.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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