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B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage.
B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage.
1,110 backers pledged $145,034 to help bring this project to life.

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Solar Pocket Factory!

Hello Everyone!

Just a quick update...Shawn Frayne, the second half of the B-Squares team, just launched another Kickstart project we think you'll all be interested in:  The Solar Pocket Factory!

If you liked the idea of the Solar-Square then you're going to love the Solar Pocket Factory - A small machine to easily and locally assemble small solar panels.  

B-Squares Shipment Delivery Inquiries

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

B-Squares Recipes Software

B-Squares Robot

The Arduino Software used in this Recipe can be found here.


B-Squares Solar Clock

The Arduino Software used in this Recipe can be found here.


B-Squares Tweeting Birdhouse

The Arduino Software used in this Recipe will be posted soon!

B-Squares Getting Started Guide

Hello Backers and B-Squares Developers!

By now many of you have already received your B-Squares orders.  If you haven't, don't worry, it's on it's way!  All of the packages have been shipped but it may take more time to get to some destinations.  Below are a few comments/suggestions/explanations that will help you get the most out of your B-Squares units.  

Shipment Notifications:  If you you're a backer of the B-Squares Kickstarter project and you have yet to receive a shipment notification please check your SPAM filters!  There's already been a few cases where these notifications have gotten trapped in a SPAM filter or sent to the e-mail trash. 

B-Square Information Sheets:  We've received reports of a few instances where the information sheets included with each individual B-Square module have been mixed up or misprinted.  For everyone's reference, here is a digital version of the information included in all of the information sheet inserts.  

Getting Started with each of the Squares:

Battery-Square:

  • Before use, please remove the plastic protective wrapping on each of the AAA batteries included with the Battery-Square.
  • As with most electronic devices, the batteries included with the Battery-Square are not shipped fully charged.  For best performance we recommend that you fully charge the batteries before use.  For fast charging, you can use a standard NiMH battery charger to charge the AAA batteries separately and then reinstall into the Battery-Square.  
  • The Battery-Square has an On/Off switch on the side.  We recommend that when the Battery-Square is not in use that you turn it off to prevent the Square from discharging the batteries.  
  • When installing the three (3) AAA batteries into the Battery-Square, pay close attention to the polarity indicated on the PCB board by the "+" and "-" symbols.

LED-Square:

  • In one orientation the LED-Square will be activated with White LEDS. With a 90 degree rotation the LED-Square will be activated with the Red-Blue-Green (RGB) LEDs.  
  • To adjust the overall color of the RGB LEDs, remove the Top Cover as instructed below and adjust the three (3) potentiometers, labeled "Red", "Blue", "Green" to get the desired color.  

Arduino-Square:

  • The Software necessary to program the Arduino-Square can be found here.
  • Visit the Arduino website for easy tutorials on how to get started with the Arduino. 
  • You will also need a serial-to-USB connector to connect the Arduino-Square to a PC.  

Solar-Square:

  • Remove the protective plastic cover on top of the solar panel.
  • The set of "stickers" that come with the Solar-Square are the micro-Suction material. One side is adhesive and the other is the micro-suction material.  Stick the adhesive side to the frame of the Square and remove the plastic cover from the micro-suction side.   
  • For best performance use the Solar-Square outside in direct sunlight, or attached to a window with the included Micro-Suction material.  

Dock-Square: 

  • Please refer to Update#15 for special notes on the Dock-Square.

Troubleshooting and for the curious, "Open up that Square!"

We've tried to make the B-Squares system as "open" as possible.  This includes designing the plastic frame so that it's easy for a user to (if he/she so needs to) open the square with no, or a minimal number of, tools.  Before we get into how this is done, let's take a lay of the land.  In general, all of the B-Squares share five (5) common parts:

  • Plastic Frames.
  • Top/Bottom Covers.
  • Side Inserts. 
  • Magnetic Corner Contacts.  
  • Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

The Magnetic Corner Contacts are connected to the PCB by 4 small screws.  These are the only screws in the system.  The PCB and Side inserts are sandwiched between the two halves of the Plastic Frames.  What keeps everything assembled together are the eight (8) internal clips, 2 at each corner of the Plastic Frames.  Likewise, the Top/Bottom Covers snap into the Plastic Frames by eight (8) clips on the underside of the Covers.


Removing the Top/Bottom Covers:  At the corner where the B-Squares Logo is located on the Top/Bottom Cover there is a small slot.  To separate the Top/Bottom Cover from the Plastic Frame use your fingernail or the tip of a flat screwdriver to insert into this slot forcing the Top/Bottom Cover up and away from the frame.  Only a small amount of force should be required.  

Disassembly of the Frame:  This should NOT be necessary, but if you're the curious type, you're more than welcome to do so!  As described above, the frames are held together by eight (8) internal plastic clips, two (2) at each corner.  To separate the two Frame halves, use your hands or a small flat tip screwdriver at each of the corners to disengage the clips by separating the Plastic frame up and away from the Magnetic Corner Contacts.  NOTE:  The magnets can also be removed from the Magnetic Corner Contacts, so be careful that they don't fall out when opening the frame   If they do, it just means that they will have to be reinserted into the Magnetic Corner Contacts with the correct polarity facing outwards.  

B-Squares Shipped and Dock-Square details

Hello Everyone!

As some of you have probably already noticed, the B-Squares units have shipped!!  Over the next few days you should receive an e-mail notification containing your parcel information.  Depending upon where you are in the world, most backers should receive their units within the next week or so!

If you have any specific questions and/or concerns please do not contact us through the Kickstarter messaging system, but rather send an e-mail to info[at]b-squares.com.  We will still remain active through the Kickstarter comments and updates, but for any important questions/concerns you should use the above e-mail address.  

For those of you that have ordered a Dock-Square as part of your package, I wanted to give a few tips on how to get the best results when charging from a Battery-Square:  

1.  The Dock-Square circuitry is very similar to the open-source circuit design used in the Minty-Boost; a standard 5V DC voltage booster with specific resistors on the iPod/iPhone data lines.  This circuit has been very well tested on most iPod/iPhone devices, with a full list here.  Particularly with the iPhone 3GS it's not uncommon to get "Device not supported" message, which usually goes away after removing the iPhone from the dock and reconnecting it.  

2.  One difference in the Battery-Square circuitry is that we've included a resettable fuse to protect the circuit and batteries from high currents in the event that the magnetic toes are shorted.  From the Kickstarter feedback we received earlier in the project this fuse is a very necessary feature.  However, as a result some devices that require high spikes in current may not operate in the same way with the Battery-Square as other chargers.   

3.  For best results you should make sure to fully charge the 3 AAA rechargeable batteries that come with the Battery-Square.  Also, when using a single Battery-Square the best performance is achieved when the device being charged has a charge level of lower than 50%.  Finally, charging the device with the device powered down improves the efficiency of the charging process.  

4.  Using two Battery-Squares in parallel (with both '+' connected) provides the best performance for high current devices, such as iPhones and Android smartphones.