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Modular & rechargeable power for MacBook laptop computers that uses batteries you probably already have and plugs into your car.
Modular & rechargeable power for MacBook laptop computers that uses batteries you probably already have and plugs into your car.
32 backers pledged $7,416 to help bring this project to life.

About

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powrbloc: Portable & Efficient USB-C Power for MacBook

$7,416

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Your MacBook is always power hungry. At home, in the studio or in the office, it's very easy to plug in and feed the MacBook some power. On the road, it's not that easy. There aren't any portable solutions out there that a) can properly feed the MacBook Pro enough power and b) utilize and take advantage of the many third-party batteries and power sources you may already have.

For the past year, we have been working on creating a power adapter for your MacBook that can use readily available batteries like V-Mount batteries, Anton Bauer batteries and the cigarette lighter socket in your car. Yes, there are other adapters out there but for reasons unknown to us, no one has made one that can feed the MacBook Pro the 87 watts of power that it craves (at 7:40 in the video above, I go into more detail about this). This journey has required lots of testing and patience but we've finally gotten the powrbloc to a good place. We've been using the powrbloc on professional film sets for the past year to see how it performs in the real world. This testing will continue right up until the manufacturing is scheduled to begin. Real-world use is the best way to find out what works and what needs to be improved whether it's electronic function or simple ergonomics.

So, now the powrbloc is ready in two different flavors: Catalyst and Injector. The specs for each are below but the key difference is the Catalyst has a full size V-Mount or Anton Bauer Gold Mount battery plate and the Injector is a smaller version that you can plug into different power sources.

Key features of powrbloc:

  • Lightweight and sturdy carbon fiber composite construction
  • Eliminates the power waste found in most AC-DC inverters and converters
  • (1) USB-C Power Delivery 87W output at 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V or 20V
  • (2) USB-A Quick Charge 18W output at 5V, 9V or 12V
  • Input Voltage 12-24V DC
  • Magnetic quick mount
  • Includes USB-C cable
  •  Catalyst: Takes readily available V-Mount and Anton Bauer Gold Mount Batteries
  •  Catalyst: Two 3/8" mounting holes to allow cheese plate or DigiPlate mounting
  •  Catalyst: 8 x 3.5 x 1.5" (203 x 89 x 38mm) / 12oz (340g)
  •  Injector: P-Tap input connector to connect to many power sources
  •  Injector: Two 1/4" mounting holes to allow cheese plate or hard mounting
  •  Injector: 2 x 4.3 x 1" (52 x 110 x 25mm) / Weighs 3oz (85g)
  •  Injector: Also includes P-Tap and car-cigarette lighter cables
powrbloc Injector utilizing a car cigarette lighter socket for power.
powrbloc Injector utilizing a car cigarette lighter socket for power.
powrbloc Catalyst attached to a cart via the quick mount magnets.
powrbloc Catalyst attached to a cart via the quick mount magnets.
powrbloc Injector using power from DJI TB50 batteries (Inspire 2 and Ronin batteries).
powrbloc Injector using power from DJI TB50 batteries (Inspire 2 and Ronin batteries).
powrbloc Injector simultaneously charging a MacBook Pro 15", iPad Pro and iPhone X.
powrbloc Injector simultaneously charging a MacBook Pro 15", iPad Pro and iPhone X.

The Process

From initial brainstorming to the latest prototype, we went through a dozen iterations of powrbloc. When you get a first prototype, it looks amazing! And then you go use it for a couple days and start making a list of stuff you don't like and that needs to be better. A few rounds later your friends start asking for one of their own. At nearly six months, we scrapped the electronics and started from scratch to make it more efficient and to add the secondary charging ports (kind of seemed like a no brainer to include those). We're at the point now where we feel really good about how powrbloc functions, feels and looks. 

A handful of powrbloc prototypes we've tested along the way.
A handful of powrbloc prototypes we've tested along the way.

Why we need you / what's in it for you?

More and more people have liked and asked for a powrbloc. Making one, two or ten at a time is very expensive. And we figure, just based on friends and colleagues wanting a powrbloc, there's probably other people out there who might want one also. If you were to visit and fabricator and ask to have one of these made, you would probably be looking at $1000 just to get a single unit made. But with the power of larger numbers, we can get that cost way down. That's where you come in. If you'd like to join in the journey, we'd love to have your support in crushing those costs so that a single powrbloc is super affordable. In return for your support, all rewards in this Kickstarter will include at least one powrbloc.

All Catalyst rewards include the powrbloc Catalyst and a USB-C cable.
All Catalyst rewards include the powrbloc Catalyst and a USB-C cable.
All Injector rewards include the powrbloc Injector, a P-Tap cable, an automotive cigarette lighter cable and a USB-C cable.
All Injector rewards include the powrbloc Injector, a P-Tap cable, an automotive cigarette lighter cable and a USB-C cable.

Project Timeline

  •  June 27  Kickstarter campaign ends
  •  July 1-5  Order and procure all materials
  •  July 8-19  Fabrication of Early Bird rewards
  •  July 22-26  Assembly and packing of Early Bird rewards
  •  July 29-31  Packaging and shipping of Early Bird rewards
  •  August 1-30  Fabrication of all other rewards
  •  September 2-20  Assembly and packing of all other rewards
  •  September 23-27  Packaging and shipping of other rewards

The Creator

I am Dana Neibert and I like to make stuff. I've spent the latter part of my career as a commercial photographer but was trained in conceptual design by some of the world's best designers. But, either way, I love making stuff and I don't care if it's with a camera, t-square, table saw, CNC mill or a laser. powrbloc is project that was created out of necessity in my own professional workflow and enough people have asked me to make one for them. If you think you would like powrbloc, I hope you'll back the project as I think your MacBook will love it.

Risks and challenges

This is our fourth (thank you!) Kickstarter (the first three we successfully delivered all rewards early) so we are very aware of the risks and challenges associated with a project. We have been prototyping with the same machines that will be used for production so that we eliminate any "whoops, the parts aren't coming out like the prototypes". It is more expensive to do this up front but in the long run it will save everyone both economically and frustration-wise.

This particular project has limited parts which makes it a lot easier. All our current manufacturing facilities are run by people we have good relationships with and have consulted with us on this project. Also, all the materials required to produce the powrblocs are already in the USA so customs, shipping and language barriers will not be an issue.

To sum up the risks and challenges, we can say there are very few of either for us in this project. Our delivery timelines have a little buffer in there for unforeseen issues which means if all goes smoothly, we'll be delivering this project ahead of schedule just like our other projects. Thanks!

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Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Long-lasting design

By utilizing 3rd party batteries that you may already have, powrbloc essentially has an infinite life as powrbloc itself will never need to be disposed of.

Reusability and recyclability

powrbloc will probably ship without any disposable packaging—we'll elaborate on this in a future update as we nail down the design more.

Environmentally friendly factories

Much of the powrbloc manufacturing and assembly will take place in a facility that is 100% solar powered.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 199 or more About US$ 199

    Catalyst V-Mount // Early Bird

    This reward is for backers who are ready to pull the trigger NOW! Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (V-Mount) and USB-C cable.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 199 or more About US$ 199

    Catalyst AB Mount // Early Bird

    This reward is for backers who are ready to pull the trigger NOW! Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (Anton Bauer Gold Mount) and USB-C cable.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 199 or more About US$ 199

    Injector // Early Bird

    This reward is for backers who are ready to pull the trigger NOW! Reward includes the powerbloc Injector, USB-C cable, P-Tap cable and car cigarette lighter cable.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 249 or more About US$ 249

    Catalyst V-Mount

    Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (V-Mount) and USB-C cable.

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    5 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 249 or more About US$ 249

    Catalyst AB Mount

    Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (Anton Bauer Gold Mount) and USB-C cable.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 249 or more About US$ 249

    Injector

    Reward includes the powerbloc Injector, USB-C cable, P-Tap cable and car cigarette lighter cable.

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    2 backers
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 398 or more About US$ 398

    Catalyst + Injector // Early Bird

    This reward is for backers who are ready to pull the trigger NOW! Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (V-Mount) with USB-C cable and also powrbloc Injector with USB-C cable, P-Tap cable and car cigarette lighter cable.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 498 or more About US$ 498

    Catalyst + Injector

    Reward includes the powerbloc Catalyst (V-Mount or AB Mount) with USB-C cable and also powrbloc Injector with USB-C cable, P-Tap cable and car cigarette lighter cable.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,490 or more About US$ 2,490

    powrbloc powrrewrd

    Reward includes 10 powrbloc units with their respective cables as outlined in the single unit rewards. You can mix and match on this reward.

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Funding period

- (59 days)