Project image
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$8,796
pledged of $250,000pledged of $250,000 goal
15
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 13 2015
PowerFilm SolarBy PowerFilm Solar
First created
PowerFilm SolarBy PowerFilm Solar
First created
$8,796
pledged of $250,000pledged of $250,000 goal
15
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 13 2015

About

Come see us at the Outdoor Retailer Show at Booth BR727!

Charge Up and Power On - Anywhere

The HelioVault is the world's first mobile power-bank designed from the ground up by solar experts, with efficiency as a priority, to give you maximum power.

  • 96% Efficient Maximum Power Point Tracking Charge Controller - because every milliwatt generated matters. 
  • ExtendedSurge inverter opens up new horizons in mobile power by delivering up to 1000W for 10 minutes and 500W continuous output - allowing you to brew a pot of coffee, keep your refrigerator cold in a power outage, or do some trimming with an electric chainsaw.
  • 4 USB, 3 12V DC, and 2 120V ExtendedSurge AC outputs all with over 90% efficiency provide immense versatility and guarantee maximum end-to-end efficiency.
  • LiFePO4 batteries maximize the cycle life of the batteries ensuring thousands of full depth discharges of system translating to years of lifetime backed up by a 5 year battery warranty.
  • Because we know that not all use scenarios are equal, we designed the HelioVault to be expandable, starting at 200Wh and going up to 1kWh with easy to handle 200Wh power packs - each one of which comes with 2 extra USB outputs.
  • Weighing in at only 15lbs for the base unit and under 30lbs fully loaded with 1kWh of battery capacity, the HelioVault is power at its most portable.
The HelioVault Prototype with PowerFilm Foldable Solar Panels
The HelioVault Prototype with PowerFilm Foldable Solar Panels

 A New Inverter for a New Era in Portable Power

For this project, we are designing a new inverter to provide massive improvements in versatility relative to current power banks with a minimal impact on cost.  The new inverter has a 10 minute ExtendedSurge power output of over 1000W, allowing it to be used for things like coffee pots, blenders, electric winches, air compressors, and a host of other things that are outside the range of other portable power units on the market.  We see this as key to opening up a new world of options for portable power.

It's all about the milliwatts

Inefficient electronics that currently dominate the market throw away much of the available solar power
Inefficient electronics that currently dominate the market throw away much of the available solar power

With other commercial power banks you're lucky if you can get 80% of the power from the source into the battery - and that's before you even take into account whether the input is running at the power point of a solar panel!  Running off peak power on a solar panel can easily cost you 20-30% of the potential generation capacity of you're panel.  Given the cost of a good, durable, and portable solar panel, you want to get every milliwatt you can out of your panel and into you're battery pack.  The HelioVault incorporates a charge controller designed for solar by someone with years of experience working with solar and designing military grade electronics to work with it - a charge controller that puts a phenomenal 96+% of the potential output of a solar panel directly into the battery pack.

The HelioVault also ships with a 12V, 150W wall adapter to make sure you can precharge the unit before heading out into the field. 

Batteries designed for the long haul

The most popular large capacity power bank on the market today uses lead acid batteries, which will last a few hundred cycles in best case scenarios, but can be destroyed in just a few cycles if discharged to their advertised capacity.  Even Li-ion batteries only hold their capacity for about 500 cycles, which is why the HelioVault uses LiFePO4 batteries designed to deliver high current to their full rated capacity for thousands of cycles - guaranteed to never leave you in the lurch.

Versatility and Expandability

Expand your Power with 200Wh Battery Packs - up to 1kWh total capacity!
Expand your Power with 200Wh Battery Packs - up to 1kWh total capacity!

The basic HelioVault comes with enough power and outputs to cover many applications, but because we wanted to make a unit capable of meeting as wide a range of applications and budgets as possible, we decided to make the power storage expandable.  The HelioVault can be loaded with up to four 200 Wh expansion battery packs - each of which includes an additional pair of USB outputs allowing them to be pulled out and used separately from the base station allowing an extra layer of portable power. This allows the HelioVault to cover uses from short term emergency power to an all day tail-gate. 

Ultra Portable Solar Panels

PowerFilm manufactures the lightest, most durable solar panels around and in a wide variety of sizes. Our foldable line is best matched to the needs of the HelioVault and, as part of this Kickstarter, we're offering special deals on 30, 60, and 120 Watt panels best suited to be paired with it. With the 120W panel, you can fully charge a 200Wh pack in about 2 hours without worrying about angling the panel to perfectly face the sun. You don't even have to worry about a little shadowing killing your power the way you do with crystalline modules.

Why Kickstarter?  

Throughout our history PowerFilm has taken a very cautious approach to the market, which is why we are still here over 25 years later. When we came up with the HelioVault, we believed we had come up with a product that could provide great new capabilities that customers would love to have as much as we would. But, being techies at heart, we were worried that we might be letting our hearts rule our heads and others might not love the HelioVault as much as we did. Kickstarter gives us an opportunity to come to you and ask "is this product really useful to you?" before we commit to full scale development. If we can get the evidence that the demand is there, PowerFilm will invest heavily in bringing this product to market - our starting goal is only designed to cover about 40% of our projected expenses with PowerFIlm co-funding the remainder.

Where We Are and Where We're Going

We have full designs for the mechanical components, the USB outputs, and the 12V output ready to go. The high efficiency charge controller is already set up for manufacture. The inverter design is still in a early stage, with the concept proved out but about 3 months of dedicated design work ahead of us to go from proof of concept to manufacturable component. While the inverter design is being finished, we will also be working on the integration electronics to allow all these components to seamlessly interact and provide clear indicators to the user about state of charge and power inputs and outputs.

Rewards and Add-ons

In addition to the reward tiers above, any backer at a level that includes a HelioVault can pledge for additional add-ons as follows:

  • Extra 200Wh Battery Pack: $150
  • 30W Lightweight Foldable Solar Panel: $250
  • 60W Lightweight Foldable Solar Panel: $500
  • 120W Lightweight Foldable Solar Panel: $1000

To pledge for an add-on, simply add the amount listed above above the pledge level you select, and when we send out backer surveys at the end of the Kickstarter, we'll ask you what that extra pledge money was for.

Who We Are

PowerFilm
We've been in the solar business for over 25 years designing and building custom solar solutions using our flexible amorphous silicon - allowing us to produce the lightest weight, most durable solar products on the market for customers from space agencies to military to consumer electronics.

Ryan Jeffrey - Team Lead
Ryan has been doing Product Development at PowerFilm for over 9 years, working directly on projects ranging from space exploration to solar tents to our current LightSaver product line.  He is excited to be bringing the fruits of many years of development work on military and OEM projects into new consumer products.

Peng Li - Electrical Designer
Peng is a Ph.D. electrical engineer working with PowerFilm for over 6 years on solar electronics products. He has proven records on designing both high-reliability and commercial cost-sensitive products. Familiar with the entire design cycle all the way to volume production, he spearheaded the charger controller block for HelioVault and is the mastermind behind the ExtendedSurge Inverter.

Ryan Daly - Electrical Designer
Ryan has worked as an Electrical Engineer with PowerFilm since 2012. Prior to that he was the lead electronics designer on a NASA student out-reach project. At PowerFilm his work has focused on hand held battery charge management and power delivery. He will be working on electronics integration and power output circuitry for the HelioVault. 

Andrew Verhasselt - Industrial Designer
Andrew has worked as a Product Design Engineer with PowerFilm for the past year. He has worked extensively on the new LightSaver product line and has helped bring the conceptualization of the HelioVault into a reality. He will continue refining the mechanics and manufacturability of the product into production.

Grant Roepsch- Mechanical Designer
Grant is a Design Engineer with PowerFilm focusing on design refinement and developing in-house molding techniques. He has been working to produce the first physical prototype and will be refining the HelioVault to create the most producible design.

Ben Ellefson - Communications
Ben has been at PowerFilm since 2011 in the Marketing department and will be in charge of keeping everyone updated on all aspects of the HelioVault project including expansion goals and new updates on the project progression during manufacturing and production.

Risks and challenges

Cost over-run: one of the biggest risks on a project of this scale is that the costs will end up higher than we originally estimated. While we obviously hope this doesn't happen and think we've done a good job with estimates, the good news is that we have the reserve finances to cover what might be needed and make sure you get your rewards

Production delays: We have a lot of years of experience in manufacturing and in working with component suppliers, and that means we know that sometimes despite everyone's best efforts delays can creep in. We think we've left plenty of room in the schedule to account for these types of delays, but if things crop up that we think might affect the schedule, we will keep in steady communication and let you know where we are and why.

Shipping - Li-ion batteries (of which the LiFePo4 batteries we are using are a subcategory) come with a whole host of shipping restrictions, which means at the moment we can only guarantee ground shipping. We are looking into what it would take to get a shipping agreement for air transport, which would allow us to expand shipping beyond the continental United States, but can't promise anything. We will keep you posted if we work something out and update the reward levels accordingly!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Inspiration - Help keep us going! At this level you'll get all the updates to keep you informed about the project, and to buy the team a cup of coffee to help keep them as energized as possible! Back at this level if you think this is a cool idea but can't back for a full product and still want to stay informed.

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    Pledge US$ 450 or more About US$ 450

    Basic HelioVault Early Bird Special - Get the starting package, with 200Wh of internal LiFePo4 batteries, the high efficiency inverter and room to grow.

    Shipping in the Continental US included. MSRP $600 + $25 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 480 or more About US$ 480

    Basic HelioVault - Get the starting package, with 200Wh of internal LiFePo4 batteries, the high efficiency inverter and room to grow.

    Shipping in the Continental US included. MSRP $600 + $25 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 580 or more About US$ 580

    Custom HelioVault - Give your HelioVault a custom paint job - while we can't afford to make mass production units with the fancy metallic paints of the prototype, at this level you can let us know what color scheme you'd like and we'll custom paint it for you!

    Shipping in the Continental US included. MSRP - Kickstarter Exclusive!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 730 or more About US$ 730

    Basic Solar Generator HelioVault- Get the basic HelioVault + a 30W lightweight foldable solar panel.

    Shipping in the Continental US included. MSRP $1100 + $25 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 900 or more About US$ 900

    All In! Early Bird Special- Get a fully loaded HelioVault with 1 kWh off battery capacity.

    Shipping in the Continental United States Included.
    MSRP $1200 + $50 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    All In! - Get a fully loaded HelioVault with 1 kWh off battery capacity.

    Shipping in the Continental United States Included.
    MSRP $1200 + $50 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 2,000 or more About US$ 2,000

    All In Solar Generator! - Get a fully loaded HelioVault with 1 kWh off battery capacity + a 120W lightweight foldable solar panel to go with it! At a total weight of about 36 lbs, this provides the ultimate in portable power generation.

    Shipping in the Continental United States Included.
    MSRP $2450 + $50 shipping

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Solar Studies - Join us for a factory tour and a day spent learning about our process and material. This level also includes a fully loaded HelioVault.

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Funding period

- (30 days)