Why did I create the ReVolt3000?
Automotive Battery rejuvenation and battery life extension is a possibility I've known about for decades. It's not magic, gee-wiz science or even unique. But it is hard to find a unit capable of performing like thousand dollar commercial units at a consumer price. So, I decided I would make one with a target retail price of $250 (see the pricing in the rewards/pledge column to the right).
What is ReVolt3000?
ReVolt3000 is specifically intended to be a small business or consumer level device to revive dead batteries. And, extend the life of expensive lead-acid type rechargeable batteries typically used in larger applications from scooters to solar arrays but focusing on usual car, truck, boat, RV and aircraft like batteries. It also has the ability to revive and extend the life of other types of batteries as well such as Gel-cell, NiCad, NiMH and others.
History of development.
ReVolt3000 started as my mild interest in battery recovery (rejuvenation) and service longevity. Familiar throughout most of my life with battery chargers, charging techniques and crude "pulsers", I knew that most lead-acid types of car batteries as well as others (gel-cell Ni-Cad, NiMH, etc.) were not seeing their full potential because of the charging options or practices.
Having a few too many automobiles, I started to note the rise in price of replacement batteries and began to explore and experiment with rejuvenation/extension methods.
I focused on automotive type batteries (car, truck, RV, boat, motorcycle) specifically. After exhausting my personal supply, I began running ads to buy dead batteries from people, I soon had pallets of dead batteries in my backyard - some had been left sitting dead for 10 years or more in peoples fields, yards or garages.
As a baseline, I first gauged the effectiveness of the old Diode/Light bulb method.
This provided some measurable results, and some baseline expectations, but certainly was not at the level of performance I wanted nor was it usable as a product due to many safety issues.
Now with some numbers of what the worst solution could offer, (about a 20% success rate), I knew it was worthwhile and that I could do much better. I went through numerous methods from other designs on breadboards until I finally arrived at my own unique drive configuration.
After cycling through hundreds and hundreds of dead batteries, I was able to optimize my method and best practices. At this level of development, I found that the success rate of recovery with my newest design and method was high enough to actually make money reselling these batteries for people in need of replacement automotive batteries. So, I cut my first circuit board of this design and made a prototype to put to work.
Soon, the battery rejuvenation business became too much as neighbors became worried about the number of people visiting my home. Yes, I could have taken this into some sort of traditional business. But that was neither my desire nor my goal. My goal was to build and manufacture this device as well as even more advanced units in the future.
So to that end I have persevered, creating many revisions and prototypes.
I wanted something very utilitarian, durable and serious. I've always appreciated the seriousness of a black steel box. I wanted all my safety components to be resettable and externally accessible. I wanted maximum cooling and very simple operating panel. And thus, in November of 2013 the first ReVolt3000 unit was built and sold to an aircraft repair business which continues to use the unit today.
Finally I produced the first pilot production units and began tracking their performance. A couple more ready to go!A couple more ready to go!
How the ReVolt3000 can help others around the world.
When you look at the number of these batteries in service throughout the world, and in poorer countries especially, you can see that people and the environment would benefit greatly from the lower cost and reduced waste created by extending the life of these batteries by 4 or more times their rated lives. Thus lower cost of ownership, and a slower stream of these batteries entering landfills by extending their service lives benefits both the owners and the environment.
In many make-shift solar, wind or other power storage applications found in poorer countries or off-grid rural situations, a battery healthcare system like ReVolt3000 can quickly save thousands of dollars. You see, batteries have "cells". And while a battery maybe useless once one of these cells is dead, it doesn't have to be. This technology can still revive parts of cells which can still be utilized in these applications even if the entire battery cannot be revived because of internal damage to other cells.
Because these batteries are often made of multiple cells in series, if one cell fails, it renders the entire battery useless. "Cell-spiking" is where an individual cell that has failed and is purposely shorted out by driving a "spike" into it to make the battery useful again. For example a 12 volt battery with a bad cell is useless. But short out the bad cell and now you have a good battery again, except it is now 10 volts. None-the-less, in many situations like rural and poor countries where space is not a premium, these types of batteries can still be combined to make up the proper operating voltages for their needs and continue to operate for years.
How does it work?
The ReVolt3000 is intended to be used to improve the performance of, or rejuvenate dead, 12 volt lead acid automotive batteries and many others. These others include, NiCad, NiMH and Gel-types. Many similar devices use “Pulsing” to accomplish this. This is associated with reducing the build up of Lead Sulfate which accumulates and covers the plates when left discharged, thus reducing their effectiveness and, if left unaddressed can eventually grow to bend and destroy the battery's plates.
The ReVolt3000 uses a proprietary bi-phase pulse method designed not only to de-sulfate the battery but to clear small, low resistance zones or short circuits which can occur between cell plates that are in a contaminated baths.
The ReVolt3000 cannot correct bad chemistry, dried cells or damaged plates. Therefore, it works best on batteries which have not fallen into these conditions which usually occur from long periods of no attention (like years of sitting on the ground exposed to the elements in a backyard). Nonetheless, trials of the ReVolt3000on over 50% of these "junk" batteries exposed to those extremes has still shown a success of recovery to typically 80% of the battery's original capacity (about equivalent to a battery with about 2 years of use)! So imagine how well it can work with batteries that simply are getting weak! Sulfated plates.Sulfated plates.
The ReVolt3000 has two primary features: The revitalizer and the no-fault charger. Both can be used simultaneously on different batteries. The revitalizer can de-sulfate, clear small or low resistance zones and charge the battery all at once. The no-fault charger will simply recharge a weak battery, but often will do so when modern chargers cannot.
To get the most benefit from ReVolt3000, it is recommended that you give periodic treatments to your working batteries once or twice a year (4-8 hours of treatment). This allows for the maximum benefit and life extension by reversing sulfate build-up before it has an opportunity to do irreversible damage to the performance and life of your battery.
In this video, I demonstrate the ReVolt3000 recovering a junk battery. As mentioned earlier, I bought hundreds of junk batteries from people for testing various rejuvenation strategies. This particular battery was one of the last ones from the last batch I had purchased. It had been left sitting for a few years but that was all I could remember from the seller.
From my experience with this assortment of batteries, it had a 50/50 chance of recovering. It was recovered, although not the strongest, it did climb into the low side of the "good" range under load.
Under the hood.
The heart of the ReVolt3000 is a durable linear power supply, powerful inductors and capacitors along with powerful switching to create and control a unique bi-phase energy that de-sulfates and busts low-resistance zones in the battery. Heat is quickly removed by a powerful long-life fan.
Superior circuit protection is provided by 3 externally resettable circuit breakers.
The ReVolt3000 has been designed to provide years of reliable service and offer the greatest flexibility in terms of battery sizes and types it can work with.
Why ReVolt3000 needs you!
I've been through about 700 automotive types of batteries. I've hauled tons of them off for disposal and spent almost two years now and thousands of dollars developing the Model 1Exp you see here.
It's a VERY useful device as it presently is. But I still have some issues to overcome before I can make manufacturing runs to sell larger quantities of them to others. For example, large quantity part orders must be placed to position the cost so that I can meet the target price and some adjustments must be made to streamline the assembly process.
And while a few further refinements are planned, the ReVolt3000 is not a pet-like fuzzy toy. Using it incorrectly can be dangerous. Though I've gone through great pains to make it as functionally safe as possible, ReVolt3000 will require certifications like UL, CE, and others in other countries - in order to obtain product liability insurance and meet those compliance certs - these are not cheap to come by. Your pledges for this project will help me to achieve these goals.
Pledge $300 - The first 17 . For product fulfillment, the long lead time parts for the first 17 units I am already in possession of. Thus the short lead time components are all that remain to be ordered which can be had from the common suppliers the likes of Digikey, Mouser and a few others in less than a week. Circuit boards will be assembled by myself or from local help under my supervision. Final assembly, testing and shipping to be done by myself. Approximate time needed to complete and ship: 30 days. These units are 110-125VAC operation only.
Pledge $250 - The next 125. Circuit boards will be panelized and ordered as will stencils. Sheet metal will change to allow for operating voltage selection (110/220VAC) and to improve assembly times. Assembly fixtures will be built to increase the level of automated assembly. A contract manufacturer may be engaged to provide final assembly, testing and packaging. Amazon or another fulfillment service will be used to provide fulfillment. Approximate time needed to complete: 3 to 4 months. These units will be 220/110VAC capable.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges of small production runs these days are often in the reliable and timely acquisition of consistent components. Meanwhile, keeping costs down and quality high so that the net result is in the feasible range for a business to thrive and produce happy customers. I currently operate the engineering and production arm of successful computer hardware manufacturing company. I have owned and run companies for over two decades which have produced both hardware and software products from end to end. In practicing engineering of hardware and software solutions for decades, and being a serial entrepreneur, I'm thoroughly experienced in the necessities of a production project from all the technical aspects to the business and financial needs. I'm very hands on at all levels when necessary as well as experienced and good at building creative, energetic, competent and cohesive teams.
I pride myself on completing projects on time and within budget. I will be using most of the same techniques, networks, and shops I've come to know and trust over my many years developing numerous products. Most of these resources I have and use are right here in Reno, Nevada.
I am honest, hard working, dedicated and genuine. Although I can be quite a geek about things, integrity and customer service are my top priorities.
Finally, I am no stranger to failure. I've always protected and honored my partners, shareholders and investors in bad times while following through with whatever needs to be done. You can rest assured that my progress updates will be regular and frequent, and any notifications of delays or other issues while be sent swiftly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)