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The eClipse is a portable solar USB charger that can power multiple devices at once – both during the day and during the night. Read more

San Jose, CA Gadgets
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on February 3, 2013.

The eClipse is a portable solar USB charger that can power multiple devices at once – both during the day and during the night.

San Jose, CA Gadgets
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About this project

eClipse In The News:

Solar Backpacking - "The eClipse works straight out of the box. Plug in your device and you're ready to go."

Ecochunk - "Juan Moncada has come up with the eClipse – a versatile solar powered charger that can charge multiple gadgets at once, not only during the day but even after dark."

Background:

The idea for the eClipse was born after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in October. Having family there, I felt helpless because there was nothing I could do from my home in California, except wait for a phone call to find out if everything was okay. Thankfully my family was fine, but my thoughts turned to all the other people who weren’t able to communicate with their loved ones because they didn’t have power. On the internet, it seemed that every article I read had images of people huddled around extension cords and power outlets, trying to charge cell phones and electronic devices that had run out of battery.

That’s when inspiration struck me.

The Concept:

I came up with the eClipse, a portable solar product with multiple USB ports to charge multiple cell phones and electronic devices at once. It also has the ability to be used day or night. This way, if a power outage or emergency situation were to occur, a whole family could charge their cell phones at once using solar energy, any time of day. I went through several prototypes before settling on a form-factor similar to a miniaturized version of a rooftop solar panel, with a strong build that can stand up to heavy portable use.

The Materials:

The eClipse is solidly built with the following materials:

  • Shock absorbent polyethylene housing
  • High-efficiency crystalline solar panel
  • High life-cycle energy bank with lithium-polymer batteries 
  • Custom designed PCB controller circuit board

High-efficiency crystalline solar panels are more expensive, but I chose this technology because of its power. In just 3 hours you can recharge the eClipse to 75% and in 5 hours to 100%.

The Product:

eClipse1U - One USB port
eClipse1U - One USB port
eClipse2U - Two USB ports
eClipse2U - Two USB ports
eClipse4U - Four USB ports
eClipse4U - Four USB ports

Every eClipse is available in the following colors: black, silver, blue, green, yellow, red, pink and orange.

How It Works:

The eClipse is a true plug and play device built with the user in mind - it's ready to go right out of the box! If the eClipse needs to be recharged, simply place it under sunlight, and the charging indicator will light up. When the eClipse battery is at full capacity, a built-in overcharge protector will automatically stop the eClipse battery from charging. At any time, whether it's charging or not, USB devices can be plugged into the eClipse's USB ports. All USB devices will continue to be powered until the eClipse needs to be recharged under sunlight again.

Place it in direct sunlight or by a window to recharge.
Place it in direct sunlight or by a window to recharge.

Compatibility:

The eClipse is guaranteed to work with any device with a standard USB connector. It has been tested to power the following devices:

  • Cell phones (Apple iPhones, Android smartphones, Blackberry devices, any USB powered cell phone) 
  • Tablets (Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab)
  • Portable game consoles (Sony PSP)
  • e-Readers (Kindle, Nook)
  • MP3 players (Apple iPod, Sandisk Sansa)
  • Other USB powered devices (Bluetooth headphones, flashlights, lanterns, etc.)  

During my compatibility tests, I verified that the charging time for all USB devices is the same as if charging from a USB port on a computer or a wall charger.

The eClipse would make a great addition to a disaster preparation kit, but it can also be used anywhere power is needed on-the-go, including hiking and camping. It can even be used around the world in areas where electricity isn’t readily available.

Built for Rugged Use:

Since the eClipse may be carried in a backpack during a hiking or other recreational trips, I have taken every precaution posible to ensure the eClipse is capable of rugged use.

- The glass is 3.2mm thick. This is the same thickness used in solar panels on a roof top, which are designed to withstand hail storms.
- The glass is encased in a shock absorbent polyethylene casing. The casing is custom designed for my panel, which allows the glass to sit slightly recessed doubling as a bumper.
- The circuit boards are all separately sealed in casing for extra protection.

And the great thing is there are no moving parts. This helps with longevity of use. 

Specifications:

  • The USB 1.0A and 2.1A ports are fully compatible with smart-phones,  tablets and mp3 players that are powered with a USB connector.
  • The USB 2.1A port is fully compatible with iPhones, iPads, and iPods.
  • There is plenty of capacity to recharge multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Charging times are same as using a USB wall charger. For example, the eClipse can charge an iPhone to 90% in 1.5 hours.
  • The high efficiency solar panel enables the eClipse to recharge to 75% in just 3 hours and to 100% in 5 hours - and it can still power all your USB devices while it's charging.
  • Whether you have the 2 USB version or the larger capacity 4 USB version, the recharge time for the eClipse is the same!

My intention was to create a device that could be recharged to 100% everyday and used at full power each time it's needed. This guarantees an everyday, reliable source of power for all portable USB devices, and is especially useful during extended periods of power outage.

Support:

I'll be building the eClipse in San Jose, California. This product uses great technology, but the reality is that it’s not cheap to make because the components are expensive. With the help of the Kickstarter community, I want to buy the components in bulk so I can keep costs low and ensure that this device can be accessible to everyone. 

 With the funds raised through Kickstarter, I’d like to:

  • Convert my prototypes to production-ready models 
  • Buy mass quantities of materials to make the product affordable 
  • Deliver a high quality product

Manufacturing Plan:

If my project is fully funded, my manufacturing plan is as follows:

Phase One - Parts Order

1. Have the eClipse frame manufactured in bulk quantities for the colors requested by project backers.

2. Purchase high-efficiency solar panels in bulk quantities.

3. Order the custom designed eClipse PCB controller circuit board, which will be made locally in Redwood City, CA, as well as mass quantities of essential circuitry components.

4. Order the battery bank and USB ports.

Phase Two - eClipse Assembly

1. Assemble the PCB controller circuit board.

2. Assemble each eClipse with custom color frame, high-efficiency solar panels, battery bank and USB ports.

Throughout the assembly process, I will test to ensure product functionality.

I anticipate I will be quite busy doing the assembly and testing, so I've asked my friend Hsien-Jun Tai to help with the logistics. She will help order all the parts and keep track of the shipments out to all the backers.

Thank You

Thank you very much for your interest in the eClipse. If you like what you see, please help me reach my goal. Any contribution is greatly appreciated! Even if you can't contribute today, please help me get the word out by clicking the Facebook "Like" button, and sharing my project with your family and friends!

Risks and challenges

The eClipse has been thoroughly tested and its hardware design is complete and fully functional. I have over ten years of experience QA testing solar and electrical products and I'm extremely confident in this product and its capabilities. Because of this, I feel that technically, the risks or challenges are very low.

One possible challenge is cost. With the help of the Kickstarter community, I'll be able to purchase the components in bulk at an ideal price per unit. By lowering the cost of each component that makes up the eClipse, I am then able to offer the eClipse at an affordable price to the Kickstarter community.

Another possible challenge will be building the eClipse in order to keep up with demand, however, this will depend on the number of backers and orders I receive. I have an outstanding relationship with my suppliers located in China, Taiwan, and San Jose and Redwood City in California, so obtaining the necessary materials to build the eClipse will not be a problem. The eClipse prototypes were all built with the parts from these suppliers and I have been in touch with them to let them know of my intentions to buy the materials in bulk. These suppliers all use the highest-quality materials available, so there will be no risks in regards to the quality of the product.

I'm setting a very realistic goal of delivering the eClipse to my backers by April of 2013, which will be approximately three months after the project ends. However, I fully intend to deliver each product before this! I will be very busy building and QA testing each eClipse myself in San Jose, California, and my friend Hsien-Jun Tai will ship each order as it becomes available. I care about making the best product possible and if there are any questions or concerns before or after a shipment, please let me know and I will address them promptly!

I will update my Twitter and Facebook page to keep everyone informed of all news and developments.

Thank you for your interest!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Absolutely! Please pledge the amount you wish and send me an email. I'll do the math and confirm the quantity when I ask for your shipping address. Be sure to indicate the colors you want too!

    Last updated:
  • The reason the eClipse is so unique is because it delivers 10W of power, which is twice the amount of power needed to recharge the internal battery. This 10W of power allows you to power your USB devices while the eClipse's internal battery is being charged at the same time!

    Last updated:
  • Thank you so much for that! Yes, I recently submitted the eClipse for consideration in the 2013 Popular Science Invention Awards. We’ll see what happens.

    Last updated:
  • I designed it with rugged use in mind. You can throw it in a back pack and go for hike or a camping trip and not worry about the panel or circuits being damaged. Please see the section "Built for Rugged Use". I describe what I did in the design to ensure this.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    16 backers

    Thank you very much! A little help goes a long way and I appreciate your contribution to the eClipse!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    14 backers

    Thanks so much for your help! You will be updated on all project developments. Please be sure to look for a shout out on the eClipse Facebook page!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $49 or more

    8 backers

    Backers at this level will receive a DIY kit to wire up a working solar panel. A link to a demonstration will be published on the eClipse Facebook page. The DIY kit comes with solar cells, solar ribbons, a wiring harness, a solder, flux, and an LED light.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $79 or more

    5 backers

    Backers at this level will receive a DIY Pro kit to wire up a working solar panel with a fully functional USB1.0 port. A link to a demonstration will be published on the eClipse Facebook page. The DIY kit comes with laser cut solar cells, solar ribbons, a wiring harness, a solder, flux, LDO, resistors, capacitor. diode, and USB port.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $149 or more

    0 backers

    Backers at this level will receive an entry-level eClipse1U. The eClipse1U works directly from sunlight and will allow the user to charge one USB powered device during the day only. This entry-level model comes with one 2.1A USB port and is great for portable outdoor use.
    Please specify your color preference.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $179 or more

    56 backers Limited (94 left of 150)

    Early Bird Special: Backers at this level will receive one eClipse2U. It comes with 2 USB ports and battery storage, which allows the user to charge up to 2 USB powered devices at once - indoors or outdoors, day or night.
    Please specify your color preference.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $199 or more

    0 backers

    If you missed out on the Early Bird Special, here is a second chance to get one eClipse2U.
    It comes with 2 USB ports and battery storage, which allows the user to charge up to 2 USB powered devices at once - indoors or outdoors, day or night.
    Please specify your color preference.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $229 or more

    118 backers Limited (32 left of 150)

    Early Bird Special: Get one eClipse4U. It comes with 4 USB ports and twice the battery storage of the eClipse2U. This is a perfect power source for your family at home or on a camping trip, or as part of a disaster preparation kit. It can be used to charge up to 4 USB powered devices at once - indoors or outdoors, day or night.
    Please specify your color preference.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $249 or more

    5 backers

    If you missed out on the Early Bird Special, here is a second chance to get one eClipse4U.
    It comes with 4 USB ports and twice the battery storage of the eClipse2U. This is a perfect power source for your family at home or on a camping trip, or as part of a disaster preparation kit. It can be used to charge up to 4 USB powered devices at once - indoors or outdoors, day or night. Please specify your color preference.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    Factory tour: Get an eClipse4U and a tour of the Auxin Solar factory where solar panels are produced. You will get to witness first hand how the most important component of the eClipse is made!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    2 backers

    Prototype design: Get an eClipse4U and a prototype model of any solar product you can think of. If you have an idea for a solar product I can design it and build a prototype for you!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)