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."
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.
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 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%.
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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 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.
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