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Kickstarter Project Offers Big Solar Energy On The Go

By - Source: Kickstarter | B 23 comments

Kickstarter project hopes to create portable, efficient solar generator.

According to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to life the universe and everything is 42. Now it looks like 42 will also be the answer to all of your gadget battery woes. Created by South Dakota's Peppermint Energy, the Forty2 kickstarter project hopes to offer users a source of personal, portable solar energy. So what makes the Forty2 different from all of the other solar chargers out there?

In an interview with Gizmag, Peppermint Energy said:

"Most days, the solar power will flow directly to the electronics," CEO Brian Gramm told Gizmag. "Unlike most 'solar chargers' or 'solar batteries/kits', the solar power actually powers the electronics. The battery is kicked into service when the electrical load is greater than what the solar is providing at the moment. In that way the solar is the power generator, and the battery is the backup or extra kick. Obviously, when the sun isn't available, the battery is called on full-time."

The Forty2 device is composed of two large photovoltaic panel arrays in a shell-like casing. Weighing in at 25 pounds and measuring 2 by 3 feet, the Forty2 isn't exactly the most portable solar device. But with big size comes big power. According to Peppermint, the unit can supply 180-200 watts of continuous power using lithium ion battery packs rated at 350 watt-hours.The developers plan on increasing battery capacity, but the current Forty2 features onboard power inversion to make enough power available for three onboard AC outlets. A small fridge, LED TV, and multiple mobile devices are noted as several of many devices capable of being powered by the device.

With 25 days left to go, the project is close its $25,000 goal. A contribution of $500 or more gets you a first run of the device, while $100 and $199 contributions get you a miniature smatphone charger or solar backpack charger. The team hopes to begin shipping its initial batch of 250 devices sometime in December. For more information or to donate to the project, head on over to the Forty2 Kickstarter page.

 

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  • -1 Hide
    master_chen , August 18, 2012 10:28 PM
    Oh. My. God.
  • -2 Hide
    goodguy713 , August 18, 2012 10:29 PM
    at 350 watts i could see this powering a low end computer like the imac or E-pc just off of solar power for the size thats a pretty high output for power something like that would be great for emergencies and charging laptops or powering laptops with out being plugged into the wall outlet .. I would how ever try and find a way to store that current into a battery though it would be worth it to have something like that that could provide enough power to supply a 750watt computer system ..
  • 2 Hide
    Pennanen , August 18, 2012 11:22 PM
    Its a shame kickstarter is now full of scams and bad wannabe game makers that it has defiled the whole meaning of it. Cant take anything related to kickstarter seriously anymore.
  • 4 Hide
    edogawa , August 19, 2012 12:34 AM
    Solar panels are really cool, a great way to utilize the sun, I'd love to see it used more often.
  • 1 Hide
    mjflis , August 19, 2012 12:53 AM
    This is actually pretty cool. If it could power some speakers and a stereo, you could have a daytime party just about anywhere that their is enough sun
  • 9 Hide
    fb39ca4 , August 19, 2012 12:54 AM
    How many watts does the solar panel by itself produce?
  • 8 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , August 19, 2012 1:02 AM
    Unless they're packing some technological breakthrough that they've managed to keep secret, this thing is smoke and mirrors. There's no way they're generating ~200 watts with 12 sq.ft. of solar panel.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 19, 2012 1:14 AM
    http://vimeo.com/37080301

    Off Grid Solar Trainer
  • 4 Hide
    alextheblue , August 19, 2012 1:35 AM
    fb39ca4How many watts does the solar panel by itself produce?

    I'm guessing around 50, in optimal lighting conditions. Good for powering electronics for a while, especially if you let the battery charge up fully first. But a fridge? That better be one really tiny fridge. I'd be curious to know the peak watt output of the unit, that's important to determine if it can kick on the compressor.
  • -1 Hide
    master_chen , August 19, 2012 2:06 AM
    alextheblueThat better be one really tiny fridge.


    They probably were testing that charging panel's early prototype on this http://gadget.brando.com/usb-mini-fridge_p00422c048d001.html one, or even maybe on something like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/KOOLATRON-KWC-4-COCA-COLA-PERSONAL-6-CAN-MINI-FRIDGE-/280941847969?pt=Refrigerators&hash=item41697065a1
    I'd say - first one.
  • 1 Hide
    chewy1963 , August 19, 2012 3:15 AM
    master_chenThey probably were testing that charging panel's early prototype on this http://gadget.brando.com/usb-mini- [...] 8d001.html one, or even maybe on something like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/KOOLATRON- [...] 41697065a1I'd say - first one.


    Yep, that IS on really tiny fridge!
  • 1 Hide
    proxy711 , August 19, 2012 3:29 AM
    PennanenIts a shame kickstarter is now full of scams and bad wannabe game makers that it has defiled the whole meaning of it. Cant take anything related to kickstarter seriously anymore.

    Not sure why you got thumbs down because what you said is true. So many of these kickstarters wont produce a product.
  • 1 Hide
    doive1231 , August 19, 2012 6:45 AM
    The problem with solar chargers is the number of connectors required for all our gadgets. What's required is some type of conductive (but safe) putty that you can stick a connector into to guarantee compatibility.
  • 1 Hide
    razor512 , August 19, 2012 10:55 AM
    bad investment,

    a device like that seems to be using a custom li-ion battery,that might not be user replaceable, anyone buying it will have to know that they are spending $500 for a device that may only last 2-3 years.

    you can build your own solar charger that will perform better and cost much less. Instead of using a custom battery, simply make use of popular laptop batteries (slots for multiple batteries), then have an input fir connecting multiple solar panels (this will allow you to expand to having more panels if needed)
  • 0 Hide
    assasin32 , August 19, 2012 12:16 PM
    Personally I think I'd rather go the more traditional route and have the battery power the electronic and the solar power charge the battery. It just seems more effective to rely on something that has the power already there than to hope that a mobile solar power source provides enough constantly and won't be blocked or moved out of the suns path while using it.
  • 5 Hide
    peppermint , August 19, 2012 10:02 PM
    Hi everyone. I thought I would drop in on the conversation to help clear some things up.

    First, it most definitely can develop 200 W in 12 sq ft. using mono crystalline. For instance, note this product which has a similar sized surface area:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/200w-x-1-Solar-Panel-Monocrystalline-Local-Pickup-Oswego-NY-200-watts-kw-/120971120831?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c2a70d0bf#ht_989wt_1397

    Rest assured, we do not get our components from eBay, and have cutting edge efficient panels which are a bit more efficient than those.

    Please keep in mind it is a small dorm fridge we are talking about - and that is life changing stuff for millions of people. This one runs on 90 watts (half the solar power generated): http://www.amazon.com/Danby-DAR195BL-1-8-cu-ft-Refrigerator/dp/B000FAR33M/ref=pd_sbs_la_1

    Our goal has never been to power a modern home (some day, maybe...). But rather to bring power to people who have sun - but often little else - to run basic electronics. Plus, for those of us with access to regular grid power, to give you a great option for back-up power.

    THANK YOU for keeping the conversation going!

    - Brian from Peppermint Energy

  • -3 Hide
    mjflis , August 20, 2012 12:13 AM
    peppermintHi everyone. I thought I would drop in on the conversation to help clear some things up. First, it most definitely can develop 200 W in 12 sq ft. using mono crystalline. For instance, note this product which has a similar sized surface area: http://www.ebay.com/itm/200w-x-1-S [...] 989wt_1397Rest assured, we do not get our components from eBay, and have cutting edge efficient panels which are a bit more efficient than those. Please keep in mind it is a small dorm fridge we are talking about - and that is life changing stuff for millions of people. This one runs on 90 watts (half the solar power generated): http://www.amazon.com/Danby-DAR195 [...] d_sbs_la_1Our goal has never been to power a modern home (some day, maybe...). But rather to bring power to people who have sun - but often little else - to run basic electronics. Plus, for those of us with access to regular grid power, to give you a great option for back-up power. THANK YOU for keeping the conversation going! - Brian from Peppermint Energy

    peppermintHi everyone. I thought I would drop in on the conversation to help clear some things up. First, it most definitely can develop 200 W in 12 sq ft. using mono crystalline. For instance, note this product which has a similar sized surface area: http://www.ebay.com/itm/200w-x-1-S [...] 989wt_1397Rest assured, we do not get our components from eBay, and have cutting edge efficient panels which are a bit more efficient than those. Please keep in mind it is a small dorm fridge we are talking about - and that is life changing stuff for millions of people. This one runs on 90 watts (half the solar power generated): http://www.amazon.com/Danby-DAR195 [...] d_sbs_la_1Our goal has never been to power a modern home (some day, maybe...). But rather to bring power to people who have sun - but often little else - to run basic electronics. Plus, for those of us with access to regular grid power, to give you a great option for back-up power. THANK YOU for keeping the conversation going! - Brian from Peppermint Energy


    There is no way that little breifcase thing is 12 square feet.
  • 0 Hide
    mjflis , August 20, 2012 12:16 AM
    Reread article, I am sorry it's 2x 2ft by 3ft in clam shell, will accept forth coming ridicule.
  • 0 Hide
    beayn , August 20, 2012 12:18 AM
    mjflisThere is no way that little breifcase thing is 12 square feet.


    It's 2 feet by 3 feet, with two panels. Get out your calculator.
  • 0 Hide
    schriss , August 20, 2012 8:03 AM
    fb39ca4How many watts does the solar panel by itself produce?

    According to project page:
    •Solar: ~180-200 watts
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