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Solar Powered Mobile Device Charging Hat

Solar cells in the hat charge an internal LiFePO4 battery, which can then charge any mobile device via USB

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The purpose of this hat is to address a basic problem millions of people have, including myself: Your phone dies when you most need it. It's as true for me trying to find my appointment downtown via GPS, as it is for players of Augmented Reality games like Pokemon Go, or even people living in remote parts of the world where cell phones have become common, but the electrical infrastructure just isn't there to keep them all charged. There are more mobile devices in this world than there are people, and people need better ways to keep them charged. I wanted to make something that could reliably keep a phone running, in spite of conditions, or forgetting to plug it in every night.

Goals:

  1. Provide sufficient power to keep common cell phones running indefinitely under typical sun conditions
  2. Store power for use during nights and/or bad conditions
  3. Be safe for use in a hat (IE: safe and reliable battery chemistries ONLY)
  4. Function in bad weather, including rain

  • Launched Kickstarter

    msummers12312/01/2016 at 22:51 0 comments

    I feel the basic design is working well enough, I think it's ready to see if there is any interest out there for something like this. So I launched a Kickstarter campaign. Let me know what you think, and back it if you think something like this could be useful: http://kck.st/2gTxfpw

  • Battery Drill Through Test

    msummers12312/01/2016 at 22:32 0 comments

    I was actually surprised how well this test went. Turns out the heat protection worked quite well, and the pouch correctly vented the battery away from the wearer.

  • Received new PCB for Charge Controller

    msummers12311/04/2016 at 20:28 0 comments

    I finally received the custom printed PCB for the hats, to replace my old charge controller I hacked together from spare parts. You can see it here:

    Other than being smaller than the old electronics module, its also more efficient, can charge (slowly) in low light conditions, and allows the battery to be charged from external USB power. Going to do more testing with this soon, stay tuned.

  • Rain/Water Resistance Test

    msummers12309/15/2016 at 18:45 0 comments

    I took a hat with the solar cell trays installed and left it in the rain for a few hours, letting it get nice and soaked. I then tested to ensure it still worked, which it did. You can see the video below:

    I'm still waiting on the new battery charging system and enclosure, once that is done I can test that as well. But at least the solar cells work in the rain.

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Discussions

Stuart Longland wrote 11/05/2016 at 09:43 point

Maybe the next step is to diversify… a baseball cap can fit a small number of panels, a Vietnamese coolie hat would fit a lot more and still leave some room underneath if you wanted a beanie/hood for cold weather or headphones for music.  There's some room just at the apex where batteries and a controller could sit comfortably.

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msummers123 wrote 11/05/2016 at 02:08 point

Thanks!

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Alex Martin wrote 11/04/2016 at 23:30 point

Great concept! A wearable device that is actually practical (no sarcasm).

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