by Lee Nicholls
World first, patented, multiple-use light bulb, that stays on when the power goes out.
About this project
EOS bulb, the world’s first complete all round emergency bulb, Now you can switch your bulbs on and off on demand through power outages.
EOS bulb, the world’s first complete all round emergency bulb.
Our patented system allows the bulbs to store power under normal operation but when mains power is lost they light up, they sense the switch position and intelligently react to provide light when and where you need it.
Take a look around your home, your light sockets are already in the best of locations, entryways, centre of most rooms, stairways, toilets.
The bulb is as bright and easy to use as a standard bulb, and uses LED technology making it energy efficient. Its ‘smart’ capabilities can tell the difference between switching the lights off and a power cut.
EOS ability allows it to be installed as a retrofit to any system making use of its existing wiring and switching to give power outage functionality to any light fitting.
- Holiday homes – store energy through the day to use at night, solar & petrol generators.
- Doomsday preppers
- Even a standalone lamp it can be switched manually.
EOS answers a need that is well and truly overdue. Everyone in the world needs light bulbs and they need them to work.
*Commercial/industrial requirements vary, complies with some, you will need to check this first as some bureaucratic red tape can be a right pain. We will actively pursue this when we can in individual countries.
How does it work?
If you want the full story, read the development side.
But to cut a long story short.
When power is lost to the house, the EOS sentry knows this and is now able to use the existing wiring how it pleases.
It creates a link between all the bulbs and tells them that they need to run on their batteries for now.
When you turn the switch on for the light, the circuit is closed, and all EOS bulbs controlled by that switch will turn on.
When power is restored, the bulbs charge back up..
The batteries, in optimal condition will run for up to 8hrs continuously, or in multiples of controlled on demand at the existing light switch.
Where can I use it?
As above, pretty well anywhere we can think of.
The mains voltage needs to be present to recharge the system, but it can be installed in anything disconnected from the mains grid. Such as caravans, holiday homes, tents, caves, etc
EOS just needs the wiring, fittings and switches to create its own lighting grid.
Add as many bulbs as you want anywhere.
No new additional wiring required*
*The plug in version covers all power loss events that are external to the house.
- Just plug it in and your house is covered.
- Great in areas where the power grid is at risk.
- Brown outs, overloading.
- Faults, human error, vehicle vs power pole.
- Natural causes, earthquakes, Extreme weather, storms, snow, hurricanes, and wind.
*The fuse board version covers all that, and total circuit protection.
- Great for multi dwelling units such as bedsits, motels
- a good electrician can install in less than an hour and that’s it, add bulbs anywhere you choose.
- Covers some legal requirements for a hard wired emergency lighting system that require individual fuse coverage.
How many bulbs will I need?
Order 100 so you have spares, seriously though, it will vary, one may be enough for very small places. Generally the lights you leave on at night while you sleep is a good general minimum for your home.
Safety, you need to consider places where safety may be a concern, stairways, bathrooms, kitchens, gas shut off valves, emergency/first aid kits, fire extinguishers, fuse boards, exits/entry’s, really scary rooms.
Peace of mind concerns. Children’s bedrooms, your own bedroom, babies, toilets.
Amount of use, if the bulb only gets 30 minutes mains time a week, the bulb probably doesn’t get enough use to justify an upgrade, plus as the batteries age, they may not get enough charge time to make them effective.
The batteries could be removed and just added if needed as the bulbs still work fine on the mains, or cluster bulbs in high use circuits and move them if required elsewhere.
Fully charged or new standard batteries can hold a charge for a considerable time but you should really consider if it’s essential lighting before upgrading.
All prices are Kickstarter intro only, we’ve budgeted what we need to make this work with a little safety margin.
All backers are a priority, this project will only happen through the support of you, we think this is important and we should never lose sight of or forget that. All backers can purchase elements of the system for the wholesale rate for as long as they live and the company exists. There may be reasonable limits applied if an entity has rights of supply in your region.
Apart from the warm fuzzies you will get from helping this project take off you will also get.
Every backer gets their name printed somewhere on the final packaging for at least the length that version exists, why shouldn’t everybody know who you are?
No one directly employed by EOS Lighting (i.e. myself and Jamie) will collect any income until all rewards have been supplied. (This could change if start up targets are well exceeded and requires full time management to ensure supply is not compromised). We both still have full time jobs and bills to pay.
$10 Donate to the cause, all backer bragging rights. Thank you very much for your support and vote of confidence. If we could send a virtual hug, we would, and say “hey, thanks for being a top geezer/babe, you totally rock”
$30 – One bulb, add to any pack to expand further ( requires an EOS converted house otherwise its just an ordinary bulb)
$50 The “I just want to see how good this is first” pack, please refer to the $10 pledge and addone bulb and one sentry base. Add bulbs if needed at your leisure later. This gives ample piece of mind for most emergency outage situations that will affect your home.
$80 – 2 bulbs one sentry, Good coverage, should be enough to see the family cat in a small home.
$140 – 4 bulbs one sentry, Excellent coverage, Major bedrooms, hall, toilet, that’s the main stuff covered.
$180 – 4 bulbs one sentry one fuse mounted, this gives piece of mind straight from the pack. Once the fuse pack is installed, you can split the bulbs and cover 2 separate places.
$360 – 10 bulbs one sentry one fuse mounted, “THAT’S A WHOLE LOT OF BULBS” Should be enough to cover an entire house and then some. When the street loses power, you’re gonna look really badass and can laud your new found technology over the neighbourhood.
$500 – Proto pack – (4 bulbs – one plug in sentry) you want to be part of the development process, limited to NZ/AU.
You will receive the pre-release prototypes as they are available and then do your best to push them and try to make them fail, we dare you. We take your feedback, any faulty units, improve their design if required and then make the final release. You will receive another full set at the front of the queue with the fuse pack..
$8,000 – Entrepreneur – Excl countries previously identified- you may want this in your country, beyond the main electrical standards many other countries require specific standards relevant only to themselves. This will help pay for that and any other protection and development required securing that. You should speak to us and your own lawyer first as clicking this does not guarantee any rights. I’m sure we can develop a win/win situation for all suitably rewarding your commitment. You will need to be involved in aspects of the development.
We’d will just be so happy if we reach our target and are able to produce the EOS bulb and help make the world a little safer and a little less scary at night.
At $200,000 we would develop the Nth American version and finish off the sentry to include a low use light that lights up on power loss, this will help to illuminate the base if needed. Also the dual socket outlets will be added to the sentry.
Accommodating both the AU/NZ and US/CA electricity networks would cover just about every electricity range EOS is ever likely to come across in the world.
Beyond here is an unknown really, we would like to hear from you before we decide on anything
We could add,
- Maybe an indicator to show when the batteries are well charged, or lacking enough charge, batteries sad.
- Bulb bypass, bulbs will switch on for a set time, regardless of switch position at an outage.·
- Manual switching, ability to switch bulbs when you bloody well choose (great for power savers)· An indicator on the sentry to show fuse loss or total loss·
- Emergency light luminous intensity adjustment, vary the light output when running on battery (higher output = less life, lower output = longer life)·
- Smart grid capability ( price exclusion, run on battery when price exceeds set amount )·
- Add Demand response ability (Switch bulbs to battery at times of grid overload)·
My name is Lee Nicholls and I live in Christchurch, the third largest city in New Zealand.
At 4:35am, Saturday the 4th of September 2010, we experienced a Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake, causing turmoil, confusion and power outages across the region.
Christchurch Quake Map
Animation of Earthquakes (Over 13,500 quakes since Sep 4 2010)
Te-Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake
2011 Christchurch earthquake
Personal stories of the 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes
The power outages lasted weeks and caused many issues around safety for a lot of families including mine. There were many aspects of our emergency backup lighting that failed us in a time where we needed light the most.
Candles were an extreme fire risk as we experienced hundreds of aftershocks in the weeks to follow and couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t fall in a big aftershock, our emergency supply kit was missing key supplies like torches, the ones we could find, had no battery life.
The cause of the power outage was damage to substations, power poles and lines meaning a long wait without power while a lot of this was practically rebuilt from scratch.
The fear of a large aftershock causing roofs to collapse was on everyone’s mind but more so in the middle of the night when running outside was a marathon in it itself. Trying to locate your child and safely escort them to the safety of open space isn’t easy when your in fear of falling walls, roofs or needing to dodge items that have already fallen onto the ground.
Even on the nights we were hugging our torches in our sleep, aftershocks gave us no time to logically think to take this with us as there was never any warning and when they hit the only thing you think of is getting your child and getting out.
There had to be a better way!
We needed a light that lit the room well enough to see everything, a light you didn’t have to search for in the dark, a light that wouldn’t cause a fire, we needed a light that functioned easily.
Effectively what we needed was a light that worked exactly the same as what we already had but couldn’t use. It dawned on me that what we needed was already there, in every room, staring at me right in the face.
What we needed was our light bulbs to work without power and to function exactly as they would if there was power, so why not just enable a normal bulb to function even in the absence of power?
I started my research into this idea to see what was available on the market and found there were many variations of my idea but none in comparison that offered what I wanted for my family.
All had flaws that didn’t suit our situation, it was at this stage after finding no suitable light source in an emergency situation that could suit our family in the way I wanted, that I knew there was a gap in the market.
Drawing up my idea and getting a patent has been a long road filled with perseverance and determination. I am passionate in finishing my project in the hope that it may save others from the same frustrations we suffered and offer a whole new level of safety that will ensure peace of mind.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BULB
Now came the hardest part, adding the additional technology to the current design and making sure the way it was used was still as simple as flicking on a switch.
The biggest hurdle was deciding how the technology should be used to keep the bulb working in normal conditions to knowing that it should be using battery power to work if the mains power goes out.
The obvious solution was to add a battery to the base of the light bulb, which would be used to power the bulb in the event the mains couldn’t.
This caused the next issue, how do we get the bulb to know if there was no power and needed to switch to its battery pack?
Originally the idea was to add the battery pack within the bulb and use a switch on the bulb to activate the battery. From personal experience needing to get to the bulb to switch it to battery usage wouldn’t have been possible in an emergency.
We needed technology to send the bulb a signal to activate to battery when it was needed.
The bulbs needed to know when it was a power outage or the switch being turned off.
It also needed to know this over many different voltages and switching systems, this is when the idea of a base came about to be used in conjunction with the battery.
By keeping how the bulbs and sentry communicate to each other consistent, adapting to different markets was a simple modification if required.
The base reacts to the lack of power, switching over to a circuit that sends a signal to the bulb to suggest the mains power has gone out using PLC technology. This signals the bulb to run on its battery.
A base being implemented had it’s own flaws, such as the additional cost to add a base to the product, however adding a base meant the loss of power signal could be sent to the bulb which meant the bulb was functional immediately to the power loss.
We also wanted to keep the cost down as much as possible and a base unit would mean an electrician didn’t have to install anything in order for the bulb’s ability to be sent a signal in the loss of power.
A unit also gives the ability to be independent, transferable and ideal for those in rentals.
Also we took a lessons learnt approach to other available products that have tried to get around the same problems we saw.
We always stuck to a few key ideals.
-The bulb needed to be able to provide instant light on demand at the switch when needed.
-As simple as possible to install and expand on.
With keeping things simple we focused on a single bulb principle but it soon became clear of the flaws in this design. Added to that all the different electrical systems and switching methods utilised in the world, it became apparent it was going to cause a lot of problems if we wanted a simple universal design that could simply adapt to different markets around the world.
To get around these problems we moved the control circuitry away from the bulb, this allowed us to capture almost every eventuality it could encounter, this enabled us to still create the signal loop the circuit needs to monitor the switch and fuse status.
Once you have the base unit plugged in, bulbs can be added anywhere, in any number.
After a few trial and errors we came up with the current design and I filed my patent in March 2013, which you can look at via this link:
then search for NZ patent number 608114
Then we filed an international PCT application. Craig Tolson from James & Wells has been handling that side of things very well. The PCT searches all countries and lets us file into any country based on our NZ priority date.
International PCT application:
I would like to say I’ve been steaming through the commercialisation side but that’s not quite right. That sort of stuff is not cheap, consuming about a third of my disposable income and time wise I’m only limited to nights and weekends as my day job and normal family commitments still have to be done.
We needed the intellectual property secured otherwise our project could be shutdown quite easily.
Its been a struggle in so many ways and lots of periods of self doubt where I wondered how I was going to make it happen, but I’m pleased I’m here now as I have learnt so much and met some really smart people on my way through. Worst case scenario out of all this I’m only out of pocket.
We have proof of concept but there is still considerable scope to modify the design before we commit to an initial production prototype to run with.
We are looking into all the options on the best type/brand of LED lamp to use in the production model. Getting this right is something we are very passionate about.
When mains power to the lamp is cut, it can still be turned on and off at the switch as normal. The only difference is that it dims down automatically so that it can last a full 8 hours on batteries.
Next came the development of the prototype and meeting specific safety standards.
At this stage I had hit a wall in the development of my prototype and started researching how I can get assistance in continuing with my idea.
I approached a few companies including Rob Lawrence (Research and Development Specialist of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce) who has granted us $12,500 to assist in development costs for us when we wish.
I also approached GPC Electronics who passed me onto Dr Hamish Laird at ELMG Digital, he’s a guy who knows his stuff. He has a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, a masters and a PHD, who showed interest in my project.
Over a few meetings Dr Laird agreed that he would provide the electronics genius so we could make suitable production prototypes once I had the means to pay for his services.
Brent O’Meagher at GPC Electronics takes all this info and makes all the production of the circuit boards happen smoothly. The team there have everything to ensure all the electronics will be the shizzle to the wizzle. They can use the best manufacturing techniques and testing methods to ensure only the best ends up in the final product.
Graeme Rickard at Action Plastics, Global expert on plastics, makes the plastic components and tooling. Quality starts with a great foundation, without top quality mouldings we only have half a product. One of the most important elements, required to diffuse light, help conduct heat away and hold everything together in a tough and pretty little package.
One of the more difficult parts as final tooling is best left to the last moment. Once the tooling is made, any changes can introduce stresses into the product and result in significant modifications to the tooling, which also could diminish both product and production efficiency.
Graeme is a guy who loves bringing dreams to life and has had extensive experience in doing this.
WHAT WE NEED TO MOVE ON
The goal amount is set well above what we need to achieve the desired outcome.
Firstly to ensure sufficient funding should something blow out of budget for some unforeseen reason.
Secondly, to test its commercial potential, if our idea is any good, we should be able to sell a good amount of them. It helps prove it to others, such as those interested in selling it, power companies who could offer concessions as they do already with some LEDs, anyone really.
Suddenly the difference between a few hundred and a few thousand bulbs makes the difference to halve the price, making safety more accessible for everyone.
We, of course, will add extra bulbs to the pledges, if this occurs before the delivery date.
One of the things we love about the Kickstarter process and community is it allows people like us to crowd source funding but more importantly ideas and smarts. We are committed to creating a top quality bulb and will adjust our thinking and approach to achieve this. Thanks again for your support – we’re glad we can share this journey with you.
New Zealand Building Code Documents
F6 Visibility in Escape Routes (Third edition, including amendment 3) [PDF 473 KB, 26 pages]
Effective from 14 February 2014
Well since the earthquakes, things have changed. The company I worked for 16 years at, decided to centralise away from Christchurch putting everyone including myself out of work. Not for long tho as the new owner about two months later re-employed two of us to run a scaled down version of what we had before.
Although at a reduced rate, the loss of shift work has provided an added bonus of a normal life and more time with my daughter.
After getting the proof of concept to work, the next obvious step was securing the intellectual property (IP), everybody asked about the IP, this was not cheap, consuming half of my disposable income for the time, and with a hungry teenager to feed, things got tighter than a seals bottom.
After getting the IP sorted and everything else in place to go, it brings us here.
This seemed the next logical step as it provides a great acid test on its commercial potential before any major investment is required by myself, my day job pays ok, but a multi-national product launch is a little beyond my budget.
Kickstarter to would have to be a great platform to gain valuable feedback from people who are interested in the idea, another opportunity to make EOS the best we can.
I figured if I can’t pre sell a few of these, then like old yeller, it may be time to go to the big farm in the sky.
HOW ELSE CAN YOU HELP?
Please share this with your contacts.
Help build momentum with your friends and across the web
Risks and challenges
We are really excited about launching the EOS bulb. However, the most important aspect of this project is that we fulfil our promise to you, our backers!
Luckily, for us, we have the benefit of hindsight, with considerable research into Kickstarter projects, we are able to see how a lot of projects have performed and we have gained a lot of knowledge about potential hiccups and challenges we may face.
We’ve given a conservative estimate for our delivery dates. We have already factored in some extra fluffy time in case things go wrong due to unforeseen problems.
We put a lot of work into designing and building the first prototypes, but as a technology project we are also aware that there will be challenges of manufacturing, production, shipping worldwide and more.
In order to sell in any country in the world, every light bulb needs to meet the legal standards required in the territory.
Standards accreditation can identify issues that require reworking, which then require re-submission, any product that plugs into the mains circuit requires extensive testing to ensure its safety. We have allowed for two months, which is the average time.
We are very confident EOS will pass the accreditation (our manufacturing partners have had many products accredited) but should it for fail for whatever reason, there would result in a delay of a extra 2+ months.
Communication, or lack of, is a huge annoyance, customer service is key, I’ve bought things that have had issues in the past, annoying in itself but when the company I acquired it from deals with me poorly, I’ll probably avoid them for life. We don’t want to be one of those companies.
For that reason Jamie Clarke has taken the lead role as Customer Champion. She has extensive experience in retail management and customer service roles.
She is passionate about putting the customer first, if she doesn’t know it, she will find out, quickly, it was only natural she took the role of keeping customers and backers fully informed and happy as this is an area we don’t want to be lacking in.
She can always be contacted at: Jamie@eosbulb.co.nz
Or myself: Lee@eosbulb.co.nz
At this point in the design and manufacturing process, we need to be able to commit to a large enough order for our manufacturing partners to start production.
We have an extremely experienced team that has delivered on both physical and digital products, large and small. This experience will help us identify potential issues we face early and apply the appropriate recourse.
Our promise is that we’ll rise to meet all these challenges and more with the combined experience and passion our team brings to this project.
We are committed to keeping you informed of our progress both during and following our campaign. We assure you that we are all working very hard to produce a sensational product that not only arrives on time but is of optimum quality!
We are committed to being transparent in the event of unforeseen obstacles, and we will provide regular status updates on our progress.
We are excited to get EOS into the hands of you, our backers!
Thank you for your patience and we hope you love the product as much as we do.