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Apr 17, 2015 7:15 AM ET

Archived: Beacon: Waterproof, Solar Power Bank, Light and Signal Device

iCrowdNewswire - Apr 17, 2015

Beacon: Waterproof,Solar Power Bank,Light and Signal Device

by Jerommie Smith & Ryan Bradley

The re-chargeable Beacon Box combines 20 LED signaling lights, a crush-proof submersible box, solar panel, and 3 USB chargers.

About this project

The Beacon Solar Outdoor Survival Box Lets You Leave the Urban Jungle Behind-And Keeps You Prepared to Survive

The Beacon Protects and Charges Your Devices Outdoors
The Beacon Protects and Charges Your Devices Outdoors

It is an undisputed fact did we are a plugged-in culture. Wherever we go close behind us follows a trail of electronic devices with charges, cables, and attachments–all forming a ubiquitous leash tethering us to wall sockets.  Further, if you are an outdoor enthusiast like we are, you have learned the hard way many times that mobile phones and electronic devices simply do not play well with water and need to be protected.  So how can we safely enjoy the outdoors, stay charged and connected and all the while stay our devices dry?  The answer is the crush-proof Beacon Outdoor Survival Box.

The Beacon is a technologically advanced tool for the active outdoor junkie who must also be connected on the go.  Combining a portable and efficiently sized package, with the sustainable power of solar energy, the Beacon will not only charge, but protect a wide range of electronic devices.  In addition, the Beacon serves as a adjustable-intensity light source and signaling device. Despite the technology and research and development that we poured into the Beacon over the last year, the functionality and concept of the Survival Box is quite simple, and easy to grasp–so let’s let the pictures do the talking.

The Beacon is Waterproof
The Beacon is Waterproof

The Beacon is the First Waterproof and Crush-Proof Storage Box that Protects and Your Devices with the Power of Solar-and Serves as an LED Survival Light as Well

We designed the Beacon with functionality and versatility in mind, but refused to replace functionality for quality.  All of the facets of the Beacon are top-level electronics.  Nothing is a add-on, or an after-though incorporated just to add another feature.  The Beacon is not a gimmick, but rather a first-of-its kind outdoor tool rigorously designed to accompany any journey.  

The solar panel that can fuel the Beacon’s power insert is high-capacity and capable of charging the unit in 36 hours.  The LED signaling lights are high-lume and can be seen for a mile and will flash continuously for 24 hours on a single charge.  Further, the construction of the box itself is impact resistant, waterproof to at least ten feet, and floats.  Simply put, while other outdoor chargers exist on the market today, none perform like the Beacon.

Signaling Beacon, Solar Power, Device Protection and Charging
Signaling Beacon, Solar Power, Device Protection and Charging

A Word About Our Motivation   

The Beacon is the end result of constant tinkering, designing, and quite honestly, just getting outside. We think the Beacon is as remarkable in its simplicity and intuitiveness as it is in it technology and durability. From our personal, everyday outdoor activities from hiking to boating, law enforcement training to motorcycling, the Beacon evolved as our dissatisfaction with available alternatives mounted. Mobile device charges have proliferated to an almost mind-numbing level across the web and in every big box electronic store in the world. Some of these are even solar powered. Others are actually waterproof as well. In the same vein, LED flashlights have become remarkably common-place as well. Our problem was that these other tools, despite their individual usefulness and necessity, were downright cumbersome and often left behind. We wanted to create a simple yet dependable product that would be ready and waiting in out pack or car and help us not only enjoy, but in some cases survive, out passion to be outside. The Beacon draws on our desire to combine, but not water-down all of the necessary parts of our carry in one waterproof package. After over a year of development, the Beacon was born.

The Beacon is Easy to Fit in Most Packs
The Beacon is Easy to Fit in Most Packs

The entire design process for the Beacon was extensive spanning well over a year from conception to completion.  Like most great product designs, the Beacon started on a simple sheet of paper and graduated to CAD along the way.  Unlike some small companies we conduct all of our own research and development in house in rural Sidney Illinois.  We handle our own sourcing and our own design and specifications.  We wanted to bring this hands-on approach to the Beacon in hopes of combing the right amount of functionality in the box to combine Form & Function.  This is why many ideas and functions were left on the table during design meetings.  The Beacon delivers what is needed in the field in a no-frills package and does not cram functionality where it does not belong.

Concept to CAD to Creation
Concept to CAD to Creation

A True Tool For The Outdoors

There have been other solar-driven gadgets and chargers on the market before, even on Kickstarter, but these are surpassed by the sheer functionality and usability of the Beacon with the primary benefit being the waterproof and crush-proof construction of the Beacon Box.

The Beacon is at Home on the Water and on the Trail
The Beacon is at Home on the Water and on the Trail

Enclosed in a portable and efficiently sized package, the Beacon unleashes the power of solar energy to not only charge, but protect, electronic devices. Further, true to its name, the Beacon comes equipped LED lighting for both emergency situations and casual use as well. The entire package is waterproof, submersible, and floats with an electronic device enclosed. There have been other gadgets and chargers before, but these are surpassed by the Beacon, a true tool that combines a first-of-its-kind combination of charging, solar, lighting, and waterproof technology. The Beacon allows for storage of two typical mobile phones, 3 USB charging ports that can all be used at same time, and storage of power from a Polymer lithium ion battery. The battery is charged either by traditional wall socket charging or through the Beacon’s high capacity solar panel on the top of the case. 

The core of the Beacon, the power cell puck, is actually removable as well.  This allows for cleaning of the waterproof box, and also allows for the power cell to be used apart from the box in settings where waterproof protections is not necessary. The puck alone will make a great addition to a dorm room, hotel room, or commuter train or bus. The removable Beacon power cell puck stands ready and willing for any journey.

Removable Beacon Power Cell
Removable Beacon Power Cell

The Beacon goes beyond a mere gadget, or drugstore charger. It is a tool that is an absolute necessity for anyone who ventures outside of the urban jungle.

Technically Speaking, the Beacon Delivers

On the Road
On the Road

With a product like the Beacon is poised to change the way we look at getting into the outdoors, technical specifications and testing reign supreme.  Full Beacon Specifications are as follows:

  • The Beacon is 6 3/4 inches long,4.5 inches wide, and 2 inches thick
  • The interior storage compartment is 27mm / 1.06 inches deep 
  • The Beacon weighs just 15 ounces
  • The Beacon is fully waterproof and is designed to float either empty or with a device enclosed with a device
  • As a sustainable solar energy source, the Beacon has a fully-enclosed and waterproof solar panel on the lid of the device
  • Depending on the amount of sunlight, the Beacon’s  1.5 w solar panel can provide a full charge to the unit in 36 hours with a 17% conversion rate-meaning that and average iPhone will charge from zero in an hour and a half
  • The Beacon may also be charged by a conventional wall outlet
  • The Beacon uses a Polymer Lithium Ion battery to operate the lights and to charge electronic devices and has a 10,000 mAh rating
  • The top of the Beacon is fitted with 12 White High intensity LED lights and 8 yellow hue, low-intensity lights to retain adequate night vision and retain more charge
  • As to charging, the Beacon is equipped with three USB charging ports for phones and tablets. 2 ports are 5v 1.0A and, 1 port 5v 2.1A
  • The Beacon’s battery life indicator shows charge at  25% 50% 75% 100%
The Beacon's Features do Function
The Beacon’s Features do Function

Putting the Beacon Through its Paces

We have done our best to test the Beacon in as many practical and likely situations as possible in an effort to establish a baseline to our backers. Here is what we found:

  • The 12 bright LED lights on the top of the Beacon have been tested with visibility at a mile in blinking mode.  This is important for emergency and signaling situations
  • The rate of charge for mobile phones and small electronic devices is approximately 1% per 1.50 minutes
  • The rate of charge for larger mobile devices such as tables is  is 1% per 2 minutes
  • The Beacon can be safely submerged up to ten feet.
Water Testing
Water Testing

Life is Complicated, the Beacon is Not

The Power button is used to check battery status without activating lights. Simply hold the power button for one full second to activate low intensity yellow lights. When yellow lights are on, push power button two times and the white high intensity LED lights are activated.  Don’t look directly at these–they are bright. 

When the power button is pressed two times when the white high intensity LED light is activated the lights will start the high intensity flash mode. Lights will flash three short pulses and 3 long pulses until holding the power button to shut off.  To turn off hold down power button for one full second.  That’s it, pretty simple.

The Beacon on the Road
The Beacon on the Road

A Word About “Vampire Electricity”

We wanted to developed the Beacon to be an outdoor survival tool that will be a long-tern companion for almost any outdoor activity from the beach to the backwoods.  This begin said, using solar energy to charge mobile phones and portable electronic devices–even at home–can dramatically reduce our dependence on manufactured electricity.  The charging of electronic devices accounts for nearly 10% of all residential electricity usage and accounts for $4 billion in excess cost.  Since the Beacon can be placed anywhere with sunlight, or any light source for that matter, Beacon backers ca have the opportunity reduce their own conventional energy consumption and quench the thirst of that Vampire iPhone with sustainable energy.

Three Charging Ports, All can be used at Once
Three Charging Ports, All can be used at Once

Rewards to Backers

The reward system for the Beacon is as simple as the product.  Each back will receive one or two Beacons based on contribution level, and as has become a custom on Kickstarter, the early backers will score a discount. Apart from a Beacon, Backers can have the knowledge and faith that they are getting behind a product that is not only likely to succeed on Kickstarter, but in the market as well.  On with the Rewards:

For the first 500 people to back the Beacon, we will send a Survival Box to your door for $75.00.  After 500, Backers can receive a Beacon for a pledge of $85.00.  

Additionally, for those that truly see the value of the Beacon, we will have 250 two-Beacon packages available for $150.00.

The Beacon is anticipated to retail for $130.00, so for a price point in this area, we are delivering a sizable value to our Kickstarter Backers without whom the Beacon cannot become a reality.

What To Expect On Delivery and When

We have funneled a staggering amount of time and effort into the technology inside, and the design behind, the Beacon.  We have a buffet style strategy with the Beacon: all killer, no filler.  For this reason, the Beacon will arrive in a generic protective box devoid of any hype or flashy packaging.  We want the focus to be on the product. and that is where we are using the funds.

Each Beacon will come with a wall charger and an adapter for charging both iPhones and other Micro USB devices. 

After running our 51 day campaign, we are expecting at least 45-60 days for production and another few weeks for delivery and quality control.  All said, we intend on delivering the Beacon in Early November–but we would rather under promise and over deliver.

Enjoy the Journey with the Beacon
Enjoy the Journey with the Beacon

We Know the Beacon Will Change the Way We Prepare for the Outdoors–Help us Make it a Reality!

Risks and challenges

Like any Kickstarter project, the primary risk and challenge in regard to the Beacon is purchasing power and supply chain management. Based on our experience with other projects, we have been able to get a firm control on our supply chain and our distribution. This being said with the anticipated success of the Beacon, we are likely to encounter significant logistical complications along the way. We are preparing to hire staff to assist in the fulfillment process depending on the size, and have out mailing and shipping strategies perfected after four projects.

Despite all of our preparation however, delays can be a killer. To alleviate this, we are building in buffer time and will be visiting the production facility at least twice during the course of the campaign.

As far as quality control, we are fortunate enough to be working with some of the best producers in the business so that we are less concerned about the quality of the beacon product. While the Beacon embodies attributes that are currently found in other products on the market, combining these attributes in the manner in which we have done with the is a complex and arduous task. Because of this we are resolute to make sure that the quality of each beacon leaving our Sidney Illinois shop prior to shipping is perfect. Accordingly a challenge is finding the appropriate number of individuals with the proper training to assist us with large volume shipments.

Finally, there is no pre-existing base for our project, for this reason we are going to encounter sizable fees associated with establishing out manufacturing process. This is why we need the Backer support even more.

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