Sunny Solar iPhone Case Relaunched on Kickstarter
A solar-powered charging and battery case for the iPhone 6 first announced in May re-launched its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter yesterday. “Sunny,” described as “the only solar battery case that actually works,” hopes to raise $10,000 in just one month to enter mass production.
The Kickstarter reboot comes after a brief run on Indiegogo (which still got featured in Inc. Magazine and a fun mention on Geek Beat). Launched in June with a $20,000 goal, the Sunny team ended the campaign early in July after it had raised about $3,100 from 38 backers.
The switch to Kickstarter makes sense, though, given that the Sunny team includes Honolulu-based Laurens Laudowicz. He has three successful smartphone accessory Kickstarter campaigns under his belt (blogged here, here, and here), and he is an avid crowdfunder himself, backing over 200 other Kickstarter projects.
The Indiegogo backers were not forgotten, however. The Sunny team has posted updates and some of them have already received their cases. When it comes to manufacturing and working with partners in China, a two month turnaround for a 50 unit run is nothing to sneeze at.
“We are back at the office and have been using the first few production ready Sunny cases for a few days now,” they reported last month. “They are awesome.”
While the Sunny case is not the first solar smartphone charging case, its creators describe its predeessors as “big, heavy, inconvenient to carry, and mostly just plain ugly.” And the biggest sin was that most solar cases could only muster a trickle charge, which at best only extended the phone’s battery life by an hour or two.
Sunny is able to achieve full 5V output with newer, higher efficiency SunPower C60 solar cells, which are spread on two surfaces rather than just one thanks to a fold-out dual-panel design.
“It goes up to 500mA in full sunlight, which is equivalent to the original iPhone wall charger,” the Sunny team notes. “In full sun it takes about two hours to charge to 100 percent.”
It’s unclear how usable the iPhone will be while it’s charging, though. From my own experience, just leaving my iPhone in the sun in my car prompts a temperature warning that knocks it out of commission until it can cool down again. But you can always remove your phone and leave your Sunny case out to charge its own battery.
And while the initial design featured a 2000mAh battery, the extra time the team had to tweak since its first campaign means the final Sunny cases will sport 2500mAh batteries instead. That’s 25 percent increase in capacity without any increase in size and weight, and enough to effectively double the life of the iPhone 6 battery.
The Sunny case also includes a four-segment LED battery status indicator. And the team is quick to point out that, in addition to allowing you to recharge your iPhone with the sun, Sunny is also a “rugged” case designed to protect the iPhone 6 from bumps and drops.
The Sunny campaign on Kickstarter runs through the month of September (and has raised over $3,000 of its $10,000 goal in its first two days). Early birds can get a Sunny case for $75, latecomers for $85, and for $650 you can get ten.