Helium: The First Supercapacitor-Powered Portable Speaker

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Mar

21

So Close...

But still waiting on some parts.

Hello friends,

We’re working hard here at Blueshift Labs - it’s almost time to start shipping. I heard last night that we should expect a first delivery of finished cabinets a week from Monday (ie 3/31/2014). We should be shipping speakers the next day (although at this point, three months into the process, I’ve learned to start using the world ‘should’ instead of the word ‘will’).

You all have been awesome for your patience on this - I’m stressed about the time situation as is, and its been awesome to have everyone maintain such a positive attitude despite the delays. Thanks!

Here are some things that have happened:

Stereo for everyone (kind of!) The main board (which is the heart of all of our current products) includes two mono amplifiers and a switchable mixer - so it works in stereo or mono. That means that every Capacitizer kit can now be set up as a stereo or mono system. And if you wanted to put another speaker in your Helium Mono you could (but that would be unnecessary - the Helium Mono is awesome as is, still my favorite).

The box is better. The picture above shows the unfinished Helium Mono cabinet - it looks awesome, and the finish that it’s getting is going to be really nice. The wood shop that’s building the cabinets hasn’t been super speedy, but they’re doing better work than I could have in-house. The end panels are actually tabbed to fit into grooved slots on the other sides - it’s a more labor-intensive process, but it makes the boxes stronger and more airtight.

Main board upgrades in general. There have been 5 major revisions of the main board since the Crowd Supply campaign ended. The first draft of the board actually worked well, but the new one works great. I’ve added:

  1. An input fuse to protect sensitive components from weird power polypropylene capacitors for distortion-free audio (those things aren’t cheap!)

  2. Extra resistor slots for future upgrades - allows for different charge rates and voltage outputs for futuristic capacitors

  3. Extra soldering points for audio & power inputs and outputs - so you don’t have to desolder anything to wire-in new jacks / etc. Also gives access to the Bluetooth module firmware if you want to get weird.

Overall, all these upgrades make the system more repairable, better sounding, and more likely to stay in circulation as a functional electronic system forever.

Scott drove up to Portland from San Diego - and spent this whole week soldering production boards and helping out in general. As a volunteer. Pretty amazing - the help just keeps coming. Thanks Scott!

OK, back to soldering! Sorry about the delay but it’s going to pay off.

Thanks again for backing the project or signing up for these emails! Couldn’t be doing this without all of your support.

Sincerely, Sam Beck

$46,246 raised

of $35,000 goal

Funded!
No Longer Available

Dec 19 2013

funded on

132%

funded

9,493

pledges

Product Choices

$249

Copper

The Copper is a wired, powered speaker. It sounds great, and it looks killer - but it does have to be plugged into both power and an audio source. Includes power supply and 3.5mm cable - attach any device with a standard headphone audio output. Available in mono ($300) or stereo ($400). Stereo shown in image.


$350

PILOT: Helium


$399

Helium

The Helium is a capacitor-powered, portable wireless speaker. It charges in five minutes, plays for six hours at full volume, and sounds awesome. Includes Bluetooth receiver with Apt-X and AAC codecs, Fostex FE 126 driver, bamboo cabinet, and wall adapter. Built to last in Portland, OR.


$400

EARLY: Helium


$179

Capacitizer

The Capacitizer is a DIY kit for building a capacitor-powered portable wireless speaker. Build your own enclosure for a high-efficiency driver, OR convert an existing high-efficiency passive speaker. Includes the assembled PCB, four 350F supercapacitors, a power supply for charging, hardware, and instructions. Tools and know-how required! Driver not included.


$849

Double Down

A Helium Stereo speaker AND a Helium Mono for the ultimate listening experience.

Credits

Blueshift

Blueshift builds open-source electronics in Portland, OR. We are committed to products that last, so everything we make can be repaired and upgraded.


Sam Beck

Founder


Alberta Printed Circuits

PCB Manufacturer

RNB Enterprises

PCB Assembler

Scientific Research Company

Laser Cutter & Powder-coater

Madisound

Audio Component Supplier

Blue Creation

Bluetooth Module Supplier

Laser Cutting Services Inc.

Laser Cutter & Etcher

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